games @ NY Comic-Con 2009

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games @ NY Comic-Con 2009

Postby yyr » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:13 am

So I was at NY Comic Con this weekend and I figured I'd take the time to write briefly about the experiences I had there. I didn't play every game on the floor but I did see quite a number of them and played a handful.

One of the first things I saw when I walked in there was Prototype. I was extremely impressed with what I saw of it. Basically it looked to me like Crackdown, plus a whole lot more enemies, plus a whole lot more gratuitous violence, plus a whole lot of new gameplay mechanics and an actual storyline. The graphics are gorgeous. I spoke to a passionate developer (always a good sign) who said that the engine was built from scratch and that they have high hopes for the game. He confirmed that there unfortunately won't be any sort of co-op play (or any multiplayer, for that matter), but that if they're lucky enough to develop a sequel that they could definitely look into it at that time. So put that one on your list of games to watch for.

At the Sega booth I played 3 out of the 4 games they had on display. (Sorry, Sonic and the Black soon as I saw Sonic dragging a sword behind him, I said "forget it.")
I have the pleasure of informing the uninformed that the upcoming Wii-exclusive MadWorld is, in fact, awesome. Combined with the silly, over-the-top violence and distinctive-yet-not-distracting visual style is a set of Wiimote+Nunchuk controls that is not only intuitive, but extremely satisfying as well. I'll probably be picking that one up. If you haven't yet seen footage of it, or read up on it, you should.

I had low expectations for Wii-exclusive House of the Dead: Overkill, because I always have low expectations for "direct-to-video" arcade games. To be honest, I'm glad that they didn't try to port HotD4, because anyone with a brain knows that the Wii doesn't have the oomph to handle it. It seems like the dev team tried to cater Overkill for a Western audience; unlike the main series, and like Snake360, the game is broken up into missions that can be individually selected. You carry two weapons at once and can switch at any time. The default two weapons were a handgun and a shotgun, which hit a much wider area but had fewer rounds between reloads. I found the game to be difficult while using the handgun, but after switching to the shotgun I tore through everything I saw without much trouble.

The other differences to the game system: the life marks are replaced by a (large) life bar, lifeups are plentiful, and little items are around that slow time for a while, allowing you to take your time while blowing away everyone on the screen. There is now combo-based scoring (bleh IMO). Also, reloads are no longer have to wait a few moments before you can fire again. But the biggest difference in my opinion was this: the game doesn't run at 60 fps. It didn't even look like 30; it seemed a little bit less to me. So you get fewer frames to attack the same enemies. This made the PS1 version of Time Crisis much more difficult than the arcade version, for example. Overkill compensates by having most of the enemies move at a slower pace. The reloading delay slows the action down even more. As a result, the whole game feels sluggish compared to the main series, so that level of intensity is just not there. I have a feeling that many people will enjoy Overkill, especially in the 2-player mode, but I won't be one of them. I'm too much of an arcade snob, I guess...

I then tried out the new Wii FPS The Conduit. It's worth mentioning that I don't play a whole lot of FPS games. I thought that the control method was interesting; I'd never used the Wiimote as a "look" method before. After taking a few moments to get used to it, I liked it. The control felt a little slow but ultimately it seemed to work and the default button configuration (customizable) was planned well. The graphics were alright but not spectacular; the draw distance and level of detail were good but the textures didn't look all that great and the framerate was kind of low. The developer there assured me that it would be worked on; after all, it's not supposed to release until the summer. The design of the demo level we played was pretty good and we were told there'd be online multiplayer. My biggest worry about this game is that it's not going to stand out enough in a crowded field of FPS games. If you only have a Wii, it may be an attractive option, but if you have a 360 and/or PS3, this might just turn out to be another FPS, with inferior graphics to its higher-res competition.

I then spent a good deal of time in the Aksys booth. They had a WiiWare game on display. I can't remember its name but it had a very pixelated, blocky, retro look and was basically pong -- with two-player co-op, levels, bosses, etc. It reminded me a bit of Snake360 in the way that they took an old concept and tried to make it new again. I didn't actually play it but it looked like something I might actually want to play. I don't know what it'll cost or even if it's already out, but I'll be looking out for it. (EDIT: The game is Bit.Trip Beat and it costs 600 Wii points.) Aksys also had a Blazblue arcade setup (not in a cab) on Event Mode and I played a few times. I absolutely adore the game and its graphics, even if I totally suck at it. Lastly, of course, they had Guilty Gear XX Accent Core running, and people played all day.

I got passing glances at a few other games. Legends of WrestleMania looks like a new skin for <insert Yuke's wrestling game here> and little more. There were some MMOs on display but since I don't play those, I didn't really look at them. Ubisoft had a Tom Clancy-labeled flight sim called Hawx that looked very pretty and smooth, but too realistic for my tastes (After Burner Climax is more my thing). There were other games on display, but that was pretty much all I got to see. I'd have had more time on the floor if not for what happened yesterday...

...there was a Fringe panel and most of the main cast was there, which was very exciting. There was to be an autograph session afterwards and we were looking forward to both. Unfortunately, the autograph session immediately followed the panel, and the two events were not in the same place. So people started lining up for the autograph session while the panel was in progress. Immediately after leaving the panel, we attempted to line up for the autograph session, but we were already too late. The signing only went on for one hour; we never even saw the room where the signing took place! It was very poorly handled, and it's deplorable that fans should have to choose between the panel and the signing. But it's history, and there's nothing that can be done about it.

So that was my weekend. Back to work!
Aaron Teplitsky
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