Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Year of Xbox Live Arcade :Part 2

And now, the pleasure is all mine to present you part two of my PaxEast experience. Hopefully you folks enjoy, as I look forward to posting some new and exciting thoughts soon on the gaming state as of today.

There are games that as could be seen at PAX, hold a very loyal following to many fans. One of those is Team Fortress 2, a game originally bundled with Half-Life and Portal in one whoppingly stunning game package, and one that presents a team based version of combat that is not only addictive but whimsical. Monday Night Combat will be a game in the same vein of team shooters that strive for a true feeling of teamwork, creativity and games that will create a feeling of exhaustion once finished. The concept of the game is simple yet glorious in its inception; pitting teams of 6 players (which makes sense given that you have 6 player models to choose from) against each other along with a variety of AI controlled robots that help defend (and move the line of scrimmage forward) your end of the battle zone. Within the battle zone you can build turrets and barriers, catapult yourself across the map and create general mischief for the other team in your quest to have your robots crush the other team’s money ball. The game' itself can last for long stretches of time (about 15 minutes per match), even going to overtime at the end of regulation time. The classes were not fully touched upon by myself, as I always head directly to the thinnest and fastest character; the two classes that were used included an Assassin and a Sniper class.

The real Xbox Live Arcade game that stole the show was Raskulls. The premise is so simple that it is almost shocking that this game has never been created before, this being a good thing as Halfbrick Studios has created a gem in this Xbox Live Arcade masterpiece. The game pits up to four players in a multiplayer race downwards, as you’re faced with breaking blocks below your feet to create a path to the finish line. With various powerups, and very polished but humoring graphics, you find yourself almost as attached to the game as a visual triumph, not just for the sheer fact that you are playing and trying to master the game. The Halfbrick kiosk had Nate and I at the kiosk at least once each day, even bringing our wives and guests with us. The game keeps each character model completely even - none are more powerful or faster than others, so the races keep extremely close and almost always build to a last minute win. This game will become the best online Xbox party game to play, as each powerup works wonders, the control scheme is great, and a built in frenzy meter, a regenerating turbo bar, helps to make this by far the best creation at the whole PAX East event.

The event that was created for us by the Penny Arcade creators, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, was a great place not only for the congregation of so many different types of people, from web comic lovers to video game lovers, to people who just wanted a place to be there favorite character. It - perhaps most importantly - also hid a beautiful nugget of truth in the expo rooms and that is that the Xbox Live Arcade this year will become the place to be and be seen with your friends, loved ones and people you love the least to show who is truly the stronger gamer.

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