Monday, August 27, 2007

PAX 2007: Video Games

I didn't really see as much of PAX as I wanted to because I jacked my back...but I showed guts and went to the exhibit hall despite the pain.

There were a bunch of games I paid absolutely no attention to, like Bioshock (PC), Gears (PC), Conan MMO, Warhammer MMO, etc. (Mainly PC stuff)

Naruto: Rise of Ninja Multiplayer Demo (BETA)

This is basically the Gamecube game's (Gekitou Ninja Taisen / Clash of the Ninja) fighting system but with 360 graphics. One of the neat features is that you can do "justus" (supers) by squeezing the left trigger and then using the thumbsticks to simulate your hand motions. Then you can bust out a level 1, 2, or 3 super depending upon how long you charge. These are all the signature moves for a character: Naruto has Sexy no Jutsu, Kakashi has Sharingan, and Neji has his Byakugan.

Each character had multiple supers in the demo, and Neji's other super (64 Palms) actually leads into a mini-game of sorts. When you use it, the Neji player sees a silhouette with Chakra points on it. The Neji player then attempts to strike the points with his cursor while the other player controls the silhouette and attempts to dodge. At higher levels Neji's cursor is bigger and there are more points on the silhouette. It's actually a pretty cool gimmick; I certainly can't fault the game's flavor. Hell, I didn't even know Rise of A Ninja had multi-player so I'm hoping this game turns out to be better than expected.

Culdept Saga

This is a 360 sequel to a PS2 game. It's basically Monopoly + Magic the Gathering with a Japanese flair. I'm fairly certain that your die rolls aren't totally random either, there's some sort of "balancing mechanism" that hinders/helps your die rolls when you are far ahead/behind. Combine this with the luck factor in drawing 1 card a turn and being only able to hold 7 (or so) cards and this game is way too luck based for my liking. Still, it's got online play for up to 3 (or was it 4?) players so there might be a market for this.

Virtua Fighter 5 (360)

This looked awesome on the 360, and the booth had Hori sticks to play the game with. The real kick in the nuts is this was setup right next to the PS3 version. The load times were like 1/2 as long as the PS3 version. When you add in the online play it's total beatings and proves that Sega or whomever did the port didn't just phone it in.

Puzzle Fighter HD

Same thing I saw at Comic Con, but I have to comment that it looks really awesome. Sirlin balanced the X' Version of the game so I'm looking forward to that. It comes out this Wednesday on Xbox Live Arcade.

Eye of Judgement

Also seen at Comic-Con, it's still my reason this year to buy a PS3. I have clearly gone crazy.

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1

There was an announcement at this PAX that this game is coming to the 360 via Xbox Live Arcade. The demo was for the PC version though.

They only had the character designer up; there aren't that many options but there are enough to make a decent looking and unique character. It's certainly no Oblivion or City of Heroes/Villains. Your character is inserted right into the comic book style cutscenes which is a great touch.

The opening sequence has your character's home destroyed by a huge Fruit Fucker. Gabe and Tycho then run by in hot pursuit and you join them, armed only with the rake you were using outside the smoldering ruins that was your homestead.

Rockband

This game lives up to the hype. The concept is simple: four instruments for four players. There's lead guitar, bass guitar, drums, and the microphone.

The guitars are setup just like Guitar Hero, except the instruments have an extra set of frets closer to the strum button for solos and difficult hammer-ons/pull-off segments. The bass player can naturally raise his multiplier to 6x as opposed to the 4x multiplier for the lead guitarist.

The drum controller and screen setup is a lot like Drumania. The Haramonix guys said that the drum is the hardest instrument which makes sense since it's so close to actual real life drumming. Supposedly if you can drum on hard or expert you can drum in real life.

The microphone is setup almost exactly like Singstar or Karaoke Revolution, right down to the freestyle portions of a song. You can activate starpower by shouting into the mic. I was impressed with the level of singing ability that the average PAX attendee possessed. Though it's quite possible everyone picked easy or the game is not that strict for singing.

There's a lot of customization in the game and before each song the game has a cutscene that shows you each band member's avatar, name, and instrument. At the end of the song, each player gets a rating and title so you can totally see who is dragging your band down. I sense future dickery and trash talking!

I had a total blast playing with strangers. I can only imagine how cool and exciting it would be to play with your friends. I played bass on the OK Go song "Here it Goes Again" (there were 20 demo songs) because I didn't care what I did. I liked how you can bring a failed band member back by activating your Star Power. I must say that playing the bass was pretty boring on medium, I think I should have picked hard. That being said, I easily had the starpower to help my band out.

Start saving your money now...the game comes out in November.

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