For the second year in a row I went to San Diego Comic Con ticketless and I had an absolute blast. You can spend an entire day at the convention without a ticket and still not even come close to doing everything available. Like last year, I spent a significant amount of my time at Comic Con playing some of the video games that are available to the public. This year I got to play seven games and I wanted to share my thoughts about playing each one.

The first games I got to play were two Sega games at the Nerd HQ set up at Petco Park. I had wanted to play Alien Isolation while I was there, but the line was outrageously huge (the biggest line for a game by far) so I had to skip out on that one.

Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd (PS3 and Vita)

I was pleasantly surprised to find Project Diva F 2nd at the entrance of Nerd HQ since Sega's blog post originally said only Alien and Sonic Boom would be at Comic Con. At Anime Expo I had the chance to play "Decorator" on Hard mode (Extreme was unavailable in the demo) so I decided to play "The World is Mine." I had a great time playing the song since Project Diva is such an awesome rhythm game that just feels right to play. The music videos are really vibrant and I really enjoyed the fact that the songs are translated this time around. This will be a day 1 purchase for me.


Sonic Boom for 3DS

There wasn't a line for Sonic Boom 3DS so I decided to give it a go. I went with a friend to Comic Con and he sat at the demo station next to me. After about five minutes with the game we each decided we had had enough and actually left the demo station early before the demo concluded. Sonic Boom on 3DS is super clunky. You can swap between 4 characters on the bottom screen to clear the obstacles ahead of you, but no matter who I played I wasn't having fun. The stage layout in the demo level was really bizarre as seemingly new routes would backtrack you to the start. The controls were surprisingly unreliable as the classic homing attack sometimes failed to trigger which meant I was colliding into enemies frequently through no fault of my own. The weirdest thing about the demo was I found an optional submarine Tails could pilot. It was a super simple distraction from the main level as you just pilot it and blow up rocks to reach the exit. Like the rest of the demo it really didn't do much for me.


After finishing Nerd HQ and viewing some other things on the way, I eventually made my way to the Nintendo Gaming Lounge. Nintendo's booth was about 70% Smash Bros and 30% everything else. Nintendo probably made the right decision because there was a huge crowd of people excited to play Smash Bros. 

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (Wii U)

I was super excited to play Captain Toad since I had wanted a full game with him after playing his levels in Super Mario 3D World. I first watched my friend play a level with a jungle ruins motif (pictured above). This early level merely asks you to dodge patrolling enemies and maneuver on some moving platforms. Rotating the screen is important so you can best approach the challenge ahead. It was a cool tutorial level, but I wanted to play something trickier. When it was my turn to play I jumped to the last level on offer which was a ghost house. Enemies in this level were a real threat because they often followed you while you were trying to solve the puzzles. I got to slide some blocks around on the gamepad screen so I could reveal doors and move other doors into position to ascend to the top of the tower. I really enjoyed what I played of Captain Toad and I can't wait for the final game to come out.


Final Fantasy Theatrhythm Curtain Call (3DS)

The Nintendo Gaming Lounge was a less than ideal place to demo Theatrhythm since I had to play the game standing and even with headphones on I couldn't really hear the music. There were some good choices in song selection in the demo (Sabin and Edgar's Theme!) which made it hard to pick one to try. Since it felt like the oddest choice, I decided to pick One Winged Angel from Advent Children just to see how they incorporated it. This version of One Winged Angel was considered Event Music and thus a gorgeous video of highlights from the movie played in the background as I tapped and swiped the notes. My big take away from the demo was that the touch screen controls seemed to be improved over the original. I didn't really like the controls in the first game since they felt so imprecise, so I'm glad it is a little more forgiving.


Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

I've never played a Dynasty Warriors game before so I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. All of the trailers and Zelda fan service ensured I was interested in the game, but the Dynasty Warrior series negative reputation made me nervous to play it. I decided to play the demo as Zelda which may have been a bad choice. Zelda's combo (I don't know if there was a way to vary it) was very slow compared to Link's more bombastic combos (he seemed to have more than one) which didn't make the demo entirely enjoyable. There were some cool moments in the demo where I used bombs to blow up rocks and knock out the King Dodongo like in classic Zelda games, but these were few and far between. If it wasn't for the time limit in the demo pushing me forward (I was able to finish it, others didn't) I'm not sure how engaging the whole affair would have been. For better or worse, I'm still excited to see and play the final product, but I don't think this will be a good game.


Super Smash Bros. For Wii U

During E3 I waited in line at Best Buy for over four hours to play one round of Smash, but at Comic Con I waited only four minutes to play four rounds of Smash. Needless to say, I had a far better time playing Smash Bros at Comic Con. I've now played five of the newcomers for Smash 4: Little Mac, Megaman, Greninja, Rosalina, and the Wii Fit Trainer. Each newcomer felt significantly different from any of the veteran characters which is absolutely a good thing. With so little experience under my belt I honestly can't say I have any early favorites. It felt like before I had even a smidge of a grasp on a character the two minute match was over. Regardless, each battle was gloriously hectic and a ton of fun. I was really pleased that at Comic Con I was able to play with the Gamecube controller which made the game feel much better to play than it did at Best Buy. The game still feels a bit off to me (dodging, blocking, and air moves especially), but it was an old demo that wasn't final.


Yoshi's Wooly World (Wii U)

My final game at Comic Con was one of my favorites. Yoshi's Wooly World was the only game I could play in co-op with my friend and we had an awesome time conquering the demo together. The sky level we picked frequently had no ground with which to support our two Yoshis. In order to traverse the level you had to pick up wooly baby birds and launch them like Yoshi eggs to create platforms that defied gravity. There was a great mix of challenges in the demo as we had to use our new platforms to dodge enemies and solve puzzles. Platforms dissolved quickly, so we had to think quickly to make new paths for our Yoshis and whatever objects we wanted to carry across gaps. I appreciated that unlike Kirby's Epic Yarn where it was impossible to fail, you can die in Yoshi's Wooly World whether by falling down gaps or getting beat up by enemies. There hasn't been a legitimately awesome Yoshi game since Yoshi's Island on the Super Nintendo. Based off of what I played, Yoshi's Wooly World could actually be the next great Yoshi game we've been waiting for.


Thanks for reading my blog! I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to respond in the comments section below. If you have any questions, I'll answer them as best as I can.