PAX Prime 2011: Day 3 Recap

And another PAX has come and gone. It was a lot of fun all around, and I'm already looking forward to next year. Like yesterday, I spent almost the entirety of the day on the show floor, taking in exhibits. Here's some of what I saw and did:

Asura's Wrath

Capcom had a demo for Asura's Wrath on the show floor, but I didn't have a chance to play it. I bring the game up, however, ,because along with the demo, there was a side event called the Rage Cage. Step inside, scream your head off, and if your scream is powerful enough to send the Rage Gauge to 100, you get entered in a drawing for an Amazon gift certificate. Everyone gets two tries. I nearly killed my throat in the process, but I could only muster a 98.4. Before entering the booth, a guy with a mic asked me my name and what I was angry about. Well, I told him I lost in the preliminary round of the day's Street Fighter X Tekken tournament, which was true.

It was a silly sideshow sort of attraction, but hey, primal screaming!

King of Fighters XIII

Atlus had a small area set up to show off a few upcoming games, and I had the chance to get in a couple of rounds of KOFXIII. It's been years since I last played a King of Fighters game (I never even touched KOFXII), but what little I played was pretty fun. I have no idea what the character balance is like, but the roster looks pretty solid and the classic 3-on-3 match-up format is still in effect. It does weird me out that SNK finally moved on to new sprites for all of the characters. It feels like the end of an era with all of those old Neo Geo sprites finally being retired.

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The demo lasted ten minutes, and I spent that time fumbling around in the dungeon portion of the demo. Skyward Sword is more Zelda, with Zelda-style dungeons, classic gear, heart containers and everything else. But the Motion Plus action really does make a difference. And despite being left-handed, it really wasn't a problem dealing with the sacrilege of a right-handed Link. The combat has a unique flow to it; far, far more engaging than Twilight Princess's waggle-till-they-die combat. I think Zelda fans are going to be pleased with it.

Skyrim

I waited in line for over an hour, but I managed to get in and see Skyrim for a bit. The demo starts off at character creation and then jumps straight into gameplay. The demo build provides a wide assortment of weapons and armor to choose from, and I ended up dual-wielding with a sword and a dagger. Then I switched the camera to third-person and had at it.

I have to say that, of the things I saw in the demo, I'm really happy that the third person camera angle has finally been fixed up. Oblivion's third-person was really useless beyond the occasional admiration of my gear. In Skyrim, it felt much more useful, though I didn't try out aiming with any ranged attacks. I also didn't fight anything more complicated than bandits (so none of the infinite dragons). Still, because it's Bethesda, I'm hesitant. I absolutely hated Oblivion, and Fallout 3 had a number of issues as well. I'll have to see how reviews pan out.

Prey 2

There weren't any playable demos, but there was a public demonstration of early parts of Prey 2 by a Human Head rep. So the game does have a direct connection to the original Prey, despite the stark change in gameplay mechanics and protagonist. The player is an air marshal that was on board a plane that crashed within the sphere roughly halfway through the original Prey. The game initially picks up just after the crash, with the player character exploring the wreckage of the plane within the alien craft and fighting off aliens. Then he gets knocked the fuck out.

And then he's an alien bounty hunter.

Yeah, I don't know. Maybe there's more context in the game than was given in the presentation, but he's apparently taken to an alien world and after eventually waking up, becomes a bounty hunter in a completely foreign civilization and has mastered the use of everything from stun bolas to rocket boots. I feel like I'm missing something here. Plot weirdness aside, the game looks pretty cool, with the way the player can interaction with the world and the challenges of the various missions, but the set-up seems forced beyond belief.

