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Posts Tagged ‘PAX East’

Episode CXXXVI: You Don’t Drop The Soap. The Soap Drops You!

After spending last weekend at two conventions, the Bastards reconvene for an all-new episode.

This week King Baby Duck and Blueonic share their thoughts on PAX East 2012, and Anvil manages to find reasons why he had some sort of fun at Anime Boston. The week in sports is discussed, as are the demo version of Sniper Elite V2 and Fez.

It’s short, sweet, and will get you extra clean! It’s Episode 136: You Don’t Drop The Soap. The Soap Drops You!

Teg’s PAX East Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Dance!

Ok, I know I am late with this one, but by the time I got home and over the past few days I have been tired and work did not slow down also. So I finally am going to take some time to document the final day where I was fully made into a zombie. You wake up after an event like this and as much as you like it, your body tells you that this cannot keep going on. Especially after dancing the night away at the curse party, I realized on Monday that I did not have the strength to shift my car into reverse. Let’s jump into what the final day had to offer.

Waking up was especially hard after the party at Curse. I knew I would hate myself, but in the end it was worth that night. It was going to be another question if it was worth doing PAX for the final day. Only time could tell, and it was a question I was willing to go find out. I showed up to PAX around 9 am to pick Blueonic and KBD up, since I had been driving into PAX every day and they had a room. First item for those who were not following the coverage of PAX was the round table at 10 am. Everyone in the media area was amazing with helping set up this discussion, and providing us with a table and internet access that was not wireless. This was the ESH sit-down and summation of the first two days of PAX, and you should be able to catch it on the B3 UStream channel if you want to see and hear the details. The summation of this conversation would be that PAX was amazing, but would be better if we got support and a showing of Activision, EA, and other major publishers that day-by-day seem to care less about the people that support them. I would love to see EA pay for a convention like this if only to make themselves not look like all they want is money. My ranting aside, great conversations were had.

After our cast was done, it was back off to the floor for what few interviews that we could come up with and a final sweep of the floor. Most of this day was booked by 2K Games and seeing what they had to bring to the stage. Our first round was playing Borderlands 2, Spec Ops: The Line, and a preview of XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

So Duck, Blueonic, and I sat down at the Borderlands 2 booth first to see what Gearbox was up to. We were originally going to split the sessions, but that would soon change. I loved playing the original Borderlands, so I was going to watch Blue play it first and then take over. As I watched I realized how long it had been since he had played, and I was ending up telling him what to pick, what to do, and yelling at him to put points in his talent tree. I think at this point he realized what a fan I was and handed the controller over to me, the back seat driver so I could set everything up and play.

We had picked the Siren as I loved the running and SMGs of the original game, and I could not wait to see how the class played. Quickly I saw that the talents were completely different and I confirmed in the interview that everything on that end was changed. After placing many points in the special powers and the survival skills based on it as I did not know how well my partner would play, I ran off to kill stuff. We were faced with a crab like creature who had crystals protecting critical strike area’s on his legs. As we killed these and moved forward I learned that my partner had also not been at my level of play so the new special power of locking up an enemy in a distortion bubble came out working extremely well. I was able with the new power to either stun a target and take it down, or stun a target to fight later on.

The basic concepts from the game are still there so getting into the new one was really easy and seemed like an upgraded version of the first. I quickly marked quests on the map and kept moving forward hoping that I would make it to a boss battle. I succeeded in my rush and was rewarded with a 50-foot crab to kill while my partner was trying to figure out where he was. Okay, I must confess that I had played the original Borderlands recently, so I was accustomed to what I was going to face; and I did die once, but I was able to revive myself unlike my partner. I ended up killing the boss and getting some extra time to run around the level exploring before time was called and we ended the session.

The interview also revealed that many interesting additions to this game including a new damage type and an expansion to the artifact system that will make every class even more unique then before. I was also happy to hear that each class is good with all weapons instead of making someone focus on just shotguns or SMGs. Catch the rest of the audio interview to get the full effect, any way I am already planning on spending a lot of my already little free time playing this game. Gearbox has always been an amazing group of people. I would love to get my hands on Borderlands 2 when it comes out, and I will probably come back to do a full review of the time I did get to play.

