Games Meet Metal: Best of PAX East 2012: Sega

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Best of PAX East 2012: Sega

Poor old Sega's been having a rough time as of late. A recent cutback in expenses has given a lot of would-be titles the shitcan. One of them was a HD re-release of Shenmue, and many a fanboy's heart was broken. Still, Sega kept a lot of good around and they put a real god showing into their PAX exhibit. Now, I didn't get to try every one of their games. One that I missed was called Hell Yeah, a puzzle/platformer that's been getting tons of praise. As a one-man team, I had to go with brand recognition. Still, I got the chance to play some real strong demos and I had a good feeling that Sega's gonna bounce back with this slate of releases.

First on the hit list is what everyone knows Sega for: Sonic! Their latest blue bomber game is Sonic 4: Episode II, a continuation of the downloadable story from Episode I. Sonic 4 is a return to the pure 2D fast-paced classic Genesis feel of the series with modern day graphics. The first episode was well received, but many had issues with Sonic's movement and momentum. Both of these problems have been fully addressed, as Sonic stops and starts much smoother. Also, Tails makes his big return and his much more useful that before. Now Tails and Sonic can work together and solve level problems. Rolling up unto a ball, blasting through water, and saving Sonic from pits are just a few of the ways the two work together.

Sonic 4 has also been given a graphical update as well. The level I tried, an icy mountain place, had awesome avalanches and a full blown carnival sprawled through the whole level. Plus, Sonic and Tails have been given a new coat themselves. The Episode I Sonic looked fine, but seemed a bit robotic in his movements. Now he looks much smoother in his motions and his super fast travels are  blurry masterpieces.

One thing that Sega is learning to do is milking their old IP's that haven't been around for a bit. Namely, going back to it's Saturn and Dreamcast games, giving them an HD makeover, and throwing them on Xbox Live and PSN. The latest to get the treatment is Jet Set Radio, a Dreamcast fave that has one hell of a cult following. It's mix of cell shaded graphics and original hip hop/techno soundtrack have made it a lost classic. The re-release looks just as pretty as it did back in the day, and the HD polish doesn't detract from the cell shading.

Another downloadable goodie headed our way is a re-release of Virtua Fighter 5 with the Final Showdown tag. Like Jet Set Radio, VF5 is getting a glossy remake with totally redrawn character attacks and a graphics boost. Plus, VF5:FS is getting a ton of single player content, which its Japanese arcade equivalent didn't have. A single player mode, training and sparring sessions, and lobby chat during online matches.

I'm actually pretty giddy about VF making a comeback. I always considered it among the trifecta of the fighting game world. Street Fighter had is fireballs and zany attacks, Mortal Kombat had it's gore and dark humor, and Virtua Fighter brought the 3D fighting field and a serious feel to martial arts. It was that serious and honest look that I've been missing for awhile, and I'm glad it's coming back.

Finally, we get to Sega's big game of the show, and what I considered to be the game of THE show, Aliens: Colonial Marines! Man, this baby has been in development for a long ass time. Of course, it's not like Gearbox Software hasn't been busy. Duke Nukem, Borderlands 2, ect. Now that we're getting some real gaming videos is real exciting, especially since A:CM is looking like a great game.

A:CM is actually canonical to the original movies. The game takes place some time after Alien 3, as the abandoned Sulaco has once again established orbit around LV-426. Since the ship and planet were considered destroyed, this has raised quite the mystery. So a hardened team of Space Maries have been sent out there, and "things" begin to happen.

The single player video that was shown was high impact action from near the start all the way to the heart pounding end. Nearly dying in the vacuum wasn't was I was expecting. However, even better than that was the multiplayer demo featuring Marines versus several different Alien forms. Once again, it was high impact action, as our team of Mar faced the dev team that was responsible.

I can't stress how good this game looks and how the control was spot on. Never did I have to struggle with the camera to get behind me. Plus, the game looks jaw-dropping good. A lot of attention was paid to detail of the ship and the LV-426 colony. You'll periodically be running into bits of fan service, like the lower disemboidied , android Bishops, and the power forklifts that can once again be used as a weapon.

All in all, Aliens is awesome and I'll be picking it up on day one for sure! 



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