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Fan Expo 2016: Previews Galore!

I recently had a chance to attend Fan Expo 2016, the Toronto-based, biggest pop culture expo in Canada! As a dominating part of pop culture, video games always have a grand presence at the convention, meaning there were lots of games to try, of all different types.

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Before we jump into the previews, it’s worth taking a look at how I got to Fan Expo this year. Playstation Canada was running a contest on Twitter, asking everybody to take a photo of themselves with their Dualshock 4 controller. Naturally, the X-Men side of me came out a bit. Miraculously, I won two tickets to Fan Expo, and thus decided that it was time for my brother and I to go play some upcoming games.

cupheadFirst up on the preview block was Cuphead, a 1930’s-esque 2D run-and-gunner by Studio MDHR. With visuals inspired by classic shows like Betty Boop and
Popeye, Cuphead stands out due to its visuals alone. It plays as well as it looks, with smooth controls and precise jumps. This is important, since the demo’s difficulty is reminiscent of classic platformers, with precise shots and jumps being necessary. The co-op is even more fun than the single-player, as playing with both Cuphead and Mugman provides a silly and satisfying experience for both your eyes and your brain. Cuphead will be released for the Xbox One and PC this year, and from my experience with the game at Fan Expo, I’d say it’s worth checking out.

Next up on the list is ReCore, Armature Studios and Keiji Inafune’s action platformer.recore Now available for the Xbox One and PC, the game revolves around a young woman named Joule after she awakens from a long cryo-sleep. Played from a third-person perspective, the demo gave me the chance to give the combat system a try. Using different types of long-range weapons, I shot away at robotic beasts while trying to take their “cores”. Though it could have been because it was a short demo session, the gameplay was somewhat confusing, and repetitive. It wasn’t by any means bad, but I didn’t leave the demo with a burning passion to try the game. For a full review of ReCore, check out Mike’s review here.

ldI also got the chance to try out some of the new characters and modes set to be included in the second “season” of Lego Dimensions, TT Games’s enormous toys-to-life crossover game. As the titular character from Gremlins, Gizmo, I competed against three other players in a match of “Capture the Flag”. Taking place in the world of Adventure Time, the game took on an entirely different visual style, using a more cartoony cel-shaded style to match the show.  It was fun to run around stealing other peoples’ flags while avoiding traps in their areas, especially with the ridiculous appeal of playing as such varied characters from such a wide range of franchises. I was told this new mode was only one of many, so I, for one, am definitely looking forward to seeing what else this new season has to offer. Getting a limited edition Green Arrow minifig for playing was a nice touch.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 was exactly what I expected, and exactly what I wanted. xenoverse2While I didn’t get to see the HUB world or story, I got to play around with some of the new characters and mechanics in Free Play mode. Some of the characters that I wanted added the most, such as Cooler and Android 16, were playable. Since Cooler’s my favorite movie villain, I gave him a try, and had a fantastic time. The easy-to-use customizable super-attack system was back in grand form, while energy-charging is easier than in the previous game. While there aren’t too many changes, Xenoverse 2 is looking like a fun sequel. I’m looking forward to its release for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25th.

thumperThumper was the only game that I hadn’t heard of, which meant I was pleasantly surprised when I got to give the a go. I could best describe Thumper as a fusion of Dance Dance Revolution and F-Zero. As a speedy scarab-vehicle thing, I would swing around turns and tuck in my vehicle’s wings as I went through turns and boosts, all to go as fast as possible while keeping to an incredibly catchy techno-beat. It feels like a game best played with headphones, as the sound is the most important and stimulating part of the experience. Thumper is a fast and endlessly catchy game, which you’ll be able to check out next month on the PS4 and PC, and eventually for PSVR.

ykw2Finally, I got to take a look at some new merchandise and promotional material for Yo-Kai Watch 2, both Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls. The first episode of the show’s new season was being premiered, while the new Yo-Kai Watch (as in the actual physical watch toy), was being shown off. The new watch projects a moving image of whatever Yo-Kai is on the medal you insert while playing a sound-clip, which is a neat gimmick for a toy.

Altogether, Fan Expo was a lot of fun, mainly because of the fantastic games on display all across the main show floor. Getting to try out a plethora of new games was a ton of fun, and a great experience, one that I’d recommend to anyone in the Toronto area for next year. If any of these games sound interesting to you, stay tuned for our coverage in the future.

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