A reader reports back from the recent comicon event in London, where he got to play games like Code Vein and Cat Quest.
Comic Con is a gathering of people like no other. A chance for like-minded people to not only explore or share their interest in the most wonderfully geeky aspects of popular culture, but to also live it through the medium of cosplay. Once again it was an absolute pleasure to attend the MCM Comic Con, which took play at the London Excel Centre across 27th-29th October.
The event has a massive 100,000 people pass through across the whole three days, with the busiest of these days being the Saturday. This was my third visit to the con, and each time it has been an enjoyable and memorable experience for a variety of reasons.
Although the biggest attraction of a Comic Con is the cosplayers, the merchants, and celebrity guests, the event actually has a growing approach to the gaming industry, with this year’s events having a solid presence with the likes of Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sony, Bandai Namco, and NIS America, amongst others. Most of the games available on the day I had actually recently played at this year’s EGX in Birmingham, which I also covered on behalf of GameCentral. Because of this I wanted to give some focus to a few titles that I actually did not get around to playing at EGX, but was very glad to test at MCM.
Whilst wondering about aimlessly I happened upon the stalls for Cat Quest. As a role-playing game fan myself I saw a reason to take five minutes to at least try it, not expecting much from it, having not even heard of the title. To say I was surprised would be a huge understatement. Had I played this at EGX it could easily have been a contender for my personal favourite game of that show. It was purr-fect, and I gladly played the entire demo, leaving me wanting more.
You can tell this game is heavily Inspired by games such as Zelda, Final Fantasy, Skyrim, and even Dark Souls (the rolls are real). The basic outline of the story is the evil Dragon Lord Drakoth has catnapped your sister, and you are on a quest to secure her safe return. The demo sees you learn the basics of combat near the catpital of Felingard, which is ruled over by King Lionidas. Cat puns are definitely galore as you talk to the towns folk before enjoying a nice catnap at the local inn. This is also how you recover your health.
Combat, as mentioned earlier, is inspired by open world adventures such as Zelda, utilising only a few of the controller buttons, one for attack, one for rolling away (Dark Souls strats), and another for the use of magical abilities, which are upgradeable as you level through the game. This is most definitely a game I look to pick up in the future and give a proper play through of, as if I don’t it would be a real cat-astrophe.
Another Dark Souls-inspired title, though this one more in the literal sense. With the huge popularity of the Souls/Bloodborne games it is hardly a surprise that more and more titles are trying to fill the void left with the Souls games series coming to an end. And Code Vein, in fairness, does stack up rather well to the format of a brutally challenging game where skill and timing mean more than paying to win. This really could be one of the dark horses in 2018.
Combining bleak exploration with brutal unforgiving combat, this game really sets out to challenge from the get go, and with its anime aesthetic it is also rather pleasing on the eye. The game world is a post apocalyptical world where our custom hero is joined by a computer-controlled companion, Mia. This makes a welcome change to the formula, as having this extra body in combat full time gives enemies another target, allowing you to vanquish your own foe before slicing down on Mia’s attacker. Sadly, as with most AI, she can also be a bit of a nuisance, often running off to fight enemies before you initiate combat, or even deciding to bring more enemies into the fray, as if four was not already enough.
I am not sure if Mia is a replacement to a potential partnered player, or even if that would be in addition, but would think that any more than two in the party would make combat too easy to handle. Fans of these types of games will feel at home here, rolling away from incoming blows (strats) chaining up those light and heavy hits, and even utilising the hero’s ‘gifts’ which allow you to perform various heavy-hitting abilities.
One of my biggest hopes with this game, with its fully-voiced acting and anime style, is that the story it follows (classic hero with amnesia) can actually pan out to be a dark yet epic tale, full of twists and melodrama, to actually engage the player to care about the journey they are on. Instead of it being just a challenge, it can be an adventure too.
Other games available at the show, which I particularly enjoyed were Assassin’s Creed Origins, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Dragon Ball FighterZ and both Super Mario Odyssey and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. As these were covered in the EGX review I won’t go over old ground, but re-iterate they are definitely worth a purchase.
There is something so liberating about watching people go about their day dressed as amazing character such Monkey King from the classic Chinese TV show Monkey, or Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy. Not only the effort that people put into their cosplays, but just the love of what they enjoy, and the passion they have for their hobbies, is just hard not to enjoy.
One day I will find the urge to don the Dr Robotnik moustache and terrorise the citizens of the MCM, but until that day I will settle for appreciating other people’s great work. My particular favourites on the day, including those above, were Son Goku, Saitama, Cloud and Vampirella (not sure why though… reasons).
There was even a steampunk R2-D2. But the star of the show was the double Hammill in the form of a Joker Jedi, which was so unique and looked awesome. It also helped that the cosplayer also does a perfect Hamill Joker to finish off his efforts. Tip of the cap to you sir.
Whenever I attend events such as these, which hold dozens upon dozens of merchant stalls, I really enjoy seeking out those that are both unique and eye catching. MCM didn’t fail to deliver, and here are my favourite stalls of the show
Such a simple, fun and Geektastic idea. It ticks two of my most favourite boxes on my likes list: geeky and cake. With treats such as Chocorina of Time, Peel the Force, and Cookies and Khaleesi there was plenty to choose from for the cake lovers passing by. I myself actually have ‘gotta bake ‘em all’ so took home a Pokémon Red Velvet, which was delicious. Check them out, they will make such great stocking fillers for Xmas.
I could hardly mention merchants at a Comic Con without one being a comic stand. Though this one was quite alternative. Wine and Zine actually offers quite unique comic books of art, with varying types, but my particular favourite was their Swap series, where they take the genders of popular shows and jiggle them about somewhat.
Examples of the What If swaps were characters from Rick and Morty, Mario and Luigi, and Harry Potter. They are drawn by a collaborative of five female animators looking to have fun with the current comic trend and fashion their own style in the comic world. I look forward to seeing more from them in the future, and personally hope they branch into Swaps for anime too, perhaps with the Naruto series.
Japanese Gourmet Burgers
Whilst not a stall per se, it was definitely great to see such wonderful cuisine on offer, aside from the Excel’s own meal options available in the central walkway. With a huge oriental theme, it was great to hear people excited to try food they perhaps never would otherwise such as gyoza, katsu burgers, or even traditional bubble tea, which is surprisingly delicious but you have to go at it with an open mind as it is a world away from PG Tips.
It is hard to not enjoy yourself at these huge gatherings. It is full of friendly, fun, likeminded souls, who take such great joy in their craft and ability to free themselves of their day to day norms to enjoy everything the con has to offer. On a personal note I was particularly thrilled to meet former Black Ranger and anime voiceover heavyweight Johnny Yong Bosch, who was an absolute dude, taking the time to have a great chat about his works in Naruto, Akira, Final Fantasy Dissidia, Persona 4, and Bleach.
As always I would like to thank GameCentral for allowing me to cover the event on their behalf. If you have ever wanted to go, but never quite made the steps to attend, I really would recommend it when MCM returns to the Excel next year.
By reader Josh Wickenden
Wickenbreux (Twitch/IG/gamertag)/Joshlegend (PSN ID)
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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