By Hailinel 7 Comments
Day two of PAX Prime 2013 has come and gone, and it was quite a bit different than yesterday. Far lighter on my wallet, for one, as I avoided making any big purchases today. I also didn't attend any panels. (No, not even the Giant Bomb panel. I was eating dinner with friends while the room was starting to fill.) What I did have time for though was more actual playing of game demos. And it was a lot of awesome stuff.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Our first stop was once again the Square Enix booth, where I finally had the chance to play Lightning Returns. And it's shaping up to be the game I'm hoping it is. The demo drops the player into a sequence in which you have to chase down Snow and gives a pretty good taste of the combat flow. While Lightning is the sole player character, she can swap between different classes on the fly, and each one has different commands tied to the face buttons that eat ATB gauge (with each class having its own gauge). The idea of staggering the enemy is still present, but has changed a little bit, in that it denotes staggering process a bit differently, and Lightning now has an overdrive technique that can power her up and do serious damage, particularly to a staggered enemy. Not much to say on the story front, but the chase ended in a huge boss fight (of course) that was a good test of everything that the game had just taught me.
I'll admit, I've given Divekick a fair bit of shit. And I'm willing to eat my words. I played the game a bit with a friend, and we both had a lot of fun with it. They even had those goofy two-button controllers to play with, but the station we were on had PS3 DualShocks. You dive, you kick, you get a couple of headshots, you laugh. That's about it, really.
Though I will say that prerelease marketing really didn't do much to dispel the notion that the game is a dumb joke.
Another indie game I tried was a game from a small Australian developer Cardboard Keep called Clicktraption. It's a ridiculous little two-player game that's part platformer, part friendship tester. Basically, one player, using the arrow keys on the keyboard, runs and jumps through an obstacle-filled screen to hit switches and then escape the room. The other player, using the mouse, tries to kill Player 1 by clicking trap mechanisms like missile launchers to make them activate. As the platformer guy, I never escaped the room. In my defense, I'm left-handed and was trying to use the arrow keys with my right.
Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche
The only PAX 10 game I could touch today without fear of being crushed to death in the swarm of people at the PAX 10 display, Super Avalanche is a randomly generated plaformer in which blocks and other items fall from the sky and your objective is to try to climb as high as you possibly can before getting either crushed to death, fall into the ever-rising lava below, or get murdered by a wandering enemy. It's a lot of fun, actually, and I did fairly well. I actually had the daily record on my last run (for all of five seconds when the guy next to me beat my score).
I didn't actually play Pokemon X or Y, but watched my Pokemaniac friends go at it. It is easily, easily, by far the prettiest Pokemon game that's ever been made. The graphics are a major step up from the Black/White titles and the Pokemon and trainer models look fantastic, with a great deal of personality. Other than that, what more need I say? It's Pokemon!
Bayonetta 2 was the last game I played today, and wow. The demo is about fifteen minutes long, but before that, I had to brave the two-hour wait in line. And it was late enough in the day that about half an hour after I got there, they stopped letting people in line because it would have been too long for the time that remained in the day. And I kinda had to use the restroom the whole time I was waiting. Once I did get to play the demo, though, it was great.
The Bayonetta 2 demo offered a couple of options. I could play using either the standard or touch controls (I chose standard) and either Easy or Normal difficulty (I went with Easy, because I never played the first Bayonetta and had no idea how geared Normal would be toward kicking my ass). As it turned out, I probably could have played on Normal without any problem, as Easy appeared to be below my skill level. I didn't have any headphones to hear what was going on in the game, but the visuals are the sort of madness you'd expect from Bayonetta, and the action is wild. The rep on hand explained some of what was new (I wouldn't have been able to tell since I never played the first), but there's a new Umbral Climax that you can trigger after filling a gauge that boosts Bayonetta's attack for a short bit and lets her restore some of her health. I guess the first game also didn't allow you to fire Bayonetta's guns by holding punch or kick, but it's in there now and is a pretty good combo-stopper.
The demo goes through a lot of demon fighting, Jeanne, who is assisting Bayonetta, gets hit so hard that her soul flies right out of her body and gets captured by demons, and then Bayonetta fights a giant demon climbing around a skyscraper. It all looks really great, plays awesome, and I'm really looking forward to playing it next year. Playing Bayonetta 2 also earned me my one bit of swag for the day in a T-shirt. Which, while yes, it is a T-shirt, I can also wear tomorrow to signify that I had the time and patience to stand in line for two hours.
What the third day of PAX bring? The early plan that my friends and I have concocted involves checking out more of the indie games. Beyond that, there really aren't any solid plans, though there are a couple of panels were interested in taking in. We'll see.