PAX 2011 Thoughts, Day One.

In keeping with my schedule from the  last few years, I'm posting my observations from day one of the greatest gift to gamers   
 
Thoughts

  • Dead Island. I've had only a passing interest in this game up until today, but faced with a short line, I discovered what I can only describe as a First Person alternate universe Dead Rising. And I mean that in the best possible way. The tension of being out in the open with only a pole to protect you is palpable from the minute you step onto the sandy beaches of an infected paradise. These aren't normal zombies. These are fast zombies. 28 days later zombies. They can and did fuck me up a couple times in a 5+ minute demo. 

  • X-Men: Destiny. I asked the booth rep two things after I finished playing the demo for the game. First was "Do you play as any of the X-men people are familiar with in this game?" To which his answer was, predictably, no. My second question, which sums up my feelings for Silicon Knights, was "So... Where can I find the Eternal Darkness 2 demo"? To which we shared a nervous chuckle. Which I took as a "right here, next year". You heard it here first. 
    The gameplay was solid. I picked the little japanese girl (which best reflects my inner self) and I had some genuine fun experimenting with her powers and abilities. There was some depth there, beyond mashing the attack button. Also, in the 10 minute demo, there were no fewer than 5 cameo appearances from established Marvel heroes. This game is flying under my radar, but with some good review scores I could see myself taking a swing at it. 

  • Resident Evil: Revelations. This game looks VERY good. The reason why the 3DS has 3D is for games like this. I'm having a hard time coming to the words I want to use, but in its own way, Revelations looks as desirable graphically as current console games do. It sucks you in through its looks alone. I have heard there is a third-person aiming mode in the game, but I didn't get the oppourtunity to try it. Instead, I was stuck in first-person, which functioned, but was far from ideal. 
     
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I left the booth, the first one I stopped at, wishing I could play a bit more. I had just finished getting my ass handed to me by the nemesis of the game, the man with the well-endowed... tounge. the booth rep (one of many I bugged about Project Rainfall) said she hadn't seen anyone beat him yet. 
    While the sword mechanics took some getting used to (particularly being a lefty, where everything seems backwards... again...) I eventually got the hang of them just as the demo came to a close. the sword swipes are well re-created in the game, though there was a bit of lag between my swing and Link's. Visually the game was stunning, and I don't just mean for a Wii game. Miyamoto and crew have put a ton of very evident care into this title, making the Wii look like something that isn't a Wii. Unless... maybe they were hiding Wii Us under the cabinets and didn't bother to tell us. 

  • Mario Kart 7. My next stop after Zelda was to the Nintendo 3DS booths, most prominent of which was Mario Kart which, as a gamer nearby noted, seems to have followed the Windows method of numbering. I came into it not really thinking it would be much of an upgrade from the DS predecessor, and functionally it really isn't. You still pick your racer and take three laps around the track as you always have. The addition of propellers and hang-gliders doesn't change the race in a noticeable  way (though gliding was sort of fun). Again though, maybe it was just because of the 3D effect, but Kart was as visually appealing as I can remember the series ever being. 

  • Gotham City Impostors: I came into the game expecting little more than a Team Fortress 2 clone, and that doesn't seem to be an unfair comparison on the tail end of my time with it. A squad-based arcade shooter with special abilities and quirks, Impostors is very much Impersonating the popular Valve game. At the same time though, there's enough in the package to separate itself from what seems to be a blatant inspiration. Fun, though neither I nor my partners in crime-fighting were keyed in on potential depth, I could see Imposers making a name for itself.

