OnRPG MMOHut Best of PAX Prime 2012 Awards PT 1
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Co-written by James Hunt (JamesBl0nde), MMOHut Content Manager
It’s been a wild week of coverage here at OnRPG and MMOHut and there’s still plenty more to come! But for now we offer up our picks for the titles that really wowed us at PAX Prime. Root for your winners as we roll out our awards on everything from Most Improved to Best in Show!
It’s almost unfair to pit peripherals against an announcement like this but considering this was developed by a company that made a name for themselves producing gaming peripherals I feel like anything is fair game now! The size and power are truly mismatched as the Razorblade Generation 2 Gaming Laptop can hang with the big boys while still remaining compact and easily portable. If you’re looking for a high-end gaming PC but you’re always on the go, this is the hardware of choice in 2012.
Runner-Up: Nvidia GTX 660 TI, Gunner Gaming Glasses
Nvidia’s GTX 660TI is certainly impressive, allowing Borderlands 2 to reach never before seen graphical power with multiple effects such as cloth, see-through shields, and huge explosions to all combine into one massive orb of lights and colors. Though to really push your gaming to the next level you should get a pair of the Gunner Gaming Glasses (they even can be customized to your prescription glasses!) to unlock the true beauty of your favorite games.
World of Tanks has come a long way since its almost no-name launch over a year ago. Now they are preparing to whip out their update 8.0 and we were caught completely off guard by what we saw. Their graphics engine is completely overhauled providing some of the crispest animations in the genre. You’d think you were watching CGI but it’s just gameplay! Improved collision detection and the ability to push other tanks around (and off cliffs) along with the upcoming interconnectivity between World of Warplanes and World of Warships snagged WOT our top spot in Most Improved.
Runner-Up: Age of Conan, Firefall
Funcom didn’t develop The Secret World without learning a few tricks and Age of Conan is using them up with their Secrets of the Dragon’s Spine update. New challenging content, dynamic events, and the single server tech snagged it a runner-up spot. Firefall on the other hand has made vast leaps since PAX East! They’ve completely gutted and reworked classes from the ground up and unleashed tons of new maps to enjoy. Check out my interview to learn more about this quickly growing MMOFPS.
I don’t think many of us have ever heard of this title but one mention of Zombie Studios and you can immediately expect a top quality FPS title is in the works. Special Forces: Team X won us over at their after party demo with its cell-shaded smooth animations, dead-on death animation physics, well designed maps, and smooth controls, and overall fun-factor. Keep an eye out for more news on this game!
Runner-Up: Guardians of Middle-Earth, Novus Aeterno, Dead Island: Rip Tide
This was one of our tougher awards to pick as there were just so many sweet titles that caught us off guard. Warner Brothers’ Guardians of Middle-Earth console MOBA took the MOBA genre and turned it on its head by not only incorporating the LOTRO IP but doing so in a fresh way by replacing gold earnings completely with an experience purchasing system, introducing upgradable and customizable towers and minions, and adding the most strategically valuable jungle of any MOBA. Novus Aeterno meanwhile came out of nowhere and blew the show away with some of the most advanced customization features we’ve ever seen in an RTS and Dead Island.. well it’s Dead Island and a sequel. Who wouldn’t show up at PAX and immediately get a grin on their face after stumbling upon that??!
You know how you know you have the best graphics? When Nvidia builds their booth around your game to show-off the capacity of their hardware. From character design to monster design to special effects, Borderlands 2 hands-down topped the graphics category at PAX this year! Be sure to check out my full write-up to learn more about the newly revealed features at PAX.
Runner-up: Warface, Hawken, RaiderZ
While RaiderZ brings some truly top-end graphics and beautifully rendered bizarre monsters in a similar strain to Borderlands, it just wasn’t enough to snag this award for itself. Meanwhile Warface and Hawken were serious contenders, both bringing a mind-blowingly realistic semi-futuristic world to life in a way that’s so real, it could probably fool a few unobservant news reporters.
These days with all the WoW clones going about it sometimes feels like Indie titles are our only hope of seeing real innovation in the market. Thankfully indie titles ruled the day at PAX this year but none impressed us quite like Guns of Icarus Online. A team built entirely around cooperation and teamwork to run an airship against similar teams is so unique of an idea that it could only truly have come from an indie dev team. We highly anticipate checking this game out in the coming months!
Runner-Ups: Forge, Novus Aeterno
As we said, indie titles ruled the day and with runner-ups like Forge and Novus Aeterno it’s no wonder why. Forge brought the heat with extremely fast paced RPG FPS hybrid elements so smooth and player-skill dependent that you could probably build a working esports title out of this game. Novus Aeterno on the other hand is about as Indie as they get, built from a team founder by the 16 year old prodigy Nick Nieuwoudt, in just 6 years he has acquired a team of devs, writers, artists, programmers, and even Major General Jim Hunt of the US Airforce to ensure that every bit of the tactical aspects of this game are spot on to reality.
The original Phantasy Star Online launched in 2000 set new milestones for player customization and loot acquisition. Now after 12 years its hotly anticipated sequel has arrived for the first time on North American shores bringing this message, “We will not be topped in character customization.” Whether it be face, body type, or accessories, Phantasy Star Online 2 has all the tools to make the most badass (or cutesy) Anime Styled character you’ve ever seen to life. We’ll have a video interview coming up soon to express just how fantastic of a job they’ve done with this.
Runner Up: Neverwinter, Novus Aeterno
Neverwinter made this list due to the epic scale of gameplay customization you can bring to your world. From quest designers to dungeon builders, players can literally play as dungeon masters, staying true to the D&D world as their fellow adventurers may progress through purely player developed content to end-game. Novus Aeterno pops up again due to the insane amounts of tweaks and mods you can make to your arsenal of air ships. Starting from 5 basic archetypes, you can build and paint your ships to not only look the way you want, but bring the utility and firepower you desire.