PAX Prime 2011: Day 1 Recap

Another year, another PAX Prime! The first day was filled with some fun and interesting stuff, and a disappointment or two. I wasn't able to meet up with some people I intended to meet, and yet ran into friends by complete chance. I saw plenty of great stuff, got some fun swag, and overall had a fun time. But here's a summary of the big stuff:

Final Fantasy XIII-2

When the show floor opened, the first thing I headed for was the FFXIII-2 demo. And you know what? It's awesome. If you enjoyed the battle system in FFXIII, you'll be pleased to know that all of the basics are still in tact. However, the game adds a new twist by allowing monsters to be a part of the battle party, with feral abilities that are specific to those creatures. In the demo, I had a flan following me around casting fire spells and generally being flan-ish.

The demo is actually of decent length and covered one full dungeon that's what I assume to be fairly early in the game. Remember FFXIII's long, straight corridors and almost complete lack of branching paths until Pulse? Well, this demo was evidence enough that they're changing that. The boss of the dungeon is serious business, but there's an optional path that you can take that leads to a machine that weakens the boss significantly. Activating the machine led to my party being temporarily pulled into a dimension where I had to solve a series of floor tile puzzles to escape. Once that was done, I returned to the dungeon, made my way to the boss, and took him out with a combination of old and new tactics, as well as the occasional quick time event.

Other things of note: NPC dialogue is more prevalent and meaningful, a moogle tags along with the party, and in general, the game just feels like a better version of Final Fantasy XIII that doesn't veer off into psychotic FFX-2 style shenanigans. At least from the demo. I am excited for this game.

Lollipop Chainsaw

Oh. My. God. Do you like No More Heroes? Do you want more No More Heroes, but with a zombie-killing, chainsaw-wielding cheerleader? Then hell yes, you've come to the right game. The demo I played was a shortened version of the demo shown at Gamescom (shortened to allow more people the chance to play), and it is really, really crazy. The combat is easy to learn and has some effective combo strikes, Juliet has a mixture of cheerleading and chainsaw attacks, and the dialogue is ludicrous. The second part of the demo is especially nuts, as it features a fight against a punk rocker zombie that attacks with giant words (generally insults taken physical form), and, and...oh, hell. It's a Suda 51 game. I shouldn't have to explain that it's insane. Because it is, and it is glorious.

Street Fighter X Tekken

I only got one match in, but it's fun. I played a team of Poison/Hugo, and didn't do too bad for a neophyte. I lost, but I had fun. Hugo's not really the type of character I like to play, but Poison I can see myself maining.

Bioshock Infinite

This was the most disappointing booth at the show, really. Aside from some video footage that could be seen while in line, the main draws were getting a picture taken with a cute girl dressed as Elizabeth against an elaborate backdrop, and a quiz.

Yes, a quiz. Inside the booth, there is a series of paintings from the era and concepts that the game evokes, and after spending a few minutes looking them over, we were filed over to kiosks to take a five-question quiz that asked about details in the images. I did poorly, as I didn't have a chance to take a good look at all of the pictures, but those that got all five right got a T-shirt.

And that was it for Bioshock Infinite.

Panels

I attended two panels tonight. Unfortunately, I missed out on one because its time conflicted with another (sorry, wedgewu!), but they were both entertaining. The first was a panel hosted by Abbie Heppe (of the G4 Other M review) that served as a follow-up to a PAX East panel on the portrayal of gender in games, though this one was open to the portrayal of any and all groups. A large portion of the panel was open for Q&A, and a lot of good questions and points were raised not just in terms of gender, but also race and sexual orientation in game characters and their depictions as well. I happened to be first in line, and because it was related to the conversation at hand, I took the opportunity to air my grievances (politely) with Abbie regarding the review and how I disagreed with both it, and with the psychotic lunatics that slung terrifying insults and threats her way. She was very receptive to my opinion, which I admire, and it was nice to see that we had a mutual understanding.

The other panel was, of course, the Giant Bomb panel. It was awesome, of course, but unfortunately abbreviated. For reasons still unknown to me and most others, an Enforcer approached Ryan about an hour and fifteen minutes in to tell him that they had to clear out at 10:00, rather than the originally scheduled time of 10:30. This led to a quick jump to Q&A. Also, the crew let forth a surprise that I'll let you all find out about when the panel is posted to the site (unless someone spoils the surprise first).

After the panel, I approached Jeff and introduced myself as that asshole that keeps buying Dynasty Warriors games, which led to a short but pleasant chat about why I keep buying them.

Swag

Stuff bought:

Stuff given:

  • A huge foam Lollipop Chainsaw-themed chainsaw. (Who needs foam fingers?)
  • A Bioshock Infinite poster.
  • Other assorted random crap.

And the Day is Complete

More to come!

