September 06, 2013

PAX Prime 2013 - Day One

On August 30th, 2013 My wife, some of my closest friends and I attended our inaugural PAX Prime event. Having been to Minecon in Las Vegas previously I thought I had an inkling of what was in store for us, boy how I turned out to be wrong!

What an event! We were lucky to be able to attend three days of in your face gaming convention goodness! The streets of Seattle were awash in geekiness, and turbulent waves of nerd surged through the gates of the WSCC (Washington State Convention Center). Our first step was to form a line in the Queue room which was bathed by fluorescent lights and green banners advertising Mountain Dew and Doritos' 'Win an Xbox One every 2 Minutes contest'. The amount of people in the room was staggering, I had expected no more than 10,000. But no, there were perhaps 30,000 people in attendance. I don't really know the actual numbers, but we'll just say that there were a lot of people there!

Hot and sweaty already we sat down and waited for the gates to open. Media outlets of all sorts where filming their intros for the event, and even getting shots of interesting 'characters' in the crowd. Dez was sporting her 10th Doctor (David Tennant) outfit with pride. Our gatekeeper was dressed up in steampunk attire the likes of which I had never seen before in person. An event enforcer or perhaps enhancer (IDK) attempted to start a wave through the crowd, but we were all too busy conversing about the impending awesomeness beyond the tantalizing entryways to the showroom floor.

Finally the clock struck 10 a.m. and the enforcers began letting us loose. They timed each line release well, staggering us to keep the entrances free of clogging, and the possibility of injury via stampede. Through the entrance we went and immediately we were inundated by sights and sounds that would make any geek shriek for joy. It didn't take long for us to seek out the closest game being demoed which happened to be Wildstar. Dustin had been looking forward to it for some time and immediately jumped into it. I tried to get on as well, but unfortunately the demo I chose decided to not work for me. At any rate Dustin played it for a while and decided that he didn't like it very much, but remained hopeful that it would become better in the future.

With so much to do and see I was a little lost and decided to try and stick with the group. We gravitated towards the Cooler Master booth and got some raffle tickets, then we went to Sony Online's booth and watched the Everquest Next demo. Steph won a dragon hat! The demo they showed made us all drool quite heavily. As a group we agreed that it was the MMO to play. Unfortunately they didn't give out any beta keys, but the Everquest Landmark open beta starts this fall, so we have that to look forward to. After that we sort of just wandered through the expo stopping to look at this and that, taking pictures along the way.

After passing through the skyway Steph, Dustin and I lost Dez and Chris in the second showroom floor. We needed water, so Steph decided to go get some. I lost track of her and Dustin, but then we met up at the drinking fountain and decided to check out Nintendo. We played the new Mario game for Wii U, Super Mario 3D world which was shown at E3 this year. Super fun!; gotta get it for Steph's family. Anyway, we then decided to get something for lunch, I think... So we met back at the Hotel and went out for Thai food.

Back at the expo I decided that I really wanted to try out the Oculus Rift, so I went there and got to demo the race driving experience. The VR was so compelling that I felt like I was actually moving. I feel like it's a really awesome device with lots of potential to be the next big thing in gaming. Later we found out that Sony is creating their own VR headset for the PS4! Exciting! The next thing we all did as a group was go to Patrick Rothfuss' panel in the Sheraton. He is a really funny guy, and suffice it to say I can't divulge anything he said since I, along with the crowd, signed an intangible NDA based on mutual trust. Yeah... So then we went back to the showroom for a bit, got some swag, and then made our way to the Barnes & Noble for the Patrick Rothfuss book signing.

For some reason Barnes & Noble didn't anticipate a huge crowd, so when we arrived the meeting place was in the children's section where only two rows of chairs were set up. Just a handful of 100-200 people were able to sit in chairs while we yet again had the treat of listening to Patrick as he spoke and answered questions from the crowd. We underwent another pact of silence which was totally worth it. I haven't read his books, but I'll be sure to read them now. Such a funny and interesting guy this Pat is.

So that was Day One! OMG so much win! I think I will leave it at that and try to collect my thoughts for another post as soon as I can.

For a better idea of what all went down on day one of PAX Prime 2013 check out the different videos and news from ign.com or gametrailers.com

Anomaly Warzone Earth - One Hour Trial

Anomaly Warzone Earth is a mobile tower defense game, no not mobile as in only on mobile devices (although it is available on them); it's mobile in the fact that you control a constantly moving convoy of military vehicles trying to get through an area whilst defending themselves. The twist on typical TD games works in favor of Anomaly Warzone Earth in a lot of ways, which I will try to list below.

1. Commander: you control a commander who is, for all intents and purposes, practically invulnerable. He can move about the field of battle in any direction to pick up powerups and scout areas. His main role is to provide support for the convoy in various ways; repair units, drop smoke screens, drop decoy units. The commander draws aggro from fixed tower defenses and can die, but will be revived after 3 seconds, during which time your convoy can get hammered by unmitigated attacks.

2. Upgrades: you can buy units with cash harvested from tower kills and resource pickups. Each unit can then be upgraded. One of the more tactical aspects of the game is the positioning of units in the convoy. This can maximize the survivability of certain units due to their unique attributes.

3. Tactical Map: at any time during a mission you can pause the game and go to a tactical map that shows the whole battlefield. On the map you can change the route of the convoy to attack or avoid areas of contention. Some enemies cannot turn so it's a good idea to change up the route in order to avoid damage and using power-ups.

4. Power-Ups: As mentioned above the commander has access to power-ups which for a limited time perform a certain function. You can repair your units with an AOE beacon that lasts about 5 seconds. You can cover your convoy's assault with a smoke screen that causes enemy towers to shoot wildly. You can drop a decoy unit to distract towers. Using these power-ups tactically helps make each mission run more smoothly.

So after just one hour of playing I have to say that I really enjoy this game. I'll keep it installed and finish it someday. I might even buy the sequel. Good job 11 Bit, you made an excellent TD game that turns the genre on its head!

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Atom Zombie Smasher

AYIM - One Hour Trial

And Yet It Moves is a rather strange little game, and I actually enjoyed it. Why? One word:

Physics

A 2D game with physics you say? Well yes in fact that is possible. In AYIM you control a cutout doodle-man who is trying to escape from, I don't know something terrible. Anyway the story is not important, what is important is how you get around in the game.

September 05, 2013

A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda - One Hour Trial


I have over 190 games on Steam now thanks to Humble Bundle and Steam Summer Sales. So in order to justify my outrageous purchasing habits I will be playing each "new" game for one hour then post my thoughts here.

So what to say about A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda? Well I think it's a good game, but I don't like it very much, and here's why;

Controls
Character Speed
Enemy Difficulty