Fortune Street

As it turns out, Nintendo will be releasing a Wii entry in Square Enix's Itadaki Street series in North America under the name Fortune Street. It's essentially a Monopoly-like board game that features a mixed cast of Dragon Quest and Mario characters. And no, it's not Mario Party at all. What few minigames there are are limited to specific panel types and are limited in their interaction. But despite the simplicity, god damn does it get cut-throat. I played a session on an abbreviated demo board with a Nintendo rep and another PAX attendee and the CPU taking up the fourth player slot. On a regular board, these games can get quite lengthy, apparently. The goal is to amass a target amount of money and return to the Bank space on the board or force everyone else into bankruptcy. It's apparently coming out this holiday. A video board game might not be to everyone's taste, but the three of us had a pretty good time jabbing each other while we played.

Das Swagenhausen

No, I don't know German, but whatever.

Stuff bought:

Stuff given:

  • Prey 2 T-Shirt
  • Dragon Quest T-Shirt
  • A doofy Skyrim cap.
  • A doofy Asura's Wrath headband.
  • Skyward Sword lanyard
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising AR cards.

Bonus Content!: Fun With StreetPass

To quote Patrick from the Giant Bomb panel, I've been StreetPassing like a motherfucker. By the time PAX was over, I had well over 200 hits, collected all of the image panels, completed Find Mii once, and wracked up a huge number of match-ups in Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Super Street Fighter IV, and Samurai Warriors Chronicles. Seeing the green light on my 3DS light up as often as it did this weekend may not ever be the norm, but it was great to see what it could do when pushed.

Game of the Show: Final Fantasy XIII-2

My experience with the FFXIII-2 demo on Friday and with a Square Enix rep today pretty much killed any and all fears I might have had regarding the game. They're leaving what worked alone while making intelligent improvements and striving to create a broader experience that doesn't feel like a straight corridor crawl from start to end. And as for the plot, not only will it retain the tone of FFXIII, but I've been told that it promises to be darker than the original, and all of the main cast from FFXIII will be involved to one extent or another. Beyond that is a mystery, and one I'm eager to play through this January.

Biggest Disappointment: Bioshock Infinite

Yep, Bioshock Infinite looks great, but it would have been nice if the booth set up for it actually featured something more than a silly quiz related to some portraits related to it.

In Conclusion

So in short, I had a blast. (Though with the amount of stuff I bought, my wallet may say differently.) I accomplished just about everything I wanted to do, met some cool people, got to try out a lot of promising games, and felt fulfilled by the time I walked out of the convention center earlier this evening. Next year can't come fast enough.

So for all of you that attended, what did you see and do? See anything that really excited or disappointed you?

25 Comments
26 Comments
Posted by Hailinel

And another PAX has come and gone. It was a lot of fun all around, and I'm already looking forward to next year. Like yesterday, I spent almost the entirety of the day on the show floor, taking in exhibits. Here's some of what I saw and did:

Asura's Wrath

Capcom had a demo for Asura's Wrath on the show floor, but I didn't have a chance to play it. I bring the game up, however, ,because along with the demo, there was a side event called the Rage Cage. Step inside, scream your head off, and if your scream is powerful enough to send the Rage Gauge to 100, you get entered in a drawing for an Amazon gift certificate. Everyone gets two tries. I nearly killed my throat in the process, but I could only muster a 98.4. Before entering the booth, a guy with a mic asked me my name and what I was angry about. Well, I told him I lost in the preliminary round of the day's Street Fighter X Tekken tournament, which was true.

It was a silly sideshow sort of attraction, but hey, primal screaming!

King of Fighters XIII

Atlus had a small area set up to show off a few upcoming games, and I had the chance to get in a couple of rounds of KOFXIII. It's been years since I last played a King of Fighters game (I never even touched KOFXII), but what little I played was pretty fun. I have no idea what the character balance is like, but the roster looks pretty solid and the classic 3-on-3 match-up format is still in effect. It does weird me out that SNK finally moved on to new sprites for all of the characters. It feels like the end of an era with all of those old Neo Geo sprites finally being retired.

