The Scrap Yard

Gamestop Expo 2013 Post-Expo News and Opinions

While all of the mainstream kids were at PAX Prime, us cool cats in Vegas were checking out Gamestop’s annual Expo, featuring everything at PAX and then some. From next-gen consoles to Sonic in a Mario display, almost anything imaginable was there (except for a hands-on Watch Dogs demo).SonicMarioDisplay

First off, good news. Current generation games that were on display are looking great, such as Batman: Arkham Origins, Sonic Lost World and Titanfall (yes Xbox One fanboys, it’s coming to 360 and PC as well!).

The Arkham Origins demo was great fun, but some of Batman’s new gadgets made him extremely overpowered in the demo (remote batclaw, anyone?). Hopefully the full game still manages to challenge players.

Sonic Lost World was fun too, but primarily on the 3DS. My earlier analysis of the boring Wii U trailers was, in fact, correct, as Sonic doesn’t feel fast and/or exciting on Nintendo’s quirky console. Luckily, Sonic retains his trademark speed and FUN on the 3DS version, featuring faster paced levels and better Wisp usage. In short, if you own a 3DS you might just be getting the best version of the game.

Titanfall was the biggest surprise, as up until Gamescon a few weeks ago no one had gotten a chance to play it hands-on. Well, it’s flipping amazing. There was an hour+ long line to get into the multiplayer demo, but it was well worth it. Two teams of six rocket booted and quick-scoped their way around the map in what I assume would be Iron Man’s version of Call of Duty, but that all changed with the Titans. Once the giant robots got involved, conventional FPS mechanics hit the fan and the game really showed its true colors (which were amazing amber and f*cking awesome indigo). Even better, everyone got a Titan at one point or another, meaning that no one was left out of the Gundam robot fun.

Two of Ubisoft’s biggest and most anticipated games, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and Watch Dogs, were present but not hands-on. There was a special screening for each, showing content not currently on the internet. While it was cute, there should’ve been a hands-on demo this close to both games’ launches, and the Watch Dogs demo sparked some serious concerns over the PS4 version being better than current gen versions graphically, but more on that later.

Microsoft’s massive set up at the Expo included demos for Ryse, Kinect Sports Rivals and even a photo-op with Dead Rising 3’s zombies. My verdict on the new Kinect is that it’s still a door stopper, although it IS better than the current Kinect. Not by much, however, as it still reads movements relatively slowly and still can’t process overlapping body parts, such as putting one arm over your chest. Kinect Sports Rivals wouldn’t have been much fun had the Kinect worked better, however, as the game was boring and felt like a poor imitation of Wii Sports Resort.

Ryse looked really boring, even though expo-ees weren’t allowed to even play the Kinect version. There was a one-on-one showroom where you could watch a Microsoft employee play a demo up close and personal, but that was as close as you got to Ryse: Son of Rome’s Kinect functionality.

Sony had demos of their new PS4 racing game Drive Club and Warframe’s PS4 port, but everything else was PS3 content (Beyond: Two Souls and The Puppeteer). Nothing was impressive and while Sony’s booth was big, it lacked impact.Vegas 2013 021Vegas 2013 020

The one big issue worth mentioning with what gamers saw of the Xbox One and PS4 was that the visuals weren’t impressive, far from it. If anything, most next gen games on demonstration looked just barely on par with some current PS3 titles, and a tad better than current 360 titles. The Watch Dogs PS4 demo looked bleh, and anyone who’s pre-ordered a next gen console would be wise to listen to myself and Adam Sessler and cancel that pre-order as soon as possible. Fanboys will be fanboys, but smart consumers should hold off, as these machines don’t seem to be living up to the hype they’ve generated whatsoever.

Those were the biggest highlights and disappointments of Gamestop Expo 2013, give or take a couple of games (such as Super Mario 3D Land and Bayonetta 2 on Wii U, which both had great demos, and a couple of less pressing games like Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Elder Scrolls Online). It was well worth the $35 admission price, and I highly recommend avid gamers to go to next year’s expo, as it’s as enlightening as it is fun.

