Game Rant on Location: PAX East 2012 Highlights and Lowlights

Published 3 years ago by , Updated April 14th, 2012 at 2:19 pm,

PAX East 2012 Highlights

With great sadness, another PAX East has come to a close. After spending the last three days playing the latest and greatest games, and interviewing those who have made them, at PAX East 2012 we have plenty of great content hands-on content coming your way over the next couple days.

In the meantime, here some of the highlights and lowlights from this weekend’s gaming extravaganza.

Game That Blew Us Away: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Honoring the turn-based nature of the original title, this re-imagining of the 1994 strategy game appears ready to please both retro and modern gamers alike.

Long Live Nostalgia! (tie): Max Payne 3 and XCOM: Unknown Enemy (Firaxis)

Don’t expect huge deviations from the original series when it comes to the core gameplay of these long established franchises.

Gameplay That Seems Almost Too Good to Be True: Hitman: Absolution (IO Interactive)

Aside from one enemy’s body floating awkwardly through the air as a result of an explosion, the demonstration footage was so impressive that it seemed too perfect. If the guys from IO Interactive deliver on what they’ve shown, there are going to be a lot of happy Agent 47 fanboys out there.

Assassin's Creed 3 Japan World War 2 Egypt

Gameplay that is more evolutionary than revolutionary: Assassin’s Creed 3 (Ubisoft)

The gameplay shown at PAX East will thrill AC3 fans, and the portrayal of a military battle will excite Revolutionary War fans. But the flow of the game still appears very similar to the prior entries in the series, even if the movements were built from the ground up and trees have now replaced buildings. Nonetheless, expect the newest protagonist, Connor, to be one of the most popular costumes come this Halloween.

RPG That Every Xbox 360 Owner Should Play: The Witcher 2 (CD Projekt Red)

The Witcher 2 was an epic PC RPG that just needed an opportunity for a larger audience. Now it finally gets a chance when it releases for the Xbox 360. RPG fans disappointed with the outcome of Mass Effect 3 should give this one a look.

Puzzle title that needs more GLaDOS: Quantum Conundrum (Airtight Games)

Designed by Kim Swift, the former lead designer of Portal, this puzzle game exchanges the portal gun for an Interdimensional Shift Device, which changes the characteristics and aesthetics of the environment. While nothing screams comfort like the fluffy dimension, Quantum Conundrum could use a little more passive-aggressive humor to truly make us feel at home.

The Ultimate Survivor (tie): Sleeping Dogs (United Front Games) and Spec Ops: The Line (Yager Development)

A year ago, both of these games seemed as if they may never see the light of day. Luckily for gamers, both made it through the rough patch and were able to impress attendees of PAX East. The two titles are now set for release this year.

You Got Your Child of Eden in My Panzer Dragoon: Crimson Dragon (Microsoft Studios)

Those who played Child of Eden will have a serious case of deja vu when playing the spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon. The rail shooter uses a nearly identical control scheme, offering a been there, done that experience. Then again, hardly anyone played Child of Eden and Crimson Dragon has one major advantage: customizable dragons.

Steel Battalion Heavy Armor Trailer

Kinect Finally Goes Hardcore: Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor (From Software)

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor is the first game to fully integrate the Xbox 360 controller with the Kinect (no, Mass Effect 3 doesn’t count). Microsoft’s motion control device replaces the $200 Steel Battalion 40-button controller and is as awkward as you’d think it would be. On the bright side, the game won’t ruin your childhood by featuring awkward dancing sequences (we’re looking at you Kinect Star Wars).

Most Surprisingly Fun Multiplayer: The Guerilla Mode of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Separate from the regular multiplayer, Guerrilla Mode offers co-op play where each gamer is a member of a 4-player squad that is attempting to hold onto a base location. Because of the realistic combat style, successful completion requires real teamwork and coordination. Essentially a horde mode, Guerrilla Mode features 50 rounds with a boss appearance every 10 rounds.

Most Controversial Moment: The Removal of Famed Cosplayer, Jessica Nigri

Ms. Nigri had been dressed as Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw (see left photo below) at the Warner Bros. booth all day on Friday without incident. When she changed into the variant costume on Saturday afternoon (right photo), which was, um, a tad bit more revealing, PAX showrunners told her to change back into her first costume. After doing so, she was then told to wear a sweatshirt or face removal from PAX. While not kicked from the show, Ms. Nigri’s Juliet Starling appearance was over for the rest of the show.