The next stand that we went to was for Spec Ops: The Line. I took more of a back seat on this because I hogged the Borderlands 2 play, and I was quickly realizing that I was dehydrated from all the time running around. This was also a game that it seemed Duck was looking forward to as much as I was looking forward to Borderlands 2. I sat back and watched amazing visuals of a city taken over by a sandstorm and destroyed by conflict. I can tell you from watching the game that the artists should get a commendation for all their work setting a great tone for what looked like an interesting FPS. I watched combat happen over dunes, in planes, and through a skyscraper. This was all single player content that I was watching, but it easily made me interested in what happened and what type of world the character was located in. Duck currently has an article up on this so I will not take this game away from him, go take a look as he had the most hands on and interview setup.

Next up would be a game known as XCOM. If you have played it, you might love it or be completely frustrated with the original. This game started off its life with an amazingly hard difficulty and was a love it or hate it title. So what is this new game like then? Well if you loved cheap deaths then I am told you will be disappointed because this game is based on decision and not luck like the earlier games. It is a turn based strategy game where you control members of a squad, and set up their weapons and training. In fact you can build the base that your troops will live in after every mission.

XCOM has a nice little tactical setup where if you get a team member killed then he will not come back at the end of the mission. I love to see games that have consequences for messing up, as to many games now seem to hold a players hand. The way this game was designed is so you can build a custom squad that you will care about and be able to follow through all the missions. Since nobody wanted to answer questions about the multi-player I decided to ask if there was a random component to this game to extend multiple play through. It turns out that there are so many levels that were made; it should take you a very long time to start seeing repeats. This game sounds interesting; making many more comments on it would require a sit down play session that was not being offered at the time. All we can do for now is research and wait to see what is offered.

After the 2K Games lineup was done, we had some time before the Fire Fall interview and play through. We decided to walk around and see what we might have missed. We came across a nice little indie game known as Drunken Robot Pornography. In its current state it is a shooter about picking up power ups and defeating a boss for each month of the year. This game plays like a boss battle endurance match with a score system to see if you can top your friends at it. We were told that there is also a boss-building section to this game where you can make a custom boss for your friends to try and complete. I always try and support the indie companies because they inspire amazing new idea’s to the community, so go out and buy some indie games. You never know what you will find.

Ok, I have been harping on the Red 5 interview for Firefall, and the time has finally come. We had a special computer in a little hidden area in their booth. This was an interesting interview with Red 5’s James Macauley, because it was less of a play and ask questions session. We were able to do the interview while playing the game, so it was more of a walkthrough with questions while we played. So what is this game that I got to play and was making such a big deal about?

Well it is a 3rd/1st person shooter (you can decide what you like) with an RPG component. This is not a tacked-on part like most games, you get levels and stats along with a PVE aspect. This is really like if Borderlands were to be combined with Team Fortress. You can run around with friends gathering resources and building weapons and gear along with a fully built in team competitive mode for PVP. I would like to stress also that this is not an MMOFPS in the fact that you will not be spending hours getting to a max level in order to compete with people. I would say that it takes the approach that guild wars did, give people the option to decide what they want to do when they start.

So you get your normal TF2 base classes of dreadnaught, recon, medic, engineer, and soldier to choose from. Each one of these classes has its own play style and special powers, and you can change between the classes as you play so there is no need to create a new profile. I have not had a chance yet to try the PVP aspect, but in the PVE I have placed a tiny “Thumper” and I have defended it from waves of bug-like creatures. I am told that the starting town that you are in can be controlled by assaulting enemy force and a community event to retake the location will happen, so dynamic events around the world will be common place.

The map shows a grey area around the starting location that if you go outside your link to data (radar on map) will not work, and in future patches you will be able to build relays to stop this effect. From the little time I had to play this game I see lots of potential in it, and I look forward to playing more. (Take a listen to my walkthrough interview with Red 5 whenever you get the chance.) I plan on a LAN party for my favorite PAX games this weekend after I move to my new house, and Firefall will be the first game I will play when I get the chance.

It was time to head home and go back to my normal life, and as much as I did not want to I was more tired during this weekend then I have been after a long week of work. My PAX experience has renewed my love of games and the culture that follows them even more, and makes me want to put more effort into the development of my own personal project. I have many full reviews to make, and with a list of games still in beta it makes time short to write them. If you have not seen a game reviewed here that I have shown interest in, then it is because I am looking for the time to get the most out of the review.

I have many keys to games that I think deserve screenshots and a more in-depth look than I can give them in this journal. Expect many reviews to pop up in the near future (if work allows me time) about many of my PAX games that I have mentioned. I hope the developers will hang in there for a little longer as I sort my life out and try to make reviews at the same time. I still want to make a video review site in the very near future, so I will probably even double review many of the games I have played now. For those who have looked at these epic walls of text I hope they have added an understanding of the coming games and PAX in general. Now get out there and play some games!

