New York Comic Con might primarily focus on comics, movies, television, and anime, but it also has its fair share of video game panels. Sure, E3 might be the convention for video games, but not everyone can visit Los Angeles, let alone get tickets to it. Still, the New York Comic Con show floor usually has plenty of game demos for attendees to try, and I played my fair share of these demos this year. I wanted to try more, but there are only so many hours in the day, so I didn’t try half the games I wanted to try. Regardless, I enjoyed the few games I played and have compiled my thoughts into this article.
Monster Hunter World
I’m a big Monster Hunter fan and knew I had to try the demo when I saw the booth at Comic Con. During my turn, I teamed up with three other attendees and was blown away by the gameplay. The Monster Hunter franchise isn’t exactly known for its graphics, but I was amazed by the beauty and scope of the game level. More importantly, even though the monster I fought, the Barroth, was something I faced in Monster Hunter Tri, the fight in Monster Hunter World was a whole new experience, as the creature used none of the attacks or tells I memorized back in MH3. The fight felt a little easier than expected, though, but then I’m used to soloing Barroths instead of ganging up on them, and I’m pretty sure my team’s weapons and armor were stronger than normal. Plus, I didn’t get to try out the new slinger, mantle, or Scoutflies since the fight was over in about eight minutes. However, I’m sure had I tried again and went up against the Anjanath (the line became way too long after the first day), I would have been in for a much more difficult and strategic fight. I look forward to Monster Hunter World‘s release, which will be January 26th for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners and who knows when for PC gamers.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
The premise of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT almost sells itself: the main heroes and villains of the numbered Final Fantasy games (and a few spin-off games) team up and fight one another, but since the booth didn’t have the final build of the game, some characters were missing. Even though the controls looked simple enough on paper, I never got the hang of them, possibly because I chose Kefka during my playtime, a character who my research (done after New York Comic Con) tells me has a high learning curve. From my experience, the combat system is almost identical to past Dissidia games: each character has several “Bravery Attacks” that don’t deal damage to opponents but instead increase the power of an “HP Attack,” which is the only way to deal damage. At Comic Con, participants were only allowed to partake in 3v3 matches, which were quick and chaotic, and the first team to KO their its opponents three times won. However, the game wasn’t perfect; some participants ran into network errors, so Square Enix still has to iron out some bugs. But, the game comes out January 30th, so the company has plenty of time. I am seriously considering buying a PlayStation 4 just to play Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
FromSoftware’s latest game, Code Vein continues the developers’ proud tradition of making excruciatingly difficult games that feel rewarding. Some people have called this game “Anime Dark Souls,” and they’re not wrong, but they’re not right, either. Code Vein is as much Dark Souls as Bloodbourne is, which is to say it uses the same base combat mechanics but adds new features to set it apart from other Souls and Souls-like games. One example of Code Vein‘s features is called “Gifts,” which are spells that cover a wide variety of uses and are powered by points players receive by attacking enemies. The demo on the Comic Con show floor gave gamers 15 minutes to explore the game world and defeat a boss. Most participants opted to just head for the boss and tended to get trounced, but those who took their time and actually explored a bit and leveled up had a much easier fight, myself included. While I found Dark Souls II to be too slow for my taste, Code Vein was just the right combination of speed, challenge, and frustration for me. I might have to pick this game up when it comes out in 2018
Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition
I didn’t play this game nearly as long as I should have while at Comic Con, but what I did witness got me hyped. Final Fantasy XV looks absolutely gorgeous on PC, and while the controls took some getting used to, I eventually got the hang of them. Sadly, the demo only came with an Xbox One controller, so I don’t know how Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition controls with a mouse and keyboard. The only thing I didn’t like in the demo was that giant monster truck the characters drove; the original car just feels much more like a vehicle a prince would drive. Like Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition is still in development, and the show floor demo was subject to bugs, specifically crashing to desktop. Still, it’s Final Fantasy XV on a gaming PC, which I can’t complain about, and Square Enix has plenty of time to fix bugs and glitches.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
I have been looking forward to this game ever since I backed it on Kickstarter, and I have to say I’m glad I did. The Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night demo at Comic Con was still the same clock tower area from E3, but that’s not a complaint. I had plenty of rooms to explore, a number of enemies to fight, and multiple weapons and spell crystals to collect and test. The controls and combat felt fluid but weighty, and the spell system allowed for a lot of experimentation; each spell and weapon had its uses, and different players will gravitate towards different combinations. The game felt and played like classic Metroidvania-style Castlevania instead of a non-Castlevania Metroidvania game (it’s hard to tell the difference between the two, but you’ll know it when you see it), and I’m extremely pleased with what I experienced. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night might just be yet another Kickstarter success story.
Thanks to my busy schedule, I missed out on numerous other game demos at Comic Con, including Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, Lost Sphear, BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle, and Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. Still, there’s always next year. Here’s hoping I can finally try out that Final Fantasy VII remake by then.