Less than a week after joining Masonic Gamer and I’m already attending events like the London MCM Expo as a member of the press, I’m seriously not used to skipping queues. Maybe I should probably start by saying I’ve actually not been to the London MCM Expo before, I’ve been to the Eurogamer Expo before and that’s about it so you can imagine my excitement seeing everything.
Upon entering the ExCel centre I was actually blown away by the level of cosplay on display by everyone, it’s almost to the point where NOT showing up in your own cosplay makes you the odd one out. You’ll find the usual batch of Stormtroopers, a huge ass Darth Vader and Pikachus around but some people go the extra mile to cosplay as lesser known characters so I want to give a shout out to my favourite cosplayer of the show.
This guy was HUGE and his costume was spot on, this didn’t even look like Cosplay but rather the actual Sweet Tooth from the game roaming around the centre. I tip my hat off to you sir.
In addition to the cosplayers you’ll find many stands selling items across the centre, at times it felt like a car boot sale and I don’t mean that with any disrespect. You’ll find all sorts of anime and gaming related items on sale like T-Shirts, hats, DVDs, games, hell there’s even a CEX store right in the middle of the centre.
I’m not so much into the anime and manga items myself but there were loads of gaming related items I wanted to buy, much of these things you don’t really find in shops. If you’re a fan of this kind of stuff you could easily spend the whole day just shopping around for all sorts of cool items. I’m not just talking Angry Birds plush toys from Amazon, I’m talking replica swords and you could get some of those for around £30.
If you’re into games then once again the MCM Expo has you covered, perhaps Nintendo’s Wii U stand was the largest of the show and very similar to the one seen at the Eurogamer Expo. Here you have the chance to experience the Wii U for yourself and all the usual titles such as New Super Mario Bros U, Rayman Legends & Zombie U were all playable to those interested. In the case of Zombie U they have zombies walking around the centre scaring everyone, the make up is actually rather good.
There was one female Zombie roaming around the centre who I swear didn’t break character once, seriously she was totally acting all dead next to Darth Vader who wasn’t anywhere near the Wii U stand.
In terms of the games I played I must admit I cherry picked some to play whilst avoiding others on purpose. I avoided playing Halo 4 & Assassin’s Creed III as those are two titles that I want to experience from the comfort of my own home when they launch but I did however attend the Assassin’s Creed III panel where one of the gameplay designers showed off small demo which up until then I hadn’t seen before elsewhere.
The panel itself didn’t really show much that we didn’t already know before, the area played however was new to me and visually it was rather impressive. One thing I wasn’t too impressed with was the combat, according to the gameplay designer you can no longer counter strike your way through every battle though what I saw was typical slow Assassin’s Creed combat with some new animations. I should mention that this is simply from observing the game rather than playing it for myself so we’ll see when it launches.
During the panel they were giving away a plastic tomahawk to anyone in attendance and some T-shirts, one was an Assassin’s Creed III t-shirt whilst the other was a Zombie U t-shirt. I managed to get my hands on the Zombie U T-shirt but for some reason it’s XL in terms of size, well I have a pretty good idea why but lets not go there.
Before I move on I would like to mention that at the end of the Assassin’s Creed III panel we were given a chance to ask the gameplay designer questions regarding the game. Some idiot who I guess was a member of the press decided to give the gameplay designer a hard time regarding all the British soldiers you kill in the game, it’s like he actually took offence with what he saw. I think the guy was just being an ass, it’s just a game so chill out.
Next up I decided to try my hand at Tomb Raider since I skipped it at Eurogamer due to long lines. Initially Tomb Raider was the first title I wanted to try out at the show but the booth was experiencing technical issues so I was asked to come back later. Once I did return I kindly allocated a station and began playing the game and I should just get this out of the way, I hope you like Uncharted.
What I played of Tomb Raider was a small 10 minute demo where you travelled in a fairly linear path in order to progress. By randomly pressing buttons I noticed that a tap of the left shoulder boulder causes the screen to go black & white and a diamond like icon appears showing you where you need to go. Now before everyone loses their shit I need to point out that it’s not a Dead Space line on the floor telling you exactly where to go but rather an icon telling you the general direction you need to go.
