Okay, here's the second of my two galleries of costume cosplay from New York Comic Con 2012. Since it's still technically a "comic" con, there's a lot of comic book cosplay. So this is the leftover stuff, which includes videogames, anime, movies, TV and miscellaneous.
I think one of my favorites was the Garrus and Samara, who had the most professional costume and makeup job I've ever seen. It was literally Mass Effect come to life. Of course, then there's the horndog in me who enjoyed the guy in the Bruce Lee yellow jumpsuit, except that it was just a speedo with body paint! Oh, and He-Man had a great body, but the whole thing was pretty ruined by that janky wig. Special mention for creativity has to go to Male Stripper Master Chief.
Oh, and I have to single out the woman in the amazing Princess Zelda cosplay. It was incredibly elaborate, with amazing sculpting details and hand-painted fabric. Nice work!
See all of them after the jump!
One of the best things about New York Comic Con is all the people who come in costume. So when not digging through comic book boxes or shopping for T-shirts or playing videogame demos, I was snapping away with my camera to document the good, the bad and the ugly.
I think one of my favorites would have to be Aquaman. I don't know how he made the scale male, but it looked absolutely amazing (even if you'd probably sink to the bottom if you tried to swim in it!). And the steampunk Batman was impressive even before he opened up his wings!
But the one I knew was going to make the lead art for the comic book section of the gallery (again, there's over 100 pictures, so I've split it up into comics and then videogames/anime/etc) was this Power Man and Iron Fist. I ran into them while I was hanging out at the Geeks Out booth, and they stopped by. They were such a cute couple, holding hands and everything! Loved them!
Make the jump for the entire gallery!
You may not think that the gaming world needs another MMORPG, but how about one based on the Marvel Comics universe that lets you play as practically any of their characters? Well, then how about one by David Brevik, co-creator of Diablo? What if I told you it was completely free to download and play? Now you're intrigued, right? Well, Gazillion was showing off Marvel Heroes at New York Comic Con 2012, and it's already looking good.
Gameplay is from an overhead isometric viewpoint, and the graphics use the Unreal Engine, so they're very pretty with nice special effects. A couple dozen characters have been revealed so far, and there will be more on the way. You can even swap between heroes during gameplay as your whims decide. The storyline of the game is being penned by acclaimed Marvel Comics scribe Brian Michael Bendis (IMO, the best writer they've got right now), and Brevik promises that instead of fetch quests, the missions will be storyline driven and have more of a purpose. They were inspired by the Ultimate Alliance and X-Men Legends games, and it shows. Also? Those are really good inspirations for super hero games.
There will be single-player and MMO levels, that are randomly generated. If more than one person wants to play the same hero, there's no worries. In the history of Marvel Comics, characters have had more than enough costume variations that you'll be able to distinguish your Iron Man from someone else's. Some missions can be undertaken by yourself, but others will require teaming up with other heroes. And as a bonus, when enemies drop items/power-ups/bonuses/etc, the ones you see on your screen are yours. Other players get their own, so there's no fighting over the spoils of battle!
The game will be completely free to play, making their money through microtransactions instead. And they're promising no limits like the usual free-to-play MMO, with level caps and such. You'll be able to play the whole game without spending a cent.
After a demonstration, I was able to get my hands on the game myself, and it played just as easily as they promised. You basically can play the game with just the two mouse buttons, clicking on the map to move and enemies to fight. Obviously, you can use the keyboard, but they weren't kidding when they said it was easy to get into. I saw some single player areas, and then a multiplayer area where the people on the floor were all running rampant in a city area defeating thugs and supervillains that popped up.
It all looks like a whole lot of fun, although there's still no release date ready to announce yet. Still, if you're interested, you can head on over to Marvel Heroes' website and sign up for the closed beta. Right now it's set to release on PC, but hopefully they'll do a port for the Mac. I doubted my cheap netbook could handle the game, but Brevik insisted that they're deliberately making the game accessible to older machines so as many people who want to play can get into it. So maybe I'll have to test that theory out...