21 Comments
21 Comments
Posted by Hailinel

Another year, another PAX Prime! The first day was filled with some fun and interesting stuff, and a disappointment or two. I wasn't able to meet up with some people I intended to meet, and yet ran into friends by complete chance. I saw plenty of great stuff, got some fun swag, and overall had a fun time. But here's a summary of the big stuff:

Final Fantasy XIII-2

When the show floor opened, the first thing I headed for was the FFXIII-2 demo. And you know what? It's awesome. If you enjoyed the battle system in FFXIII, you'll be pleased to know that all of the basics are still in tact. However, the game adds a new twist by allowing monsters to be a part of the battle party, with feral abilities that are specific to those creatures. In the demo, I had a flan following me around casting fire spells and generally being flan-ish.

The demo is actually of decent length and covered one full dungeon that's what I assume to be fairly early in the game. Remember FFXIII's long, straight corridors and almost complete lack of branching paths until Pulse? Well, this demo was evidence enough that they're changing that. The boss of the dungeon is serious business, but there's an optional path that you can take that leads to a machine that weakens the boss significantly. Activating the machine led to my party being temporarily pulled into a dimension where I had to solve a series of floor tile puzzles to escape. Once that was done, I returned to the dungeon, made my way to the boss, and took him out with a combination of old and new tactics, as well as the occasional quick time event.

Other things of note: NPC dialogue is more prevalent and meaningful, a moogle tags along with the party, and in general, the game just feels like a better version of Final Fantasy XIII that doesn't veer off into psychotic FFX-2 style shenanigans. At least from the demo. I am excited for this game.

Lollipop Chainsaw

Oh. My. God. Do you like No More Heroes? Do you want more No More Heroes, but with a zombie-killing, chainsaw-wielding cheerleader? Then hell yes, you've come to the right game. The demo I played was a shortened version of the demo shown at Gamescom (shortened to allow more people the chance to play), and it is really, really crazy. The combat is easy to learn and has some effective combo strikes, Juliet has a mixture of cheerleading and chainsaw attacks, and the dialogue is ludicrous. The second part of the demo is especially nuts, as it features a fight against a punk rocker zombie that attacks with giant words (generally insults taken physical form), and, and...oh, hell. It's a Suda 51 game. I shouldn't have to explain that it's insane. Because it is, and it is glorious.

Street Fighter X Tekken

I only got one match in, but it's fun. I played a team of Poison/Hugo, and didn't do too bad for a neophyte. I lost, but I had fun. Hugo's not really the type of character I like to play, but Poison I can see myself maining.

Bioshock Infinite

This was the most disappointing booth at the show, really. Aside from some video footage that could be seen while in line, the main draws were getting a picture taken with a cute girl dressed as Elizabeth against an elaborate backdrop, and a quiz.

Yes, a quiz. Inside the booth, there is a series of paintings from the era and concepts that the game evokes, and after spending a few minutes looking them over, we were filed over to kiosks to take a five-question quiz that asked about details in the images. I did poorly, as I didn't have a chance to take a good look at all of the pictures, but those that got all five right got a T-shirt.

And that was it for Bioshock Infinite.

Panels

I attended two panels tonight. Unfortunately, I missed out on one because its time conflicted with another (sorry, wedgewu!), but they were both entertaining. The first was a panel hosted by Abbie Heppe (of the G4 Other M review) that served as a follow-up to a PAX East panel on the portrayal of gender in games, though this one was open to the portrayal of any and all groups. A large portion of the panel was open for Q&A, and a lot of good questions and points were raised not just in terms of gender, but also race and sexual orientation in game characters and their depictions as well. I happened to be first in line, and because it was related to the conversation at hand, I took the opportunity to air my grievances (politely) with Abbie regarding the review and how I disagreed with both it, and with the psychotic lunatics that slung terrifying insults and threats her way. She was very receptive to my opinion, which I admire, and it was nice to see that we had a mutual understanding.

The other panel was, of course, the Giant Bomb panel. It was awesome, of course, but unfortunately abbreviated. For reasons still unknown to me and most others, an Enforcer approached Ryan about an hour and fifteen minutes in to tell him that they had to clear out at 10:00, rather than the originally scheduled time of 10:30. This led to a quick jump to Q&A. Also, the crew let forth a surprise that I'll let you all find out about when the panel is posted to the site (unless someone spoils the surprise first).

After the panel, I approached Jeff and introduced myself as that asshole that keeps buying Dynasty Warriors games, which led to a short but pleasant chat about why I keep buying them.

Swag

Stuff bought:

Stuff given:

  • A huge foam Lollipop Chainsaw-themed chainsaw. (Who needs foam fingers?)
  • A Bioshock Infinite poster.
  • Other assorted random crap.

And the Day is Complete

More to come!

Posted by Afroman269

I'm optimistic on FF 13-2. I took a break halfway through the game, I'll get back to it later. The linear levels were just bothering me so bad, but that combat is so good.

Posted by vidiot

I too enjoyed the Final Fantasy XIII-2 Demo, and what felt like non-stop apologies about the last game from the few dudes running the demo kiosk :P

They were nice dude's though, answered all my obnoxious questions about the game to the best they could. They're shooting for one disk on the 360, might give you an idea regarding the amount of CG cutscene's this game is not apparently going to have.

But yeah, I thought the QTE would feel out-of-place. It didn't, and it actually made sense. The storyline seemed cryptic as hell. Multi-dimensions? Giants appearing in-and-out of planes of reality? What?!

