Why am I excluding Nintendo’s upcoming hand held console from this post? It’s not because I don’t want to share my thoughts on it, it’s simply due to the fact that news about it is being released about it from multiple entities at a rate I don’t know if I can keep up with or properly summarize. Nintendo has unleashed a hydra upon the media, in which if you report about one exciting announcement, two new press releases arise to take it’s place, and I am but one man. But I feel confident saying this about it, though: The 3DS is going to be a big deal, on the scale of how the Wii was a big deal when it was first released. Remember that? Remember not being able to get a hold of one unless you paid a ridiculous amount on eBay or camped out in front of a store? Yeah. Get ready for that.
But until then, I’d like to share what I’m excited for at this event.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Xbox 360, PS3; Rating TBA)
Marvel vs Capcom 3 is going to be mess. If it’s predecessors are any indication, some characters and gameplay mechanics will likely be so unbalanced that it will fail to deliver as a serious fighting game in just about every regard. But that won’t matter, because Marvel vs Capcom never tried to be serious- just really, really fun. It’s premise of pitting a wild cast of comic book characters against an even odder group of video game icons is beyond ridiculous and the games have been built to reflect that. From Iron Man summoning up a laser gun the size of a car to the announcer yelling “Awesome!” or “Dude!” when you pull off a sufficiently complex combo via random button mashing, I’m hoping to see Marvel vs Capcom 3 go bigger, stupider, and awesome-er than ever before.
Metroid: Other M (Wii; Rated T)
Alright, so technically this game is releasing a few days before PAX, but the weeks leading up to it will be so busy for me I seriously doubt I’ll be able to grab a copy, much less sit down and play it. But what I can expect is meeting several people there who just picked up the game, and finished it in record time (although I suspect the additional story and cutscenes will grate at those who go for a speed run). I’ve been a Metroid fan for a long time, so once again exploring, solving puzzles, and fighting aliens with the only female protagonist in gaming classy enough to be considered a “lady” instead of a “chick” is something I’m really looking forward to.
Kinect (Xbox 360)
Microsoft products, and even moreso, Microsoft advertising, tend to be pretty hit-or-miss. So with Microsoft’s new add-on for the Xbox 360 that allows users to play games with body motions rather than a regular controller have a lot of people wondering if it will succeed as a new innovation in gaming much like the Wii’s motion controls before it, or fail as an over-ambitious peripheral rushed out to the public before the technology can function in practice rather than just theory, like the Playstation 2’s Eyetoy (released in 2003). The tech demos and previews aren’t lending themselves to any concrete conclusions either, with awesome demos of a guy fighting Darth Vader with waves of his hands and support from big name developer Peter Molyneux (designer of the Fable series) each getting their own counter-point from shapely models running in place while the Kinect fails to catch their wild gesticulations as well as disdain from other big names like Yoichi Wada (president of Square Enix) saying it’s ‘no different’ than the Wii. So while I’m hoping to see more of the Kinect at PAX, and see it open up new ways to play video games, I’m going to be cautious before making any decisions on it.
Ghost Trick (Nintendo DS; Rating TBA)
Although I’m not much of a fan of anime or other forms of Japanese entertainment, I will concede this: Japanese storytelling can add so much style to a subject that even the most boring of premises can be transformed into epic adventures. Just like how Shu Takami turned the misadventures of a mild-mannered defense attorney into dramatic showdowns between larger-than-life characters who wield logic like katanas, he seems to be doing something similar with Ghost Trick by transforming a puzzle game that has you essentially toying with Rube Goldberg devices into a tense thriller where your limited abilities as a ghost to do simple things like opening and closing the shutters or causing a light switch to flicker are the only things that can save your friends in what may be the last two minutes of their life. Though it will likely put a pretty heavy emphasis on story, I’m betting each puzzle solved will be twice as satisfying because of it. The only trouble with that is that the story needs to be good throughout the entire game, or the whole experience will be ruined by it. Capcom’s booth at PAX last year was pretty fantastic, so I expect my curiosity about this game will be well taken care of when I get there.
Lastly, the crowds that will inevitably swarm around the Halo: Reach booth will make it pretty much impossible for me to get any sort of good look at it while I’m over there. So for any other PAX attendees, I’d advise that for your own physical safety, do not try to cut through the horde of Halo fans for a peek. You court mortal peril in doing so.