Categotry Archives: PAX 2014

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The Order: 1886

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The Order play roomThe Order: 1886 is GORGEOUS. The characters are as close to human as I’ve ever seen in a game, and the atmosphere is a cool, steampunky aesthetic. The trailer playing in the booth showed what looked like a cross between a zombie and a sentient werewolf, so that’s awesome, too. All that being said, the gameplay didn’t feel ground-breaking. Admittedly I don’t have a ton of experience with PlayStation and it’s also possible that the fact that I was sitting six inches away from an enormous screen skewed my perceptions. But while I bet I’d love to watch someone else play through, this wasn’t enough to convince me I need to get my own PlayStation.

I did come away with a sweet tee shirt and pin, though. A dude waiting right outside the booth immediately begged me for the pin, offering his World of Warcraft pin in trade… given my LTR with WoW it seemed like a good deal to me.

The Order: 1886 comes out in February of next year.

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Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Rogue

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Assassin's Creed booth at PAX Prime 2014

I didn’t realize ’til we watched the exclusive trailer here at PAX that Assassin’s Creed has TWO games coming out. “Unity,” which has been discussed all over the place (including here on Nerdhole) is for the next-gen consoles, but “Rogue” is for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Neither the PAX presentation nor some quick Googling explain why they’re being released this way, so I’m not sure what that’s about.

“Rogue ” is the story of an Assassin who begins to hunt others in the brotherhood. It appears to be more in line with traditional AC gameplay, with the return of naval battles as in AC “Black Flag.” According to a Q&A on Twitter  you can play the two games in any order and it won’t affect your understanding of the overarching AC storyline. Check out the “Rogue” gameplay trailers here and here.

The AC booth also had a sweet collection of costumes from the series along with the opportunity to snap a photo of your favorite one and tweet it for the chance to win some swag.

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Project Spark, neat!

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We had this vague sense that “Project Spark” was interesting–in that “oh, yeah, I think I’ve heard of that” way–and indeed, it is! It’s an internal MS project, by a small team out in Redmond called Team Dakota, and it’s both a free-to-play Xbox One game (that alone seems kind of amazing) and a whole platform for building new games. One of the community members we talked to (the inventor of an in-game “Godzilla” that Microsoft’s lawyers haven’t discovered yet) even compared that aspiration to becoming like Unreal within a few years. (Project Spark will be on the PC too.)

The demo we played was underwhelming at first, just in seeming like a conventional top-down, vanilla-fantasy arcade adventure game. Like this:

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But then we realized that this was just a tutorial for the building blocks of the system, a visual program language of “when/do” programming tiles–so we were adventuring around and finding little tiles that we could then use to activate elements in the game.

The real meat of the game is the Minecraft-y world editor, in which you can build all sorts of games, with a ton of different textures, building blocks, and custom “brains”–basically AIs built out of the code tiles. In the beta, people have made everything from RPGs to tower defense games. Even cooler (and like Minecraft), the editor is multiplayer, so you can team up with friends to build games and levels. This is also the revenue engine of the game: it’s free to play, but the “whales” will be the game designers who will pay to buy more varied and interesting world-building ingredients.

What a nice surprise! Really looking forward to this, it comes out on 10/7. Although fair warning: While Mary and I were having coffee at Monorail Espresso (another great PAX refuge, that’s where we’re sitting as I type this!), we ran into some friends who had DL’d the beta a while ago and said it was so buggy it was unplayable. Let’s hope the in-game experience is smooth in the released version.

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What Can I Say About WoW?

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If you’re new to World of Warcraft, or returning after a long hiatus, it’s a really great time to get in to it. The game is better than ever with more advanced tech and art. Plus when you pre-order the expansion, Warlords of Draenor (coming November 13), you get an automatic boost to level 90 for either a new or existing character which means you can skip the daunting slog of leveling and jump directly into the new content.

If you’re already a player, you’ve probably been keeping up with the minutia of the expansion, so I won’t go into detail here. And anyway I’m not sure how much I was able to learn in playing 10 minutes of demo that I hadn’t already seen in YouTube videos of the beta. I made a toon, started building a garrison, and killed a few beasties, but it’s hard to get a real feel of storyline and gameplay in such a short burst. (Plus without my addons and key mapping I was stumbling a bit.) Still, it was pretty cool and I’m even more charged for the release.

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Pretty great Smash Bros.

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According to our 11-year-old Nintendo research intern, Super Smash Bros. (for the 3DS and WiiU, not the DS) is pretty great. We waited for about 20 minutes to play the 6-minute demo–totally worth it for the exclusive “fight towel” swag–and discovered that the Wii Fit Trainer is no match for the combined power of Luigi, Bowser, and Greninja. The game releases on 10/3.

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