Michael Moccio ’16 & Daniel Kendi ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editors
This survival, post-apocalyptic game is being developed by Naughty Dog. You may recognize them for their work on Jak and Daxter and Uncharted, all of which have been critical successes. It appears that The Last of Us will follow suit. After waiting two and a half hours to play a thirty minute demo, I can honestly say I’m satisfied. This booth takes the first position because of the game itself. The controls were easy to master for someone who hasn’t touched a Playstation 3 in months, while the graphics and environment (including the sounds) were very realistic and added to the terror of the game. The combat system was dynamic and interactive: you have to use tactics, stealth, and a steady aim. Finally, the storyline is character driven which allows the game to transcend beyond a typical genre story. Well after playing the demo, I had chills and kept hearing the ethereal clicking noises of the game’s monsters—the ability of the game to stay with its player after the experience is over is a testament to its potential.
2. Marvel Heroes (Gazillion Entertainment)
The upcoming MMO based on the Marvel Universe held a strong presence at PAX East. Over twenty different stations allowed patrons of the convention to play a demo and sample the storyline of the game. Players could use characters as iconic as Iron Man and Wolverine, to less mainstream heroes like Scarlet Witch and Deadpool. Although the graphics are tame compared to DC’s DC Universe Online, the combat system is far better. Each character has a different feel for combat: Deadpool and Wolverine are heavy solo characters with the ability to heal and sustain themselves, whereas Scarlet Witch is more of support-based character that debuffs and slows down opponents. It’s these small details—these small differences—that made Marvel Heroes so interesting to me: I felt compelled to play as each character and, let me tell you, if felt pretty awesome playing as Deadpool and shooting down some Tyrannosaurus Rexes. This booth also gets a plus for all the characters that showed up in person: two Phoenixes and one Hawkeye. And man was that Hawkeye nice to look at, if you catch my drift.
3. Magic: The Gathering (Wizards of the Coast)
Magic: The Gathering had a large presence at PAX East this year. The booth itself let visitors play the card game with professionals or get cards signed by the artists. The booth also had a store where Magic players could buy card decks or collectable t-shirts. The largest part of this booth though, was the playable Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014. Fans could try out this game and then embark on a real life quest throughout the PAX East show floor. The quest involved going to different booths and solving riddles to get four stamps on a card the booth provided. The card could then be traded in for “Chandra” goggles. This booth was constantly crowded and the goggles from the quest ran out very quickly.
Several titles made their appearance at the Nintendo booth. As Monster Hunters played in the background, my colleague and I sampled New Super Mario Bros. U and Fire Emblem: Awakening. The former has been out for a significant amount of time, but the latter is fairly new. Nothing was really brand new at the Nintendo booth, but the games were enjoyable to play, especially for someone without a Wii U or a Nintendo 3DS. Fire Emblem: Awakening was more entertaining in my opinion, but the gameplay dynamics of the Wii U were interesting and completely different from any other Mario game previously encountered. Overall, not the best, but not the worst.
This booth gets the number five spot simply because, frankly, it was underwhelming. In addition to featuring Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Watch Dogs, Ubisoft presented a short preview of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. With very little gameplay, rehashing images and sequences repeatedly, and ambiguous commentary, this presentation fell short of hype and made me more interested in the fake sword they gave out for free than the presentation. Although Black Flag still looks promising, this booth did nothing to market what could possibly be another financial success. Though, I will say watching Captain Edward Kenway stab a shark with his sword was incredibly entertaining and interesting. That, more than anything, showcased the skills we’ve come to expect from a seasoned assassin; in addition, the landscape looks well done and expansive. Otherwise, there wasn’t much, unfortunately, to Ubisoft’s booth.