PAX Prime 2011
Article Written by:
Aaron Holmes (OptimusSpine)
Hello again, Readers! This is the final part of my Penny Arcade Expo weekend coverage. Friday and Saturday were packed with lots of running around, interviews, gaming, and taking in everything. For my final set of interviews today, I have the following companies covered: Funcom, Z2Live, Hello Games, SRRN, and Bethesda!
Let’s start off with Funcom and their game, The Secret World
Funcom presented their latest game in development after making such games as, The Age of Conan Unchained. The Secret world is an MMORPG that is much different than that of the typical MMO, or RPG. You don’t ever wear “armor” to protect yourself, and you don’t have any “Classes” or “Professions” per se. Instead, you determine your class/profession by what you wear, and what skills that you have unlocked. This leads to the possibility of unlocking skills from every class/profession available to the player. Right off the bat, I’m going to say that this game should not be played if you’re a minor; it has nudity, but mostly that of the creatures that you fight; no character nudity was shown, unsure if it is even a possibility.
The PvE and PvP in this game look to be exciting, fast paced, action packed, and overall fun! I recommend this to those who want to try a new swing to things for both the MMO and RPG aspect, and only for those who have parental consent, since there is nudity.
Next up, is Z2Live, a local Seattle based company, in Washington. I got to meet with a couple of the companies employees and see the games that they’re working on!
Z2Live, founded in 2009, is a company currently working on Mobile Device games for all to enjoy. Their current games are: Metalstorm: Online and Trade Nations. I got to try out both games on the Apple iPad 2.
Let’s begin with Metalstorm: Online. This game is constantly updated by changes made from the developers; these changes can include anything from weapon stats/damage, to the different fighters stats and armor! The customization for the fighters is limited to what weapons you can equip, but there is a large variety of fighters from which to choose, with more to come! Fighters can be unlocked like items, by gaining more XP to level up.
On to the actual game; the graphics for this game are beautiful! I really felt a part of the game as I moved the iPad around (using the gyro system) to control my fighter and shoot down enemies in the air, before I went on to tackle large enemy Battleships! I was really pulled into the game when I was flying around and shooting at the Battleships, and at one point, was inches away from colliding with the bridge of the ship, narrowly pulling up in time! The game has some intense battles, and only 1 map was available at the time I played it, but if I had an iPad, I would want to get Metalstorm: Online, just for the fun of pulling off crazy stunts!
My only other comment on the game, is that the controls felt a little slow to respond, and it can’t be played everywhere due to the use of WiFi in order to play the game. Other than that, if you want a fast-paced, quick-action jet fighter game, try Metalstorm: Online!
Next is Z2Live’s game, Trade Nations. This is a very casual game that is in a sense, reminiscent of Farmville by Zynga. You can create your own small village to start, and slowly upgrade buildings until you have a huge city! One of the major features that I enjoyed Z2 talking about, is that buying and building a Wishing Well in your town contributed toward a real life well in another country that is in need of water!
Here is what Z2Live told me about the Wishing Well:
The wishing well is an item that you buy in the game to put on your land, like trees, flowers, etc… The well descriptions tells you about your purchase and what your money is going toward.
You have to pay with in-game currency called “magic beans”. It takes 95 magic beans to buy a well and 100 magic beans cost roughly $4.99 (if you buy more beans, say 500, the cost goes down per magic bean. If you only buy enough to cover the well, i.e. 95, then it costs $4.99).
All of the proceeds that Z2Live gets from these well purchases goes to charity:water. In 2 months, they have had enough well purchases in Trade Nations to pay for 5 real world wells, which each cost $5000 to build.
Thanks Z2Live. It was great talking to you and checking out your games!
Next up from my final days of interviews is Hello Games, from Guildford, located in the UK. These developers released the original Joe Danger, and now are releasing a new game: Joe Danger The Movie.
Joe Danger The Movie, is a fun, action packed race against the time, and other racers, to collect items throughout the courses, and to also complete other objectives. The main idea of the game is that the more dangerously you perform, the higher your score, and of course, at the end of the game it’ll create a short movie, showing how everything you’re doing is tied in to the crazy movie that the Director is creating. And you just happen to be the leading star and stuntman! The game is humorous, fun, and challenging, but it’s quirkiness and addictive replayability make it a great game for laughs, and for those who just want to try and get the next highest score to beat their friends, or others, online! I recommend trying this game out when it hits all consoles later this year!
Archibald & Remus: Minor Lords is a tower defense game that I got to try out on the Apple iPad. The game is like any other Tower Defense game. Build a line of towers to conquer each wave of enemies before they reach the center and you lose the game! This game, which is currently in development, will feature Touch Controls allowing you to purchase towers and place them instantly, even drag and drop the towers! There was only one level available when I played Minor Lords, but it’s definitely pretty fun, and the final product should be pretty refined! If you’ve got a knack for Tower Defense games, or just enjoy them at all, Minor Lords, is worth trying out when it comes out at a time to be determined.
Lastly, to wrap up the entire weekend, I got to visit one of the busiest of all the booths at P.A.X. Bethesda!
I was hoping to get a chance to try out both Rage and Skyrim, unfortunately, due to a scheduling problem on Bethesda’s side, I only got to try out RAGE.
Bethesda, best known for their Elder Scrolls games and Fallout: New Vegas, is releasing two NEW games later this year! They are Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and RAGE. While I only got to play RAGE, I got to at least see some of Skyrim which looked absolutely beautiful. RAGE, which is an FPS that is coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3, is set in the future, in a setting similar to that of Fallout. It has you going around, taking quests from NPC’s and fighting bad guys. The only difference? You get some nice transportation instead of having to walk everywhere. I played a good hour into the game before I decided to call it a night, but this game reminds me quite a bit of Fallout, since you can get recipes for both Weapons, Healing items, and more, which is very useful, especially for situations where you need to create a special lock pick to get access to certain doors in each area. The game, RAGE, has a lot of potential to be a great game, and already has me hooked, which is why I anticipate its release. So if you loved Fallout, and want to play a game that has similar mechanics to it, minus the leveling system, RAGE is definitely worth the money spent!
And so ends my three days of the Penny Arcade Expo, and an amazing weekend! I got to meet so many great people, enjoy so many new and exciting games, and heck, ha ha, I got some great exercise! Thousands of people were at the Convention Center this year and I couldn’t tell you how many Cos-players I saw, or how many people carrying creeper heads, or even the amount of people with large amounts of swag stuffed into their bags! The Convention Center was packed, the HALO Convention was packed, and the Paramount Theatre had hundreds, if not thousands of people lined up all around it! In a sense, I wish I had gotten more pictures taken of everything, and even more video, but I’m satisfied with what I did get, and I hope that you, Reader, have enjoyed reading this article, and that you’ve been able to find some new games to try out, if not buy, this year and for the years to come!