PAX 2010 - GrrlGotGame takes on New Vegas, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Dead Rising 2, Hunted, Super Hero Squad and more

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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood You've heard from Gamewatcher on our Day 1 and Day 2 adventures. Here's my round-up of the best - and worst - of that show we call PAX Prime 2010:

  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Ezio picks up where Assassin's Creed II left off – and this time, he's recruiting some friends. The campaign wasn't playable at PAX, but I did sit in on two multiplayer sessions. New playable assassins include a courtesan (misspelled in the game video – might want to fix that, guys!), a doctor (complete with mask), a bad-ass monk and a rich dude. Ezio was not available to play in multiplayer. Unlike most free-for-alls, Brotherhood gives you a specific target and sends you out into a world filled with NPCs who resemble the actual targets. A new radar bubble represents how close you are to your actual target, which direction to head and whether you're on the same level. It's still up to you to identify the correct person. Meanwhile, you are being stalked too! A secondary, more discreet radar indicates how many people are stalking you. The good news? You can kill your pursuer with no penalty – assuming you turn around fast enough. I wish I could have played the campaign, but my few visits to multiplayer promises more fun climbing the walls and stalking people. Gamewatcher was totally pwned - he came in last! - but to be fair he'd never played Assassin's Creed with a Sixaxis before and struggled with remapping the controls.
  • Fallout: New Vegas. To the casual viewer, New Vegas could be yet another add-on to Fallout 3 – at least, the areas I saw. I never actually made it to New Vegas, which presumably looks different from the ruins of DC. There are many familiar touches here - psychotic dogs, bloat flies, crazed people looking to kill) - but with a Wild West twist. New weapons include the Cowboy Repeater (a basic gun), the Grenade Machine Gun (exactly what it sounds like – super sweet!) and the Varmint Rifle. The load screen now features a roulette wheel, and you have Mojave Music Radio and Radio New Vegas stations to keep you company in the big bad world. A combination of time limits and being left in the middle of nowhere by a previous player meant I spent most of my time hiking and shooting random dogs. I did manage to reach an old prison that had been taken over by inmates before dying and thus getting booted off the machine. I know I want this game, and I'm sure it'll be a blast – I just wish I had gotten to see more of it at PAX.
  • Dead Rising 2 Dead Rising 2. As a huge Dead Rising fan, this was one of my most anticipated games. Gamewatcher didn't care much for the first one (though he's enjoying Dead Rising 2: Case Zero and vows to give the sequel a chance). I started Case Zero last week, so I had already met the new hero, Chuck. Based on that experience, I expected to be dropped in the middle of a relatively open environment. The PAX demo dropped me back in my natural, zombie-slaughtering environment, however: the Mall. Specifically, a mall with a sweet, sweet casino attached to it. (Best visual joke: Zombies pouring quarters into slot machines. Just like real life!) Combat was challenging with my poor, weak Level 1 Chuck. If you have an Xbox 360, invest in the Case Zero pre-game on Xbox live Arcade and level Chuck up to 5 before diving into Dead Rising 2. It will make a difference. The good news: The sequel features three save slots (versus one in the original), guns are now functional and - dare I say - fun to use, and a new workbench feature allows you to make bizarre killing machines from crap you find lying around the mall. (Two words: Freedom Bear!) You'll find combo hints around the mall (posters, cards, etc.), but some things are highly guessable. Predictably, the list has already hit the web. Search on "Dead Rising Combo Weapons" if you want to know.
  • Hunted: The Demon's Forge. You may know Bethesda Software from such titles as Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls. Neither of these games exactly screams "Gears of War," but that is exactly the game the marketing guy kept mentioning as he took me through the rather extensive demo. I'm still not sure I got Gears from it – it's a heavy dungeons and dragons aesthetic with some psycho skeletons for good measure – but we'll go with it. There are two characters, the standard big brute melee guy and the hot, barely-dressed nimble minx with a bow. The game features a nice co-op mode that goes way beyond the standard you-stand-here-and-boost-me that passes for co-op in so many games. For example, nimble minx has a freeze arrow that turns bad guys into ice, perfect for the brute melee dude to shatter with his huge battle-axe. I was totally into the game until I found out that – once again – I would have to buy two copies to play with Gamewatcher (no split-screen co-op!) If I could play side-by-side with him in the living room, this would be a no-brainer pre-order. Without it, it's just another dungeon invasion game. But like Gears. At least, that's what I hear.
  • Donkey Kong Returns Donkey Kong Returns. The first Donkey Kong game in 14 years arrives on Wii November 21. The marketing guy thought there was a chance that it will be on the DS. Maybe. He thinks. Um, and maybe DSi? Here's what we do know: Donkey Kong Returns is a co-op platformer in the classic Nintendo style: Rocks will be climbed, fruit will be dropped, sharks will jump out of nowhere and dance in the middle of the sky. It wasn't my cup of tea, but it would be fun to play with 7-year-old Pikachu Fan.
  • Super Hero Squad. This new PC MMO based on Marvel's Super Hero Squad TV characters is engaging and kid-friendly. The developers recommend about age 7 (or first grade reading level) and up, as there is a lot of reading involved, particularly in the setup period. Playable characters include Hulk, Storm, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron Man, plus some others your kids probably won't care about. You choose a character and hit the streets to fight crime and take on famous bosses like Doc Oc. The combat is simple point and click, with a giant, kid-friendly button in the upper left to tell them when they can "Hero Up" (use their character's nifty super-power). My favorite was Storm, who makes it rain and depresses the enemy. Levels are short (about 5 minutes) so kids can jump in and out even on a school night and make some progress! There is no dying in the game – just falling over for a few moments. It is impossible to lose – even the newest of newbies will, eventually, prevail – but your performance will determine your final award: bronze, silver, gold or a highly-coveted adamantium medal, a nice nod to the game's Marvel roots. The developers, who I was told many times are older and have kids themselves – take child safety very seriously. All child accounts are sub-sets of a parental account, and parents will have complete control over chat, the child's friend's list and anything else that might involve online interaction. Online chat is done completely publicly – no "whispering" (private chat). A black list covers all the words you don't want little Johnny saying in Kindergarten, while a grey list will prevent certain white listed words from being put together (e.g., no one can ask "What is your phone number?") Super Hero Squad goes into beta this fall (I was told both October and November at various times.) The beta sign up is not yet public, but they were signing people up at PAX – so it's close. We'll pass on the beta information as soon as it becomes available.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. We were shown a multiplayer free-for-all on a single screen. There were four of us attempting to take each other down, but it was rather pointless: incredibly poor controls and a "random element" did the job for us. One player just set the Wii controller down and walked away mid-game, followed shortly by another – leaving just me and the marketing guy. At the end of the game, he turned to me and said, "It's really fun once you know what you're doing." I'm sure it is. I just don't plan to find out.
  • GoldenEye: 007 GoldenEye: 007. You know it. You love it. It's not the same game. The campaign wasn't available to play at PAX, but I did jump into some split-screen multiplayer action. Players can use the Wii controller, an N64 controller or a classic controller – good news for those of us who don't enjoy playing with the Wii's butter stick. Playable characters include a who's who of Bond baddies, including Odd Job, Spetshaz and Jaws. Okay, maybe not a who's who, but they were in the movies. The maps were nothing special, but points for having a decent split-screen. The marketing guy told me that some environments were interactive – just not the one I happened to be playing at the time.
  • Power Gig: Rise of the Six String. Gamewatcher briefly touched on this in our Day 2 coverage from the guitar player point of view. I'm usually a singer (and sometime drummer) so I was curious about Power Gig as well. It was three of the worst minutes of the show. The black lyrics are microscopic and fly across a dark screen – hard on these older eyes. At least I already knew the words to "Plush" by Stone Temple Pilots! A strange, DNA-looking thing appeared to be the powerup, but actually didn't do anything except turn colors when I made noise. Instead, I had to pound the mike in the split-second that a "pound-the-mike" image appeared. Oh, and the song list was pretty awful. Just like the game. Props to the marketing chick who managed to act like we TOTALLY RAWKED THAT – all while, no doubt, praying that the next group didn't request Smashing Pumpkins. Again. The hungover, uninvolved marketing folks at Harmonix could take a lesson from these guys. At least they were ON.
  • The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA). This non-profit consumer advocacy organization is currently fighting for your adult right to rip out virtual spines and perform other gruesome acts against digital people (and creatures). If you play Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, pretty much any zombie game or generally anything you don't want your kids to see, this affects you. The Supreme Court, which only hears 1 percent of the thousands of cases sent to them each year, has opted to hear Schwarzenegger v. EMA, a first amendment case that could lead to videogame censorship if the "governator" gets his way. The ECA has waged an aggressive campaign to get signatures on a pro-consumer petition all summer. The goal is to demonstrate that gamers truly are more than just teenage boys. Read the petition and consider signing it on the ECA site.