PAX East 2012 Special Podcast Report: "Firefall"

The Bastards are given a walkthrough of the first bits of the upcoming free-to-play title Firefall from Red 5.

Teg chats with James Macauley, the vice-president of development at Red 5 and executive producer of Firefall, who gives the crew a rundown on what to expect in this massive title. Hear how it will be one of the most competitive free-to-play games on PC, how often new content will be added (as well as how far along they’ve planned Firefall for currently), and find out what happens after “The Melding.”

It’s yet another PAX East 2012 Special Podcast Report: “Firefall”!

"Ghost Recon Online" Gets Real At PAX East

Before we jump into Ghost Recon Online, I wanna take care of some confusion about the three SEPARATE Ghost Recon titles they presented at PAX East. First there’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, which will be on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. Second Ghost Recon Online will be on PC and the Wii U, with the PC version playable on any internet browser. Finally there’s Ghost Recon: Commander, a playable app on Facebook. For this piece, however, we’ll be focusing on Ghost Recon Online.

Going hands-on with Ghost Recon Online they had it set up so it was a four-on-four game, where you play with the other people right next to you in a multiplayer setup. The design of the game was absolutely amazing, especially from the fact that you are playing it off a browser that comes to the foreground of your computer. The weapons that I was able to play had all sweet setups, but that’s no longer the name of the game. They have made this game a hell of a lot better, putting more emphasis on the ghost recon aspect of combat. If you’re expecting to go gung-ho like you do playing Call of Duty or Battlefield, you will be shot down in a hail of bullets. Ghost Recon Online is set up so that you are working with team members, so gamers will have to get on their headsets with microphones to speak up some tactical intent in order to come out on top.

Ghost Recon Online really gives you the capabilities of guerrilla warfare. You’ll need to learn how to use cover to your advantage, and this will be able to help your team score a victory. They have also made the game to be evenly played amongst the players. For example when you come into the game you can’t just whip out the charge card and buy all the best equipment and lay to waste people. You have to earn the levels in order to obtain the guns. Next to that from what I understand the guns that you feel the most comfortable with can do so much more to your liking with the upgrades you add to the gun.

With the third-person aspect in Ghost Recon Online it gives your a great field-of-view, but not only that you’re able to switch to your rail or scopes to increase your accuracy. They also had a line that would go to your nearest soldier, which would give you better capabilities to know where your fellow soldiers are, not to mention a better idea on who’s in your surroundings. All in all, Ghost Recon Online is looking more and more great the more I see it, and I’ll be even more happy when this game finally comes out to the masses this May.

Check out our interview with Thomas Seris, Ubisoft’s Senior Brand Manager, about Ghost Recon Online.

2K Games Lays Down "The Line" At PAX East

The very first scene I bore witness to at the PAX East demo for Spec Ops: The Line had me hurdling in a helicopter through a ruined Dubai, as opposing forces were doing everything they could to shoot us down while we were returning fire. Its fast-paced moments had me gripping my controller ever-so tightly as my copter swerved around rotting towers, while my jaw dropped slightly as I lit up enemy copters and tore down crumbling buildings. Then came the kicker: the helicopters all got trapped in a sandstorm, ripping through everything until the screen turned black. I realized at that moment that Spec Ops: The Line was turning out to be a wartime game unlike anyone has ever seen.

Developed by Yager Development Spec Ops: The Line will have you control Captain Martin Walker through his journey to search for Delta Force founding member John Konrad in a very bleak Dubai. In it he and his two comrades will roam the desert, search through buildings, and persevere terrible storms in order to complete the mission. It also doesn’t help that there are some survivors that are looking to take you and your men down.

The environments you are can be quite handy when it comes to taking down multiple men. In one instance there were roughly four men pointing their guns at me as they stood below a bus filled with sand. By shooting out the windows of said bus the enemies were taken out by the desert grains in an instant. You can also signal your fellow soldiers to take out enemies at specific points, which is good when you are trying to deal with a sniper as other enemies are firing at the same time. Meleeing enemies and sneak attacks also come in handy when dealing with multiple targets in the same room.

With all the battles happening in the demo for Spec Ops: The Line, the one thing that stood out most for me was the camaraderie between Walker and his partners in war. Both the serious aspects and the humorous elements of what they would be talking about added a sort of realism that really hasn’t been seen in video games. It’s been done in such films as Three Kings and Full Metal Jacket, sure, but here it just seemed more natural and down-to-earth. In one instance you are laughing as Walker acts like a kid while sliding down a rope, but in the next moment you are doing everything you can to save you and your friends from dying in battle. It sort of adds on to the factual idea that in war, anything can happen unexpectedly.