UDON Entertainent makes really nice art books, so if you're a fan of Street Fighter, Tekken or Street Fighter X Tekken, you're probably going to want to pick up Street Fighter X Tekken: Artworks, which is released Wednesday, August 29.
The book starts with a collection of artwork, including box covers, posters, iPhone cases and whatnot, all with commentary from the artist. The comments become even more interesting in the next section, which is a series of character portraits. Screen grabs from the various game trailers and ending cinematics are presented, with their own commentary. But in addition to the various concept art and character models and stage designs, there are also interviews. And they're quite fascinating. Reading how they merged the somewhat disparate Street Fighter and Tekken universes is genuinely interesting, especially when paired with the various images illustrating the development of the game.
Everyone's favorite transgender Street Fighter, Poison, gets a bit of play here and there, but I personally really enjoyed the rejected costumes for Abel where he was dressed as a sailor with a little hat and everything. Also, there's an image of Ryu and Kazuya in loincloths that was printed on towels and distributed at the Aomori Nebuta Festival. They're both facing away, and look like they're not wearing any pants... until you notice the loincloth uncomfortably riding up their cracks! I kind of want one!
Street Fighter X Tekken: Artworks is a really solid bit of fan service, offering up some seriously stunning pieces of art alongside some revealing interviews with the people behind Street Fighter, Tekken and Street Fighter X Tekken. And it's all laid out in a clean, stylish design. And at the end, it has some teaser images of the still-in-development Tekken X Street Fighter, so I suppose we can expect an equally attractive book to accompany that game when it is released!
I love my Kinect, although I've never really tried playing a fighting game on it. But that all changed when Namco Bandai demoed Dragonball Z For Kinect at their recent presentation. Not being a big fan of Dragonball Z, I'm not impressed that the game includes faithful storylines from the series. But I can appreciate how pretty the cel-shaded graphics look. There are over 50 playable characters, but only a couple were available in the demo. And there are over 100 different authentic DBZ moves for you to perform, and I do mean perform. Because of the Kinect, you will actually do the exact motions that the characters do in order to activate their special moves. Of course, regular punching and kicking is done the usual way!
The demo was just a random vs. level from Score Attack Mode, and while I was initially taken out of the moment by the game switching from first-person view to third-person, it mostly just does that when you're doing special moves. It can be a little jarring occasionally, but when you're shooting off that giant laser beam at your opponent, you kind of appreciate the camera pulling back to show you the entire spectacular spectacular. The whole thing is just as over-the-top ridiculous as you would expect a DBZ game to be.
There are moment when your opponent comes at you and you have to choose how to dodge, based on the on-screen icons. That was easy. I had a little trouble getting the hang of filling up my special meter so I could pull off the special attacks, but that would probably get easier as you go. Also, not being a fan of the series, I don't know exactly how they do their special moves, so I kept doing the laser beam one wrong. Still, even just punching and kicking was kind of fun, and not a bad workout, like most Kinect games! I was sweating after playing it, and not just because the ventilation in the room sucked!
Dragonball Z For Kinect also contains some pretty cool fan service. For the first time in the US and Europe, fans will get to see the Episode of Bardock anime that has previously only been seen in Japan. And Namco Bandai is producing a slew of QR codes that you can old up in front of the Kinect Sensor to unlock new characters and power-ups. These will be distributed free at various events like PAX and whatnot, but naturally once fans get their hands on them, they'll be all over the internet for you to print out and use yourself. Dragonball Z For Kinect is due out on October 9!
I'm not really very familiar with One Piece. Pretty much all I know about the series is that it exists. So I really didn't know what to expect going into a demo of the PlayStation 3 exclusive One Piece: Pirate Warriors at a Namco Bandai presentation. But even knowing nothing about the characters or the world they were in, I found myself rather enjoying the over-the-top combat and graphical art style.
