Tuesday, September 17, 2013

PAX Impressions: "Mighty Monday": Part 1

So as you may have already read, I was able to go to PAX Prime for one day, the last day, which I dubbed "Mighty Monday" for no reason other than to be sarcastic about getting to go on the last day, which usually is not the best to go.  I was able to play a few games, despite the stupid long lines and the massive crowds.  First up are the two Xbox One games I looked at.

Ryse: Son of Rome
The game looked really good (graphically).  The shadows and details were crisp and looked natural.  There is a noticeable difference between the next gen and the current gen (although not as big a difference as the previous to the current gen).  You attack with the X Button and block break with the Y Button.  The A Button is for parrying.  The controls were responsive, especially the parry, since it would interrupt my attacks to do it.  That's very helpful and kept the combat fun and fluid.  It reminded me of the early fights in the Batman: Arkham games, where you were supposed to be aggressive and counter when the enemies attacked.  There was also a "rapture" mechanic where you filled a meter to become really powerful for some time.  Yeah, nothing new or ground-breaker there, and would have been better if you could activate it yourself rather than just when it finishes filling up.

The demo paired people off for some co-op fights.  Executing an enemy would restore some health to both players, and you could revive a fallen friend quickly (which is very helpful with a group of guys breathing down your neck).  For my demo, a partner and I were in an arena for a few fights.  At first we had to kill a few guys, then a champion appeared, and he had flaming swords.  I ran up to take him on.  After a few block breaks and a combo, he had the skull above his head that signified he could be executed.  I tried that, and it didn't work, then I tried to attack him so he would fall into the spike pit... which also didn't work.  Then spears shot up around us and I was trapped in a tiny space with him.  Uh oh.

We traded blows for a bit while I was hitting the spears to break my way out.  I eventually did (those spears are surprisingly sturdy), but not before I lost a good chunk of health.  The champion was slain and my partner had taken out the rest of the enemies to finish the wave.  The next two waves of opponents were not as... eventful, but they were fun.  There were more of the dual flaming sword guys and even some shield guys.  Since I wasn't trapped in a closet with them, I was able to dispatch them without much trouble.  Plus, I had finally figured out that it takes multiple block breaks to get through the guards of the stronger opponents.

I like the execution mechanic, but it didn't seem to always work on the stronger guys.  There were some multi-part executions, and I had to just guess what would work, since there were no on-screen prompts.  I could deal with that but nowhere did they explain what buttons to hit.  I don't think Ryse: Son of Rome a system seller, but I enjoyed the game and would play it with a friend (especially if there is local co-op, but I don't know if there is yet).

Killer Instinct
Wow, again the graphics looked very good in KI.  I've watched several videos, but they really don't do it justice.  Admittedly I didn't try it, since it's a fighting game and the people I watched had a decent grasp on what to do, so I would just get demolished.  I do think I watched too many videos of it on Youtube, since whenever someone would do an Ultra Combo, I could hear the music, despite the fact the game audio was through the headphones.  Yikes.

Also, thinking back on it, I don't think the Microsoft booth showed off any 360 games, just Xbox One games.  I could have missed them, though, it would fit in with how MS handled the transition from Xbox to Xbox 360 (they just dropped the Xbox almost immediately).  Sony seemed to have a better mix of current and upcoming gen games to play.

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