Sometimes, the game writers here at Comics Bulletin would like to write about games in a non-critical manner. Perhaps they just want to share a new game experience or go all Gonzo discussing a form of interactive media. For this, we have Extra Life, a way for you to go on a journey with our writer as they discusses video games however they see fit.
In this edition, Nick Boisson recaps his final day at PAX East 2013.
PAX East 2013, Day 3: Last Day ≠ Slowest Day
In my experience, the Sunday (or sometimes Monday) of a convention usually means “slow day.” Always has and, until recently, I assumed it always would. If there were one thing I learned from PAX East 2013 it is that there are no slow days at a PAX show. Now, I don't mean slow in terms of news and announcements. If that were the case, it easily would be. I am talking about the show floor. The show floor at PAX East. If you didn't know any better, you would have assumed the show floor looked like it did on Saturday. I would say that it was mainly due to the fact that there weren't many panels on Sunday which were a must-go. There was the “Inside Gearbox Software” panel (which had a line outside the Main Theatre before the show floor even opened) and “The Double Fine Adventure Adventure!” panel ($3.3 million dollars going to the Kickstarter pretty much guarantees a non-entry if you were a bit late to the convention), but those were 2 of the less than 40 panels happening. So, for the most part, everyone was crowding the floor to have a chance to play the games they didn't get to play the last two days or grab all the free swag they could get their hands on.
Thus, Sunday was easily my slowest day at PAX East.
Don't get me wrong, I still had a ton of fun on the show floor, despite not getting face time with any of the three games I was hoping to get my hands on this weekend (Capcom's DuckTales and Remember Me, Naughty Dog's The Last of Us).
First up, I got to play Metro: Last Light. I was a huge fan of 4A Games' Metro 2033 and was worried what would become of the game after THQ closed its doors a couple months back. But I am happy to report that the game is still on track for its May 14th release date. I want to say that they already had a final build on the floor. I was able to play through the game's entire opening sequence. This was not a 30 minute demo from an early level. Had I not started a new game when I approached the booth, I could have easily been playing some part near the half way point. And, let me just say, the game looks gorgeous! Easily a huge step up from 2033, which itself was a damn good looking title. I wasn't even playing a PC version of the game, but an Xbox 360. It is amazing me more and more the textures that developers are managing to fit on a small DVD-9 nowadays. It almost makes you wonder whether we need a new console generation (then you go over to Nvidia's booth and that thought leaves your mind very quickly). Last Light has the same atmospheric feel that I fell in love with in 2033. The non-playable characters are always having conversations and doing things that help you to learn about the world that you are in right off the bat. The game also looks much brighter than 2033. There are a lot more colors to be found in Last Light than the dark, gritty world from its predecessor. If you have not played the first game yet, get it on PC or Xbox 360 before May 14th. If you like first-person shooters that give you story along with all your shooty-bang-bang, you'll definitely want to give this series a go. But, if nothing else, Metro: Last Light sums up the first game pretty well enough for you to jump right in.
Later, I went by Nvidia's booth to mess with the Nvidia Shield, their upcoming Android mobile device that has a 5-inch, 720p touch screen and their upcoming Tegra 4 processor. I have to say, it is definitely an impressive device. The fact that it can stream you PC game to the device with little-to-no latency is a remarkable feat. My immediate concern was what the price point would be (no signs yet) and, mainly, who this device is for. While I agree that it is a frighteningly impressive piece of hardware, I just don't see myself using one. Especially if it will cost more than a PlayStation Vita, which all signs are pointing to. All I can really say is that only time will tell with the Nvidia Shield.
I also got to play the upcoming Two Tribes title, Toki Tori 2. Toki Tori 2 is a Metroidvania-style puzzle game where you play a yellow bird (Toki Tori) who uses stomps and chirps to influence the creatures he meets in the forest. It is a Wii U game and one that I have been looking forward to for some time (since I don't have anything to play on my Wii U right now). It is a fun open-world side-scroller (which almost sounds oxymoronic) and being a fan of Two Tribes, I cannot wait to play the full release. It will also come out for Steam a few months later, but will be released on the Wii U eShop on April 4th, 2013!
The last game I got to play before I headed out was The Behemoth's Battleblock Theater! Now, as a fan of Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers, I have been looking forward to this game since I first heard of it. I played it last year at San Diego Comic-Con, but now that it is 100% complete and waiting to be released on Xbox LIVE Arcade on April 4th, I just needed one more chance to play it at a convention with a group of gamers who have either not played it before or maybe haven't even heard of it.
PAX East 2013 will be a con that I am sure I will remember for quite some time. What really works about PAX is that everyone there -– and I do mean everyone –- is just there to see some cool new games. I hope that I can make it next year and even to PAX Prime later this year (if I can somehow manage that).
Pop culture geek Nick Boisson lives in front of his computer, where he is Section Editor of Comics Bulletin's video game appendage and shares his slushily obsessive love of video games, comics, television and film with the Internet masses. In the physical realm, he works in Guest Relations for Florida Supercon in Miami as well as a day-to-day job, which he refuses to identify to the public. We're thinking something in-between confidential informant and professional chum-scrubber.