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Game On, Bitches: PAX East, Day One

03.29.2010

Day One at PAX is in the books and I had the wonderful opportunity to get a hands-on of some pretty interesting new games. First up is a hands on of CRACKDOWN 2, the sequel to Microsoftís phenomenal exclusive CRACKDOWN. After that, I had the opportunity to try out a bunch of indies including SLAM BOLT SCRAPPERS, THE DISHWASHER: VAMPIRE SMILE, and SPLIT SECOND. And, up on the docket for tomorrow are, hopefully, SKATE 3, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS, MAFIA II, RED DEAD REDEMPTION, and SHANK. Come back later for more of my first impressions of some of the biggest games coming out later this year.

Picking up the controller to play CRACKDOWN 2 was like coming back to an old friend. While the hands-on consisted of a one-map multiplayer match, the game plays almost the same as the original. The agents jump and bound across the map, headshotting, machine-gunning, and whacking one another with loose helicopter blades. Itís just pure and silly fun. The agents move as smooth as in the original CRACKDOWN; plus, added to the sequel is a new glide function that acts similarly to a flying squirrel suit. It was similar to what IRON MAN should have done. In combat, CRACKDOWN 2 multiplayer has a lock-on system that allowed me to shoot other players but wasnít so accurate to auto-kill my enemies. Itís a nice difficulty curve that should help novice fighters and challenge experienced fighters. Headshots are doable but not required to dominate the match.


CRACKDOWN 2 Multiplayer on the Docks

While playing CRACKDOWN 2, I also had the opportunity to interview producer James Cope about his upcoming AAA title. While I was only playing the multiplayer, he was nice enough to answer some questions about the single-player. CRACKDOWN 2 takes place 10 years after the original game and the gang bosses city has been overrun by the freaks. As players delve deeper and deeper into the city, signs of decrepidation and destruction become apparent. Where once there were gigantic towers and buildings now resides piles of rubble and debris. It is this back drop that makes CRACKDOWN 2 different.

Other interesting changes from CRACKDOWN to CRACKDOWN 2 include 4 player co-operative play (not just 2-player), a better co-op load-in system, and new vehicles, like helicopters. It is apparent that Ruffian Games havenít abandoned the kick-ass formula that made the original CRACKDOWN a success. Instead they upgraded the engine, expanded the story, and tweaked it enough so that gamers given this hidden treasure a second opportunity to break out.

Another AAA title I spent some time with was Disney Interactiveís SPLIT SECOND. This fast-paced racing game is obviously influenced by the likes of BURNOUT, BLUR, and most other current-gen racers. Fortunately, thatís not a problem in my book. In the demo I played, SPLIT SECOND puts me in a high performance sports car as you race around city streets. The HUD is built into the tail of the car, leaving the rest of the screen for glorious high speed and high-def scenery. Despite the fact that SPLIT SECONDís gameplay and genre is derivative, the game looks glorious in full HD. This is the game that retailers can play on their latest TVs to convince unknowing moms and dads to buy their kids the best new console.


A look at SPLIT/SECOND in action. SPEED!!!

As I mentioned, SPLIT SECOND is not exactly recreating the wheel in the gameplay department. The cars accelerate, brake, and drift like every other game. What made this game special are the interactive special attacks that allow for the vehicles to attack their competition. This might sound run-of-the-mill, right? Well, the interactive attack I used was to drop the mother-forkiní space needle on the car in front of me. Thatís right; I pressed a button and 60-story building smashed down onto my unwitting opponent. If that isnít cool enough to make you take pause, perhaps you should go back to playing SORORITY LIFE on Facebook. Off of this first impression, SPLIT SECOND has a lot of potential and is well worth considering.

In the realm of indie gaming, I had quick hands-on with SLAMBOT SCRAPPERS and THE DISHWASHER: VAMPIRE SMILE. SLAM BOLT SLAMMERS is a four-player party game that blends pig-punching with TETRIS. That might sound like something that canít be real, but it really is. The gameplay was a bit stiff for my taste and the actual puzzle-solving wasnít very obvious. Still, I did enjoy the shit out of punching some pigs.


THE DISHWASHER: VAMPIRE SMILE is a tough ass game...

Regards to THE DISHWASHER: VAMPIRE SMILE, this game is the sequel to THE DISHWASHER: DEAD SAMURAI which was a huge indie hit on XBOX Live, and plays pretty much exactly the same. Much like my experience with DEAD SAMURAI, my time with VAMPIRE SMILE was torturous due to my suckage. Both of these games are incredibly challenging and not meant for the casual gamer. The graphics in VAMPIRE SMILE are just as gorgeous as itís predecessor and quite impressive for such a low-budget game. If you loved THE DISHWASHER: DEAD SAMURAI, VAMPIRE SMILE should fill what you crave.

Thatís all for now, make sure you stop back in tomorrow for more from PAX EAST!

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Source: JoBlo.com

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