Gamestop Expo 2014 – The Verdict

I’m back.

Alright! Took me long enough, right?  Now here’s the follow-up post from the expectations I set for Gamestop Expo!

The trek to Anaheim was a breeze.  Early morning drive with the crew into the City was nice and easy.  The line wasn’t even a hassle either, and as it was my first time to the Anaheim Convention Center, I was immediately pleased with its staff, interior and presentation.

I did see the Batmobile as that was one of my first things in the previous list, but I was more surprised by the different suits they had on display.  The one I found most amusing was the Batscream Cone.  Multiple suits were littered through the area.

Next up, Dead Island 2.  The demo area I played in was a little too contained for my tastes.  They didn’t allow you to go beyond a certain point (which I understood) but at the same time it was just a lot of running around, dodging baddies and hacking through what you could if have had the proper weaponry.  Which, in my case…I didn’t.  I also got to check out Dying Light, a game I was absolutely excited for, and had a teensy weensy bit of trouble discerning the two.  I can say that DI2 was a little more entertaining that DL, because once I got to a particular baddie that had a heavy bit of concrete and rebar to attack back — was virtually impossible to kill. From what I could tell from here, Dying Light has parkour, Dead Island 2 is familiar and a lot easier to handle.

The Evil Within I kinda dove into headfirst and landed flat on my face.  It’s not to say that the gameplay was bad, it was just confusing.  The controls were a little floppy and having started in the middle of someone else’s adventure, it was kind of difficult to maneuver and figure my way out.  The doorways were a little strange, because where most games give you the prompt to hit a certain button to interact, there was no prompt, so I spent a little bit running around like a chicken with its head cut off thinking I was just stuck in a room.  The enemies were a little scared but kind of inconsistent from what I could tell.  One minute they know where I am and will walk after me, the next I can walk right into the room and shoot them at point blank before they can even turn and yell “unnnhhghh” or whatever it is that ghost, zombie, bad guys yell.

Check out the video for ICTV from Gamestop Expo!

Battlefield Hardline was actually pretty good! I heard some of the bugs and bad things from the Alpha access back at E3 and knew that it had to be better as a few months have now gone by.  We played Cops vs Kidnappers and had to protect our hostages (or rescue the hostages, depending on what side we were on) and it was a lot of fun.  Being last man standing, like Amanda was most of the time, was really nerve-wracking and intense but we enjoyed it.  I am definitely looking forward to the finished product.

I got to check out the top down, Gauntlet-esque game, Lara Croft: Temple of Osiris with Amanda and it was a lot of fun.  The style was hard not to compare it to the dungeon crawler Gauntlet, but it was still entertaining! The skills used by one player are mandatory to advance (ie: Lara’s whip was a tight-rope used for player 2 to cross over a pit, while player 2 had a staff that shot a deadly light beam into the distance.  Really great to play with friends, and I would love to play more of it.  A game I could say left me with the same feeling leaving as I did going in to it was Sunset Overdrive.  The rail-to-rail schemes felt a little similar to Infamous (PS3) and even though we only played 1 mode, which was a horde-mode type deal, it only left me curious to the actual game.  I enjoyed it but couldn’t say that playing the demo made or broke the game.

The winners for me had to be Until Dawn and The Order 1886, which is a lot coming from an Xbox fan.  Before you throw a fit and get all “______ is Masterrace” on me, hear me out.  I was Sony up until the PS3 and for years I have been exclusively buying games for my Xbox 360 for the fact that most of my friends had the console as well so we could play multiplayer things like Battlefield, Gears, Call of Duty, etc. together, and the only games that I would buy on my PS3 were exclusives like Last of Us, Uncharted, and the like.  If you asked me which console I would have stuck to more before I walked in, I would have told you Xbox One.  Then these two games happened…

Until Dawn is a consequence based game that is told like an old slasher flick.  A group of teens are staying up in the mountains.  Unfortunately for them, some very terrifying things start to happen. The investigation is seemingly left upon these “helpless teens” as they venture through this very dark and sinister tale.  I am told that if any of the 8 characters die the story continues, which opens up the storytelling to multiple endings and several different ways of how the story is told.  The camera and controls felt unusual (as the camera isn’t over the shoulder like most games nowadays) but if I had to liken it to something, I would say it was reminiscent of old style Resident Evil.  If the ending of the demo is any inclination of how the full game will play out, then I have to say this: be prepared to make some very difficult decisions.