So far the control scheme works wonders in Spec Ops: The Line, and could be considered as one of the most volatile in the third-person shooter genre. Switching weapons, giving your other soldiers commands, and hiding in safe areas as literally as simple as pushing a button. Aiming your grenades might take getting used to (as Blueonic found out the hard way), but all in all how you play it is pieced together wonderfully. The graphics look fantastic, and the attention to detail especially during the opening sequences will be sure to make EA Games and Activision jealous.

One other thing makes Spec Ops: The Line stand out from the Call of Duties and Battlefields of the gaming world: the main game focuses on Walker, and Walker alone. While other war-based shooters tend to jump around from soldier-to-soldier, here you will spend your entire time with Captain Walker, getting to know both the man and the soldier that defines him. While there will be some multiplayer thrown into the game for people to compete in, the story itself will be just a single-player experience, with no co-op whatsoever.

Spec Ops: The Line is due to be released on June 26 on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. With what we’ve seen so far, it is looking like a safe bet that 2K Games and Yager Development have brought the Spec Ops series back into the forefront of realistic combat. After waiting two years to go hands-on with it, I can honestly say it was worth it. Here’s hoping the full experience will bring us one unique shooter in the long run.

Be sure to check out Blueonic’s interview with Spec Ops: The Line‘s lead writer Walt Williams and lead designer Cory Davis.

Madcatz Cyborg M.M.O.7 Mouse Review

Certified Geek gets a new mouse! Will he like it? Or is it a miniature Deceptacon programed to destroy the human race one mouse hand at a time?

Madcatz is not known for their quality products. Their reputation came from selling cheap replacement console controllers. They still have a rather large presence in that market. In the past few years, they have spun off a couple of subsidiary brands: Satek and Cyborg. These aimed at producing quality, high-end computer gaming peripherals. These brands have attempted to take a fresh look at the high end market and design truly unique products.


The Cyborg series that we are looking at here today tends to be all sharp angles and open areas giving it a fully inorganic and skeletonized look. They look like the T-1000’s of mice and keyboards. Surprisingly they are extremely comfortable proving how much material is wasted on most other products with flowing lines designed to make them look comfortable.

The M.M.O.7 mouse is a spin off of the Rat series of mice also created under the Cyborg name. This is truly a mouse created for gaming. It has an extra scroll wheel which is operated by the thumb.  It also has a mouse specific shift button giving each of its thirteen other buttons the option of serving double duty. The mode button triples that number giving a total of seventy eight total programmable options. There are also lock toggles on the primary left and right mouse buttons which can make those buttons be constantly active, even when not being pressed.

The interchangeable parts include: three palm rests,three pinky grips and five removable weights in six gram increments for a total of thirty grams. Each can be independently removed to tailor the weight to the user. Additionally, the thumb and palm rests can be adjusted higher or lower on the mouse giving even more customization. Personally I like the thumb rest all the way up, the tall palm rest half way up, the wing pinky rest, and all of the weights in.

If that wasn’t enough customization the sensitivity of the mouse can be adjusted from 25 DPI all the way up to 6400 DPI in 500 DPI increments. X and Y sensitivity are independently controllable as well. Four settings for sensitivity can be preset and changed on the fly with the push of yet another button. This is handy for me where I like 6400 DPI in games but prefer a slower 4500 DPI in Windows.

With that being said, it is a total bitch to configure. It works wonderfully after it it configured but it took me five hours to get it that way. It doesn’t come with an installation disk which really wouldn’t be an issue if the web address for the installation files were provided. Once the drivers and the configuration program are installed you can finally read a manual on the mouse, however it is not as clear as it could be. The biggest issue I had was in missing one of the downloads when installing the mouse.  The pre configured settings are really important I couldn’t get the buttons to work inside of WoW without them but on the downloads page they just looked like random links that were not needed.

After the installing issues in this mouse, I love it. It is the most comfortable, and adjustable mouse I have ever owned. I switched from a Razr Naga to a Steel Series WoW Cataclysm mouse to the M.M.O 7 mouse, and each has felt like a significant upgrade.

 

Certified Geek

Triforce Locks ‘N’ Loads At PAX East

I stumbled on some greatness at PAX East when I bumped into Andrew Brown, Community Manager at Triforce, while taking a look at Ghost Recon Online. He told me about the awesome video game replicas his company makes, from guns to statues of characters, and invited me on down to their booth.

