Games! Games! Games! PAX Prime 2015 Con Report

written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)

Another PAX Prime has come and gone, hot on the heels of a stellar E3 showing this year I was excited to see what the heavy hitters in the games industry would bring to the table. PAX Prime is the first major show after E3 to let the players get their hands on some of the most sought after properties coming in the following months, first… I figure I should get the shortcomings out of the way first.

The biggest let down for me was the absence of Fallout 4 at Bethesda’s booth. After such an awe-inspiring reveal at E3, and the announcement that we’d get the game this year (Nov 10th… mark your calendars) I was expecting there to be some sort of playable demo and I was prepared to wait in line for it. Alas, aside from a photobooth and showcasing the Fallout Shelter mobile game, it looks like we as gamers are forced to wait a little bit longer to get our hands on Fallout 4. Another notable absence which was justified in the following weeks (since the game got delayed) was Persona 5. Originally primed to launch this year, I was expecting to get a chance to play it. It was a let down, both of those games are games I hoped to get some hands-on time with. While I am certain I will play them both at launch, both of which already sit in preorder, I guess I need to temper my patience a bit and wait just a little bit longer… thank God for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain… at least that has my attention while waiting on a new adventure to embark on.

As for the good, I did get some hands on time with exciting new technologies and forthcoming titles. My highlight of the show was experiencing the retail build of the Oculus Rift, having checked out this tech in both alpha and beta stages… I honestly wasn’t as impressed as the masses on the internet were. The oculus had a long way to go and issues such as having to focus on a “sweet spot” otherwise the immersion breaks was one of the most glaring criticisms I had for the tech. But Zod dammit they fixed it, they bloody fixed it and it works! I played two different games, one was a traditional third-person adventure platformer and the other was a first-person space-themed spaceship shooter. Immediately, the biggest thing that grabbed me was how truly immersive it was, there was no weird blurring between the two screens and despite moving my eyes or my whole head, it didn’t break. Suffice it to say… the Oculus Rift just “worked” and when it comes to consumer electronics, that’s one of the most important aspects of the whole thing.

While I played as much as I could, my game of the show has to be Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. I know, I know… annualized franchises are basically treated like dumb Summer blockbuster flicks, but after the debacle of Assassin’s Creed Unity, I feel that Ubisoft would want to avoid any further stains to their reputation. After playing a small slice of Jacob’s game at SDCC and then getting a chance to play as Evie at PAX, I’m confident in saying that this will be a day one purchase for me. I prefer to be optimistic, and I feel like Ubisoft won’t falter like they did last year. To be honesty, Unity was a decent game despite all the broken mechanics and visuals gitches. I’m confident that Syndicate will be a fun romp… and absolutely will be better than Unity, though granted… that isn’t a hard goal to aspire to.

Continuing on the trend of strong female characters, I had a blast playing through the upcoming Tomb Raider game coming to Xbox One this Fall. Rise of the Tomb Raider marks Lara Croft’s second romp since the the series reboot, we at Lifted Geek gave the game on both last gen adn the current gen definitive edition high marks, so as the guy who reviewed both… I’m personally psyched for another romp. Rise of the Tomb Raider comes to Xbox One first and since the exclusivity is a timed exclusive, other platforms should get it in the coming months.

As for the cosplay, PAX Prime has increasingly started to buck the trend of past years with more cosplayers showing up. This was true last year and it continues to be true this past year. While last year RIOT sponsored the “Cospitality Lounge” this year PAX Prime has a “Cospital,” complete with sewing machines for all those costume hiccups that come up. My main criticism was how the Enforcers handled cosplayers, there was alot of heavy handed responses to cosplayers stopping and taking photos. I can understand that disrupting walkways is a major issue, but the aggressive way I saw Enforces handling cosplayers left much to be desired. Mention to keep out of the aisles, but jumping and and yelling and cosplayers and the fans who want to take a shot of a cosplayer make for some awkward exchanges. As this con grows, it needs to better handle cosplayers and the influx of them who will continue to come to this show.

My biggest plus for this show, and all shows I attend, are spending time with my friends. It’s the people I choose to be around, my friend and colleagues, fellow members of Lifted Geek and all the “friends & fans” who follow our work. Despite some slight disappointments, it was another fun show! I will be back next year and this year’s PAX served its purpose… got me psyched for another amazing Q3 and Q4 in games.