Video Games

Injustice: Gods Among Us NYCC 2012 Demo Analysis

From the creators of the squirm-inducing fighting game Mortal Kombat comes “Injustice: Gods Among Us”! As gory as MK? No. As fun? Seems that way.

The premise is pretty straight-forward: Lots of DC superheroes and villains, pitted against each other in a destructable playpen. The reimagined characters were the first big plus this game had going for it. The Harley Quinn redesign was cool (even if I still prefer the Batman: AA model), and the Batman definitely feels reminiscent of TDKR. 

Once these fantastic characters are in the ring, a whole ‘nother wave of DC nostalgia washes over you as you take on classic locales like the Bat Cave. These arenas have destructible terrain, so you can activate the Batmobile’s missile launchers remotely to attack your opponent, and stuff like that. It’s cool, and it definitely compliments the already superb combat system.

Want your dose of Green Arrow vs Catwoman in Injustice: Gods Among Us? Then click here!

Video Games

Lost Planet 3 NYCC 2012 Demo Analysis

Alright, to kick off this demo analysis I’ll admit something extremely important: I didn’t physically play it. Yes, Capcom had five different TV’s with it, but the demo was a twenty minute chunk of gameplay and the line was wrapping around walls like a king cobra, so I just opted to spectate with my camera.

So, from a spectator’s viewpoint, this is what I saw: “Gears Lost: Planet Wars 3”. And then it opted into some kind of “Call of Lost: Black Planets” stuff and all in all I wasn’t extremely impressed. It starts out as a Gears of War 3 clone, just not as impressive graphically. Then it transforms into Call of Duty where you’re inside a first-person turret thing and just whail on anything and everything. I didn’t even see a proper cover system, but maybe that’s just because I was watching a noob.

On a final note, from what I saw, Lost Planet 3 is looking like a rental-only title already. But don’t take my word for it, judge for yourself with this live LP3 gameplay!

Video Games

Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale NYCC 2012 Demo Analysis

I’m not really a super-Sony fan. I’m hoping to change that this winter gaming season with titles such as Sly Cooper and Little Big Planet, and of course, this game. Does it do Sony’s all-stars justice? Well, read on to find out.

First off, it controls in the same basic manner as Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., physics and all. Although I understand this is Sony’s own take on the Smash Bros. series, it still felt as though a lot was taken from (as of now) it’s superior mentor. Not just the physics, but the types of levels and character types. Sly Cooper is your Diddy Kong, PaRappa the Rapper is your Mr. Game and Watch, and so on and so forth. Not that it’s bad, it’s just not oozing with originality.

The actual game was fairly exciting, although the “all-star” moves didn’t nearly have the level of UMPH to them that SSBB’s did. And the character roster looked fairly petty, with just over twenty characters, roughly (I only saw the roster for a couple of seconds so that’s an estimate).

For some live and awesome gameplay footage, click here! And be sure to look forward to more great updates on all of the latest games.

Video Games

Avengers: Battle for Earth NYCC 2012 Demo Analysis

A Kinect game that actually looks like it worked as advertised? Sorcery!

But all laughs and giggles aside, it’s not sorcery. I will give legitimate props to Avengers: BfE. It actually looked (as they had two specific people playing) fairly responsive on-screen in accordance with their movements, and that’s something you can’t fake with the Kinect when it’s live. Not only that, but the screen itself was a blast to watch. Hulk was flailing Venom around and Venom was doing all sorts of flashy whip attacks, and the entire thing was a visually enjoyable experience.

The real question is, is Avengers: Battle for Earth enough to sway me to buy a Kinect for a second time?… Only time will tell. So stay tuned for more great NYCC updates and analysis posts! And be sure to click here for some short (and live) gameplay footage!