San Diego Comic-Con 2012
The X Button at Comic Con: Saturday, July 14

by Todd Ciolek, Jul 15th 2012

RESIDENT EVIL 6
During the Resident Evil 6 panel at the San Diego Comic, CAPCOM described the game's three story arcs in terms of previous titles: Leon and newcomer Helena Harper's journey plays like a traditional Resident Evil, Chris Redfield and his SWAT-like team control more in line with the co-operative Resident Evil 5, and newly introduced lead Jake and his handler Sherry Birkin show off a new take on the franchise's formula.

In many ways, though, the three modes don't play all that differently, at least not in the new demo shown at Comic Con. True, Leon's segment involved the old Resident Evil system of unlocking doors, backtracking, and escaping slow-moving zombies as he and Helena navigated a college campus gone to the undead. Meanwhile, Chris played much like he did in Resident Evil 5, as he and his squadmates took on quicker, sharper foes in a battle-torn European city, and the results played much closer to the likes of Ghost Spec Ops: Advanced Splinter Warfighter. Jake's mode seemed to combine the two; he and Sherry make their way through the streets of Langshang, desperately searching for escape from pursuers much like the thugs Chris fights.

All three modes shared a similar control setup and important sense of pacing. Much was made of the fact that players can slide on the ground and move while firing, but everything else fits the Resident Evil template of scarce ammo, tenacious enemies, and some huge-scale clashes. This is particularly pronounced in Chris' scenario, which had a giant, vaguely Cloverfield-ish creature laying waste to a neighborhood. There's still an awkward touch to the game's combat, especially when you're going hand-to-hand, but it serves to make everything more tense. And that's been a Resident Evil standard since the first game.

LOST PLANET 3
If Resident Evil 6 aims to preserve its nearest predecessors, Lost Planet 3 rejects part of its history. Ignoring much of the multiplayer-focused Lost Planet 2, the third game in the series is a prequel to the first, and it takes after the original Lost Planet's cinematic style. It's a different sort of cinema, however. Lost Planet was a quick dose of summer-movie cheese, but the third trades that for a more grounded cliché. Its main character is a hard-working family man named Jim, and the game takes pains to build up his average-guy qualities, right down to a video from the wife and infant son who wait back home while Jim helps terraform the frosty planet of EDN III.

The Comic-Con demo divides itself between compelling background details and some moments of needless mundanity. It's interesting to see prospectors complain about regulations that don't let them arm their machines, and it's an amusing in-joke to see Gale, father of the original Lost Planet's Wayne, as a chattering, upbeat mechanic (I hope nothing bad happens to him!). Yet it's a bit much when the game's central mecha, already a slow machine, has to stop so you can manually open a door by yanking one piston at a time.

Things improve a good deal when the game finally lets Jim and his mining mech roam the icy wilds of the planet. On-foot gameplay takes after earlier Lost Planets, and even the game's quick-time events put a hectic spin on escaping an enemy's clutches. The grappling hook also returns, though it's used more for climbing set locations than engaging in Bionic Commando antics. If the Jim-only gameplay is similar to the original Lost Planet, the mecha-piloting brings a more deliberate and powerful air to things. Far from the leaping weapons platforms of the original, Jim's machine is a behemoth that lifts and crushes smaller creatures. The game's multiplayer mode wasn't on display at the convention, but CAPCOM promises it won't be neglected.

DMC
CAPCOM and Ninja Theory's Devil May Cry reboot made an awkward first impression with its main character, a younger, douchier reimagining of the original Devil May Cry hero Dante. It may be that DmC doesn't really want us to like Dante at first. By now most series fans have seen and complained about the trailer that shows him punching out a nightclub bouncer and writing “Fuck you” on the guest list after he's told that his name isn't on it. Once he's inside the club, a lingerie-clad woman asks Dante to dance and yells “Fuck you, Dante!” when he blows her off. Perhaps his name literally is Fuck You, Dante. That would explain a lot.

This painfully in-your-face Dante is also half angel and half devil, and both elements figure into the gameplay. Dante has a similar repertoire of sword-and-gun attacks that let him launch enemies and pull off aerial combos, and his angelic and demonic powers are activated by the controller's shoulder buttons. Press them in time with the face buttons, and Dante can wield a sudden demonic axe and use an angel-fueled grappling hook to pull enemies closer or launch himself into the air.

If DmC has the Devil May Cry franchise's spirit in combat, it also seeks new ground. The game makes much of Dante's ability to plunge into a demon-filled dimension unseen by conventional humans, and the imagery varies from striking to hackneyed. One city stage has the buildings themselves rise up to crush Dante while his sidekick Cat squeals concerned advice, but a nightclub stage morphs into an eye-burning parody of game shows in toothless satire. The demo also stalled in its pacing when Dante had to pause and hunt down devil-cameras by creating ledges and swinging around. If the game can keep its focus on manic demon-hunting, it might not matter if this new Dante's a horrid little turd.

MOST MISLEADING BANNER
A close examination of this banner for 007 Legends reveals that Bond is readying a firearm, perhaps his trademark Walther PPK. A casual glance, however, makes the game look like James Bond's Indecent Exposure.

MOST INTELLECTUAL FIGHTING GAME
So, you snort in derision when fighting-game nerds compare Street Fighter to a game of chess? Well, you can't laugh now, because Street Fighter actually is a chess set. It's also a $400 chess set sold at Comic-Con, and fans snatched up all ten available sets by Saturday.

CREEPIEST BOOTH STAND-UP
Silent Hill's monsters are horrific, shambling symbols of the human soul's darkest crimes and deepest regrets. And now you can get your picture taken with one of these psychosexual horrors at Comic-Con!


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