Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
The cool thing about my job is that I get to see and play so many awesome games before they ever see the light of day on storefront shelves. The lame part? They're not always games that I would prefer to be checking out, not that they're not cool in their own right. Really though, if it comes down to a game like Portal 2 vs. the newest free-to-play import from China, Portal 2 will always win in my book. Sadly, they never got back to us about an appointment and I didn't have time to wait in the line, so we'll have to wait even longer now for some hands-on time. And that kinda sucks donkey balls.
Best Game We'd Never Heard Before PAX – Firefall
During some downtime as we wandered the show floor, we came upon this interesting looking new title. Its visuals looked like a mix of Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands, Firefall played like them in many a sense. It's hard to argue with a game that looks good and is totally free to play. I may hate MMORPGs, but I love first and third-person shooters and they only get better when taken online. Definitely the coolest game that no one knew a thing about before last weekend.
The minds behind the totally awesome soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World were second up on stage at the first night of official PAX-sponsored concerts, and man, did they blow it. Or at least their lead guitarist did. After about 10-15 minutes of decently rocking out, though, things started to take a turn for the worst.
Guitar dude got on the mic to tell his sound guy that he couldn't hear himself in the monitor, and it was all downhill from there. As he neurotically apologized to the audience for what seemed like an eternity as opposed to just sucking it up and going along with the show. I can't count how many shows I've done where I couldn't here a damn thing I was playing, even when I was soloing. If you're in a band where your frontmen is two hacked NES', and they're much louder than you, jut roll with it.
Funnest Interview – Guild Wars 2
Give me a couple of days with very little sleep, put me in front of a camera, and I'll make a total ass out of myself. Never has that been more present than in my talk with Colin Johanson from NCSoft. While it was a big deal for me personally to meet and interview Warren Spector, things just weren't as laid back and easy going at the Disney press room. I'm wearing a GW2 bandana because I'm hella gangsta like that, yo!
Best in Show – Duke Nukem Forever
I've gotta give it to Gearbox and 2K for this one. Rumors were flying around the week before PAX that Duke Nukem would be showing up there. But after sooooooooooooooooooo many years of waiting and being denied, it was a case of the boy who cried wolf. So even with the Internet trying to spoil the surprise with gossip, you couldn't help but be surprised that it wasn't total bullshit. And to take it a step forward and actually have it be playable to the public, even before the press got to see it? That's how you fucking do it.
Not only was the game total badassery, so was how they gave back to the gaming community that had held out hope beyond hope even after 3D Realms closed it's doors and announced the projects cancellation. Duke Nukem Forever, best in show, hands down.