Comic Cons are no joke. They are usually arduous in a way. If done properly your whole body should ache. Your heels should be throbbing in your shoes or goofy sized Anime boots, your lower back should be screaming for any horizontal action it can find. This last weekends New York Comic Con was no exception with upwards of 170,000 attendees it was a nerd army the likes of which the east coast has never seen before and Evade Gismo was right there in the shit! Even our wallets were hurting.
This was a new year for us. Usually myself and my wife are in the artist alley waaaay the fuck away on the other side of the con. With all the cosplayers; Deadpools and Sith lords in the way it mid-as well have been on the other side of the city. If Spider-man was actually there no one would ever know. So usually we don't get much of a chance to go exploring. But this year we were on the front lines. "The Block' is the designer toys and small indie company wing of the con and it was busy as all hell this year. Thankfully we were a D-20's throw from the bathrooms and hotdogs. I barely had time to run off and 'work' for the blog. But i did manage to wait in line and play a few demos to share with you.
Getting there was not easy or quick and the distractions along the way were numerous and went as follows
Dick fucking Tracy was there...finally. I've seen hundreds of thousands of costumers but never Dick Tracy. I let him know how impressed i was and got a fist bump out of it. Now where are those videogames?
Morty? I mean Marty? I mean M.J Fox? Is that you. I seriously had to look really close at this guy. From a distance he looked exactly like McFly. As i approached for a closer inspection i noticed that he was actually posing still. So NOT Michael J Parkinsons....i mean Fox. Doc didn't look so terrible either. See they were promoting the 30th anniversary of the film and the date that was entered into the Delorean all those years ago. October 21 2015. In celebration the promoters were giving away those future Pepsi bottles from the second movie. I wanted one, and i don't even like Pepsi. Of course, i couldn't have one. Despite my immaculate Marty impression i was not dressed in a life preserver or resembled Marty in the slightest. To get a Pepsi you had to dress like Marty McFly and wait in line for hours.
Still no games in sight so i kept moving. But whats this?
And some more awesome shit that i don't need . These Ninja Turtles from the 'Good Smile Company' were so badass that i almost bought them all right then and there...but i didn't cuz it would have cost me $520 turtle bucks. They were non articulated figures but so awesome anyways. There was motion and style all over the place here. The poses had attitude and the colour of the skin was an awesome teal blue/green. One of our favorite artists did this image that the toys were designed from. Still no games though.
But so close. I was about to walk by this but im glad i didn't. Audible had a booth demonstrating there new interactive comics software. If you havent read 'Locke & Key' do it. Its a great series and was written by Stephen Kings son under the pseudonym Joe Hill. The line was short and i got to check out the first chapter of the story. The Oculus dev kit 2 was the vehicle for the story. The headsets were being stressed to the max so the screen tearing was pretty bad and the frame rate was shit- almost unwatchable. But the demo was so engrossing and cool that i stuck it out and really enjoyed the experience despite the shortcomings. Below is a video that was captured from my experience. Naturally i look like a jackass doing it. Deffinately a memorable experience. When i get my headset i cant wait to experience stories with the VR medium.
Inevitably i stumbled into a few game demos on my way back to the booth. I got to play 'Dark Souls 3' and 'Mirrors Edge: Catalyst' both were underwhelming and had me questioning the whole sequel thing.
MIRRORS EDGE: CATALYST
I didn't play the original when it first came out in 2008. I was told and told to play it by friends but was never really inticed to try it or just never found the time. Well i did get around to playing it on Steam last year and had a really good time. The story wasn't for me so i didn't really care much for the characters but the visual style was beautiful. When i got my Oculus Rift DK1 in the mail a few summers ago i setup Mirrors Edge and realized way too late that this game and vr = barftown. After a big jump Faith will dive roll out of it and keep the momentum forward. During the dive roll the entire world spins out of control and i could feel the sweat beading and my salivary glands squeezing. Barftown.
So i was willing to endure the one and one half hour lineup to try the sequel Mirrors Edge: Catalyst. It was a fifteen minute demo, which was nice, and we got a small demonstration by ipad while in line which setup the demo and story so far. This was a surprise as most companies are not willing or even consider preparing a user for a quick gaming experience. The demo wasn't my favorite thing. All i wanted to do was fuckup a few security guards but i didn't manage to get that far. During the tutorial my game locked up 5 min into the demo and i was more or less exited from the experience. It looked amazing! Keeping the same aesthetics as the original game. One thing i noticed was that the movements were sluggish. Faith is a bit out of shape here and i found myself leg twitching as i held the run button for her to just hurry up and get to the next wall run. Of course its just a demo and no one should ever judge an incomplete title. I wont buy it on release day but i will be playing this come next year. The schedule release is February 2016.
On my way to the Bandai/Namco booth i found the myth himself. He seemed not very interested in moving all that much. Way to slip into the roll.
DARK SOULS 3
The simulated nightmare of Dark Souls 3 was calling my name from the end of a very long lineup. Usually the conversation in the lines i wait in it quite lively. I was waiting in line with a friend and fan of the series; talking about the game and how i love and hate it. Usually this is when you might get a few thoughts from the fans in lone ahead and behind you. Often all at once. But here. Nothing. Nobody said shit and when it was my turn to play i tried my very best.
The guy ahead of me had done this before. The girl at the booth commented: "oh, you again huh?" Why would you play the same demo twice? and wait in line hours to do it? Fans of this game are literally fanatical. I watched him play before my turn; he chose the knight class and bombed through the entire thing just so he could have a run at the boss. Which, spoiler alert, was a giant skeletony ethereal monster with a flaming sword and semi predictable albeit terrifying attack pattern. He died. Just like i did about 11 times.
Me, i just trotted along trying to remember how to block and counter. I played 'Bloodborne' in the summer and i loved it so. It's greatness caused me to forget Dark Souls entirely. So needless to say i sucked bad at this demo. But i did notice how beautiful it looked. So pretty; shiny armor, amazing views and an impossible labyrinth of undead monks. It must have been very painful and boring to watch me play. I parried a few attacks and had a lot of trouble with the camera angle. If you weren't positioned behind the character then he wouldn't hit the way you wanted him to. Most likely a user error. One thing i did notice was that it was strikingly similar to the last game and the one before that. Its the same shit. Its hard, really pretty and frustrating as hell. If your willing to work your ass off just so you can stab a boss in the ass 20 times to win then this game is for you. I really appreciate this series but i don't think i need to do this again, and so soon after there last game. I would love to see a few new mechanics that would reinvent the game though.
In short i saw what i expected to see. Sequels that retained 80% of what made them popular from the start. I can't fault a publisher for maintaining consistency but i'm no longer content with the expected.
Thanks New York for another eventful year. I hurt all over, got a nerd flu and fell asleep for 12 hours when i got home.