1. Duke Nukem Forever
Without a doubt, Duke Nukem was the biggest attraction at PAX 2010. The lines to see it grew to over 4 hours long and all the fans were saying the wait was worth it. But was it worth waiting 15 years for the sequel? I can easily, say, Hell Yes! Seeing the trailer for it and actually PLAYING it blew everyone’s minds. The announcement that the game was in development and actually PLAYABLE at PAX took everyone by surprise. During the demo, we got to play a couple levels; the first was a battle with a huge monster in a football stadium and the second was a driving sequence where you are racing your Duke Truck down a canyon while aliens blast at you. Duke was back in character with his hilarious one-liners and doing things only Duke Nukem can (like kicking a field goal with the torn out eye of a monster you just defeated)!
2. Marvel Vs. Capcom 3
Another long-overdue title, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has been on everyone’s tongues the last few months as Capcom slowly revealed new characters. While we didn’t get to play any new playable characters like Amaterasu, the game felt very tight and surprisingly well polished. The character select screen, animations and supers all had great feel to them and visual polish. The game has lots of depth to it, yet is accessible to many players due to the new button scheme of “light, medium, hard” attacks, and a launcher button. People will no longer need to memorize what each character’s specific button-input is to launch an opponent, but instead only need to press the launcher button to start a combo. We will certainly be looking forward to MVC3 next Spring!
3. Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat. These two words are enough to bring back great memories of fighting game blood and gore. The game series has deviated a bit from its roots in the most recent years, but thankfully NetherRealm Studios is bringing it back to its 2D based fighting roots. The game is Street Fighter IV-esque in that it features 3D characters fighting on a 2D plane; but that’s where the similarities end. MK looked fresh and tightly playable. The blood is back and most importantly, so is the fatalities. I saw one where Kung Lao split an enemy in two using his hat as a bench saw. ‘Nuff Said.
4. Tron: Evolution
Tron was one of those games that was not on my radar at all. I knew nothing about the game as I came to PAX, but now I’m a believer. Firstly, the booth was amazing. Huge Tron logo on both sides of the booth and even a life-size light-cycle! The many game kiosks at Proganda’s booth feature various game modes. The one that stood out the most to me was the light-cycle battle game. This game used the Wii motion controls to race your light bike around and create a maze to make your split-screen opponent crash. The ability to make 90 degree turns made this game tense.
It was my first time playing Kinect and I was thoroughly impressed. Kinect felt more responsive than I imagined and the interface was thoughtfully designed. It felt like the control interface from Minority Report. Waving and hovering your hand over icons on screen is much more intuitive than waving and pointing a remote control. I played the boxing game and it registered my attacks well. The inclusion of using avatars was a nice touch, albeit the look and feel of it was very similar to playing boxing for the Wii.
6. Free-play Area
Every year, the free play area is a favorite of mine. Especially the PC LAN area. Thanks to the multitude of volunteers, PAX is well organized when it comes to LANs. This year, they even allowed you to check-out a pair of Gunnar eyewear. Gunnar eyewear is designed for gamers and is said to reduce eye strain by shifting a portion of the color spectrum. I wore a pair for about an hour and I wasn’t sure if it prevented any eye strain but at least it looked cool. This year at the LAN, the PCs came with Starcraft II installed and it was a crowd favorite. There were also organized tournaments for the players to win prizes.
7. Bangai-O HD Missile Fury
I am a huge fan of Bangai-O and it have a playable version at PAX was a treat. This was classic Bangai-O gameplay: thousands of enemy sprites on the screen blasting away at your mech while you allow their bullets to build up so you can unleash your own massive retaliation attack. I’ve been playing Bangai-O since Dreamcast, so I was glad to see the core gameplay hasn’t changed. I took a peek at the level-list and I was relieved to see that D3Publisher delivered over 100 to the fans!
8. Aion: Assault on Balaurea Launch Party
This was an awesome launch party highlighted with a performance by the Wonder Girls! Asia’s biggest all-girl pop sensation. The girls performed their biggest hits and the crowd loved it.
Exclusive Interview before the Launch Party:
Videos taken during the Launch Party:
9. Ubisoft’s Outland
Housemarque, who developed Super Stardust HD for PS3, has created a 2D platform that is strangely reminiscent of the shooter Ikaruga. The gameplay concept revolves around light and dark mechanics which you use to battle enemies. The game appears to be highly dynamic with the environment changing based on your gameplay. This is certainly a game to keep an eye on as we continue to learn more about it.
10. DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue
As a huge fan of the first DeathSpank, it is a great sight to see the sequel at PAX. DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue, has more of that lovable action RPG elements and beat-em up feeling. The game picks up where the first left off, so the story is seamless. There are many new environments such as the North Pole, and old Western-style locales.