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The demo lasted ten minutes, and I spent that time fumbling around in the dungeon portion of the demo. Skyward Sword is more Zelda, with Zelda-style dungeons, classic gear, heart containers and everything else. But the Motion Plus action really does make a difference. And despite being left-handed, it really wasn't a problem dealing with the sacrilege of a right-handed Link. The combat has a unique flow to it; far, far more engaging than Twilight Princess's waggle-till-they-die combat. I think Zelda fans are going to be pleased with it.

Skyrim

I waited in line for over an hour, but I managed to get in and see Skyrim for a bit. The demo starts off at character creation and then jumps straight into gameplay. The demo build provides a wide assortment of weapons and armor to choose from, and I ended up dual-wielding with a sword and a dagger. Then I switched the camera to third-person and had at it.

I have to say that, of the things I saw in the demo, I'm really happy that the third person camera angle has finally been fixed up. Oblivion's third-person was really useless beyond the occasional admiration of my gear. In Skyrim, it felt much more useful, though I didn't try out aiming with any ranged attacks. I also didn't fight anything more complicated than bandits (so none of the infinite dragons). Still, because it's Bethesda, I'm hesitant. I absolutely hated Oblivion, and Fallout 3 had a number of issues as well. I'll have to see how reviews pan out.

Prey 2

There weren't any playable demos, but there was a public demonstration of early parts of Prey 2 by a Human Head rep. So the game does have a direct connection to the original Prey, despite the stark change in gameplay mechanics and protagonist. The player is an air marshal that was on board a plane that crashed within the sphere roughly halfway through the original Prey. The game initially picks up just after the crash, with the player character exploring the wreckage of the plane within the alien craft and fighting off aliens. Then he gets knocked the fuck out.

And then he's an alien bounty hunter.

Yeah, I don't know. Maybe there's more context in the game than was given in the presentation, but he's apparently taken to an alien world and after eventually waking up, becomes a bounty hunter in a completely foreign civilization and has mastered the use of everything from stun bolas to rocket boots. I feel like I'm missing something here. Plot weirdness aside, the game looks pretty cool, with the way the player can interaction with the world and the challenges of the various missions, but the set-up seems forced beyond belief.

Fortune Street

As it turns out, Nintendo will be releasing a Wii entry in Square Enix's Itadaki Street series in North America under the name Fortune Street. It's essentially a Monopoly-like board game that features a mixed cast of Dragon Quest and Mario characters. And no, it's not Mario Party at all. What few minigames there are are limited to specific panel types and are limited in their interaction. But despite the simplicity, god damn does it get cut-throat. I played a session on an abbreviated demo board with a Nintendo rep and another PAX attendee and the CPU taking up the fourth player slot. On a regular board, these games can get quite lengthy, apparently. The goal is to amass a target amount of money and return to the Bank space on the board or force everyone else into bankruptcy. It's apparently coming out this holiday. A video board game might not be to everyone's taste, but the three of us had a pretty good time jabbing each other while we played.

Das Swagenhausen

No, I don't know German, but whatever.

Stuff bought:

Stuff given:

  • Prey 2 T-Shirt
  • Dragon Quest T-Shirt
  • A doofy Skyrim cap.
  • A doofy Asura's Wrath headband.
  • Skyward Sword lanyard
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising AR cards.

Bonus Content!: Fun With StreetPass

To quote Patrick from the Giant Bomb panel, I've been StreetPassing like a motherfucker. By the time PAX was over, I had well over 200 hits, collected all of the image panels, completed Find Mii once, and wracked up a huge number of match-ups in Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Super Street Fighter IV, and Samurai Warriors Chronicles. Seeing the green light on my 3DS light up as often as it did this weekend may not ever be the norm, but it was great to see what it could do when pushed.

Game of the Show: Final Fantasy XIII-2

My experience with the FFXIII-2 demo on Friday and with a Square Enix rep today pretty much killed any and all fears I might have had regarding the game. They're leaving what worked alone while making intelligent improvements and striving to create a broader experience that doesn't feel like a straight corridor crawl from start to end. And as for the plot, not only will it retain the tone of FFXIII, but I've been told that it promises to be darker than the original, and all of the main cast from FFXIII will be involved to one extent or another. Beyond that is a mystery, and one I'm eager to play through this January.