2 Comments

1.

I had the same experience with Fallout. I asked beforehand what the demo offers, and the fella told me I can explore or there's a quest to find out who tried to kill you. I checked out the guns and then set out. I found a small town and a cemetery but finally got killed.

I was hoping to see what's new in the game. I asked the booth dude and he told me about the UI changes, but didn't go beyond that. I asked how big the world is compared to the Capital Wasteland and he just told me it takes place in Vegas and California.

I was hoping for some morsels to hold me over until release, but no. A disappointing demo, but I still have full faith in the game.

2.

"Goldeneye" is not even Goldeneye, it's not even a retelling more of a re-imagining. Keeping the locations the same but changing the story the time period and the characters do not make it the same. I can't wait to try out the super soaker flame thrower in Dead Rising 2 lets just hope some redneck child doesn't play it and decide to try it, don't want a burnt down house to add to Fox News's anti gaming agenda.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by GrrlGotGame published on September 6, 2010 3:07 PM.

PAX 2010 - Day 2: Rock Band 3, Tron, Move, LittleBigPlanet 2, Epic Mickey, Reach, Lego Universe, Puzzle Agent and Ratchet & Clank was the previous entry in this blog.

Game Releases - H.A.W.X 2, R.U.S.E., Kingdom Hearts, Professor Layton, Spider-Man, Batman, Aion and NHL '11 is the next entry in this blog.

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