The demo that I played had Luffy facing off against hordes of enemies. Yes, this game was developed by Tecmo Koei, so it has a serious Dynasty Warriors flavor to it. Luffy has elastic powers, so I kind of had a blast dashing around and using my stretchy arms in wide sweeping attacks. And once you've filled up your overdrive meter, you can use a special attack, which comes in very handy when you face off against the boss. It became a little lather, rinse, repeat with the boss fight; Defeat a bunch of the minions to power up your special meter, then use your special attack to knock the boss down a bit. To spice things up a bit, there was the occasional Quick Time Event where you mash a button as directed, but it was all pretty straightforward. I was told, though, that the game isn't all combat setpieces. There is some exploration and platforming where you'll use Luffy's abilities to get around in unique ways.
As a downloadable game for PlayStation Network, it's not surprising that One Piece isn't the deepest game going. But they did an amazing job replicating the art style of the manga for the game, and the combat was still a lot of fun. You'll be able to play as other characters, too, like Zoro, Nami and other pirates from the Straw Hat crew. Collecting coins lets you power up your character, and you can enlist your friends for some online and offline co-op play in special cooperative missions. Oh, and as a special bonus for true die-hard fans of the One Piece series, the game will feature original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles! One Piece: Pirate Warriors is due out in North America via the PlayStation Network on September 25.
It looks like everything old is new again, or at least it will be in September, when Double Dragon: Neon is released! An HD update to the classic '80s franchise, Double Dragon: Neon is a side-scrolling beat-em-up with a decidedly retro style. Billy and Jimmy have to save their girlfriend, and will traverse 16 different levels with five degrees of difficulty. And naturally, you can get some help from a friend with co-op play. Most curious is the fact that you can find or purchase songs that have mystical powers you can add to a mix tape. Weird.
The toony, cel-shaded graphics look a little weird... I almost wish they'd gone full-on retro and had them be super-pixellated. But if you want to check out Double Dragon: Neon for yourself, it will be releasing on the Playstation Network on September 11 for $9.99 and Xbox LIVE Arcade on September 12 for 800 Microsoft Points. So break out that old jean jacket and get working on your mullet now so you're ready!
The PlayStation Vita still hasn't had a real system-seller for me (I'm also kind of hoping for a price drop before this holiday season...), but when games were being announced before the portable's release, I definitely perked up when I saw that Silent Hill: Book of Memories was on the list. The title's similarity to the last good Silent Hill game I've played, Shattered Memories, immediately had me hoping for the best.
So imagine my disappointment to learn that it's actually a co-op multiplayer game instead of the usual survival horror. As time went on, I still sort of thought that maybe it might end up being okay, but every time I see screenshots of it, that feeling fades further and further away. I mean, it just looks like Silent Hill: Diablo to me. I mean, that's clearly what they're going for, but when I play a Silent Hill game, I want creepy survival horror that gets under my skin and freaks me out. If I wanted to play Diablo, I'd play Diablo.
Also, the quality of these graphics are kind of disappointing. Is it me, or do these look like PSP-quality? I know the Vita is capable of more. I've seen it. Just not here.
The game I was most excited to get my hands on was Ubisoft's ZombiU, both to see how a third-party developer would use the Wii U GamePad, and also to see what it would be like to play a traditional first-person shooter with the controller. Turns out pretty well and just fine, respectively!
ZombiU takes place in a zombie-infested London, where you have to struggle to survive against the advancing hordes of undead. In the demo I played, I had to find some antibiotics inside of a day care or something like that. I rather enjoyed the crossbow, and using the GamePad to zoom in made headshots a breeze. I will admit it took me a little while to get used to the inventory system, and I kept pushing the wrong button to reload my gun (not sure what that mental block was all about), but in general, the controls were traditional FPS style and easy to pick up. Oh, the right thumbstick was a little hyper-sensitive, so for the first chunk of the demo, I kept overshooting my target with my gun/flashlight, but I eventually adjusted. In the final game, the sensitivity will be adjustable, I was told. The touch screen is used for inventory management as well as mini-games and gadgets. In the demo, I used a radar device to find out if there were any useful supplies in nearby areas, and also for a lockpicking mini-game.