Biggest Disappointment: Bioshock Infinite

Yep, Bioshock Infinite looks great, but it would have been nice if the booth set up for it actually featured something more than a silly quiz related to some portraits related to it.

In Conclusion

So in short, I had a blast. (Though with the amount of stuff I bought, my wallet may say differently.) I accomplished just about everything I wanted to do, met some cool people, got to try out a lot of promising games, and felt fulfilled by the time I walked out of the convention center earlier this evening. Next year can't come fast enough.

So for all of you that attended, what did you see and do? See anything that really excited or disappointed you?

Posted by natetodamax

Glad to hear Final Fantasy XIII-2 is looking good. I need that game to come out now.

Posted by Hailinel

@natetodamax said:

Glad to hear Final Fantasy XIII-2 is looking good. I need that game to come out now.

As an additional note, the Square Enix rep I spoke with said that a run through the game without tackling the side content should go about 40 hours. But with all of the side content, it could go considerably longer if you try to see and do everything.

Posted by natetodamax

@Hailinel said:

@natetodamax said:

Glad to hear Final Fantasy XIII-2 is looking good. I need that game to come out now.

As an additional note, the Square Enix rep I spoke with said that a run through the game without tackling the side content should go about 40 hours. But with all of the side content, it could go considerably longer if you try to see and do everything.

Sounds great. Hopefully the side content is good because I love that kind of stuff. If it is I'll definitely be trying to see/do all of it.

Posted by Apathylad

I've gotten addicted to Street Passing on public places, and I've probably lost some weight because of it. Yesterday I went to a shopping mall and got 3 hits from people. I'm looking forward to the next Anime Expo, so I can take my 3DS this time around. I'll probably go to PAX someday and try it out there, too.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Give me a second. * turns on music* There we are. Nintendo of America's completely blowing off the latest Fire Emblem, but they jump at the chance to localize Itadaki Street? And then the whole Operation Rainfall thing!? AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

Give me a second. * turns on music* There we are. Nintendo of America's completely blowing off the latest Fire Emblem, but they jump at the chance to localize Itadaki Street? And then the whole Operation Rainfall thing!? AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Let it go, for god's sake.

Posted by natetodamax

@Hailinel: So what did you play in the Final Fantasy XIII-2 demo? Was it mostly combat?

Posted by Video_Game_King

Weren't you the guy who started a blog about Operation Rainfall :P?

Posted by Hailinel

@natetodamax said:

@Hailinel: So what did you play in the Final Fantasy XIII-2 demo? Was it mostly combat?

It was a dungeon exploration section with regularly paced combat and a boss battle at the end. I did a lot of fighting, but there was also some dialogue, including a couple of bits where I could actually choose responses, and a floor tile puzzle. In the puzzle, you have to figure out the path to take that will allow you to collect crystals scattered along the floor and reach the exit. The trick being that any tile you run over will disappear.

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

Weren't you the guy who started a blog about Operation Rainfall :P?

This isn't an Operation Rainfall thread now, is it?

Posted by natetodamax

@Hailinel said:

@natetodamax said:

@Hailinel: So what did you play in the Final Fantasy XIII-2 demo? Was it mostly combat?

It was a dungeon exploration section with regularly paced combat and a boss battle at the end. I did a lot of fighting, but there was also some dialogue, including a couple of bits where I could actually choose responses, and a floor tile puzzle. In the puzzle, you have to figure out the path to take that will allow you to collect crystals scattered along the floor and reach the exit. The trick being that any tile you run over will disappear.

Hmm, despite Catherine reminding me that I am awful at puzzles, it's great that they are adding some variety. That's all I could ask for really.

The dialogue options seems interesting. Could you tell if there was any sort of moral difference between them or were they just basic responses that you were choosing?

