Games Meet Metal: The PAX Report Part 2

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Friday, March 25, 2011

The PAX Report Part 2

Well, the good stuff has been said. Now let's move on to the weird, the cool, and the crap.


The one thing that I thought I wouldn't be able to touch was actually in vast quantities. The 3DS was in every developer's booth, so long as they had a game or two coming out for it. Capcom had several, EA had a few, IGN had even more up, and Nintendo had the motherload. The system itself isn't much different from a DSi. About the same weight, damn close to the same look, but the graphics are pretty unbelievable. The analog button was tad bit too slidey, but not so much that I wouldn't be able to adjust to it over time.

The few games that I sampled looked fantastic! Street Fighter IV was pretty damn faithful to it's console version, but it was presented at a weird view, where the camera was placed behind the fighter's back. This was probably done so as to show off the 3D effects a bit better. (Speaking of which, the 3D works best as long as you keep the intensity down to a minimum. Otherwise, your eyes will go batshit.) The other game I tried was Steel Diver, a submarine game which was really nothing more than a glorified tech demo. Still, the 3D looked very nice, and the graphics were good. Just not SFIV good.

Speaking of good looking and popular games......


Here's a few photos of the crowd assembled for PAX.

Fuckload of a lot of people, right? Well, somewhere in there (probably around the floating rodent god), is a line. A long line. The second longest line of the show. A line with a 3-hour wait. That was for Nintendo's 3DS collection. Why that long for them when there plenty of other 3DS systems elsewhere? Well, Nintendo was demoing the new 3D Zelda and Kid Icarus games, and everyone wanted a taste. Long story short, even my press credentials couldn't get me into play those contested titles. Oh well, there's always E3.


Even getting to play some of the indie titles was a pain. Note to self: start arranging times to get some private play time before you go. Games that looked great, like Bastion (an isometric Zelda-like action/rpg) were just swamped. The couple I did get into were pretty good: one for the art, and another for the humor.

First up is Skullgirls.

Skullgirls is an all-female fighter where the ladie's hair does most of the combat. The combat is very Street Fighter-like, but the fluid animation  and crazy attack styles give Skullgirls its own unique look. It may not be breaking new ground, but Skullgirls was hella fun to play. I just wish there were more characters to mess around with.

This is El Shaddai, and it looks amazing! The game has a God of War style of combat, except all your weapons are stolen from your enemies. Plus, there's no health meters. You tell how banged up you are by how much armor you have. Ditto for the baddies. The real interesting thing is the plot, which centers on the
Dead Sea Scrolls, the Tower of Babel, and God's pissiness over some rebel angels. Oh, and Satan is your guide for the game. Now how fucking metal is that?


Oh, Electronic Arts, what have you done? You could of had the best showing of the whole show! Instead, ya stunk it up. How? Two words: Star Wars.

Here's another zany crowd shot.

You see that display? It's for The Old Republic, EA's Star Wars MMO and hopeful Warcraft killer. And people wanted to play it. Bad. Remember that second longest line? Old Republic had the longest.... at 5 hours! Nearly a quarter of a day, just to pretend you have the Force! Now I know the Star Wars fans are silly defensive over anything that bears their favorite moniker, but I'm still gonna say it: that thing was taking up too much damn room. And for a five-hour wait, there had better been a cash prize waiting for these people.

Oh, they were showing off Battlefield 3 as well, but I already played Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, so I think I'm good.


A ton of 3rd party controller companies like Mad Catz and others were on hand to hock their new peripherals, but it all looked the same. Oooooh, a new arcade stick? How thoughtful. A wireless mouse? Your mother would be so proud. Speaking as someone who rarely buys any controller unless one breaks on me, or any additional peripherals at all, I need some special incentive to get anything for a system. It has to add something something special, be it aesthetic or not, to the system. Like, say, a saw blade.

Oh, sweet mother of freedom YES!!!

What you see there is a custom case mod by a company called Calibur, and they're just crazy for custom modded cases. And it isn't just the casing itself you can do. Calibur is bringing back interchangeable faceplates (something the 360 lost with the redesign), but now you get to customize it however you want. Plus, the stand it sits on offers additional venting for the system, so less overheating. the kicker is that it's real easy to put together. The kit you get ( which will run $60 to $90) is just a couple pieces you snap and screw together. Just a couple minutes out of your day, and your system can have a sawblade on it. Or a mask.

Really, whatever you want.

Calibur is a start-up company, so you can't get anything you want yet. Like, say, zombie flesh dripping from your cd drive. Yeah, that stuff is still in testing. I do want this to succeed. If Calibur gets successful enough, then somebody somewhere will undoubtedly get the brilliant of idea of making their 360 GWAR-themed. Hey, a dreamer can dream, right?

Check them out at Sorry PS3 owners, they're just doing the slim 360 for now, but they'll get to you eventually.


While a little on the short side, the demos of two other games did catch my eye. One was thankfully for their hanging logo for all to see.

The PAX trip left me unable to test out the PS3 demo from home, but lucky me the PAX demo had more characters to mess around. Too bad you only got one match with the whole bunch. Still, it was a visually amazing and gruesome match-up. The blood flows freely, the x-ray attacks are super cerebral, and the neatest part: your fighter will have combat damage on him. Cuts, bruises, maybe even a hacked off ear. The more of a pounding your guy takes, the less prettier he's gonna get.

Then there was that one game.

Yep, that game. Fitting that GOW3 is the last game for this article, as it also ended up being the last game at PAX before I packed it up and got some much needed rest.

Gears of War 3 being at PAX was a big deal, as this was the first public presentation ever. Like Mortal Kombat, everyone was given a one match play in 5 on 5 survival mode. It's kind of hard to see if there's been any improvements to the game when you have that short of time messing around with it, but there were two obvious things: the game looks great, and stabbing anyone in the game with the new proper bayonet is real good fun.

Okay, that's it! Jimminy, those took forever to write out! Still, I;m glad to have attended PAX, and I hope to do so again next year. Maybe hit up PAX Prime instead.


  1. Skullgirls eh? I'll have to look that up, looks a bit like Guilty Gear. And I'm trying to hold off on 3DS but Street Fighter IV is making that pretty damn hard.

  2. Tried the 3DS for 5 minutes and couldn't handle it. I had the 3D cranked and walked away with a searing headache, so maybe I'll take your advice and reduce it to give the ol' peepers a break.

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