The interesting bit came when I was overtaken by a particularly tenacious zombie and killed. I then woke up as a whole other character, a woman, who then had to take up the same mission and attempt to complete it. But any skills you've learned as you've leveled-up your character are lost, as they don't transfer over. You know what else doesn't transfer over? That inventory full of first aid, weapons and ammo! Using what little you've got, you must head to the same day care/nursery school, and find your former now-zombified character and put him out of his misery in order to retrieve all those precious supplies. By this point, I'd gotten the hang of things, and handily took myself out, grabbed the bag, found the antibiotics and after locating a shotgun in the kitchen, blasted my way out of the building making sure no zombie's head was left attached.
It was an incredibly tense and visceral experience, because as you explore the levels, you have to look at both the TV and the GamePad screen. When looting supplies from crates or dead bodies, you have to use the touch screen to manage your inventory, all the while keeping one eye on the TV to make sure nothing's coming after you. (And when some mysterious interference turns your GamePad screen into a mess of static, see if you don't panic just a little bit!) Some of the demo level was creepy and silent with the occasional attack, while the escape was a nail-biting zombie-infested shoot-em-up. Graphics were good, although nothing more spectacular than what you'd see on a PS3 or Xbox 360 at this point. It was the unique gameplay and the integration of the GamePad into the action that made ZombiU stand out to me. This is definitely going to be a big seller, especially if it actually does come out on launch day with the Wii U, as I was told is apparently going to be the case!
Cosplayers: Walking the night in the skin of another, like some kind of Japanophile crossed with Buffalo Bill (ala "Silence of the Lambs"), these sullen creatures of escapism trod about Gaia in a perpetual sulk - fundamentally unfit for membership in human society.
In truth, i've always had an affinity for the cosplay community, while harboring a deep-seated resentment, born from what its more experienced members call "an appalling lack of talent" - one which has found anything more complicated than Hunter S. Thompson/Raoul Duke forever beyond my grasp. Nonetheless, I appreciate the craft, as well as the care that goes into such creations, and have always wanted to give it a proper go. Luckily, this is why we have friends.
Indeed, in the spirit of CONvergence, Minnesota's largest gathering of "all things nerdy" enthusiasts, your humble and obedient servant has gotten into the spirit of the looming frolic. With assistance (as a vast understatement) from local author, fellow videogame enthusiast, experienced cosplayer, and all around best friend extraordinaire Ansley Grams, we decided to take on the role of James and Maria, of Silent Hill 2 fame. Costumes were donned, makeup applied, and creepy basements thoroughly stormed - with photo evidence provided by Fairshadow Photography.
So with that rather winding preamble, enjoy the gallery!
I know Project P-100 is just a working title, but with all the attention it's been getting, I almost think it would behoove Platinum Games to just go ahead and keep it! I heard everyone raving about this game after E3, and so when I saw it at Nintendo's Wii U presentation, I made sure to get my hands on it. I played it just after Pikmin 3, and they both share the same basic concept of collecting help to battle enemies and explore the levels.
Of course, with Project P-100, you're wacky superheroes trying to save the world from invading aliens. So from the section that I played as a demo, there seemed to be less strategy involved. As the game was booting up, I was informed that it came from the guys behind Viewtiful Joe, and as soon as the lead character showed up on screen, I could immediately see the connection with the character design. All big torso, tiny legs and arms and super-spiky hair. What I loved was that the heroes that you collect to add to your armada are all completely individual and... well, insane. The graphics are so detailed that each individual hero in your group has its own distinctive look. Like the guy whose head was a bathtub, and other assorted wackiness.
Using the Wii U GamePad, you explore the city and save the citizens in danger. I was instructed in the use of a rush attack, and then the ability to group all your heroes together into the shape of a weapon. There's a fist, a sword, and a gun. The gun is good for distances, but the hand can also be used to solve puzzles. There's also the ability to block and dodge enemy attacks. You activate these special powers by drawing on the touch screen, which displays the shapes for you. To save citizens and recruit them into your army, you either draw a circle on the touch pad or with the thumbstick.
