Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures - PAX 2011 Hands-On

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm
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PAX Prime 2011 is well over a week old, and yet, we've still got a teensy bit of coverage that has yet to flood into the mainstream. At Activision's PAX preview session -- where steak and potatoes were graciously and generously served -- I got a chance to handle the upcoming kids title, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures with a producer of the game. Yep, it's a spin-off of that venerable Spyro franchise. And yep, I had to set my beer down for it.

It was definitely the tongue-twistingest title of the whole batch, and its cartoonish aesthetic stood out in stark contrast to the grimy violence of the Spider-Man: Edge of Time demo that stood beside it. But a number of cool and what I believe to be truly innovative features and unique peripherals that accompany the game made me walk away more than a little impressed. I'll fill you in after the jump.

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Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown: It's Coming, and It's Exciting - PAX 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm
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Virtua Fighter 5
was released in North America back in 2007. That was a really long time ago in this industry, especially for fighting games, which usually receive an update every two years or so.

The game was being updated regularly in its native Japan, but American Virtua Fighter fans have simply had to deal with Super Street Fighter IV and Mortal Kombat until Sega decided to bring one of these updates over.

Now, Sega isn't just porting the updates to the states, they're bringing all of them over in a shiny downloadable package encapsulating all the updates and the final fine-turning of Virtua Fighter 5. They're calling it Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown.
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70,000 People Crammed Into PAX Prime This Year

Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 8:30 am
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Despite vocal support from certain members of Joystick Division, PAX East is no longer the PAX to beat, at least attendance-wise. PAX Prime has reclaimed that prize thanks to a larger, sweatier, and more undulating mass of game fans, shameless costume enthusiasts, and the mustachioed men that love (or at least leer creepily at) them.


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Tags: PAX 2011

FireFall Hands-on - PAX 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 5:00 pm
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At PAX 2010, FireFall had a modest booth in the center of the expo hall and generally positive buzz. The game was announced on the show floor and promised a free to play, open world experience similar to Borderlands. I covered it, and found that it showed a lot of promise.

At last week's PAX 2011, no attendee could turn around and not see FireFall's logo (which looks confusingly like the StarCraft logo. Jus' saying). This independant company is self publishing their game, but where did they get the kind of money to put window decalls on the bathroom and their name branded on every PAX sign?

After a few questions, I learned a surprisingly simple answer. I also played the game. Check both out after the jump.
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Tags: Firefall

Top Ten Mustaches at PAX 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm
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This man wasn't at PAX, but look at that fine thing!
PAX is a community event. It's all about gamers of any age, race, and creed getting together and talking about how excited they are for the next year of bountiful ludic experiences. 

Sometimes, the community comes together in other ways. For example, members of the Penny Arcade forum trade buttons with each other during the convention. Other people, however grow mustaches.

We aren't sure if this mustache craze was planned, but there were countless staches at PAX this year. I mean, there was even a company selling mustache monocles for those feeling left out! We've compiled a list of the ten best mustaches at the Penny Arcade Expo.
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Trials Evolution Gameplay Video From PAX Prime 2011 Is Here

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm
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I had a long discussion with a friend at PAX Prime 2011, over beers and calamari, concerning the games that really revolutionized and championed the popularization of Xbox Live Arcade. Shadow Complex was a definite first to come up. Trials HD was a quick second. The game was fuckin' hard and fabulously entertaining, and turned eyes toward the oft-neglected portion of the Xbox Live interface.

I loved it. And I love that, unlike many of those similar titles, the Trials crew is bringing us a second iteration. This time, we get an even more lush and magnificent world to explore, with tougher obstacles and courses to navigate. You know the drill -- hit it!

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Borderlands 2 Is Spruced-Up And Spiffy - PAX 2011 Impressions

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10:00 am
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This is the Gunzerker. He has guns and he 'zerks.
Despite some rather glaring flaws in its structure, Gearbox's Borderlands was pretty great. It garnered a heavy cult following, had a vibrant visual style, and kind of expanded the dungeon-crawler/RPG genre into the world of first-person shooters. But those glaring wrinkles didn't smooth out because of popularity -- the cooperative interface and execution faltered in many places, while a quickly-plateauing narrative made the excitement grow thin in the waning hours of play. They marred what could've been a holistically fantastic experience.

The producers and development staff at Gearbox Studios are keen to this. In a tightly packed room at PAX Prime 2011, circled by an hours-long line, a few key members of the team showed off the upcoming Borderlands 2. And it was punctuated with fresh tune-ups and a glazed, candied aesthetic. In a word it was slick.

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Black Knight Sword Hands-on - PAX 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm
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Black Knight Sword
was announced at Gamescom and it's one of those odd games that plays really well, but doesn't initially look like much. That's not to say "it's more than the sum of its parts", because it's a mostly routine sidescrolling action game, but there's a certain charm to it that I'm not sure how to feel about.

The game takes place on a stage in a theater, and that's the most captivating part of the experience. The entire thing looks like a classical Chinese puppet show. Curtains go up, they go down, the background moves alongside the camera. It creates an atmosphere that looks great, but I can't help but feel that the overall aesthetics looks like something from an old Devil May Cry.

But then the game's mechanics come in and make the game a lot of fun.
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Battlefield 3 Co-Op Hands-on - PAX 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm
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Battlefield 3's marketing campaign has put heavy, heavy emphasis on multiplayer. That's very obviously its main selling point, and the facet of its package that it is displaying to try and hunt down and capture Call of Duty fans. E3 had seven-hour lines for twenty minutes of play. It has been very prominent across the web.

But PAX brought us a new face of Battlefield 3 -- another portion of gameplay that has yet to be experienced. It's the co-op. The Battlefield 3 booth at PAX Prime 2011 was loaded with LCDs supporting two-player cooperative play. And I got to spend many, many minutes blazing through the map.



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Guild Wars 2 Hands-on - PAX 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm
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It seems like Guild Wars 2 has been in production for a surprisingly long time, and it appears that the game is using every available second to create an experience that's familiar, but also very different and unique. 

Guild Wars 2 is another one of those games shooting to show the world what the next generation of MMORPGs could be, and it shows off quite well. The PVP-focused MMO has streamlined the genre's process by removing quests in place of public events, and has taken every step to remove menus in place of action. 

It's kind of a foreign feeling when you start playing the game. After all, I'm really used to accepting quests after all these years, but Guild Wars 2 is doing clever things that could define new concepts for the genre.
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