PAX is a gamer’s convention. Every year, at their multiple locations around the world, gamers gather at PAX to play the hottest games before they have a chance to release. Other conventions like E3, Gamescom, and Tokyo Game Show, favor journalists over gamers. PAX allows gamers to really have a chance to play these games.
However, just because PAX favors game-playing in general, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t big new game announcements and the like that comes from the show. Indeed, PAX is one of the “big four” gaming conventions that is held each year, and this year certainly did not disappoint. Join Cheat Masters as we go through the top 10 games that were are at PAX 2012.
10. Ratchet: Deadlocked HD (PS3)
The missing piece of the Ratchet & Clank Collection on the PlayStation 3 was Ratchet: Deadlocked. This PS2 spinoff was the first Ratchet & Clank game that saw players only controlling Ratchet. It had a focus on the bombastic combat that the series is known for, plus it expanded on the multiplayer introduced in Up Your Arsenal. Ratchet: Deadlocked also added co-op to the R & C formula to fantastic results.
That’s why I was ecstatic to learn that Insomniac hadn’t given up on Ratchet: Deadlocked being revived for the seventh generation. Ratchet: Deadlocked HD is an HD remake of the original Ratchet: Deadlocked, and it will release as a digital download on PSN with the PS3. The game will feature the obvious HD visual upgrade, its own set of trophies, and online multiplayer, just as Up Your Arsenal has in the collection.
Insomniac has yet to announce when the game will be released exactly, but we do know that it will release by the end of 2012.
09. The Cave (PS3/360/PC/Wii U)
Double Fine has seen a resurgence of creativity lately. Thanks to Kickstarter, they have been able to go back to their point-and-click adventure game roots. They’ve been able to expand their brand name by working on successful and popular licensed games such as Sesame Street for Kinect, and The Cave is just another example of Double Fine returning to its adventure game roots.
Instead of being point-and-click, The Cave sees players controlling one of three characters as they make their way through a magical cave, solving puzzles and deal with obstacles as they come. However, the game is still very much an adventure game, even without the pointing and clicking.
The Cave was already confirmed for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC before. But at PAX, it was confirmed that The Cave is also coming to the Wii U! It will be interesting to see what kind of upgrades The Cave will receive on Nintendo’s eight generation console, and how multiplayer will work with the game, considering The Cave can be played with up to three players in co-op, ala the Trine series.
The Cave is set to launch in early 2013 for all the platforms that it has been announced for, and simultaneously worldwide.
08. Gears of War: Judgment (360)
Xbox 360 is on the way out. Microsoft had a very meager showing at E3 when it came to showcasing upcoming exclusive games for the Xbox 360, but that’s only because they are prepping for the Xbox 720, which will undoubtedly be revealed at E3 2013. In the meantime, one of their major exclusives coming on the 360 is Gears of War: Judgment.
This game is a spinoff of the Gears of War franchise, and for the first time in the history of the series, the development duties have switched to People Can Fly, a development company picked up by Epic Games that previously created Bulletstorm. While most spinoffs for major Microsoft franchises are somewhat disappointing in reality, such as Halo 3: ODST, there is actually a multitude of changes coming in Judgment.
Besides all the gameplay mechanics that are being added, there are new game modes. OverRun Mode is a combination of Beast and Horde Mode, and there will be free-for-all multiplayer in the game for the first time in Gears of War history. In terms of where the game takes place in the Gears of War plot, Judgment is a prequel game that follows Cole, Baird, and their squadmates during the early days of the Locust invasion.
Fans of Gears of War will be able to play this latest entry in the series on March 19th, 2013.
07. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
Nintendo’s eighth generation handheld had a rocky start. The lack of games and the over-priced hardware severely hurt Nintendo coming out of the gate, but thanks to a price drop and the building of a very good library, Nintendo has been able to revitalize the Nintendo 3DS.
One of the upcoming games that will continue to build the reputation of the 3DS is Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Paper Mario: Sticker Star marks the first time that the Paper Mario subseries has made its way to handhelds. Usually, the Mario & Luigi RPG series has been the home for Mario RPGs, but Nintendo is finally bringing the Paper Mario franchise to the little screen.
What does Paper Mario: Sticker Star offer over the other games in the series? Well, it retains the basic elements that makes a Paper Mario game a Paper Mario game, but there are new gimmicks being added to give Sticker Star a great personality of its own. Three-dimensional “real life” objects are used in the game to solve puzzles, and this new focus on environmental puzzle solving is going to give Paper Mario: Sticker Star an identity all its own.
06. Fuse (PS3/360)
Debuting at E3 2011, the game formerly known as Overstrike is Insomniac’s first multi-platform title. The studio has only released games for Sony platforms since Spyro the Dragon, and they have seen major success working with Sony, having created some of Sony’s most successful franchises. Insomniac has made for Sony Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, and the Resistance franchise, among other games.
That’s why it’s a big surprise that Insomniac is actually branching out to create a brand new IP that will release for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Entitled Fuse, this game is a four player co-op action game that will retain many Insomniac elements, such as giving players access to a huge arsenal of weapons with a lot of variety. Fuse has no release date nailed down yet, but expect it to release by the end of 2013…or maybe it has been kept under wraps since E3 because it’s becoming a next-generation title? Who knows…
05. Halo 4 (360)
Halo 4 is one of the biggest games of the fall gaming rush. The game is the first core Halo game that isn’t being developed by Bungie, but rather a brand new studio Microsoft has formed to focus entirely on the Halo franchise named 343 Studios. Along with a brand new campaign and the return of Master Chief, Halo 4 is bringing a suite of other new content and upgrades to the table.