Lollipop Chainsaw PAX East Jessica Nigri Cosplay Juliet Starling

Best Show within a Show: BioWare’s “base” camp

Despite its recent heavy-handedness related to the ending of Mass Effect 3, BioWare is still a huge fan-favorite with the gaming public and the company showed its community some love by setting up shop in one of the convention center’s suites. A schedule of events took place every day of the convention, including autograph signings, trivia contests, and a demonstration of the “Resurgence Pack DLC.”

Stay tuned throughout the week as we’ll be posting additional interviews and hands-on impressions of many of the big titles shown at this year’s show.

TAGS: Assassin's Creed 3, BioWare, Crimson Dragon, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Hitman Absolution, Lollipop Chainsaw, Mass Effect 3, max payne 3, PAX, PAX East 2012, Sleeping Dogs, Spec Ops: The Line, Steel Battalion Heavy Armor, The Witcher 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

  • Steve Pendlebury

    Oh Jessica.
    It’s a damn shame I couldn’t swing by the bus when she had that thing on.

  • ATG

    She’s skinny, but most definitely do-able! (inappropriate??) Good thing I’m not some weirdo creep online and can actually get some 😉 for free!

    On a serious note, I wish I could attend events like these.

    • Matt

      Yeah right. Your emphasis on getting some for free indicates that you can’t get some at all, or you’re rich enough to get some for a lot of money.

      On a serious note, I, too, wish I could attend events like these.

    • rustysh4cklfrd

      Sure ATG, you’re just knee deep in b*tches aren’t you?

    • Fiachra

      I’m sure she’s relieved that she meets some charmless internet asspie’s lofty standards.

      You’re not a creep, just a socially retarded jackass.

    • yodarlz

      Guys, chill. I know he gets it for free. He is in a commited relationship with his right hand.

  • asdf

    I see other cosplay thats even more revealing…

  • Lordtazou

    Hell, I have seen cosplays with damn near to nothing on at all… lol

  • Ken J

    Did someone just call Ghost Recon: Future Soldier “realistic” yet there is a “horde mode” and bosses? Here’s realistic for you, a small spec-ops group facing “waves,” “hordes,” whatever you want to call them, will die. As much as I want to claim these guys are invincible, they are not. They are not meant to face large forces head-on in the manner in which these games portray. They tried that once, in Panama, and it was a disaster. That’s what the Rangers are for, not the SEALs or whatever… Just the simple issue of limited ammo supply will be an obvious problem, since they can only really bring what they can carry. There are no magic ammo supply boxes in real life when a small group of spec-ops operators are dropped deep behind enemy lines.

    In Granada, a group of SEALs were barricaded inside a diplomat’s house overnight while a militia force was trying to get across the estate’s lawn to the house. They managed to hold them off, with the help of a Spectre gunship, and even with that, they actually only had a handful of rounds left between all of them. Had the militia force kept pushing on instead of backing off, they would have easily overtaken that house after that point… Not due to a lack of skill or perseverance on the part of the SEALs, but just simple logistics…

    Also, how are “bosses” realistic? What are “bosses” in real life? A military General will die with a bullet to the head just the same as a Private…

    Anyway, rant over, just have a beef with anyone referring to any of Ubisoft’s wannabe tacticool games tarnishing the Tom Clancy name as “realistic.” I really wish they will sell that brand to some other company that will actually make games that are actually realistic… Not to mention, games that actually work on the PC and not just some lazy buggy port from their console run-and-gun tacticool games…

    • Rob Keyes

      lol, your definition of “realistic” isn’t matching what’s being said above.

      When people say realistic in describing a video game, it means they’re aiming for realistic elements (i.e., the effect of a suppressor, inter-squad communication, weapon modification, etc.)

      • Ken J

        I know, my expectations for realism is not really shared by most gamers, I just have a special hate for Ubisoft and it’s specifically for how UNREALISTIC they’ve transformed games that used to be realistic back when they were made by Redstorm.

