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What We Learned From PAX

by Ben Koses
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This past weekend was a big one for the eternally raining Seattle. No, the weather didn’t drastically change and decide to be sunny forever (or maybe it did, I wasn’t there.) But that’s the nice thing about gaming – it’s good for any weather.

Of course the article’s about gaming. What did you expect?

PAX Prime

The Penny Arcade Expo, more popularly known as PAX Prime, took place this past weekend. While PAX may not be the largest gaming convention in world history (E3 and GamesCom can vie for that title), it isn’t any less reputable. Cosplayers and gamers, not to mention corporate sponsors industry representatives flocked from all over. PAX, after all, still offered us more than a few interesting developments.

Firewatch

Watching our list, the first bit of eye candy is a new game called Firewatch. It has a rather novel-like premise. Independently developed by Campo Santo (featuring developers who’ve made several other brilliant games like The Walking Dead and Mark of the Ninja), the game occurs in the Wyoming wilderness. The story follows Henry, a man who became a fire lookout (is that different from a firefighter?) to escape his personal life. Though there’s little action, this first person mystery bases its drama off of the choices made by the player.

Because Firewatch isn’t due to come out until 2015, it’s too early to say whether or not the game will be any good. But based on the history of the developers, as well as the teasers presented by PAX, I have faith that it will.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel DLC

Another promising development was the confirmation of the DLC for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I’ll admit, what grabbed me about that at first was the ‘pre-sequel’ bit and not the ‘Borderlands’ bit (that came second). I mean, let’s talk about this for a second. What the heck is a pre-sequel? Like, if that’s a prequel and a sequel, wouldn’t those cancel each other out and make the original game? Or is it a sequel to the original but a prequel to the sequel? Should I say prequel and sequel more?

Ahem. Anyway. Back on topic. People with any experience with Borderlands know what to expect – insane weaponry and sharp dialogue, mostly, though this DLC contains, for the first time, zero-gravity environments, which are hopefully better than the ice physics in most games. Ice is not a continuous stream of banana peels, guys and gals. At PAX, 2K revealed that there will be four DLC packs available. Four times the fun!

Saints Row 4: Gat Out of Hell

Another flaming highlight was Deep Silver’s announcement of an expansion pack for Saints Row 4 known as Gat Out of Hell (if the pun is on ‘bat,’ they can go right there, and if the pun is on ‘get,’ they can go there twice). Saints Row 5 will take a little longer. However, this expansion back offers more than enough to keep gamers happy. From what occurred at PAX, Saint Johnny Gat is diving into hell on a rescue mission. And he has plans to shoot Satan in the face. A game that makes that sort of claim has to be worth seeing. Playing. Playing is what I meant.

Though PAX had plenty of other game announcements to make – State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition is coming to the Xbox One next year along with all the DLC from the original game; the PS4 is hot on the trail with Ubisoft’s platform adventure game Dust: An Elysian Tail; Mortal Kombat X is coming out with more blood, gore, and spine-removing than ever before—PAX also had another surprise in store.

Nintendo’s New Toy

That’s right. Nintendo announced a new 3DS. The original was already an impressive bit of machinery, so the thought of an upgraded version is certainly tempting. Nintendo has said that the new DS will support amiibo figurines and even has a circle-pad built in. As you can (sort of) see from the above picture, the face buttons are colored, and the sliders has been moved to the top screen. All of these little changes serve to create an even better handheld gaming device.

 What We Learned

From all these announcements, we can safely say that PAX was an incredibly successful event. We learned about several games, and even an updated Nintendo system, soon to be unleashed on the general public. We learned that cosplayers are literally everywhere.

And we learned that it rains in Seattle, but then, that’s old news.

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