Wednesday, 4 September 2013

MCM Media Expo 2013 round up

 This feature is also available at n-Europe, found here.

The MCM Media Expo, while increasingly turning into an outlet for bad cosplay and overpriced merchandise every passing year, it's one of the better opportunities for members of the public to try out upcoming releases without paying through the nose.

Nintendo has a rather hefty stall every year, and this time around was no exception. Here's a quick round up of the new content that featured last weekend.

Rayman Legends (Wii U)
Rayman LegendsHaving seen severe delays, you would hope that Rayman Legends would be brimming with content and gleaming with polish. Well, it's impossible to judge content from the demo, but the game definitely feels weighty, retaining all the charm and animation quality of the prequel.

What's different for the Wi iU is the ability for the GamePad user to act as a helper, tapping on scenery to reveal hidden objects and stun enemies. It's definitely functional, but like the helper mode in the Super Mario Galaxy games, its inclusion is entirely incidental, and not a patch on running around the levels yourself.

Thankfully, the game still supports 4-player co-op, and now there's a new character - the axe-hefting Barbara. Considering most of the female characters in Rayman Origins were inside cages, this is a nice change.

Game and Wario (Wii U)
Game and Wario Arguably existing to fill a quota of a Wario Ware game on every Nintendo console, the Wario Ware series have been great for demonstrating how to use the hardware's quirks for interesting ideas.
As such, Game and Wario plays like a halfway house between the structured, controlled fun of Nintendo Land and the meta, inter-personal fun of Spin the Bottle.

The minigames on offer - now too robust to really be 'microgames' - balance using the technology of the GamePad (its tilt-sensor, its touch screen, that it's a screen other people can't see) with getting other people involved in a way that doesn't necessarily require hardware.

Of the games shown, 'Fruit' stands out as a Where's Wally style game where one player pretends to be a single character in a crowd of NPCs, stealing fruit without other players noticing.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
Animal Crossing New LeafThe first public showing of the game in Europe, Animal Crossing New Leaf's release date crawls closer and closer.

The formula of the game definitely hasn't changed, but a graphical update, a torrent of new content to fill your house with, and countless tweaks for convenience make this version of AC smoother to play and set to get fans hooked all over again.

The added element of being the mayor of your town doesn't change to much of what you'll be doing day-to-day, but the ability to add in custom features and pass town altering 'laws' (the law that makes your villagers clean your town for you is going to be definitely useful) adds a new facet of game to throw your precious bells at.

Project X Zone (3DS)
Project X ZoneA spiritual sequel to the Japanese-only Namco X CapcomProject X Zone (pronounced "Cross Zone") takes iconic characters from the franchise histories of Sega, Namco, and Capcom and has them fight to save the say in a very flashy turn-based strategy game.

The demo, offered at the event is also available on the eShop right now, so you can already give it a whirl! The stage maps and basic rules aren't too complex, but the battle system is where the game stands out. Battles are executed manually, each attack hitting with different timing and heights. Winning battles requires timed attacks to juggle foes into oblivion.

As with previous games by Monolith Soft (They also did Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier on the DS), the sprite work is gloriously detailed and cleverly animated.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Wii U)
Desu ExOne of the handful of games demonstrated at the Nintendo booth that are ports of an existing titles (Resident Evil Revelations and The Cave were also available), I bring it up Deus Ex for the unique way it uses the GamePad.

While the game itself was unchanged from the 360/PS3 release (the dialogue and area layouts are all the same) all of the menu functionality has been moved to the touch screen.

So your standard inventory management is now touch-operated and a lot more intuitive. Better yet, the hacking minigame is also now on touch screen, and in dialogue sections where your aim is to persuade your conversation partner, you get a rudimentary psychological profile of the subject, and a visual indicator of how close you are to changing their mind.

Considering the game's cyberpunk aesthetic, the GamePad feels much more engaging, as if you're using the technology in real life. Here's hoping the Wi iU version of Watch_Dogs will incorporate similar ideas.

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