Friday, March 18, 2011

Pax East 2011

PAX East, the Penny Arcade Expo on the East coast, was a week or so ago. Nothing major was really announced. Mostly it was just previews and demos of games announced at either E3 or PAX Prime. Still sadly I wasn't in the attending; living in the Midwest kind of sucks in that way.

However there was a demo available for Portal 2 (I'll try to have a video up later), Fire Fall looks promising, in the way that ABP looked promising. And Wizards of the Coast is finally releasing their own version of a virtual tabletop.

Portal 2 is slated to release mid-April. And I couldn't be more excited. Valve has announced that Portal 2's single player and co-op length is two and half times the length of the original Portal. It's still retained that Portal comedy that made the first one so amazing and the inclusion of a co-op multiplayer is a fantastic addition, especially considering it's going to be two different stories and sets of map.

Fire Fall is an online only Third Person Shooter. It looks to have promise, but the little I've seen seems like the game is a quite a ways from release. With only three playable classes it looks to be a mediocre experience extremely subpar when compared to games like Team Fortress 2. If they don't beef it up some it'll be just another lackluster game in a market oversaturated with lackluster and shitty games.

Now what I'm most excited for. Wizards of the Coast has done a great job of attempting to bring new players into the fold of Dungeons and Dragons. They've set up D&D encounters at game stores across the country, where beginners can just join in, so long as they have a set of dice. They've produced two board games, Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon, both a mix of Dungeons and Dragons and a typical board game. They've rereleased the famous Red Box, the newbie's guide to D&D essentially. Many 3.5 players believe that 4e is a simplified game, and if that wasn't simplified enough Wizards of the Coast just released the Essentials which further simplifies the game to allow new players.

Wizards of the Coast's newest project will help both new players and experienced players alike. Dungeons and Dragons Virtual Tabletop is essentially an official version of Maptools. It allows players to play with friends from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection. As much as I like the open source community, when you have an actual developer making something it tends to be leaps and bounds ahead of the freeware version. D&D: VT is currently in closed beta and doesn't have a release date yet, but I'm eager to get my hands on it.

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