Posted by Hailinel

@natetodamax said:

@Hailinel said:

@natetodamax said:

@Hailinel: So what did you play in the Final Fantasy XIII-2 demo? Was it mostly combat?

It was a dungeon exploration section with regularly paced combat and a boss battle at the end. I did a lot of fighting, but there was also some dialogue, including a couple of bits where I could actually choose responses, and a floor tile puzzle. In the puzzle, you have to figure out the path to take that will allow you to collect crystals scattered along the floor and reach the exit. The trick being that any tile you run over will disappear.

Hmm, despite Catherine reminding me that I am awful at puzzles, it's great that they are adding some variety. That's all I could ask for really.

The dialogue options seems interesting. Could you tell if there was any sort of moral difference between them or were they just basic responses that you were choosing?

Just basic responses, I think. There was nothing to indicate any moral or narrative effect.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@Hailinel said:

@Video_Game_King said:

Weren't you the guy who started a blog about Operation Rainfall :P?

This isn't an Operation Rainfall thread now, is it?

  
Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King: What the...I...

God damn it, VGK. If you want to continue this discussion, take it to a PM.

Posted by niamahai

about Skyrim, how does the character movement felt?  
Was it floaty?  
When stabbing dudes is it still "moving back&forth hoping enemy dude step forward as I swing" 
  

And I also agree about FF13-2. There is something intriguing about that game.

Posted by Video_Game_King

I'll take that as a sign of victory :P.

Posted by Hailinel

@niamahai said:

about Skyrim, how does the character movement felt? Was it floaty? When stabbing dudes is it still "moving back&forth hoping enemy dude step forward as I swing" And I also agree about FF13-2. There is something intriguing about that game.

It's hard to say. I can't remember how floaty Oblivion felt. Since I played mostly in third-person, I ran up to dudes a lot and just slashed away with both weapons like an idiot until they fell over.

Posted by craigbo180

When he asked what you were angry about you should have just trolled him and said Mega Man.

Posted by Doctorchimp

The Air Marshall in Prey 2 turns into a bounty hunter after some years being stuck on that planet.

Posted by Hailinel

@craigbo180 said:

When he asked what you were angry about you should have just trolled him and said Mega Man.

I considered that, but I think it would have just been cruel at that point.

@Doctorchimp said:

The Air Marshall in Prey 2 turns into a bounty hunter after some years being stuck on that planet.

That's not the impression I got from the presentation. He seemed to indicate it was a matter of weeks instead of years.

Posted by Xpgamer7

@Hailinel said:

@Doctorchimp said:

The Air Marshall in Prey 2 turns into a bounty hunter after some years being stuck on that planet.

That's not the impression I got from the presentation. He seemed to indicate it was a matter of weeks instead of years.

Nah he said years. I saw it three times trying to get a T-shirt.

Posted by Hailinel

@Xpgamer7 said:

@Hailinel said:

@Doctorchimp said:

The Air Marshall in Prey 2 turns into a bounty hunter after some years being stuck on that planet.

That's not the impression I got from the presentation. He seemed to indicate it was a matter of weeks instead of years.

Nah he said years. I saw it three times trying to get a T-shirt.

Well, that makes more sense, at least. I must have heard him wrong. It seemed like such an odd plot point otherwise.

Posted by Doctorchimp
@Hailinel said:

@Xpgamer7 said:

@Hailinel said:

@Doctorchimp said:

The Air Marshall in Prey 2 turns into a bounty hunter after some years being stuck on that planet.

That's not the impression I got from the presentation. He seemed to indicate it was a matter of weeks instead of years.

Nah he said years. I saw it three times trying to get a T-shirt.

Well, that makes more sense, at least. I must have heard him wrong. It seemed like such an odd plot point otherwise.

Even if it made absolutely no sense...
 
I'd still just say okay and get over it to run around in that urban environment with those toys.
Posted by PompousDawson

Great article.

Posted by RenegadeSaint

Wow, PAX sounds amazing. I don't remember the last time there have been so many exciting games to look forward to.