By Michael Sagoe (mikedot)
Last day of NYCC had arrived and I was free for the entire day to do whatever I wanted. Many of the Sunday panels didn’t interest me and since I had five hours to kill, I decided to check out a few more gaming booths before grabbing a few more cosplay photos.
First I checked out the Capcom booth to try out their latest titles, including Street Fighter 5 and Resident Evil Umbrella Corps. I was way more interested in seeing how the new SF game played out, so I hopped into the (relatively) short line to play. The build they showed off at NYCC was the latest one which featured the recently revealed fighter Laura, the female Brazilian martial artist who studies Brazilian Jujitsu with a small bit of Capoeira. Now judging by the gameplay videos I’ve seen online, I was really excited to try this version of Street Fighter out because of how much more refined the gameplay seemed. When compared to Street Fighter 3, because of its parry mechanics, the combat was way too focused on offense and hard to balance out effectively. And with Street Fighter 4, because of the focus mechanics, the combat was much more of a defensive game.
So with all that in mind, my brother and I snagged the first open system to see for ourselves. Not knowing which character to go with at first, I ended up playing as Ryu while he played Rashid, a previously announced character hailing from Arabia using a wind-based fighting style. As I played through three rounds, I got a good feel for the gameplay very quickly, as the combat system felt more forgiving with things like 1-frame links being thrown out the window. As a result combo attacks are easier to perform, as were V-Trigger and V-Reversal allowing players to make both offensive and defensive comebacks. Also despite not being the best when it comes to playing with arcade sticks, I was able to play effectively and perform combos efficiently. After completing a full match (which I unfortunately lost), I feel like Capcom really nailed a good balance between defensive and offensive gameplay for this iteration of Street Fighter. If Capcom’s plan was to make the game more accessible for newcomers while retaining the technical depth of their previous titles, I think they nailed it right on the head.
Next, I hopped over to the Bandai Namco booth to check out some of their titles including Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. The line for UNS4 was also fairly short so I was able to get in a match within a few minutes. It’s been awhile since I played a Naruto game by CyberConnect2, so there was a LOT of new gameplay mechanics that I was unfamiliar with, such as the new Leader Swap ability, ground-to-wall combat and multiple jutsus. With having very little knowledge of the characters in the roster, I went with a very safe choice of picking Naruto and Might Guy as my tag team.
Once the fight started, I was instantly blown away by all the new combat mechanics I had to deal with, and my opponent quickly tore me a new one, I spent more time trying to comprehend the controls more than anything, and could do nothing but try to defend myself rather than going on the offensive. Needless to say, I lost the match pretty quickly.
It seems like the gameplay continues to lean towards a more complex and flashy combat system, which seems nice at first, but complexity, at least for me, just adds to the frustration of playing the game. Depth is what makes a fighting game truly engaging, rather than adding more flashy attacks and more button combinations required to perform a single set of moves. I suppose for what it is, the Naruto Ultimate Ninja games have never been about serious competitive play, but I would really like to see some more depth put into the mechanics in the future, and it seems that this game will be more of the same.
After I got my fill of game playing, it was time to check out some more cosplayers before ending the day, and I ran into some cool ones here and there.
With nothing else left to talk about, I’d like to end things off by saying that my NYCC 2015 experience was a lot more favorable than the last. I got to meet some interesting faces in the game industry, got to hang out at some cool parties and so much more. The focus on gaming events was higher than last year’s event, but lower than the year before. It seems that competitive gaming will no longer be a main attraction for NYCC, as this year’s DotA 2 tourney was (once again) held at Madison Square Garden instead of at the Javits Center like with the Intel Masters Tournament. Of course, this could just be a sign that the eSports scene has grown significantly enough that smaller venues just aren’t going to cut it in this day and age.
Still, this is all perfectly fine because NYCC is supposed to be about comic books, after all, and there sure were a hefty bunch of comic book booths this year, with some ridiculous new titles, including… this:
…Let’s all just take a moment and comprehend that THIS is now a thing.
Still, overall this was easily the best NYCC I’ve been to and I certainly hope that each and every NYCC I go to in the future will be just like this one.
Just to end things off, I’d like to post one of my favorite bunch of cosplayers that I got to witness as I left the convention center.