Rock Band 3 – There has already been a lot written about the changes come in Rock Band 3. I want to point out a few of those things that I got to experience. The first big change is the addition of an entirely new instrument: keyboard. The keyboard can either come as a keytar or as a full keyboard but the game is designed for 25 keys. This is hard and I think it will be a great challenge added to the game. With the addition of the keyboard and backup harmony vocals there is the possibility for seven people to play at the same time. Also, in response to the largest complaint (at least that I heard) about the game, there is now a Pro Mode. The Pro Mode is aimed specifically at creating a more realistic playing style, including an actual Fender Stratocaster guitar controller. The career mode includes over 700 career goals, much like XBox 360 Achievements or Playstation 3 Trophies that can be earned by playing through that mode. the interface for the game has been smoothed out and the addition of another instrument, doesn’t seem to have crowded the screen too much. The set list and better drum set alone, will likely make this a must buy for me. I’ve been waiting for “Bohemian Rhapsody” for ages.
Dragon Age 2 – I saw this game at San Diego Comic Con but there was a reveal at PAX that I wanted to share. The main character of the game is called Hawke and all of the demo footage I had seen so far had used the male version of Hawke. At PAX, we got an introduction to Lady Hawke. (Pun entirely on purpose – I love that movie.)
I also discovered that they’re going to make each of the classes more distinct, giving each class their own advantages and disadvantages. Rogues, for instance, will have a much more lithe combat style instead of the fighter light that they were in the first game.
Epic Mickey – This is an interesting game that I’m excited for and it didn’t hurt that Disney brought artists with them to draw Mickey Mouse for the people willing to wait in line for them at PAX. In fact, it is the first title for the Wii that I’ve been interested in a long time. It feels like Disney learned something about Mickey from Kingdom Hearts – mainly that Mickey Mouse can be something of a badass.
Luckily, for us, he’s also something of a curious meddler. The main plot of this is that Yen Sid the wizard has a magical model that he’s created with a magical paintbrush. Mickey finds his way to this model, through a magic mirror, and decides that he’s going to improve this model. If you’ve ever seen a cartoon, you’ve got a pretty good idea of how this goes. The wasteland left behind by Mickey is also taken over by the evil creature he has accidentally created. Once he’s done that, he goes on his way and makes his name, becoming the famous icon we all know. Time passes and eventually the bad guy catches up with him and drags him into the world Mickey accidentally ravaged. With the power of the paintbrush, Mickey must fix and save this world in order to get back home.
Duke Nukem Forever – Seeing this booth on the Expo Hall floor seemed like some sort of a joke. I mean, this game has been in development of one sort of another for over a decade, so seeing it here was either a huge joke or a sign of the apocalypse, right? The game was first announced as being in development in 1997. So, getting to see it up close and in person was something I had to do. What can I say about it? Well, if you’ve played and liked a Duke Nukem game, you’ll likely like this one as there isn’t much different in tone. That also means, though, that it is far too drenched in testosterone and dismissive of women as anything other than trophies for me to likely enjoy playing the whole thing. (Lots of strippers, twins performing sexual acts on Duke and a few more such things.) That said, what I played was easy and fun to play. I used a giant rocket dual rocket launcher, punched aliens with my fists and drove a monster truck through a canyon. For those who are a fan of the franchise, I can tell you truthfully, you will enjoy this game. It is in good hands with Gearbox and 2K Games.