Comics-inspired games heat up at Comic-Con
Comic-Con could be called National Geek Week, as you’d be hard-pressed to find another event that crams 150,000-plus fanboys and fangirls into a convention center. The geekiness has only intensified as both Hollywood and the video game industry were largely present at last week’s convention. I got to check out some of the hottest comic-based games, many of which are coming attractions for future Hollywood films. Here are some of the highlights:
(Activision, release date and systems TBA) – The big game announcement at Comic-Con is that the wise-cracking Marvel mercenary will star in his own video game. The Deadpool trailer shows the humor here, heavy on the frat boy lingo, though the gameplay looks like a combination of the espionage thriller Metal Gear Solid and the gratuitous shooter Duke Nukem 3D. The launch date wasn’t announced and, frankly, there isn’t much gameplay footage, which could be because Activision and Marvel are waiting for the Deadpool feature film to get further along. The last we heard, the Ryan Reynolds-helmed movie was wrapping up, though there hasn’t been a release date set.
DC Universe Online
(Sony, out now on Sony PlayStation 3 and PC) – DC Universe Online has been going hard for more than a year now, but a few months ago the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) went from the subscription model to free. At Comic-Con, Sony showed off new game additions for this summer, including the downloadable add-on Tides of War featuring Aquaman’s watery home. In DC Universe Online, you create your own superhero and learn and/or fight against dozens of legends, from Superman and The Joker to The Flash and Wonder Woman. You can also connect with other player to create your own superhero posse.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
(Warner Bros. Interactive, out now on Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft XBox 360, Nintendo Wii, PC, Nintendo DS, Sony PS Vita) – Stackable Legos are usually kids' fare, but the popular Lego video games have proven otherwise (see: Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and Star Wars, for starters). The new Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes looked great on the show floor, leaning more on the Caped Crusader and his trusty sidekick, Robin, rather than the grisly The Dark Knight canon, as well as great playable cameos from Superman and the rest of the Justice League. It lends itself to two-player adventuring, though the computer will take over the other character as with previous Lego games. The real highlight here is the voice acting—a first in the Lego games—that adds heft to the action with Batman’s smoky pitch and Robin’s can-do yelps. It’s also one of the few comic games that plays well with both kids and adults.
Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins
(Capcom, out in September on Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft XBox 360) – For those of us who remember playing fighting games in the corner arcade, the Marvel Vs. Capcom series has always captured the classic 2D arcade feel. Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins is a serious homage to old-school scrapping, combining more than a dozen popular Marvel heroes with the same amount of tough Capcom fighting legends. Perhaps the best part is that the game will be available for download on the PlayStation Store and the XBox Live Arcade, so we can expect a lower-than-usual price. The online options are also stronger than ever, including 8-player arcade-inspired tournaments, spectator mode, and other improvements to the series.
The Amazing Spider-Man
(Activision, out now on Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft XBox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS) – Like the new movie, The Amazing Spider-Man is a reboot of the Spiderman franchise. Here Spidey gets the Grand Theft Auto treatment with his city opening up not only in width but in hair-raising heights. In fact, the most exhilarating part is jumping off a building and, halfway down, shooting a web at the towers ahead and swinging above the busy midtown intersections. The diverse missions include stopping a runaway car with well-timed webslinging, knocking out street punks with a blend of kicks and punches, or chasing a getaway helicopter well above the city streets. It will fit the bill for hardcore fans and gamers holding their breath for Grand Theft Auto V.
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