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PAX Prime 2011 - Day 2 Game Impressions

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Hey everyone. I am back for my second day rundown of what I saw and played at PAX Prime 2011. Today was a lot more standing in lines because there were many more people, but of course also new swag: more T-shirts, posters, and other goodies. Believe it or not, but there are still things and games that I have not yet seen after two days. If you ever get the chance to go to PAX (either of them) get a three-day pass.

Moving on, here is what I saw today:

-Bioshock Infinite
I don't mean to disappoint, but this wasn't actually a demo that they had at PAX. Just some concept are in a gallery you walked through. Of course it was excellent concept art, but the big prize was to get a T-shirt at the end by answering five questions from which the answers came from the artwork. I managed to snag one, so it wasn't for nothing!

-Aliens: Colonial Marines
Okay, this wasn't a playable demo either, but it was a developer-lead demo. They ran through some of the early game portions from when your crew is stranded in Hadley's Hope colony and everything starts to go to hell. The game looks to be shaping up nicely. The graphics aren't necessarily the best among other games I have seen, but they are still solid. In particular, the lighting seemed pretty strong and the sound effects were c.lassic Aliens. Plus it has 4-player co-op, which should make things interesting.

Some of the things they showed off was a new type of alien called the "Crusher" which has a big plate on it's head similar to a queen, but it used this for ramming and of course it wasn't exactly vunerable to bullets. In the demo we didn't see this thing killed, so who knows how to take it down. They also showed off some auto-turret set ups and we caught a glimpse of some power loaders. It seems likely you'll get to pilot one at some point in the game. Lastly came a work-in-progress reel of some stuff in the game and it looks pretty exciting. Lots of alien blasting, perhaps a showdown with a queen--I think this game will be a pretty good.

-Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
This game was actually a pleasant surprise. It's definitely a very different RE game, and sure it can possibly break canon, but I suspect like most games in the series it will have multiple endings. Anyways, this is a co-op third person shooter that is all about the action. There are a few different characters to choose from, but the differences aside from aesthetics were unclear. There's a nice selection of weapons to choose from, which was cool, and some special abilites like motion tracking bombs or active camouflage. Those were the only ones in the demo so there will surely be more in the final game.

The gameplay was tight and fast paced. One thing that was really cool is that you melee attack will work in any direction, front, back, or sides, you will attack the nearest enemy by hitting it. And the animations when knifing/punching/kicking zombies were fun to watch. Some additions make this a bit more interesting like that fact that you can get infected and turn on your team, or that if you start bleeding you will attract enemies. One thing I thought though was that the AI seemed quite dumb. I know zombies are supposed to be, but the Lickers and Hunters seemed dim-witted as well. This could have just been the demo being easy on us, who knows. I will say though that you shouldn't right this game off completely. I think it should be pretty decent.

-Resistance 3 (again)
Now I posted about this game yesterday, but that was with the wonky Move gun/rifle, so this time I took the multiplayer for a spin with a regular controller. The game wasn't bad, but I didn't have a change to try out any of the crazy new guns. The only part I thought was weird was that it felt like my character was moving really slow. It's been a while since I have played either Resistance so I am not sure what it is normally like from memory. Standard deathmatch though. Nothing really crazy to report here.

-Gears of War 3
Now I don't know if any of this was in the beta, but we had a chance to play Beast Mode at PAX, sort of a reverse horde mode. I thought it was a lot of fun. Myself and five other players were a team of Locust trying to defeat a team of humans. Each round you can earn extra money and time. Money is used to buy better characters and weapons loadouts. You can play as things like Wretches and Tickers, but have to save up money if you want to play as something like a Beserker. All-in-all, more good multiplayer fun again from Gears.

-Kirby: Return to Dreamland
The new Kirby game for Wii looks pretty good. The graphics are back to a more traditional styl.e from the cool yarn graphics from Epic Yarn. This time, it's drop-in, drop-out for up to four players, but the only death that matters is if Kirby dies. Metaknight, King Dedede, and Wadle Dee can all respawn as many times as they want. Each character plays slightly differently. Like most Kirby games, it wasn't very challenging, but at the same time it should be entertaining just as the games in the series usually are.

-Rage
I'll be honest, I have been trying to figure out what is so good about this game since it was announced, aside from being made by ID Software. I'm glad I finally got a chance to play it today. I went in without any expectations, really, and came away pleasantly surprised. The game has a real shooter/RPG mix to it, with looting bodies, accepting missions, and buying/selling stuff. The gameplay itself is solid. The enemy AI seemed pretty good, especially the melee attackers that would run at you, but dodge in some unpredictable ways. It made things a bit more challenging, but in a good way. The graphics look really great as well, running on the 360 build I was playing. They had others set up on PS3's and PC's (with 360 controllers) and I didn't see any big differences between platforms, which is good. From what I played though, I think I may actually pick this one up.

-Batman: Arkham City
This was the same demo I watched being played at E3, which Two-Face and Catwoman, so sadly not much new to report here. With the new city landscape, the game makes it quicker and easier to use the grappling hook on buildings with an icon that automatically gives you a grapple point if you're looking in the right direction. Still looks great and the combat is awesome still of course. I liked Catwoman's moves when fighting so hopefully there will be some more chances to play as her in the game.


For the final day I'm going to try and hit up some more long-line stuff early, like Borderlands 2, and probably try to swing by a few odds and ends like Lollipop Chainsaw, Telltale's Jurassic Park game, and 007: Reloaded. Check back tomorrow for my final day of PAX impressions!

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