        And I GUARANTEE you that they do not even have those realistic elements correct. Such as the suppressor. I BET you that in the game, a suppressor decreases the power of bullets (as in if you compare the power between the same weapon with and without a suppressor). Their explanation is that the muzzle velocity is decreased by the use of the suppressor.

        Realistic: Adding a suppressor to a weapon actually INCREASES muzzle velocity.

        And even inter-squad communication, I wonder if members of the squad will communicate using their voice even while they are sneaking around and close to enemies and somehow those enemies wouldn’t hear them… Wonder if they incorporate the idea where they would just key their radio once or twice to say yes or no non-verbally. Wait, what am I thinking? This is Ubisoft. Which means most likely they use all of the typical fake hand signals you see in movies, they probably constantly say gimmicky witty things to each other for no reason, yep, that sounds more like what a company like Ubisoft would do. Oh, but they’ll put a little bit of military-sounding things in there and they’ll call it “realistic.”

        I wonder how long into the game before someone says into a radio “over and out.” Like you always hear in movies or games trying to pretend like they know real military radio etiquette… Just in case you’re wondering why I am wondering about that, you NEVER say “over and out.” I never understood how that became such a common misunderstanding… The word “over” and the word “out” being used during radio communication mean two totally different and almost contradicting things. So you can never use them together. Same thing with “Roger wilco.”

        • Viscous

          Point of correction, roger wilco is most often used in aviation. Most often used during the second world war. Roger Wilco was in actual fact used quite frequently together. “Roger” By itself only means that the message has been received. NOT that it was fully understood or will be acted upon. The term “Roger Wilco” was used then to indicate “Message received” and “Will comply” that way the sender knows action will be taken upon receipt of the message by the pilot.

          As for “game realistic rant” you did. I mostly agree with you. Sometimes the “realistic” elements are so damn unrealistic it’s painful.

          • Ken J

            Ah, didn’t know they actually used to use Roger Wilco together… Don’t really understand it though. You typically would not say “Roger” unless you heard and understood the message. And Wilco is only really used when you’re asked to do something, while Roger is when you’re given information… Oh well, I guess it was used slightly differently back then. But I’m pretty sure “over and out” is just always been wrong…

        • Spider-Abu

          @Ken If you want THAT level of military realism in something, why don’t you just go watch a documentary or join the army yourself? This is called a game for a reason. Sometimes realism or TOO much realism will take away the fun from the game. It’s much like GTA where most people say how reallistic it is, as in for a game, obviously.
          btw that rant might have beaten some of my rages as being too useless. Just saying.. 😛

          • Ken J

            I love that argument. It seems like to you (not singling you out, a lot of people think the way you do) can only really think of extremes. Either you have really unrealistic because it’s “just a game” or you join the military… I wonder if you realize that before Ubisoft bought out Redstorm and bastardized their games, the original Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six games would pass what I consider as “realistic” games. No I don’t need to watch real people die or have bullets shot at me for me to consider something realistic. Seriously, is asking for a game maker to make things like realistic ammo capacity, realistic bullet ballistics, and realistic health/injury in the characters really asking too much?? Funny that back in the day, games like what I’m describing were winning awards and heralded by most as great video game experiences, but to today’s kids prone to ADHD those games are simply not fast-paced enough and too “difficult.” Every gamer now seems to need their hand held through everything, and it’s sad.

            I remember when game reviews before criticized games for being too easy. Not games are criticized for being too difficult if they don’t hold your hand through everything or let you have regenerating health… Is society just getting dumber or what???

          • Ken J

            Oops, in the last paragraph “Now games are criticized for being too difficult” not “Not games are criticized…” Oops. Apparently I’m a victim of society’s decline as well, lol. 😛

          • Spider-Abu

            Lol I used to play the first Rainbow Six on PS1 and even own the CD copy on PC for ages now. Yes I loved the games and was hooked to them. Now that I think about it, I’d actually want an HD remake of the classics now. And you’re right a bit on the Regeneration now…but I am the type that will take HOURS to make a move in a games, and when it comes to one that will be that difficult, I’d just take even longer to do anything..and constantly mashing the save button is like a desease for me in games that allow you to do that…which gets really annoying to me as a gamer also. But I don’t know how they would randomly mess up the guns’ infos and how they shoot, specially since they are trying to actually simulate the military…but as I aformentioned above, if it gets tOOOO realistic it could loose some of the fun and get too frustrating. I think they should give as a HARD and then a VETERAN difficulty in their newer games where VETERAN would mean no health regen! :OO

