Let me tell you, I was glad to get to Seattle a night early before the festivities of PAX 2013 started Friday morning. After the flight from east coast to west it was weird (yes, weird) to see the Pacific Ocean on the weather map on the local news instead of the Atlantic hazing on the time difference but hey, I was there for PAX so it was cool. The Penny Arcade Expo spanned the total volume of the Washington State Convention Center with exhibits, vendors and meeting rooms scattered not only throughout the place, but the nearby Sheraton for panels and another building across the street for BYOC gaming (yeah, that’s “bring your own computer”) and press.
″ – nVidia graphics, the latest i7 inside, 16GB memory and huge storage space – but weighs less than 6 pounds with its ultralight aluminum chassis. Before i got to play with it i picked it up and kind of moved it around in the air (under the watchful eye of the Intel folks) and can tell you the weight’s no joke. And they had it running Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which looked all sorts of candy-like delicious. The chips inside ran with Intel’s Iris graphics built in, which are reported to support 4K Ultra HD (on up to three screens) and much quicker video editing and processing than the 3rd generation i-core chips that came before. I can’t really vouch for how well my eyes can tell that precisely, but they can tell that the screens looked pretty damn good.
S-E had a decent amount of stuff lined up for PAX goers – I didn’t check out all of them because there were a couple reruns from PAX East but there were still some things worth seeing. First and foremost we know they’re big on remakes and remasters, so there’s no surprise thatKingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix, Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster and Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut all made appearances at their booth. KH 1.5 and Deus Ex were reruns from PAX East, so I started by taking a look at the remasters of Final Fantasy X/X-2. The gameplay graphics are definitely sharper and a cut above how they looked on the PS2, when back then they were amazing. The CG cutscenes also looked pretty good, but not as much of an improvement from S-E’s PS2 edition of the game. Otherwise, I heard mumblings of rumors that the remaster would be delayed from this year to next. While it makes sense, I’m not going to say it’s true since I didn’t hear it straight from Square-Enix.
They also showed some trailers for Thief, Final Fantasy XV and the Kingdom Hearts 1.5/2.5 HD Remixes in the theater section they had set up. I’m going to link you the one for Final Fantasy XV. It’s a rerun from E3, but boy is it delicious.
As for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, S-E seemed have a good (maybe?) problem, actually suffering downtime because they weren’t expecting as many western players as they have. Director Naoki Yoshida admitted this freely, that he thought players would let others giveFFXIV:ARR a try first before jumping in. The server loads were supposedly spread out properly as of today, and more importantly to some, the restriction on YouTube playthroughs and videos has been lifted. Other than that, new updates will bring more Primal fights, the Gold Saucer in-game (once they get three mini games to kick it off, woot!), and maybe some new jobs and classes. On that as far as class mounts go for the hopeful, not much more information has been revealed - but if you want a unicorn, roll a conjurer.
Stay tuned for the next segment tomorrow featuring my faves from the Indie Megabooth and a gameplay review of Dying Light. Also later in this series will be the 2K roundup featuring X-COM and Borderlands 2, as well as my pick of the litter for the best of PAX 2013.