Gamer's Notebook

Comic-Con round up

By Chris O'Neal 07/31/2014


You might think that San Diego Comic-Con International, the world’s largest, flashiest and completely overrun comic convention would be strictly for its namesake, comic books. You would be wrong. If anything, it’s ground zero for every single form of entertainment known to man, so get out of your ivory tower and pay attention: There’s something there for everybody.

If you were a fan of the Sega Dreamcast classic Jet Grind Radio, then Sunset Overdrive is probably for you. If you don’t know what Jet Grind Radio is, then Sunset Overdrive is for you if you’re a huge fan of being completely wired at all times.

First seen at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year, Sunset Overdrive comes from Insomniac Games, creators of the Ratchet & Clank series, and appears to be the child of Grand Theft Auto, with roller skates instead of manslaughter.

You’ll grind your way to points and do radical flips off of buildings, but the point of Sunset Overdrive, if you can say there is a point, is to clean up after the corporation you work for has completely wrecked Sunset City in the year 2027. FizzCo, a mega-corporation responsible for the new soda Overcharge Delirium XT, threw a massive launch party for the beverage and, sadly, fans of the drink began to mutate. You’ll pummel them all as you clean the city after the festivities.

Sunset Overdrive promises to be something special, and if the reaction from Comic-Con is any indication, it’ll be a must-have for the Xbox One as it is exclusive to the platform. There is something funny about a game that blasts corporate dominance being an exclusive for the Microsoft console.

The return of the fighting trilogy that put into my head the seeds of becoming a ninja (see “American Ninja” in today’s Art and  Culture section), Tekken, made a splash this weekend when a moody trailer was released for its seventh installment. While Con-goers weren’t exactly phased by any floor presence, the trailer had folk scratching their heads at around midnight, asking themselves if they could remember what the story for Tekken is in the first place. Something about the devil, I think.

Crossing the streams of fandom, Monolith Productions and Warner Bros. Interactive’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor brings The Lord of the Rings back to the video game world with hopefully better results than previous attempts.

At Comic-Con, fans who were a bit worried that Shadow of Mordor would trample all over the Rings lore were given reason to fret no more by the release of a story trailer that proved the writers are paying attention to both the fans and the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The forger of the rings of power, Celebrimbor, is a wraith (a ghost) in this game and will be playable. Gollum, the evil little corrupt hobbit (spoiler alert?), will also be at your side, for better or worse.

You are Talion, a ranger from Gondor, who also demonstrates the use of magical powers. Now that we know a flippin’ ghost is going to be assisting him, the source of these powers has been revealed. The creators have also noted that the alliance of these characters is still up in the air; like Saruman, Celebrimbor believes that he can be a match for Sauron, while Talion is considered a “gray” character.

Most exciting is the so-called Nemesis system, which will alter the game based on your decisions. Monsters will have different attributes, non-playable characters will speak differently and what-have-you will all reflect the choices you’ve made along your path to completion.

Where Talion and Celebrimbor will fall will be revealed in the pages of, er, on the Xbox 360/One, the Playstation 3 and 4 and on the PC some time in the future.

If you need Chris O’Neal, he’ll be slimming down to fit into his Cat Man costume for Comic-Con 2015. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @agentoneal.



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