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

As those in the beta already know, Massive Entertainment's World in Conflict is a pretty smooth up and coming RTS, in which Soviet forces invade the United States. Look out Red Dawn fans, your dreams are finally coming true. Alternate history has been done before (such as Freedom Fighters), but gameplay made this title stand out. As seems to be the current trend in the genre, it features no base building or resource gathering, while you only reign over a smaller set of units. Your role is to lend support to the troops already on the ground. It's an interesting take that really gets going when you start calling in air strikes and other special support attacks. Not having to constantly micromanage an entire army of troops is something even the causal RTS fan can handle as a welcome change of pace.

Not everything we got our hands on was as crowd-pleasing or as polished, though. To their credit, Microsoft was promoting some Games for Windows titles including the upcoming Halloween release Hellgate: London. The Flagship Studios' take on a next generation Diablo looks great, and promises to let you play as you see fit, with six character classes focusing on different forms on combat. You really can play this action RPG as a shooter if that's more your style. Still, the impressive looking game bogged down with some frame issues throughout. Hopefully it'll all get cleaned up before release. It could have been one reason the game was only on display on one demo unit at the show. All in all, we're still psyched for the title.

On the 360 front, Project Gotham Racing 4, was like…well, PGR with motorcycles. Nothing striking to set this title apart in what is going to be a crowded holiday season. Viva Piñata Party Animals also reared its cheery head. Mini game collections are usually the domain of the Wii, but hopefully this version will at least increase awareness of original title. Needless to say, not a lot of lining up for those two. As for the Wii, we snuck over to the Rockstar booth to play some heated matches of Table Tennis. The control wasn't quite as pick up play as you would expect. Swinging the remote around to hit the ball is satisfying, but having to use the d-pad to put spin on it isn't all that comfortable. It takes a bit of getting used to. Still, there's no doubt that Wii owners are going to snatch up this title when it hits.

We also spent a bit of time with the PS3 and 360 title Dark Sector. There was certainly some work put into the style and bloody look of the game, but it really didn't do anything to set it apart from Gears of War. Sure the main character has a blade he can throw rather than a chainsaw gun, but the comparison isn't something that will soon go away. At least it's a 2008 title that won't be swept up in this fall's massive holiday games rush.

Sony made a case for buying a PS3 this fall by showing off some of their bigger upcoming titles, most notably Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Ratchet really demonstrates that Sony's promise of PIXAR-like animation on the PlayStation is finally within the realm of possibility. The frame rate was solid, and the animation was silky smooth. The look of the title is good enough to make you stop and stare. It's exactly what Sony might need to catch some eyeballs in retail stores this holiday season. It also provides the system with a title that stands out among all the ports, FPS titles, and sports games currently crowding store shelves.

So what else did PAX have in store for us? Check back for our PAX Report: Part II, loaded with all the sightseeing highlights, including a sneak peek at Far Cry 2, Assassin's Creed, and a Master Chief sighting.

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