PAX Prime: The overview

BG Crew with Pax Gamette Lhars Steck, Ross Steck and Rob Welkner of Coin-Op TV.

Well, the Reckon Crew made it back to Texas in more or less one piece but thanks to a bout of “Nerd Flu” (for which I am totally blaming Rob Welkner) I’ve been a bit out of it since getting back on Lone Star soil. But never fear, dear readers, because we have returned with news of the sights we’ve seen and games we’ve played. Over the course of the next few days, we’ll be posting up interviews and previews.

Before we begin those, however, I thought we’d do a quick list of things that really caught our eye or caught us off guard. PAX Prime was an overwhelming amount of gaming goodness with some very nice surprises and a few major disappointments. Below you’ll find the quick and dirty version of what we found to be the best… and the worst.

Biggest PAX Prime Surprise: Duke Nukem Forever. Seriously. Even the guys from Penny Arcade didn’t know this one was going to be there and after 13 years of false starts, screen shots, reported delays, and the rumor that the game was total vaporware, Take Two Games and Gearbox caught the entire convention off guard with their Duke Nukem booth. As I walked by the sign on day one, I thought someone was out of their mind to play a joke like that but the whole thing was on the up and up and the demo was playable. Throw in the fact that the wait was almost two hours to get in for the demo and no one from Take Two/Gearbox was mangled by anyone and that tells me it was legit. There was so much we were scheduled for that we didn’t get the chance to check it out but everyone was raving about it so we’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

Tron Evolution The Game - Photo By Mitch Ahrens

Biggest PAX Prime Letdown: I’m a Final Fantasy fan so I was really looking forward to the playable demo of Final Fantasy XIV. The problem here was that even though I was prepared for the inevitable fact that it was going to be another MMO version of the franchise, I had hoped for some improvements over the last MMO entry. I was disappointed. I’m certain there will be some “polishing” before it is released but it was hard not to get the “been there, done that” feeling from the demo. I wasn’t a fan of Final Fantasy XI and it doesn’t appear much has changed from that rendition. Unless there’s a major overhaul before the release, I’m going to be giving this one a pass.

Game from PAX Prime most likely to be enjoyed by the Reckon Crew while drinking: This one was an easy choice. Slam Bolt Scrappers from Fire Hose Games is one of the most chaotic (and enjoyable) games we sampled at PAX. Scrappers is a mashup of strategy and brawling with a touch of Tetris thrown in for flavor. With a multiplayer versus mode as well as a co-op mode, Slam Bolt Scrappers may find its way into our drinking games soon after its launch at the beginning of next year.

Best PAX Prime After Party: Hands down, the guys from EVE Online have the market cornered on After Parties. Last year they went all out but this year they managed to top even that epic party. There were fire twirlers and eaters along with cute girls dressed up in leather and lace dancing the night away. Of course, all this awesome comes with a price and that price, when figuring in the open bar, is the largest collection of “white boy” dances you can imagine. Aside from the horror of watching some of the most uncoordinated drunkards across the world congregated in one place dancing off-rhythm, CCP Games knows how to throw a mixer and may very well hold a special place in the Reckon Crew’s hearts for a long time to come.

Chatting it up with the Devs from Fallen Earth.

Best PAX WTF Moment: We drink. Seriously, I mean that. When we imbibe, people who try to keep up with us often end up hiding from us. We’re also good at getting into places we’re not meant to be when we’ve been drinking. So there was a moment when we realized at one party that we had made a beeline for the VIP area, made it in, and proceeded to get sloshed off the free booze. It was only after about an hour that we realized where we were and there was a look that passed between the Reckon Crew with no one daring to ask how we had ended up where we were. There was a loudly proclaimed “WTF?” once we had left which lead to laughter… Shenanigans continued.

Best PAX “Where the hell have I been?” moment: Nestled amongst one of the noisiest corners of PAX Prime was the developers of a little gem called “Fallen Earth”. Admittedly, we’d heard of the game early last year but we’d failed to follow up on it and we’d not really thought of it since then. Sitting down with one of the crew from Icarus Studios LLC, we were introduced to one of the most lovingly crafter MMOs I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Set in a post apocalyptic world, this game has some of the features I’ve always wanted to see in an MMO. There’s also a real passion among its developers to create a unique world for players to wander about in. We’ll be running an interview with one of the game’s developers and we’re already chomping at the bit to review the game. More to come on this in the near future.

Biggest PAX Fan “Boi” moment: To say the Reckon Crew is a bunch of Star Wars fans is an understatement. We’re absolutely certain that we collectively know more about the Star Wars universe than some of the writers who have worked with George Lucas on the EU books. So it was with a very critical eye that we approached the Bioware booth and proceeded to get our fill of the playable demo. The graphics were gorgeous, the actions and skills were smoothly animated, and there may or may not have been a moment when I loudly made the sound of a young girl presented with a birthday present of a real live unicorn. Those of you who are as critical of Star Wars’ games as we may rejoice should the final product be anything like what we witnessed at PAX.

There it is in the briefest of glimpses into our experience of PAX Prime. As I stated earlier, we will be presenting much more from our visit to the Mecca of gaming conventions as well as introducing our official PAX Gamette in the coming days… so sty tuned.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

All photos by Mitch Ahrens 2010.

Posted By Gritskrieg

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