Every year, the Penny Arcade Expo manages to draw in thousands of gamers and community people in various venues. (In this case, Boston, though there are also events in Australia and Seattle happening soon.) The latest show, PAX East, is going to be a tremendous draw, especially leading into the forthcoming summer and fall season. You can expect games, contests, panels, exhibitions and more, as well as plenty of cosplayers, swag giveaways, and parties.
But what are the main highlights of PAX East? That’s a hard call, mainly because there’s going to be something different for everyone at the event, like taking part in tabletop games, trying to get into the Omegathon (the tournament that caps off the weekend on Sunday) or simply enjoying one of the late night concerts on Friday or Saturday.
If it were up to us, though, we’d have to pick these five main highlights as the “must see” things at PAX East. Obviously your opinion may be different, but there’s a reason we chose these specific events – they’re just too awesome to skip over. So get your schedule out and make sure you jot these down…
The Deep Silver Booth
Many companies will be on hand at PAX East. However, as of late, Deep Silver has managed to bump to the top of the list. Not only will the company have its upcoming sequel Dead Island: Riptide on hand (complete with co-op capabilities and, yep, zombies), but it’s also using former THQ power to its advantage.
Metro: Last Light, the long-awaited sequel to the sleeper hit Metro 2033, will be on hand, and fully playable for the first time, so would-be buyers can experience the near-claustrophobic conditions and terrors of fighting through a nuclear-ravaged Russia. If that’s not enough, however, Deep Silver will also host a first-time presentation for Saints Row IV, which was announced just a few days ago. Though it’s not hands-on, you can expect plenty of madness as the Saints march their way to Washington. (Side note: if you cosplay as a Saints character, you’ll move to the front of the line for the presentation.)
Not to be outdone by Deep Silver’s title line-up, Ubisoft will make quite a dent in the halls of the Boston Convention Center with its own booth, packed with big titles aplenty. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will get its own theater, where players can watch Edward Kenway in action through in-game footage. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction will also make a return, featuring a younger Sam Fisher in action as he uses infiltration and sneakiness to subdue enemies. And Watch Dogs, which got a huge amount of attention during the PlayStation 4 presentation a few weeks back, will also get a showcase, featuring plenty of hack-worthy moments that you’ll get excited for.
That’s not all. The company is sure to bring its competitive online shooter ShootMania Storm along, and perhaps even Rayman Legends, which was previously announced for Wii U but is now arriving on all consoles this September. And who knows, we might even see that rumored Assassin’s Creed follow-up on Vita show up…
Oh, and did we mention the Frag Dolls? They’ll be in attendance as well.
A First Look At Diablo III On Sony Consoles
During the PlayStation 4 presentation, Blizzard promised that it would be bringing something big to PAX East, in the form of more details for its console-bound ports of Diablo III. And it’s keeping that promise, starting the show off right with a presentation on Friday morning. During “Blizzard Entertainment Presents,” we’re likely to see some footage from either the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 version of the game, as well as what control touches are being added, and how local co-op could work. A Q & A also looks possible for the game, though that hasn’t been confirmed yet.
Your best bet is to get in line for this panel early, because the room is definitely going to fill up quick. Mainly with Diablo fans.
The Irrational Games Bioshock Infinite Panel
With Irrational’s long-awaited Bioshock Infinite arriving just a couple of days after PAX East concludes, you can bet that a lot of people can’t wait to play it. While we’re crossing our fingers that the game will be playable somewhere on the show floor (2K has always been a strong PAX supporter, you never know), we’re also anticipating this panel, which will look into the long creative process behind the game, led by none other than Irrational co-founder Ken Levine. You can ask questions at the panel – or submit them ahead of time through IGN’s Facebook page – and learn everything you needed to know about this long-awaited follow-up. Us? We only have one general question – CAN WE PLAY IT ALREADY?! March 26th is taking too long to get here…
Tournaments, Old and New Alike
Finally, there’s just something about PAX that brings out your competitive side, isn’t there? And that’s what the tournaments are for. Sure, the Omegathon is awesome and everything, but the whole weekend will be devoted to competing across both old and new games alike. Everything from Persona 4 Arena to Lumines Live! to Virtual On Oratorio Tangram (remember that one?) will be on hand for versus play, and you simply need to show up, sign up and bring your gaming skills. You can view the full schedule on the official PAX East page here…
And if tournament gaming isn’t your speed, don’t worry, there’s still plenty to play in the classic game room, as well as an arcade to play old-school games in. And dare we forget the playable games on the floor, including the soon-to-be-classic games in the Indie Megabooth? Of course not.
Regardless of what you try and do at the show, just have a good time and revel in the fact you’re not the only “geek” who loves these events. We live for this stuff…especially when we dominate in Star Fox 64. That’s just how we roll.
Read more about PAX East – and the shows in general – at the official page.