London MCM Comic Con – Day 1: Arkham Knight, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 & Godzilla

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

As part of my first day at London MCM Comic Con this year, aside from some general wandering around (first impressions here!) I checked out a few of the video games on offer, focussing on some upcoming games that I’ve been looking forward to (some of which I had forgotten about until I saw the demos). Here are some thoughts on three of my favourites.

Godzilla the Game

20150522_113856

As you can just about see there, Godzilla is a Namco Bandai game already out in Japan for PS3 and PS4, but over here it isn’t being released until July 2015. Playing as Godzilla, I destroyed some buildings while being attacked by the army, with the aim (I think) of blowing up some generators and gradually growing in size. In my way were two other kaiju – King Ghidorah and Space Godzilla (like Godzilla, but from space) that I had to scrap with in an arena. I took out King Ghidorah while he was trying to deal with some giant stalagmites created by Space Godzilla, then melted the latter’s face with some multiple nuclear breaths. Apparently I also successfully destroyed the area. It was 100% more fun than last year’s film.

20150522_114012

Also the 10 minutes I played for involved more Godzilla screen time than the film too

The short Godzilla demo I played was at it’s core a very fun, if simple and easy game. Not that there is anything wrong with that, not everything needs to be Bloodborne and gaming would be exhausting if it was. Tonally it was much more in line with the classic Japanese films, tongue in cheeky rather than oppressively dour, unsurprising as it was made by Namco Bandai rather than a Western studio. The controls were quite basic and to be honest, fairly clunky and sluggish. But admittedly, having the King of the Monsters moving in a quick, smooth way wouldn’t look or feel quite right. So despite that, I’d be interested in seeing what the whole game is like.

 

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3

20150522_120731

Pirate Warriors 3, developed by Omega Force and published by Namco Bandai and Tecmo Koei again, is the latest instalment in the One Piece musou games (Dynasty Warriors style 1 vs. loads of enemies). I really like the One Piece world, and the powers of Monkey D. Luffy, his crew and the variety of interesting allies and enemies are perfectly set up for this sort of game. The levels typically involve hundreds of weak pirates or navy infantry for you to smash or hack through, followed by some big boss. It is basically button bashing fun, and the demo for the third entry in the series was no different.

20150522_120852A few new elements here (aside from even more characters added to the already huge cast) involved some of the more recent story from the anime and manga, including Fishman Island and Dressrosa, and the new team attack (apparently called Kizuna Rush) that uses multiple finishing moves from your companions at the same time in a massively damaging combination attack. It looks insane and is a ton of fun. Pirate Warriors 3 is already out in Japan, but is everywhere else in August on PS3, PS4, Vita and apparently PC too.

 

Batman: Arkham Knight

ArkhamFinally, I queued for about 10 minutes to watch some Batman: Arkham Knight footage. We were filed in to a stiflingly hot room and a screen of about 10-15 minutes of gameplay was shown to us, with one of the attendants doing a pretty solid job of narrating. For some reason, despite the game coming out next month and so hopefully finished by now, they weren’t offering demos to actually give the game a try. I wasn’t too bothered about this though, as having played 3 full Arkham games already I know what to expect – more of the same, with some new extras, better controls and improved graphics.

I wasn’t totally enamoured by Arkham Origins. It was fine, but it ultimately felt like a bit of a cash grab to me. The story wasn’t bad, but elements of the game felt inherently ridiculous (executioner gloves), the sandbox you played it seemed largely unchanged and some parts were just re-skins of assets from Arkham City (glue grenades, really?). I felt like it was a fine game from WB Montreal, but I consider Asylum and City to be from Rocksteady to be great games. I feel like if we hadn’t had a new Batman game since Arkham City in 2011 then general excitement, at least speaking for myself, would be much higher. And maybe rushing out an average game damages the brand somewhat. That being said, I really loved Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The attention to detail with regards to Batman and his rogues shows a great love of the source material, and when they use ‘Be the Batman’ in promotional material it really is because the free flowing combat has been honed to the point where, aside from donning a cape and risking your life every night, it really does feel like the closest thing to being the caped crusader every time you slo-mo smash someone’s face into the wall at the end of a fight.

In the footage we were shown, some of which was for the first time, the mysterious Arkham Knight (supported by the Scarecrow) has occupied Ace Chemicals. Batman glides in and wrecks some thugs with the impressive new ‘fear takedown’ that allows you to chain takedowns after sneaking up on foes, before opening the gate and remote calling in the Batmobile (check out the full size Batmobile they had at the event at the top of the article!), seamlessly jumping in as it enters. Throughout the screening we were shown a few more fights that showed off improvements to the combat, and some battles between the Batmobile and unmanned drone tanks controlled by the Arkham Knight. We also saw an assisted takedown carried out by Batman throwing a thug up in the air and having the Batmobile take them out with a stun shot. It was pretty rad.

