PAX East Report – Day 2 Impressions

Posted by Tonks on April 7, 2012 (Updated: 23-Jun-2015)

Wow, so where to begin? Day 2 of PAX was pretty crowded. Being a Saturday, that was to be expected, but wow! Gearbox was batting a thousand because the line for A:CM was around 2 and a half to 3 hours long and the line for Borderlands 2 was so long that they stopped people from lining up! Well over 3 hours for BLT.

The vibe around the floor was really pro-Gearbox/Sega. Lots of good comments from people walking by the booth or coming out of the demo. People were hyped up and excited for the game. I was joking with AdamF at one point that GBX was just dominating the show.

So on to the good stuff… today was a fun day – I got a chance to check out the game again and was able to really focus on some of the finer details from the demo and MP. I saw all of your questions and comments from the threads at AvP Galaxy – and from the Gearbox Forums – and tried to ask as many as I could. Some could be answered straight up; others were (understandably) kept under wraps.

 PAX East Report – Day 2 Impressions

Some single player observances:

  • I noticed a lot more easter eggs this time around: in the mess hall, there were plastic trays on the tables that looked just like the ones in aliens, also in the cryotube chamber, you see a control panel that says something like, “Hicks, Dwayne – stasis interrupted”, little stuff like that really made it feel like you were aboard the Sulaco
  • The atmosphere and sound effects were spot on – like they were ripped directly from the movie. Even the haze in the hive looked identical to the movie.
  • I saw some different path finding by the xenos this time – they definitely don’t just run in a straight line at you.
  • I asked how dying in co-op would be handled and the devs said that that’s TBD. They had a few ideas on how to handle it, but hadn’t settled on anything just yet.
  • No official statement on campaign length.
  • Reiterated that your character would be consistent in all modes of play – co-op, MP and single player – perks, etc would all be reflected consistently in each mode.
  • One cool thing to note – someone on the forums mentioned that the motion tracker dots were too circular in the game and that, in the movie, they were more oblong shaped. The devs saw that post and are going back to fix it.

Here are some observances and some questions that I asked during today’s multiplayer session:

  • Many forum members asked about the so-called SMG variant in MP. The term that the devs used today was “Battle Rifle”. Not sure if that is going to be the official name or not, but that’s what they are going with right now. It’s a 3 round burst. Not sure what the secondary trigger did.
  • The shotgun was pretty powerful and I had some success with it. Powerful up-close, but slow to reload and lost accuracy over time.
  • You really had to pay attention at all times. Xenos snuck up on you from all directions.
  • I did notice a little prompt telling me to pick up my motion tracker when xenos were in track-able range, it was a small icon in the middle of the bottom of the screen
  • A lot of people have also been mentioning the red dots on the motion tracker. When asked about it, the devs said that they were really surprised how much feedback that got. The feedback is definitely being considered. The game is still developed so they will see what makes sense in terms of gameplay. The devs said that they were very aware of the feedback.
  • Some key differences between the two xenos being controlled by the GBX devs: the lurker (Giger alien) can jump higher and pounce further than the warrior, but isn’t as strong as the warrior, So it goes down easier. The lurker also seemed to have a special pounce move that the warriors didn’t.
  • It looked like there were two types of rewards earned during MP matches – one that looked like some sort of currency that could be used for unlocks/abilities and another that looked like XP. You earned new perks for completing certain feats during the match.
  • Yes, there were specific achievements for double kills, kill streaks and doing certain feats (like 5 headshots in a round).
  • Acid DOES do damage during MP. When you get sprayed with it, you see some smoke effects and your vision is slightly blurred.
  • One Dev mentioned that one of the Alien MP players got a double kill after he died because of his acid spray.

 PAX East Report – Day 2 Impressions

  • I saw some more of the kill shots by the alien players – marines were dismembered and there were kill animations that looked pretty cool.
  • I noticed that the alien models looked really good in the multiplayer modes.
  • The MP map was very detailed and looked like it was right out of Hadley’s Hope.
  • There were vents that the alien players could use to navigate throughout the map. Once the xenos went into the vents, the camera angle switches to first person. Vents were all over the map and you really had to keep an eye out for xenos popping in and out.
  • The crusher was a serious bruiser. It leaps forward and smashes you against walls… even after hitting you, momentum carries it into walls and through multiple enemies.
  • I Confirmed the controls for marine multiplayer (Thanks to Newbeing):
  1. Left analog stick: Movement (press in to sprint)
  2. Right analog : Look
  3. Right analog (press): melee with butt of gun
  4. Left trigger: Aim down sight
  5. Left Bumper: Motion Tracker
  6. Right Trigger: Primary fire
  7. Right Bumper: Secondary fire (under-barrel grenade launcher, powerful shotgun burst (?))
  8. A: Jump
  9. B: Crouch
  10. X: Reload
  11. Y: swap to pistol
  12. D pad down: turn on shoulder lamp
  • I asked about button mapping for customizable controls – the devs mentioned that for the demo purposes the controls were default, but that could change with the release of the game.

A friend of mine came with me into the demo and left saying it was awesome. He is a very casual fan of the movies, but kept saying that it made him want to go back and re-watch them all again. He had a lot of fun with the multiplayer – said, “it wasn’t as boring as COD matches and felt much more furious than other MP games he’s played” He liked it a lot.

It was reiterated a few times over that this is still an early build, so things can certainly change between now and release date – which is still targeted as fall 2012. I asked about some of the other forum questions, but a lot of it was still undecided, TBD or they were not at liberty to say, but that the feedback was always being listened to. Sometimes feature implementation comes down to what makes sense from a gameplay perspective.

 PAX East Report – Day 2 Impressions

Ok, so that’s all the stuff I got from the 2nd round of the demo. Again, a big thanks to Sega and Gearbox for hooking me up and letting me skip ahead in the line. They are too numerous to name (and I forgot some of their names already) but EVERYONE was really friendly and happy to talk to me.

I was able to talk to the folks at the booth and got pics of the swag. Only facehugger and xeno scarves were being handed out. The hoodies were worn by GBX/Sega employees – same with the glow in the dark t-shirt. (thanks to Ikarop for posting my twitter pics)

I also had a chance to chat with some of the cosplayers – one, the smart gunner, told me it has taken him 3 years to get his costume/weapon built to spec. There was a third Marine there today – a female in a flight suit similar to Ferro. She had a ‘working’ motion tracker!

When I asked the smartgunner what he thought of the game, he got really excited. He said that he couldn’t be happier for the game and that he thought it was awesome. He said he was really glad that we’d finally get “a true Aliens game that didn’t suck.”

Other awesome highlights: I got to hang with Chris F and Adam F for a bit today – both are fantastic and gave me a chunk of their (very) valuable time. I mostly used this time to gush like a squealing fan-boy over the game and the details.

I got some pictures in the powerloader, which was a treat. That thing is so bad ass.

Oh, and I met Randy P. Mentioned that I was a long-time follower on the forums and told him both of his games at PAX were really impressive. He was really cool and seemed genuinely happy that I stopped him to say hi. I don’t think he recognized my handle, but I did get a picture with him.

So that’s it from a very busy PAX East day 2. Today was awesome and I can’t wait for round 3 tomorrow and the Panel sounds like it’s going to be a blast, too.

Bonus lightning round details:

  • O’Neal’s machete would probably not be an effective weapon against xenos
  • No word yet either way on releasing development tools at the moment. #1 priority is finishing the game and making it kick ass.
  • No info about potential DLC. Focus is on finishing up the game first.
  • No info about different multiplayer modes – they were only talking about the TDM this weekend


Continue here to read Tonks’ Day 3 Impressions.

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