Article FanExpo Canada: Game Demos First Impressions

Written by Twisted Ideas

This past weekend I attended FanExpo Canada in Toronto. On top of seeing celebrities and spending more money than I’m willing to admit I had the opportunity to play some upcoming games. Sony, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, Bungie and EA had a presence at the expo. Most of the games at FanExpo appeared to be the E3 builds. While I didn’t have a chance to play each title, I did play some highly anticipated games.

If you think PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is Super Smash Bros and you wouldn’t be wrong. The demo is a three-minute free for all match with up to four players. You have three attack buttons which that perform different attacks depending on which way you tilt the analog stick. You have the ability to double jump, block, and pick up items that appear on the stage. If you’ve played Smash Bros before you can imaging how a match will play out. The major difference is that character deaths. As you fight you will collect orbs that will fill up a meter at the bottom of the screen. The meter has three levels and you can activate special moves by pressing R2. The higher the level the easier it is to get kills. Stages they are dynamic and are able to attack you and even give you advantages. I know that more characters have been announced but there were only a handful in this build: Sly Cooper, Nathan Drake, Radec, Fat Princess, Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Parappa the Rappa, Big Daddy from Bioshock and Heihachi Mishima from Tekken.

I knew next to nothing about the game when I played. I assume special moves are the only way to get kills. I played two rounds and I had difficulty telling what was going on. It took a bit to learn what Sly’s moves were and the second match was when I learned what Sly’s block looked like. I have no idea how the game was scored because the victory screen showed the kills and deaths and an out of context number as the final score.

I happened to win my first game by spamming attacks against players who didn’t know how to defend and getting kills with my specials. I lost my second game due playing against more experienced players who I didn’t know how to defend/avoid/notice attacks. Right now I’m doubtful about the success of All Stars. Characters feel slow and you can feel defenseless at times. The game needs a public demo to give players a chance to learn the game if it wants to push units. On a brighter note I did win a Killzone 3 Marksman figurine and two months of PlayStation Plus.

I can’t believe waited in line for this game. I’ve played and beaten all the God of Wars and I knew that Ascension couldn’t possibly do anything to change the formula. There are a few changes. R1 is now your grab that is long ranged and tethers you to weaker enemies. Circle is now physical attacks and now you can pick up stray weapons and use or throw them away. You have a rage meter that slowly fills as you fight. Holding block and attacking uses half the bar for a powerful attack and using it at full capacity kills enemies and give you help. You have an item that reverses time which is used in a single puzzle in the demo. It can also stun enemies temporarily. From all the people I watched play the game I am the only person who found that out.

As I said previously I’ve played all of the God of Wars and watching the demo once I felt like I didn’t need to play it. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my advise and this was a ten minute with only a single station. I waited for over an hour where the man behind me actually fell asleep. The game looks even better than God of War 3 but that may have been the expensive Sony TV. The demo provided no story and the only context is that this is another prequel. All I can say is that if you enjoy God of War games then you’ll probably enjoy this one. If your tired of the same beat-em-up formula than prettier graphics and fancier fatalities won’t change your opinion.

Injustice Gods Among Us

Camera Phone FTW

NetherRealms is back with a new fighting game based of characters from the DC Universe. I only got the chance to play a single match. Friend’s concern is that the game will feel like NetherRealms recent fighting game Mortal Kombat 9. From what I can tell is that the combat system has similarities to MK9 in terms built-in combos and juggling but feels much different. The buttons are different and the block button is removed for a more traditional back blocking. There are three attack buttons and a style change where I believe they have access to different moves and abilities. Characters move faster than in MK9 and their speed is representative of their character. Some character have additional movement options. Batman can glide, Cyborg can zip line around the stage and Wonder Woman can air dash. Development videos show that you can interact with the stage but wasn’t a factor in my match.

Injustice Gods Among Us needs a demo if only if I can play it again sooner. I’m excited for this game and I can imagine that it will be a competitive fighter. Characters are diverse enough to fill several styles of play. The visuals are stunning and the character designs reminds me of the art styling of Jim Lee or Michael Turner.

This was the first experience I’ve had with the Wii U. Zombie U is still early in development but looks much better than most anything on the Wii to date. The layout of the controller appears strange but it’s surprisingly comfortable a light. There are two analog sticks, four shoulder buttons, four face buttons, a d-pad and a touch screen.The d-pad and face buttons are beneath the analog sticks and I didn’t fully get used pressing them accurately when needed.

ZombiU is one of the most anticipated titles from Ubisoft for the Wii U. The demo is set in London and you play as a survivor searching for antibiotics. After the Ubisoft representative explained the controller I jumped right into the game. ZombiU is a first person survival horror game. Looking and aiming were sensitive and couldn’t be changed. It will likely be addressed before release. The touchscreen has four quick switch buttons, your health, a mini map and access to your inventory.

You start off in the streets of London where you can a crate which provides you weapons and gear. When accessing item caches the game prompts you to look at the Wii U controller as your character is seen opening his backpack and searching. On the controller, you can see your inventory and the items available to take. You can drag items to the inventory or quick button slots or press “Take All”.

On your way to a nursery you will encounter zombies which are slow-moving but can take a lot of punishment if not shot in the head. If you stay too long on the streets a hoard of zombies will appear. The left trigger aims and the right trigger shoots. If the left trigger isn’t held you can push zombies and if grounded stomp on their heads. Ammo is very scarce. While ammo can be found you only obtain a bullet or two meaning that you have to dispatch zombies efficiently with melee or well placed shots.

Once in the nursery you have to search for key cards in the building with locked and obstructed doors and fight zombies in tight hallways. Some doors have to be picked. When you pick a lock you will have to look down at the controller and perform a minigame involving the touch screen..  Halfway through the demo after you have to fight powerful zombie that has the ability to teleport. Upon killing it you will have to point the controller at the TV to scan for the key card it is holding.

ZombiU has potential to be a very good game as well as an actual survival horror game. Of course, the game is less than scary in a large, brightly lit, noisy show floor with hundreds of people. On a side note, while waiting in line I saw a player start picking a lock while zombies were still around. As he was looking down he was attacked. I imagine that this game can get very tense. I didn’t have a strong opinion of the Wii U controller before playing ZombiU. ZombiU has shown me the potential for immersive experiences for the system. I stopped noticing the game prompting me to look at the controller as I did so instinctively. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to play Zombiu before something gimmicky that would taint my opinion of the system.

This is a Kinect title that I didn’t play but was watching while in line for ZombiU. It is a fighting game on the Kinect that addresses the fact that not everyone can kick very high or isn’t agile. The camera is behind the shoulder type view and two players is actually split screen. Matches are 2v2 and only one character needs to lose all their health for a round to end. You attack by performing gestures that are displayed on the screen. Most are performed with you arms and some have secondary gestures to unleash the attack. Combos are possible if you act quickly enough. Opponents can break out of them by jumping provided they have the meter (probably). Attacks can be dodged by ducking or moving to the side but it depends on how quickly the opponent can unleash their attacks. Characters can be switched by raising your left hand where they will begin to recover health. If your meter is full you can jump and perform an unavoidable ultra attack where launch the opponent and have to punch rapidly for free damage.

I don’t own a Kinect or 360 but this seems like a neat casual fighting game that doesn’t require a lot of skill. What it will require is space. Some gestures can lead to people hitting the person next to them so look out for that.

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