Skip to main content

Best of PAX Prime 2012

First of all, before the merriment of an award ceremony (in text format) I want to offer a quick apology for our readership. This year’s PAX Prime information will be coming to you a day (or rather a couple of days late) due to an unhealthy amount of poor planning on our part, in conjunction with some rather unfortunate circumstances…

I hope that you’ll all forgive me as I spend the next couple of days playing catch-up with our coverage, and want you all to know that the consolation (if there can be some) is in the fact that we manage to see a LOT of this year’s show, and I’ll be happy to share my personal opinions on everything that was there.

SO! Without further adieu, let’s get the ball rolling with the very best of PAX Prime 2012:

Below are our top choices for the best showings at PAX Prime 2012. If weren’t at the show, consider it a ‘what you missed’ list. If were at the show then you perhaps caught a preview of our awards, as most of the developers were kind enough to place them up-front and center at their booths, and if your one of the developers: Congratulations!

 

Game of Show

Assassin’s Creed III

While the recent installments (Brotherhood, Revelations) have felt relatively ‘same-y’ and just served to push forward the game’s over-arching story line without providing too much iteration, Assassin’s Creed III showed, at PAX Prime this year, that they can in face reinvent the wheel.

A short gameplay vignette is being shown off at PAX Prime this year, and offers one of the show’s longest line-ups. The line is worth the wait though as the game shows of some of its impressive new mechanics and technology that this one, hands down, the one to watch.

Best of PS3

The Last of Us

This is a game that we’ve been watching with a vested interest for a while now. Each new bit of information that we get from Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic show-stopped excites us more than the last. It’s a close call for winner of the longest line-up at PAX, it teeter-totters between Last of Us and Assassin’s Creed for the longest wait… but just like Assassin’s Creed, if you’ve made the commitment to check this one out, it was unlikely that you walked away disappointed.

Best of Xbox 360

Dishonored

It’s important to note that this year’s PAX Prime had offerings from two blockbuster, exclusive, titles from Microsoft in Gears of War Judgment and Halo 4, and we opted for a cross platform title. While both titles are sure to be major sellers, they weren’t the best experience that any of us had with an Xbox 360 this year.

Dishonored offers everything we hoped to see in a video game with first-person assassinations, all manner of gadgetry, magic, an open-ended approach to level design, and, of course, felt right at home on the Xbox platform. It’s easy to say that it’s a personal preference in this matter, but the game just feels right on the Xbox, and will likely wind up being one of the hottest new IPs when it launches later this year.

Best of Wii U

Pikmin 3

Whenever Nintendo launches a new hardware platform, there are a few things you expect to see: A whole lot of Mario properties (kart racers, sports games, and a platformer), returns of classic characters like Starfox, Kirby, Pokémon, etc. But one thing that took us all a little by surprise (in the very best of ways) was the return of Pikmin.

Pikmin would probably have to be defined as a ‘niche’ game, but the fan base that has followed along with it is growing and intensely loyal. The addition of the features offered by the Wii U, including touch screen controls and multiple captains, means that the game is not only a great demonstration of what the new hardware can do, but it’s a sequel that we’re all happy to see take the spot-light again (after a rather lengthy absence).

Best of PC

Hawken

One of the best parts of PC gaming is in the diversity of the product that’s offered. While console developers, for the most part, have to play it safe with disc-based content and massive budgets for blockbuster franchises, the PC gaming development circuit tends to be smaller teams producing original ideas or providing real innovation to old school genres that other, larger, developers might have forgot about.

Hawken brings us back to the world of mech combat, simplifies and refines it. It’s the kind of straight-forward arcade/action title that PC gamers get riled up about. It’s got that simplicity and competitive streak of a Counter Strike, but adds in the benefit of getting to bomb around in armored suits with jump-jets, gadgets galore, and massive weapons. Mech Warrior meets Counter Strike… what more could you ask for?

Best Downloadable

Rock Band Blitz

As an old-school Harmonix fan, one of the most exciting developments at PAX was getting some play time with their throw-back game Rock Band Blitz. While the title my represent the modern vision of the company, the gameplay is old school Amplitude/Frequency.

I’ve been waiting a sequel or at least spiritual successor to those games for quite a while now, and after getting some hands-on with the game on the show floor… well, let’s just say my first visit to the Harmonix booth was far from my last.

Best Indie

Super TIME Force

Super T.I.M.E. Force managed to uniquely package 90's Contra action into a game that has the soul of cartoon classics like Ren & Stimpy and Adventure Time.  The game looks incredibly beautiful for a pixel-art game and features rewarding and fun time travel mechanics. It also let me fight on the back of a pterodactyl and stop the meteor that killed the dinosaurs... so... there's also that.