As far as storyline goes, little was given away other than the fact that the Arkham Knight has a serious hate on for Batman, and wants him dead before the end of the night. I’ve a few guesses for who it might be, and while I’m expecting a twist I really hope it isn’t something that involves the Joker. Please.

Arkham Knight is out on the 23rd of June, and I’ll be picking it up on release and reviewing it to avoid some work I’m pretty sure I should be doing that week.

 

I played a few more games, but Comic Con (as you can probably guess from the name) isn’t primarily a games convention so it wasn’t exactly a focus. I’ll be back with more articles tomorrow on what I checked out on Saturday. London MCM Comic Con is open until Sunday, so if you’ve been thinking about it come on down to the Excel centre for some geeky goodness either today or tomorrow! I’ll be the one wearing the nerdy t-shirt.

Adam

 

 

HYAAH!: A Hyrule Warriors Review

Our resident Nintendian Kii gives us her verdict on the new Hyrule Warriors game on the Wii U.

I know what you’re thinking, how can Kii possibly be reviewing a game within a year of the release date? Well I’ll tell you. Hyrule Warriors. That’s it. Hyrule Warriors, Kii’s wet dream of a Legend of Zelda game. When Nintendo first announced that they were going to be giving third party companies access to their core franchises I was unsure what to think. Were they giving up on their in-house developers or trying to breathe new life into potentially stale game formats? Whatever the reasoning for their choices I am so friggin happy. Not only did the Tekken team get hold of the new Smash Bros but Koei gleefully ran off with the Legend of Zelda to squirrel it away in the insanity house that births Samurai and Dynasty Warriors.

Omega Force (ω-Force) are famous for the 1 vs 1000 style of game that they have perfected. This is a format that is often repeated by other companies but in my opinion none can hold a candle to Omega Force so it’s understandable that if Nintendo wanted a company to display an outright war in Hyrule, Omega Force were the perfect choice. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a childhood Zelda fan, Twilight Princess was my first hands-on experience with the series and I instantly fell head over heels. Since then I’ve worked my way through the DS games, Minish Cap and the fabled Ocarina of Time. Ocarina was where I met Sheik. In Hyrule Warriors you can play as Sheik. Can you see where this is going?

YOU CAN PLAY AS SHEIK. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? Actually you can play as a fantastic selection of characters and use a myriad of weapons from all over the Zelda universe which not only makes the game really interesting but great for long term fans. Nintendo, as always, build games with the ability to enjoy them with more people whether that be via the Miiverse or in your own living room. Hyrule Warriors has taken my household by storm, myself, my partner and our housemate all have our favourites and rotate the Game Pad when levels with those characters appear. There’s also co-op using the Wiimote or Wii-U Pro Controller where one player uses the TV and the other exclusively the screen on the game pad.

ImpaandSheik

But I’m not so blinded with love that I can’t critique the game. The Wiimote controls don’t feel very natural when you’ve been using the game pad and I feel that you’re at a disadvantage if your player 2 doesn’t have the Wii-U Pro Controller. Swinging your arm to do your standard attacks works in the normal Legend of Zelda games, however when your attacks are extremely combo based as Omega Force love to do, it’s hard to know where you are in your inputs. It’s also exhausting with the amount of enemies around. My other issue is a bit of a catch-22, Hyrule Warriors has stayed true to the Zelda standard of nobody having voice actors, solely relying on screen text to display dialogue (including a literal ‘Proxie’ fairy for Link’s speech). Whilst I’m happy that they’ve stuck with the formula, this has reduced the game’s accessibility if you’re playing with someone impaired or a younger child who can’t read as fast. The story is great and it saddens me that some people will miss out on it or even miss in-game instructions through no fault of their own.

On a less in-depth note, it’s beautiful. The character designs are elaborately stunning and the updates to older characters like Impa brought them immediately on par with the newer guys. The other game modes are also fantastic including Adventure Mode where you play to acquire segments of the original Legend of Zelda map. According to the DLC release schedule on the Nintendo e-shop future releases will include Adventure Mode maps for Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess as well as new playable characters, weapons, costumes and game modes. Why yes, I have already bought it.

Hyrule Adventure Mode

With the, quite frankly, ‘iffy’ response to Skyward Sword I feel that Hyrule Warriors has been the adrenaline injection that the Zelda franchise needed. No longer is it a series locked to outsiders who don’t know what a Cucco is and why you NEVER EVER HIT ONE. People who like the Dynasty Warriors style of game are wandering over to see what all the fuss is about and without the prerequisite of having to spend five hours in the water temple utterly lost, less marathon style players are having a look too.

So my final words on Hyrule Warriors are this; If you like The Legend of Zelda, bloody well play it. If you don’t, bloody well play it anyway. Borrow someone else’s, be someone’s Player 2 (but ask to use the Game Pad) or watch a Let’s Play and then just buy it, I guarantee that you’ll have fun.

Now I’m off to stare at Sheik’s butt. I mean, play as a kick-ass ninja who gets 100 KOs in one move (whilst staring at ninja butt).

Kii