As you’ve seen in trailers Lara is hurt pretty bad in this game, more so than any other character I’ve seen in a while, she goes through hell. You really get a sense that it’s a real fight for survival and you’re not some Nathan Drake mowing down thousands of enemies along your travels. The only real combat in the demo actually involved a helpless deer, the game asks you to find a bow & arrow and proceed to kill the deer in order to survive.
It sounds mean and in many ways it is considering this deer does nothing to harm you but showcases that Lara is just doing what she must in order to stay alive. I actually felt terrible about what I had done and I believe it’s these kind of emotions the developers are trying to bring out in the player, think the finger scene in Heavy Rain.
Tomb Raider was my favourite game of the show, it’s getting a fair amount of hate on the internet but I don’t feel it’s justified. Yes based on what I saw it felt very Uncharted like but then again Uncharted was the game that borrowed from Tomb Raider to begin with. Lets just say the game IS an Uncharted clone, is that a bad thing? Last time I checked Uncharted 2 always gets a mention when naming the best games of the generation.
Maybe I’m alone here but I cannot wait for Tomb Raider, I’m 100% behind the team on this one. Maybe those of you complaining should be a little bit more open minded and give the game a chance, I really enjoyed it. Oh and it looks drop dead gorgeous too and is easily contender for best graphics this generation if this demo was any indication.
As the day progressed I found myself over at the Konami booth, Z.O.E. HD Collection & Metal Gear Rising were on display though obviously I went for the latter as it’s a new game and I’m Platinum Games fanboy. Again another title I avoided at Eurogamer due to queues I finally got the chance to play Metal Gear Rising and it’s certainly one title I’m going to need to play more thoroughly before I can get an idea if it’s any good.
I was playing the PS3 version and was timed to a 15 minute session, if you finish the demo you get a 3D poster and if you complete the demo in under 10 minutes with a good rank you’ll snatch a T-Shirt in addition to that. I had no idea of this going in so I just took my time and ended up winning the 3D poster which is pretty cool, you obviously can’t capture the 3D part on camera.
The most basic way to break down Metal Gear Rising is to imagine Ninja Gaiden/Bayonetta for a second, you have a weak fast attack, a slower heavy attack and a jump button. Holding down one of the right shoulder buttons is basically your boost/run button which can be used in combat though I personally used it to navigate the environment Assassin’s Creed style by keeping it held down.
The left shoulder button is where all that fun slicing action happens, you keep it held down and then proceed to slash the enemy using the light and strong attacks though you can also use the analog sticks to slice in a more specific direction. When doing this time is slowed down but you can always rely on it so it’s not an auto win button by any means. I didn’t spend enough time with the demo to notice if there was a slow down meter that must be managed as you play the game, I assume so and that it’s something I overlooked. None the less it’s obviously there to maintain game balance.
After spending a little time with Metal Gear Rising I know for a fact that this game contains a level of depth that is in no way suited to a demo playthrough. I pretty much just went up and sliced up some stuff and done a terrible job of avoiding getting hit by the enemy, I played this game like a complete n00b.
From what I have seen though it looks really cool, it even runs at 60FPS which is nice but I’ll need more time with this one before I can get an idea of what it’s like. I’m going to take an educated guess here and say this one is probably likely to appeal to the Ninja Gaiden/Bayonetta/Devil May Cry audience more than it will the Metal Gear Solid fans. Metal Gear Rising is certainly one to watch in 2013.
Believe it or not this about sums up my time at the MCM expo, it may not seem like much but when you are there it’s easy to forget that you’re there to cover stuff and instead just end up taking it all in as a visitor. I could of gone and played some awful Kinect games but I more or less just ended up doing what I wanted rather than try to cover everything.
MCM was fantastic and I’m certainly going to go again whenever it happens again, this time I’ll be bringing my friends along too as I think they would really enjoy the show. There’s a little bit of something for everyone and plenty of chances to get snaps with some crazy cosplayers. I’ve not even mentioned that there’s always a number of high profile people there like Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame.
I managed to get in for free as a member of the press with my pass so you’d think I could just be lying about the show but I’d happily pay the ticket price to go. One of my friends saw some of my pictures and is already asking when MCM is taking place again as he wants to go.
Anyone with an interest in anything within the entertainment industry I urge you to come to MCM and bring some friends along, I’m sure you’ll have a great time.