The New York Comic Con and Anime Festival was extended to a four-day event last year, and this year it continued that format with a short day on Thursday. Only people who work in the comic book industry were allowed in for the first few hours, but the show floor was opened to civilians for a six-hour span, and patrons who bought special four-day passes got an advance peek at the treasures within. Explosion was among the horde that got to check out the con a day in advance.
For years, the New York Comic Con has been criticized for veering away from comic books. A slow shift to movies, TV shows, and video games has been evident, and this year was no exception. Typical geeks were no doubt happy to get some hands-on time with Halo 4, but there were a few booths at the con that seemed very out of place.
First there was the Impress Press On Nails booth. Yes, along with the action figures, back issues and replica vibranium shields was a nail salon where Comic Con attendees could have their fingertips adorned with glittery fake nails. While there were, no doubt, numerous ladynerds and transvestites who found this to be a fun addition, I never thought I’d see the day when I could get my nails done at Comic Con.
Once properly manicured (No pedicure), attendees could spend hours exploring the show floor. Aside from large displays from the major comic publishers, several gaming companies had staked out a portion of the expo hall, too. Gamers who got in on Thursday were treated to short wait times to try several hot titles.
Marvel has a swarm of games out now or in the near future, including several casual iphone titles. However the new Marvel MMO is now in closed beta, and people who stopped by the Marvel booth could get hands-on play with it, and sign up for the beta.
Halo 4’s multiplayer mode was playable as well, and we played a deathmatch on the classic Valhalla map. This newest installment of Halo offers much more customization than the previous ones, including a perk system (On top of the armor equipment slot), and a heavily customizable loadout. Familiar vehicles like the Banshee and Warthog were back, but a new giant mech was added to the map. This walking death machine had the firepower of a tank, but maneuvered the level with ease.
Square Enix had a playable demo of the next Hitman game, and it tossed players into a simple mission that demonstrated the many options of how they can complete an objective as Agent 47. With the vague goal of eliminating a target in a heavily crowded area, players had the option of luring their prey into a quite area, using poisons, working with NPC’s to get a sniper rifle, or just charging in guns-a-blazing then duking it out with the police.
Square Enix was also showing a demo of the upcoming reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. In this mission, a young Lara Croft was lost in the jungle, unarmed, and badly wounded. There was little combat, or even much jumping, rather it focused on setting the story, and getting players acquainted with the controls. Obviously based on an early level, players had to help Lara learn to use a bow for hunting. A quick RPG sequence at the end showed how Lara will gain Experience Points during her adventure and level up various survival skills that will help her hunt for food in the wilderness (A bit like Snake in the third Metal Gear Solid game).
Capcom also had a second Tomb Raider booth set up where fans could try their real-life archery skills by shooting targets with a real bow, and win prizes. Archery contests… yet another thing I never thought I see at Comic Con!
Check in with Explosion throughout the weekend for more on Comic Con, and in-depth previews of the games being shown there.