Our Best of PAX Prime 2012 Winners

Well I’m always extremely hesitant to say a certain company or product won an industry convention, I do like to cite the products that stood out. Many publications like to post bold headlines about Microsoft or Sony for example winning conventions which to be honest reek to me of nothing more than attempting to start a flame war between the passionate fans of each side in an effort to drive up traffic.

I have been covering movies and video games since I was a teenager and I have seen numerous examples over the years of products absolutely dazzling at trade shows and live events only to fail miserably when the final product was released at a later date due to numerous bugs and gameplay issues.

By contrast, I have also seen products that failed to excite when they were first announced or shown that absolutely blew me away once the final product was revealed. I like to cite that years ago when Half-Life was first announced it was regarded as little more than another 3-D shooter using Quake technology. The fact that it came from a company that nobody had ever heard of before did not do much to enhance the games fanfare and it was only when people saw and played the near final product that the true genius and revolutionary nature of the game was revealed.

So with this in mind, I am announcing our best of show winners for PAX Prime 2012.

Best of Show: Borderlands 2 2K Games

Not only does the game have stunning graphics and lightning fast gameplay, but it has over 17 million and counting weapon combinations. At our meeting the developers told me that they addressed the concerns gamers had with the previous game, specifically the inability to stay in a continuous storyline mode when they want to play online. This time out gamers have the option to join others that are at their current placement story, jump forward and then resume their placement story, or simply jump forward and go from there. One thing is for sure this game is going to be epic and everything I have seen has me chomping at the bit play the full release.

Best Multiplayer: Aliens: Colonial Marines SEGA

I will admit I’m a gigantic fan of the Alien series, but everything I have seeb about this game shines. Two years ago I got my first glimpse of it at E3, and then got to play the game this year at E3, San Diego Comic Con, and PAX Prime. From the incredible attention to detail in everything from the sets, technology, uniforms, and sound effects, to the frantic all-out action of the James Cameron film and series has been captured.

Not only is the storyline considered to be a true sequel to “Aliens” but the game features co-op play and multiple online modes including the Escape mode that we played recently. Players will also get the opportunity to play as the aliens for those looking for a unique perspective when this came arrives in February 2013.

Best Strategy Game: Company of Heroes 2 THQ

To say that this came as a surprise would be an understatement. I played the previous games in the series and it has been six years since the title first premiered and I was unsure of what to expect this time around. Set in the Eastern Front during World War II, the game not only features dazzling graphics and a myriad of unit options, but also features a sleek interface that allows you to easily command multiple units at the same time.

From being able to commandeer vehicles, call in airstrikes as well as light things up the flamethrower this game was an absolute delight. The inclusion of the weather being a real element to the game was a nice touch as commanders now must use vehicles and heat sources to keep troops warm less they freeze to death in the cold. This brings a whole new dimension to troop deployment strategies as does the ability to destroy enemy units by simply taking out the ice that they are traveling across.

Best Action Game: God of War: Ascension Sony

While I have enjoyed the games in the series I have to admit that I had become a bit frustrated because precision platform jumping has never been a strong point of my gaming repertoire. You can imagine how happy I was to find out that this is been kept to a minimum in the prequel to the popular series that follows Kratos when he was immortal before his betrayal by the gods.

Free-flowing combat similar in style to the Arkham Batman games allows you to unleash your fury with no reservations. From savagely ripping a boss enemy to pieces after epically beating him down, to using your chains and special abilities to unleash wholesale carnage, this game has all. If that was not enough, this timeout developers have added multiplayer which allows teams of four to battle against one another and various gameplay modes for absolute domination.

Best Blend of Genres: Dishonored Bethesda

I will admit that at first I was surprised that this game does not offer multiplay as it seems to be custom-made for this experience. I quickly got over my disappointment once I got into the game as the ability to wield a bladed weapon with your right hand and a projectile weapon in my left gave me gleeful opportunities to dispatch the in game enemies. The interesting mix of Victorian, Steampunk, Gothic, Asian, and supernatural elements blended perfectly to create a unique gaming environment. I especially liked the powers that my character was able to wield from teleporting to and from locations, unleashing swarms of rats on unsuspecting victims, and using wind power to deflect rocket attacks were just a few of the pleasant surprises found is this very interesting game.

Best Shooter: Far Cry 3 Ubisoft

I saw this game very early during our early press access the first day of PAX, and despite numerous things to cover at the show, I kept finding myself coming back to look at more and more of the game as the weekend unfolded. While I prefer to play my shooters on a PC due to my comfort level with the mouse and keyboard over gaming pad, I could not help but be impressed with this game. It took me a very short time to adjust to the control system and in no time I was charging into battle against some very able enemies.

When I ran low on ammunition, I simply commandeered a vehicle and proceeded to run down those who were attacking me. I delightfully noticed that those who evaded my maniacal pursuit met an equally grim fate thanks to the wildlife in the jungles in which they were seeking refuge.

Popping out of my vehicle, I noticed just how large the maps were which were very reminiscent of the first game in the series. The detail level of them was amazing and it more than one occasion I had to remind myself to stop sightseeing and get onto the tasks at hand. In this case it was to climb the tower and disable the jamming device.
While my schedule did not allow me to have as much time as I would’ve liked with the game it was more than enough to show me that this definitely has all the earmarks of potentially being one of the best shooters ever.

Best Interactive: Dance Central 3 Harmonix

My wife is a huge fan of the series but I have to admit that I had some doubts as to why we need a third game in the series at this time rather than the download pack of new songs. My hesitation was largely based on what happened with the Guitar Hero series where numerous sequels and add-on packs were released one right after another that offered very little in the way of new content other than songs and animation. I was very relieved to find out that the game has a story mode involving traveling through various eras as well as the ability for players to dance in game as well as multi-play modes. Being able to bust out some of the classic moves from the 70s and 80s as well as choreography done by the best in the industry made this one an easy choice for us.

Best Tech: Nvidia

The new Kepler line of graphics cards offers a great option at $300.00 that will handle all of the games scheduled without the need to compromise your graphic settings. Direct X 11 with the ability to run all your games in the higest settings for the next 3-5 years is a huge selling point.

Best Accessories for PC. Tie, Steelseries and Astro

Astro shined with the awesome A40 and wireless A50, the cross platform units give the ultimate in sound for your PC and Consoles.

Steelseries has an impressive line of headsets, mice, and keyboards, especially their new line of Major League Gaming devices as well as Guild Wars 2 themed lines. The comnpany also has some great stuff they will be announincg soon.