By Hailinel 10 Comments
I sit here before my keyboard, exhausted and halfway brain-dead after all four days of PAX Prime 2013. It was a long, eventful day, but I'll try to run through the big events as much as I can while my brain still has the capacity to use a keyboard (I am already failing). One of my friends expressed interest in a panel that started at 10:00AM that sounded cool, so I decided to tag along. Unfortunately, things didn't quite work out. I got to there not long before the line was capped, so I could get in, but my friend couldn't. So I gave her my spot in line and waited outside for the hour. So what did I do to wait? I stood in line for something else
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Yup. Raven Theater, the location of the panel, was on the same level of the convention center and withing sneezing distance of Nintendo's Zelda demos. I waited most of the hour in the line for Wind Waker HD and ended up playing a demo version of the game's opening bits, from first starting out to finding Tetra in the forest. (The other demo was a boss battle.) I never played Wind Waker on the GameCube beyond a few store kiosk minutes, but the HD version is pretty fun. The graphics do indeed look beautiful, and the demo also featured bits of the new Wii U functionality; inventory management can be done entirely on the touch screen, with items equipping to buttons by simply dragging and dropping. The telescope (and the bow in the boss battle demo) could be aimed with the gyroscopic controls in the Gamepad, or by standard controls (whichever suits you). There were even a couple of message bottles on the shore as a sign of the game's new Miiverse functions, though I didn't check their contents.
Basically, it's Wind Waker, but bigger, better, and fancier, as far as I can tell.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!
This was actually something I played a couple of days ago but forgot to mention because brain fart, so I'm putting it here before I forget again. That's nothing against the game, mind you. The demo we played was definitely a work-in-progress build, but it's a pretty silly game for four players. Imagine Gauntlet redone with Adventure TIme characters and you've got a pretty good idea of what this game is: an over-head dungeon crawler four up to four players, with each a different character. It's a silly game, but it strangely works.
The Sony Booth
Toward the end of the day, we decided to finally brave the Sony booth, and the crowd was entirely manageable. We only tried a couple of game demos, but they both seemed very interesting.
Rain is a sort of puzzle-action game. You're a boy that is invisible on the run from invisible monsters. However, there's a constant, driving rain, and when standing in it, your visible (or at least, you're shape is). So it becomes a game of finding brightly lit areas where you don't appear and careful maneuvering to avoid the monsters. Pretty cool.
Contrast was also on display at the Indie Mega Booth in trailer form, but they also had it in playable demo form at the Sony booth on the PS4. This game, set in a very stylistic 1920s-ish era, sees you cast as a woman that is capable of turning into a shadow when in brightly lit spaces, and then interacting with the shadows of other objects as though they're platforms and the like. Very cool concept and well executed. Unfortunately, the demo became stuck when I collected an item and the character suddenly became frozen in a T-pose. (Prerelease code always carries this risk.)
The PS4 Controller
I spent enough time with Contrast to know that the new PS4 controller is at least comfortable to hold and the buttons are just fine. What I didn't get a chance to try was the touch pad, so I have no idea what it's like in actual practice. Otherwise, it's a controller, so you probably know what to expect.
The Panel I Did Attend
In the mid-afternoon, we attended a panel called Three Decades of Video Game Music. This turned out to be less an overview of the history of game music, and more a talk on the influences of the four musician panelists in attendance; Grant Kirkhope (GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, a bunch of other games), Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac), Jimmy Hinson (Black Ops 2), and Daniel Rosenfield (Minecraft). It was really entertaining watching them joke around with each other. The whole panel was very light and fun with some insight into how each of them went about their work and what influences them. So while the panel wasn't what I had expected, it was still worth attending.
One last day at PAX meant one last day for shopping at PAX, and I came away with some more board and card games. Specifically:
- Cards Against Humanity Expansions 1&2
- The board game Takenoko
- The deck-building game Miskatonic School for Girls
I really need to organize a board game night at some point.
I've finally done it. I have collected every piece to every panel released thus far; a state I have never been in before today. It leaves me feeling accomplished, yet empty. I like collecting panel pieces and it kind of blows that I have to wait until new ones are released to feed that hunger again. But oh well. I still have plenty of work to do in the other StreetPass games.
This was my fifth PAX, and so I've come to a point where I know my way around it pretty well and a lot of it has become old hat. Yet there's always something new, whether it be a panel, or a particular demo experience, or just something else completely out of the ordinary that helps keep it fresh. This is also the second year that I've skipped the Giant Bomb panel; they're certainly a fun ride, but it's no big deal to me that I didn't attend. I find that PAX is a more enjoyable experience if you don't bank the show on one singular desire.
As for the highlight and lowlight of the show, you can probably just refer to my previous write-up on my panel experiences from Day 3. Hideki Kamiya's panel on The Wonderful 101 was funny, charming, informative and enlightening. All of the things that I could have wanted out of that panel, I received, short of StreetPassing with Kamiya (as some lucky audience members were able to do). But that Final Fantasy panel...I just don't know what. I mean, there's only so many times I can call it a shit show without becoming obnoxiously repetitive, but that's what it was (and obnoxious repetition sort of describes Jason Schreier's role in that mess, anyway).
All in all, PAX Prime was a blast this year. I just hope I have the speed to snag passes again next year. It gets harder and harder with each go-round, but it's never not rewarding in the end.
And now, I shall crash. Because four days of PAX is really exhausting you guys. Oh my god.