  • Assassin's Creed: Revelations. There are only two multiplayer games I play nowndays. One is the predecessor to another game on this list. The other is Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Even when I was done with the fantastic single-player experience, I was able to dive in and love the sneaky goddamnyoustolemykillandanotherguyshankedmefrombehind fun. The sequel, and its new multiplayer experience, seem to have refined and improved the overall package. While it's not perfect (I'm so tired of my target running around on rooftops, where any kill I achieve will be rewarded with minimum points) I'm looking forward to sinking my dagger into this one. The mode on display, instead of pointing to the target, simply indicates when he or she is in your field of vision, making it easier to hide effectively and set up those big points multipliers. While it's only one mode (the previous model is coming back from what I understand) it's one that I will likely favor. One downside; I'd already pre-ordered the game prior to PAX, so I'm unable to get an Altair costume, distributed for preordering AT PAX. *fist shake*

  • Kid Icarus. This is the sort of game that makes me hope real hard that the rumors of a dual-thumbpad 3DS upgrade are true. This game, even more than the afforementioned Zelda, is not at all friendly to lefties. I can't legibly write my name with my right hand, so trying to control a shooter with said useless limb is akin to painting a portrait with your feet. Some people can do it, but the results wont be pretty. This is especially disappointing because the game underneath feels great. The mechanics are crisp, and it has the same fun factor that Smash Bros does. But there's not a chance in hell that I'm going to be buying the game if I have to struggle with the stylus between my T-rex fingers. There was also a cute, but useless, AR card game. 

  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive. The other multiplayer game that I still touch is Counter Strike: Source. Probably the single most anticipated game at the show from my point of view, only to drop me on my face when i got to the end of the line. The game itself seemed fine, but my experience was marred by... *shudder* CONTROLLERS! And not a keyboard and mouse in sight! It sounds like a nightmare, but it was very real. I couldn't even equip my silencer! Aiming was imprecise and, well, what one expects from a console. I suppose I can't complain too much though, since everyone that played got a pass to the beta later this year. Good times will be had soon. 

  • StarFox 64 3D. Unlike the other 3D games I played, this one surprisingly didn't seem to benefit all that much from the new technology. It's the same game you knew and loved back in the day, and while it's still fun, I would have expected the 3D to add to this game the way it did Mario Kart and Resident Evil. It just wasn't the same though.

  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier/Ghost Recon Online. I was psyched to get my hands on the single player after seeing videos of the game in action at the two previous E3s, so imagine my disappointment when I saw it was only the multiplayer on display. To be fair, the game worked well and was fun, but in my short time I didn't see much that helped Future Soldier set itself apart from, say, the upcoming free-to-play Ghost Recon Online, or other first and third person shooters.  Teams were given tasks to perform and a set time to perform them in. Great and stuff, but I wanted to use all the crazy stealth and gadgets from the trailers. Online was fun, with a strong capture vibe, but these games largely played the same. Fun, but not really what I was looking for. 

  • Street Fighter vs Tekken. I got schooled, and hard. Not sure whether the special moves were different, but Ibuki didn't feel like her usual old self, and it ended badly for my duo. I can't really say I got a fair look at what this game offered from how little I played.
Other things that happened:
 
I finally bought a pair of Udon art books that I've had my eye on for the last three shows. The Street Fighter Tribute and Phoenix Wright Art Book are finally in my possession, and I couldn't be happier.  
 
While waiting for the GiantBomb panel to start, Vidiot and myself stepped into a demonstration of Assassin's Creed: Revelations, which was way more awesome than it had any right to be. Surprise appearances from Ezio's voice actor (saying some things that Ezio would never say) and Toboscus (the writer behind some excellent Assassin's Creed parody songs) made the panel hilarious and well worth while. The creative director was also a hoot, but had some interesting insight (see: potential spoilers) as well. If only those asking questions at the Q and A weren't so bad at asking said questions. 

 
Tomorrow:  

  • Mass Effect 3
  • Marvel vs Capcom 3
  • Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Halo: Anniversary
  • Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions
  • Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
  • Uncharted 3
  • Lollipop Chainsaw
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • Vita
 
Please excuse me for the night; if I'm going to play Mass Effect, I've got an early morning ahead of me. 
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