Towards the end of the level, I was told to enter a warehouse, and then suddenly the game switched completely to the GamePad as the lead character went in alone, and then I was playing it completely on the GamePad. Unfortunately, I got completely discombobulated and couldn't even figure out how to activate the giant hand by myself to turn the dials to solve the puzzle before the timer on the demo ran out. I will say that the graphics on the GamePad section looked not as good as the ones on the TV, but that might have been just because it was zoomed in tighter on the character. It was so brief, and I was so confused by what I was supposed to do, but it almost looked like a portable version compared to a console version. (Albeit a very good portable version!)
After that, I played a boss battle against an absolutely giant robot thing where my group of heroes was basically fighting it out on his hand and forearm. It was kind of insane and over-the-top, but that's pretty much par for the course with Platinum Games. I'd expect nothing less. The demo of Project P-100 that I played was an awful lot of fun, and it seems like they're trying to use the Wii U GamePad in creative ways, which I appreciate. I asked if there was any way to customize the super heroes, or if they were just randomly assigned, but couldn't get an answer for that one. I just think that would be kind of cool. But I'm sure we'll find out more about the game (including maybe a final title for it) between now and when it hits stores during the "launch window!"
Hordes of fans have been waiting for nearly a decade for another sequel in the Pikmin franchise, and finally Miyamoto's teasing hints of a Pikmin 3 have been realized with the game arriving around the same time as the Wii U launches later this year. Personally, I never played either of the first two games in the series, and I'm not sure why. Strategy games are kind of hit-or-miss for me, and there were always other games I wanted to play more, so Pikmin kind of passed me by. But having played a demo of Pikmin 3, I can safely say I get it now. I totally get it.
Nintendo is being deliberately vague about the actual plot of Pikmin 3, promising answers soon, but not yet. In the demo, it's just one little area with red Pikmin and the new rock type. While the game will be playable with either the Wii U GamePad or the Wiimote/Nunchuck combination, the demo only had the latter option, so I can't speak to the GamePad controls. The GamePad was in front of me the whole time, and there was an overhead map on the touch screen, but I never used it. Not once. I was too busy playing, and it wasn't in my hands, so I kept forgetting about it. I suppose if I was playing with the GamePad, though, I'd be more apt to glance down at it periodically to get the lay of the land.
The game looks fantastic, with very realistic environments and adorable Pikmin and creatures everywhere. The contrast of cartoony characters and photo-realistic backgrounds is rather striking. I played both the regular game demo and the boss battle, and while both looked spectacular, I only encountered camera trouble on the boss, because he moved around so much. I kept having to readjust the camera, which was kind of annoying. But I was determined to defeat the boss... I may have failed to collect enough fruit in the time limit in the main game demo, but I blame that on having to be instructed in the game's ins and outs for the first few minutes. That boss was going down, and he went down hard. (Eventually)
One of the main new features of Pikmin 3 that has been announced so far is the replay option. After completing a mission, you can view a replay of the mission on the GamePad touch screen. It's an overhead view of the regular map, with little icons to indicate your position, your Pikmin's position, and also the location of any items that could be collected. You can watch the little icons move around the screen and see what you missed and what you could have done more efficiently. A slider at the bottom of the screen lets you rewind, fast-forward and skip around to specific moments of gameplay. Because fans of the series liked to replay missions over and over to get the best times and scores possible, Nintendo thought they'd help out by making it easier to plan your next attack. I saw tons of fruit that I missed out on, and where I could have created a shortcut that might have allowed me to finish before the time ran out.
The Pikmin 3 trailer obviously hints at some kind of multiplayer, with four players trading Pikmin, but at this point, Nintendo is being tight-lipped about any details. Sorry, I tried. But I'm sure at some later date they'll announce more information on that aspect of the game, and seeing as how the social aspects of the Wii U are being touted heavily, I would be surprised if there wasn't online as well as local multiplayer. But we'll have to wait and see! Now I suppose I should go pick up Pikmin 2 for the Wii on the cheap at some point over the summer to get ready...
And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!
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