PAX: Hands On Impressions Of Saints Row IV, Splinter Cell: Blacklist & Oculus Rift

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Being a huge Splinter Cell fan and an aficionado of stealth games in general, I probably spent most of my hands on time with this game. There were two different levels shown: an abandoned warehouse of sorts, and a Spies vs Mercs mode. While the controls were a little different to Conviction which I tried to get used to, for the most part they were smooth and the animation system was as always, fantastic. Running from cover to cover as I tried to avoid snipers, the takedowns were drastically improved, and I got to try out the new ‘killing in motion’ for the first time, which sounds as good as it was to execute. Spies vs Mercs makes a welcome return, and looked like great fun when the final game would be released. Basically the crux of gameplay in this incredibly popular multiplayer mode was exactly what it sounds like. We played a huge 4v4 mode that seemed too big, but there is a 2v2 option available. Spies are faster, silent, in third person and have to hack terminals in specific zones, while mercs are packed with huge firepower and in first person mode. The aim was for spies to hack terminals and mercs to kill spies and defend the terminals. The nice balance between powers made for great fun and I do look forward to the final release. DSC_0043

Saints Row IV: Australian edition.

While the line was huge, I did manage to dodge the queue on Sunday morning and experienced a ten minute demo of Saints Row IV. What I experienced was severely lacking unfortunately. The demo consisted of dropping the player into the world and giving them 10 minutes to run around, do missions, shoot random people, etc. The game played like a mix of Crackdown, Prototype and Infamous, feeling neither fun nor original. The animations were clunky and I felt none of the touted ‘verticality’ that the developers were harping on about. It felt like Saints Row 3 with a few superpowers. I look forward to see how the final game will end up. The dubstep gun was pretty funny though.

RELATED:  Ubisoft Brought Skull And Bones To Sydney Harbour With A Whole Pirate Ship

Oculus Rift:

Probably the best part of PAX, the Oculus Rift easily blew me away. While I didn’t get a chance to demo Mirror’s Edge on it (which was the one game I was looking forward to) I did experience an incredible Unreal Engine 4 tech demo and a ‘virtual cinema’ created by one of the backers based in Korea. During the interview with some of the developers, we were given the specs and details of the OR. Touting a 7 inch screen, >90 degree FOV and 1080p stereoscopic 3D. The headset was quite light, and fit pretty well over my glasses. The OR provided an incredible sense of immersion and depth. The Unreal Engine 4 demo took place on a snowy mountain, and it was incredible to be able to actually turn my head and see snow behind me, looking up to see a billowing volcano, and falling snowflakes. Turning off the clipping mode, I was able to ‘float’ my way to the volcano, and it was thrilling to actually get closer and closer to the lava and ash cloud. The Oculus Rift was winning me over easily. I could easily picture dozens of games that would be improved with the Oculus Rift. With it’s incredible sense of depth and immersion, and a seemingly open mind for apps and user made content, it seems like a no brainer.

Selling for a planned retail price of $300 USD for Androids and PC, I was already begging them to take my money for one to take home. The second demo was a user-made application that was something like a virtual cinema. Putting on a different OR and headphones, I was teleported to a cinema made on the Unity engine, as a Man of Steel trailer was being shown. It felt like a real cinema, as the lighting bounced off the seats and walls. Turning around I could see more seats and a projector, and I discovered you could actually sit in ANY of the available seats. Want to sit at the very back or bottom corner? Why not? While it wouldn’t replace the true ‘cinema’ experience, I feel that this was as close as it gets, and the Oculus Rift will become huge in a matter of years. Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 6.45.18 pm