I really liked what I saw. I hope it continues moving in the direction that was on display. At one point near the end, you're given an option to use a device to power-down a boss, or go at it head-on. There was also four options to ask characters for advice given the situation for this choice. I wouldn't have minded a more traditional, Final Fantasy XIII with some bloody towns and actual exploration, but I was not ready for multi-linear story options. How this will effect the long-term out-look of the full game is yet to be determined, but it looked pretty neat. I'm really curious how that game is going to unfold.

Oh, and Pulse is in the sky now? AHHH! DIMENSIONS!

Tomorrow I'm hitting up either Skyrim/Rage/The Darkness 2 or Mass Effect 3.

Suffice to say: I am ready to stand for a long period of time.

Posted by benpicko

I hear the new Endurance Run was announced.

Posted by vidiot

@benpicko said:

I hear the new Endurance Run was announced.

You heard right.

Edited by Bocam

@benpicko: @vidiot: Sorry that never happened.

@Hailinel: Where'd you find the soundtracks?

Posted by benpicko
@Bocam said:

@benpicko: @vidiot: Sorry that never happened.

Are you trying to tell me that twitter has deceived me once again?
Posted by Ub3rSlug

@Hailinel said:

...but those that got all five right got a T-shirt.

And that was it for Bioshock Infinite.

I'm curious, what did the T-shirt look like? Was it some cool design, or just the Bioshock Infinite logo on a generic shirt?

Posted by vidiot

@benpicko said:

@Bocam said:

@benpicko: @vidiot: Sorry that never happened.

Are you trying to tell me that twitter has deceived me once again?

Uh- I can vouch for the announcement...Given the whole: "I was there when they deliberately said it", unless there are new rules for...Reality.

That being said, the specific game was not announced.

Posted by Bocam

@vidiot: I'm saying it doesn't exist until they actually do it

Edited by Ghostiet

So you've played Lollipop Chainsaw? How's the controls? Do they feel like No More Heroes or are they more streamlined (or rather actually enjoyable), DMC/GoW style?


@vidiot said:

@benpicko said:

I hear the new Endurance Run was announced.

You heard right.

Posted by WJist

Instantly jealous of the panels you went to and the swag you got. FFXIII-2 sounds great, hopefully they don't veer into X-2 territory with the amount of dresspheres. Paradigms were good enough. I need to go to PAX. 
 
Let us know your thoughts on Romancing SaGa when you get back. I fell off the SaGa train hard after Unlimited SaGa.

Posted by StarvingGamer

I am the saddest of pandas that I'm not at PAX this year. Thanks for talking about how FFXIII-2 is shaping up, I loved the first one so an overall better version sounds mind-blowing.

And it's ok, if I had more money I'd probably be buying all those Dynasty Warriors games too.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Oh fuck. Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song? Prepare for a ton of confusion and awesome battle themes. Also, I think somebody spoiled the surprise.

Posted by GaspoweR

@Ghostiet said:

So you've played Lollipop Chainsaw? How's the controls? Do they feel like No More Heroes or are they more streamlined (or rather actually enjoyable), DMC/GoW style?

@vidiot said:

@benpicko said:

I hear the new Endurance Run was announced.

You heard right.

Probably the most appropriate image to associate with the announcement.

Posted by ShiftyMagician
@GaspoweR said:

@Ghostiet said:

So you've played Lollipop Chainsaw? How's the controls? Do they feel like No More Heroes or are they more streamlined (or rather actually enjoyable), DMC/GoW style?

@vidiot said:

@benpicko said:

I hear the new Endurance Run was announced.

You heard right.

Probably the most appropriate image to associate with the announcement.

Are you saying it will be a Solitaire Endurance Run?
Posted by Ghostiet
@ShiftyMagician said:
@GaspoweR said:

@Ghostiet said:

So you've played Lollipop Chainsaw? How's the controls? Do they feel like No More Heroes or are they more streamlined (or rather actually enjoyable), DMC/GoW style?

@vidiot said:

@benpicko said:

I hear the new Endurance Run was announced.

You heard right.

Probably the most appropriate image to associate with the announcement.

Are you saying it will be a Solitaire Endurance Run?
If Vinny and Jeff are as good at Solitaire as they are at fusing, then this is the best of ideas.
Edited by GaspoweR

@ShiftyMagician: @Ghostiet: OH I CAN JUST IMAGINE THAT RIGHT NOW

Posted by TehFlan
@Hailinel said:

 I had a flan following me around casting fire spells and generally being flan-ish.

Yes. Yes. YES.
Posted by Apathylad

So, was there a hostile atmosphere on that Abbie Heppe panel? I saw a recording of the last gender issues panel. Granted, that was around the time Dickwolves controversy, so that may have had something to do with it.

Posted by Hailinel

@Apathylad said:

So, was there a hostile atmosphere on that Abbie Heppe panel? I saw a recording of the last gender issues panel. Granted, that was around the time Dickwolves controversy, so that may have had something to do with it.

No, it wasn't hostile at all. It was actually rather civil and the discourse was intelligent.