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Going Hands-On with ‘Just Cause 4’ and More at New York Comic-Con

As with every year, 2018’s New York Comic-Con offers a plethora of media options of all sort. Happily, this includes opportunities to check out upcoming videogame titles from publishers.  This year, we got our hands on future releases from both Capcom and Square Enix on the first day of the event.

Rather than seeing full reviews below, you can read our brief thoughts on what we got to try out.  As they are just brief thought, the rest of the piece will assume that you are at least passingly familiar with the titles and their history.

 

Kingdom Hearts III

For years now, Square Enix has been promising the release ofKingdom Hearts III and, as we’ve waited, they have offered up remixes and updates and combinations of the old titles.  For some, until the long-awaited KHIII is released, it won’t actually exist.

Arguing for the game actually coming out is the fact that Square Enix has dated it – Kingdom Hearts III is set to hit store shelves on January 29, 2019.  Beyond that, this year, a demo for the title has been making the rounds at places like E3 and PAX and now, it’s here at NYCC. A popular title, rather than having folks wait on line, Square Enix is giving out timed tickets at the beginning of the day for people to come back later to give the game a go. Predictably, on Thursday, the tickets went fast.

Those lucky enough to get a demo ticket had 15 minutes to try out two different areas, one a boss battle with a Rock Titan (yes, he’s back) and another within the Toy Story world.  Both looked completely gorgeous and even if you haven’t hung out with Sora and his friends before, picking up a keyblade and making quick work of everyone except for the Rock Titan is both easy and enjoyable.  That boss though, he requires more effort and the help of a mine train coaster (think Thunder Mountain) Sora can activate by striking the boss repeatedly in quick succession.

Although we didn’t get to see enough of the game to make any sort of serious judgment, what we did get was certainly intriguing.  It was fast and clever and immensely fun.  Sora and his attacks felt powerful, and unleashing the various special abilities brought a smile to my face (a spinning teacups one showed in Toy Story).

We have undoubtedly waited a long time for this one, but the demo certainly provided hope that the wait may be worth it.

 

Just Cause 4

Another Square Enix sequel, Just Cause 4, offered up slightly more time for us and an in-depth discussion with some of the folks working on the game.  A completely destructive sandbox title, we watched as one of the people leading the demo laid waste to things on screen in fantastically grotesque fashion (that, of course, is the point).  For instance, he ejected from a plane in mid-air, parachuting out and watched as the plane plummeted back down to Earth, exploding on impact.  The other man leading the demo joked that while landing was possible, it was boring and if we wanted to do that sort of thing we should just play a flight simulator instead.

Just Cause 4, as we saw when we got to go hands-on (again in two different missions), is about being creative in the way you unleash destruction on the country of Solis (which is situated in South America). The goal is to stoke chaos.  By doing this our army gets bigger and that, in turn, leads to them taking over the country.

As for map size, it is immense and features multiple different types of terrain, from mountains to desserts to rain forests.  There is a weather feature as well so that the game can calculate just how much wind and moisture and whatever else is in the air so that it can create tornadoes. Massively and horribly destructive, we got the opportunity to race behind a tornado in one mission.  It may have tossed me around like a rag doll, but it was a complete blast.

We were told that about half the game is played up in the air with a wing suit, a parachute, or various aircraft – a particularly good moment featured blowing away a helicopter while inside a tank being held aloft by balloons (okay, that’s not a traditional sort of aircraft, but it was definitely up in the sky).  Certainly during he hands-on portion, sniping from the air was a joy.

Personally, I haven’t spent a lot of time with previous Just Cause titles, but I am hugely excited to get my hands on this one once it releases this December.

 

Resident Evil 2

One game I got to play again which I spent time with years ago is Resident Evil 2.  Although, maybe that’s not quite fair.  I played it on Nintendo 64 in the late-’90s and this version, which is due out January 25, 2019, seems to be an almost entirely new title rather than any sort of throwback.  Even if the story may be the same (and I didn’t see enough of it to confirm that), the graphics and gameplay are completely redone.

The one Umbrella Corporation baddie we encountered in a basement was more than a little terrifying and it took some serious work to kill it. Did I actually jump in my seat when the guy appeared?  Maybe, but it was a small jump.  Assuredly we did not approach the baddie in the best fashion, but there was a true sense of fulfillment when we got a cutscene featuring it going over a railing to his doom (fingers crossed).

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

And finally (for us anyway), there was the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft herself.  With Shadow of the Tomb Raider out as of September, we got to run through a co-op bit of DLC called “The Forge.”  In total, there are seven DLC expansions currently planned, five of which allow for co-op play.  Each DLC will focus on one character or group within the game’s main story, allowing for more insight into who they are and what they’re about (plus, the DLC will give more weapons and outfits).

Co-op playing a title like this has never been my favorite way to got about progressing, but the puzzles were satisfying as my partner and I, silently, tried to piece it all together. It all felt very true to the current version of the Tomb Raider franchise, and something that will please those itching for more.

The first bit of DLC is due out in November, with one more to follow each month thereafter.  The seventh one, however, is only available via season pass, not via purchase individually.

 

Closing Thought

While no one would expect a game publisher to bring a klunker to a show like New York Comic-Con, we are still happy to say that these four titles provided no small amount of enjoyment.  They accomplished exactly what they were supposed to – whetting our appetite for their upcoming releases.

 

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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