PAX 2007 Report, Part 2 Feature - The Next Level

PAX 2007 Report, Part 2

The conclusion of John's on-the-scene report.

Article by John Dougherty (Email)
September 10th 2007, 01:59PM

Big action developers weren't the only ones showing their upcoming games. PAX had plenty of room for something different and to the excitement of adventure fans, Telltale Games showed off a few scenes from Sam and Max: Season Two. Season Two looks to build on the success of Season One by giving the characters a bit more freedom to move around in the environments. The demo showed off a few areas, including Stinky's Diner, and of course, a bit of that trademark Sam and Max humor. It's nice to see that in an age in which episodic content sputters as a business model, Telltale continues to show everyone how to pull it off.

While Halo 3 didn't make an appearance outside the final round of The Omegathon, Master Chief was present promoting the WizKids' Halo ActionClix game. The game, set to release shortly before the Halo 3 midnight bonanza, proved pretty popular with those in attendance. It was nice to see that the game is straightforward and easy to learn, much like its Heroclix and Horrorclix brethren. The standard clix rules apply, with each character model featuring health, attack and defense values at its base. However, each character also has a character card, detailing a point value and special ability. The point value is the key to upgrading your character. Points are awarded for kills. They can also be awarded as the result of a loot roll. Each side has a spawn point to pump more units into the fray, which can fall into enemy hands. A loot roll rewards the player who manages to capture and hold an enemy spawn point. Not only does it provide that great bonus, but it also prevents your buddy from bringing new troops into the fracas. The spawn points will be the center of intense fighting and thoughtful strategy. The figures themselves are well sculpted, and Halo nuts are going to go absolutely insane trying to collect them.

Not to be outdone by its sci-fi brethren, the Starcraft board game was also playable in a demo capacity. Created by Fantasy Flight Games, the creators of the World of Warcraft board game, it's certainly not outmatched in complexity. Just looking at the board set up and layout is intimidating. Thankfully, once we got the hang of it, it wasn't terribly difficult to play. There's the potential for some serious strategy here. The board game features all three Starcraft races: Terran, Protoss and Zerg with over 180 plastic figures. Each race has two factions, so up to six players can play at once. Each race and faction has special abilities giving them distinct strategic advantages that fans will pour over. The basic premise of the game is to accumulate victory points. Those points are awarded for holding key territories on several different planets. Since all planets are connected in a way representing 3D, the fighting comes from all angles and is fast and furious. Even on a board, there is nothing quite like the excitement of a Zerg rush.

With three systems battling for consoling supremacy, PC gaming stepping it up a notch and trading card and board games fighting for their own space, there was almost too much to take in at PAX. It's an amazing community event that features ever-increasing support from publishers and developers alike. At a time when developers and publishers strive more than ever to communicate directly with gamers, PAX is poised to utterly explode. All you have to do is look no further than the XBLA Penny Arcade game to see the potential for growth. And it's so much more than just games. With random cosplay, tournaments around every corner and DS players galore, there is something fun to do every minute of the weekend. We can't wait for next year.

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