Players have already heard a lot about these changes coming to the Halo 4 multiplayer. Allowing for more customization than ever before, Halo 4 will allow players to have custom loadouts before each match. There will now be new co-op based episodic content that is called Spartan Ops which will release, for free, for 10 weeks to tell another story entirely in the Halo universe.
Halo 4′s presence at PAX was to focus on what Halo 4 is retaining in the Halo franchise, namely the multiplayer game modes. Capture the Flag is returning, as well as Grifball and Oddball. A new map called Exile was displayed at PAX as well. Halo 4 is releasing on November 6th, 2012 and will be available exclusively for Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
04. Dead Island: Riptide (PS3/360/PC)
The original Dead Island was a surprise sleeper hit success, selling millions of copies despite a lack of media attention or hype. The game was in development for a long time, and many assumed it was cancelled or forgotten. However, a stunning dramatic trailer renewed everyone’s interest in the game, and when it launched Dead Island was very successful for Deep Silver.
Due to the surprise success of the first game, Dead Island: Riptide is releasing in early 2013. The game is a budget title, selling for $49.99 instead of the usual $59.99. The story takes place directly after the end of the first game, and adds a new survivor to the mix, bringing the number of playable characters up to four. New game mechanics inspired by the zombie mode in Call of Duty games will see players fortifying locations and protecting civilians as they once again are tasked with surviving on another island filled with zombies.
Dead Island: Riptide will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. It will release at an undetermined date in early 2013.
03. God of War: Ascension (PS3)
God of War has never faltered for Sony. Every single entry in the series has been fantastic, from the core trilogy on consoles to the handheld spinoffs that have been extremely important to the success of the PlayStation Portable. God of War: Ascension is the latest game in the series, and it is looking to make big waves.
God of War: Ascension doesn’t take place after the events of God of War III. On the contrary, the game actually serves as a prequel that takes place before any of the other games in the series. It is the first God of War game to have online multiplayer functionality, and it will also allow for stereoscopic 3D for those with 3D television sets. Ascension introduces a number of new gameplay mechanics, enemies, and a newly realized combat system that will hopefully help it stand farther out from the God of War series than other spinoffs tend to do.
A multiplayer beta will be available to those that are subscribed to PlayStation Plus sometime in November. God of War Saga, a new collection containing all of the games in the series (minus the mobile phone spinoff), includes a voucher to enter the beta as well. God of War: Ascension will be releasing March 14th, 2013.
02. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (PS3/360)
Square Enix has been hinting at a new game set in the Final Fantasy XIII universe for a while now, and at PAX 2012, they finally lifted the curtain on that title. Instead of calling it Final Fantasy XIII-3, Square is referring to the game as Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Lightning Returns sees a number of fundamental changes coming to the series. Final Fantasy XIII used a unique battle system, and then Final Fantasy XIII-2 built on the foundation laid by the original game, but added free-roaming and towns to visit and explore. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is focusing almost entirely on the character of Lightning, and will tie up the story arc of the series. Furthermore, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will feature a new action-oriented battle system, which is really a first for an entry in the core Final Fantasy series.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be released at an undetermined time in 2013 for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Square Enix has hinted at an early 2013 release date for the game, so expect to play it by summer 2013 at the latest, unless there are delays that hold it back.
01. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes (PS3/360/PC)
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes easily stole the show at PAX. Hideo Kojima announced before the show that he would be revealing his new FOX engine for the public to see at PAX, and he did this by displaying over 10 minutes of in-game footage of the next entry in the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Ground Zeroes.
The visuals in Ground Zeroes are absolutely amazing, with an absurd amount of detail and fantastic visual effects that work in tandem to make the game a definite eye-pleaser. Ground Zeroes will star Naked Snake/Big Boss and it takes place after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, bridging the gap between that game and the first Metal Gear on NES.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is one of two Metal Gear games releasing in 2013. The other game is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a spinoff that stars Raiden and takes place after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. Hideo Kojima is involved with both games, overseeing the story in Metal Gear Rising while directing Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes himself.
Details on gameplay changes have been scarce, but we do know that Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is going to be an incredible looking game, and it’s amazing that the game is actually running on current generation systems. It’s also been confirmed that the rumored Project Ogre, apparently Metal Gear Solid 5, is not actually Ground Zeroes, so that means yet another Hideo Kojima game is in development. Konami fans should be excited.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is scheduled for a release at an undetermined time in 2013. The game will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PCs.
There you have it — the top 10 games of PAX Prime 2012. The next major gaming event on the horizon is the Tokyo Game Show, which is the Japanese equivalent of E3. In the past, major news has arisen at TGS, such as the nature of the Wii’s motion control-enabled controller, plus many Japanese-based developers and publishers support the show greatly. Expect the likes of Square Enix, Capcom, Sony, and Nintendo to really go all out for the Tokyo Game Show, but don’t expect to see Microsoft dropping any bombs. The Tokyo Game Show will take place from September 20th to September 23rd. See you then!
In the meantime, be sure to check out my complete recap of PAX Prime 2012!