PAX 2007 Report Feature - The Next Level

PAX 2007 Report

John drops into the "other" most anticipated U.S. expo this year.

Article by John Dougherty (Email)
September 4th 2007, 12:05AM
 

After an exhaustive weekend filled with games of all shapes and sizes, the exhibitors packed up their demos, the gamers migrated home with bags of swag, and of course, the Omeganaut was crowned. Yes, another Penny Arcade Expo has drawn to a close. Amid all the fanfare and fervor, GotNext was on hand to get our grubby little paws on every hot title we could during the blissful weekend.

Without a doubt the biggest game of PAX was Harmonix's Rock Band. Even with three full band demo units running on Xbox 360s, there was a constant line to play. Whether you or your band mates were fantastic or terrible, it was incredibly fun all the same. It really is Guitar Hero taken to a whole new level. You can put us down right now for a $200 preorder, even if our band teetered more on embarrassed side. No one cheered when we hit the last note of "Say It Ain't So," but at least nobody booed either. Even in an expo setting, the appeal was self-evident. Bands were formed on the fly, friendships forged over a geek sense of accomplishment at the successful completion of a tune. The ability to save your band mates after they fail out is a godsend to all the rhythmically challenged. All you have to do is shake the guitar, bang the drums or yell into the mike to bring the missing instrument back from the brink.

Although the lines weren't as long, Free Radical and Ubisoft's new shooter Haze was pretty damn impressive. It was one of the few demos that gamers played through to the end. The PS3 timed exclusive looks primed to position itself as a must have this November, a difficult feat for a shooter challenging the likes of Master Chief and Gordon Freeman. Haze brings variety to a standard run and gun shooter by focusing on the futuristic battlefield stimulant, nectar. This splinters the narrative in two, as you begin as a Mantel trooper, harvesting nectar to heighten you battle skills, including making you move faster and see your enemies more easily. While overdosing renders you unable to tell friend from foe, and you'll automatically shoot comrades that cross your path. After a change of heart, the second half of the game will feature you as a Promise Hand rebel trying to force Mantel troopers to overdose by tossing nectar laced grenades and throwing knifes. The nectar mechanic is well implemented, and with four player jump-in-jump-out co-op alongside 26 player multiplayer, it has the feature set to match the other fall heavy hitters.


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