          • Ken J


            Where do you get the idea that they are trying to simulate the military? This is UBISOFT we’re talking about. Have you played their other Tom Clancy games? Such as Rainbow Six: Vegas?? It is like the most unrealistic game in the world and yes they find a way to mess up the weapons because they don’t even try. They make weapons more powerful if they are considered “cooler.” That’s how they decide how a weapon performs in the game. Remember, this is the game that they originally didn’t even want to release on the PC. So that means it’s just another console run-and-gun. Imagine a console game where one shot will kill you. Nobody will buy it. So I guarantee you regenerating health is in it. Also, with the joystick aiming, imagine if you have very limited ammo. Again, everyone will complain that it’s too hard and you run out of ammo too fast. So I guarantee you they have things like a magic unlimited ammo pistol, or ammo crates conveniently placed around the maps, the ability to magically pick up ammo if you walk over a weapon on the floor, etc. etc. etc.

            Trust me, Ubisoft is doing no such attempt to “simulate” anything. They use “tactical” and “realism” as gimmicks to get you in the door. They are just flavors added to a game that is unrealistic to its core. That’s how all of their Tom Clancy games have been, and I don’t see why this would be any different…

          • Spider-Abu

            mehh I get you, but it’s still trying to simulate the military with that much military talk and feel in the game, whither realistic or not, still shows the likeness of a military group. Get what I’m saying?

          • Ken J


            I get it, but there have been so many other games that have attempted the same and executed it so much better than Ubisoft is ever capable of…

            Heck, other than the amount of damage it takes to kill people, BF3 is surprisingly realistic in things like weapon reloads (you don’t know how often I see reload animations that are completely wrong in video games, to the point where if you tried to do it that way to the real thing it wouldn’t work, lol), and not only are their reloads accurate, but they are actually the “advanced” style of reloads that you mainly only see done by spec-ops or competition shooters… Whoever they hired to do the motion capture is a real pro and I can tell that right away. But other than that, yes, the game is not a realistic game, but they did go through a lot more effort in getting the weapons modeled correctly, the correct reload animations, and if you play the single player, a lot of the chatter is very realistic.

            In terms of actually realistic games, see the old Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games before Redstorm went under, and the original Operation Flashpoint (not the garbage sequel that was developed by other people than the first) and the ARMA games. I’m eager to see the next installment of the ARMA series…

          • Spider-Abu

            Yeh I <3 BF3, but going to those "realistic" games, I would only go as far as playing my original Rainbow Six…ArmA 3, idk how much work they tried to put on the animations or graphics…but from what I saw from the gameplays the animations were kinda stiff and the overall game is WAYYY too extensive for me. I just don't see myself wasting that much time in a military shooter. ArmA games basically put the jokes about the long run you have to do to meet a baddy in BF3 to shame, the game is too big for itself. 😛

          • Ken J


            Well, that’s one of the downsides of the ARMA games. The studio that makes them isn’t a terribly big studio, so their games tend to lack the kind of polish you’re used to seeing from other games. Things like animations, they’ll need some high-tech motion capture techniques and other things that apparently they cannot afford. I do wish someone will take BF3 and mod it to have the realism of the ARMA games, that would be awesome. The best of both worlds.

    • SV

      There was just a game on Kickstarter called “Takedown” that might be up your alley. APPARENTLY its about truely realistic spec op type missions. No respawns, actual injury characteristics, etc. Might wanna start following that, I know it did hit its goal for the kickstarter ($200,000 i believe)

      • Ken J


        Awesome, I’ll take a look. :-)

  • Ken J

    Dude, that Jessica chick is fit. I’m not sure if it’s just shadows, but in the other article with a pic of her in costume, one of them it looks like she has some pretty defined triceps. I mean, they’re not like mine or any men who work out, but for a woman, I’m pretty impressed…

  • HelghastUser

    Good Info guys. Sucks what happen to Nigri…