Mathew Marone, Sales Director at Triforce

When I got down there Andrew introduced me to their Sales Director Mathew Marone, who gave us a great audio interview about there products that can be found below. Triforce have created these really interesting guns from some of the biggest video games of our generation, including the Locust Burst from Gears of War to the M-8 Avenger Assault rifles from Mass Effect. I can’t believe the detail they had put into the guns, and the weight to them even brings more authenticity. I was really impressed by the designs, especially the Batman arm holding the Batarang.  Believe me: I wanted to get all the stuff they had and hang it up in my man cave.

Triforce have made replicas that can only be described as badass! In fact they were so good that most of the products they were showing were sold out. All I can say is that I’m looking forward to all the stuff they are going to come out with in the near-future. You can find more info on Triforce on their official site.

Check out our interview Mathew Marone of Triforce here!

PAX East 2012 Special Podcast Report!

The Bastards take you onto the floor at PAX East with some of the biggest and newest stars of the gaming development world!

Recorded throughout the three days at PAX East King Baby Duck, Blueonic, and Teg ask the hard-hitting questions about many of the upcoming games arriving later this year on consoles and computers:

  • Reneé Lasswell of Night Owl Games goes into detail about Dungeon Overlord‘s upcoming expansion pack and special app for those who love the game but are constantly on the go
  • Matt “Chainsaw” Chaney of Twisted Pixel Games gives us insight about the PC and tablet/smartphone port of Ms. ‘Splosion Man, and also plugs his first professional foray into music (starts at 9:55)
  • Sean Murray of Hello Games dives into detail about what’s new in the daredevil’s life in Joe Danger: The Movie (starts at 13:16)
  • Illfonic chats about Nexuiz, and how it stands out from the rest of the FPS arena combat world (starts at 18:14)

It’s all here in a special mini-on-location edition of B3! PAX East 2012 Special Podcast Report!

Dejobaan Games Fills PAX East With "Drunken Robot Pornography"

How can one not fall in love with a game with a title like Drunken Robot Pornography? The folks at Dejobaan Games (who are behind the brilliant AaAaAA!!! series) brought its unique first-person shooter to PAX East, and while it was still in testing mode what we were able to play was pretty impressive.

In the demo we had to face off against twelve robots (one named for a specific month), each having similar weaknesses but upping in the difficulty area as the months progressed. You first have to aim for their appendages that protruded from their bodies, which taking them out helped make its core weaker. (You could just shoot at the core, but according to the developers that would’ve taken longer to defeat them.) However the robots have their own forms of defense systems, ranging from lasers and whipping robot tentacles to slow-moving bombs and missiles that hurdle towards you. Fortunately the floor area has places to hide, and you are equipped with a jet pack to reach high points to keep on attacking.

Dejobaan Games has not set a release date for it yet, as they told us it will launch “when it’s ready.” Once it does the developers promises hours of robot-killing fun, with one amazing way for players across the world to participate in the chaos. Gamers will be able to build their own giant robots, and share them with everyone online for them to battle against. You can make them as big, fat, and tentacle-y as you’d like, and see how the rest of the world fares against it. One thing’s for certain: Drunken Robot Pornography is aiming to reach out to its gaming community in the most unique way possible, and it’s reason enough for you to keep your eyes peeled for it when it finally drops.

Klei Entertainment Leaves Its "Mark" At PAX East

Klei Entertainment, the folks that brought us the Shank series, brought its latest bloody baby to PAX East this weekend: Mark of the Ninja.

Unlike in Shank this game features more of the dark shadow element that the ninjas use to their advantage. The darkness acts as both a solid offense and a good defense when it comes to hiding and taking out their enemies. In Shank you were the gun-ho run-in with daggers, swords, and chainsaw that really caused a lot of havoc. In this game you’re able to hug the wall a bit more and actually do more stealth kills. The idea of the game now is try to get through the level with either killing all the enemies, or you can even choose to get through the level with out killing people.

The main part of Mark of the Ninja is that your ninja clan hasn’t been doing well, so your ninja bears this tattoo that gives these heightened senses. However the draw back to the heightened sense is that it will drive you freakin’ nuts, and that you must end your life at the end of the mission before you get sucked into the madness. This is definitely the part of the story that intrigued me. With me I believe it can only mean that one thing isn’t true, which could either be what the masters say to the ninjas, or the ninja you play as seems to be immune to it. I can see this game going for another round because it just looks that good.

Klei Entertainment has created yet another great game, which you can look out for exclusively on the Xbox Live Arcade mid-2012.

Check out our interview with Klei Entertainment here!