The Order 1886 has only progressively gotten better in my eyes.  After its subtle crawl into the limelight since it’s announcement, the time period, the lore behind this alternate realm has become absolutely intriguing.  It took a moment to get acclimated to the Playstation controls once again but once you get back into the swing of things, you realize that it really is like riding a bike.  Having received much guff for being too close to a “Gears of War clone”, I still feel like The Order 1886 is a strong title, and has definitely convinced me to get my Playstation 4 for its release.

And yes, the GUESTS! I got to meet and greet Ashly Burch (HAWP), Nolan North (again) and meet up with my friend Esper of the Frag Dolls!  They were all so pleasant and wonderful! Thanks to all of them for taking the time to take a pic or chat with me!  Very exciting!

I am so proud to have actually played what I was looking forward to, and so much more.  The experience is always a blast, I had so much fun at this Gamestop Expo.  I look forward to it again next year!

Thanks for Reading!


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GameStop Expo Prep!

It’s that time again! GameStop Expo is coming up in just one week and I am excited!  I can’t believe it’s been one year since my first convention ever. I didn’t get to go to the bigun’s this year like E3, ComiCon, PAX or Gamescom 😥 — SO I will be able to hit Anaheim this year to see some of the amazing new titles and events that are coming to GameStop Expo.   Last year I got to meet one of the Frag Dolls and one of the Cadettes which was an honor, Nolan North *insert dreamy sigh* and see some spectacular things that came out during the year.
A few things that I know I’ll want to see for sure:
The Batmobile! Full scale bat mobile replica will be available to check out.  Yes.  Even as a complete Marvel-Head, I still like some things DC. (shhh…)
Dead Island 2, Evil Within!  I hold onto hope for DI2, as I was an addict of its predecessor, Dead Island.  Zambie killing is a thing, and I enjoy it. As for Evil Within, from what I can tell… >_> well I can’t tell very much.  I did a survival horror piece in a blog prior wondering if Evil Within will bring it back to Survival Horror roots, and I’m still iffy.  To be honest, since watching P.T. (have yet to walk through it myself) I’m wondering if anyhorror game will hold a candle to it.
Sunset Overdrive! Now, I know a lot of people are really excited for this game and after watching some of the previews, it looks like a ton of fun.  However, it’s not generally the kind of game I go for (not out of prejudice, just out of preference)  but I would love to get hands on with this game in particular to see if it’s all that’s cracked up to be.
Battlefield Hardline! Whether or not this will be playable, I’d still like to see what sort of presentation EA will have to offer for this game.  I wasn’t fortunate enough to play the BETA when they opened it up to players during E3, but from what I heard, the delay was inevitable.  As devastated as I am with most games being pushed, I can only hope this delay will be for the best and that this game comes back and kicks some serious butt when it does find its release.
Me and Nolan North at Expo 2013
The Guests!  Rumor has it Nolan North will be making a return to Expo this year, among other names like Todd McFarlane and YouTuber/Borderlands voice actress Ashly Burch.  I just hope I don’t fan-girl out too much, but it will be great to see Nolan for a second time! Ahh! Not sure what to expect from the press conferences, but I hope they present some great stuff to rep each console!
There’s so much more that I can rave over, but those stood out to me the most.  Keep an eye out on the IC YouTube channel for some more details and I will do an overview when I return!
Thanks all for reading, check back for more after the expo and make sure you check out some really cool links below.

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Adventures at AX 2014

Anime Expo. It’s a tad late, but after being blitzed for 4 days and having to dive into work, I lost track of time! (my apologies)

All I can say is: PHEW.

It was my first big convention and man was it c r o w d e d. I knew that Anime was popular here in the US, and a lot of people drove/flew out to visit, but because of the lack of ticket-capping, it was an endless sea of people.  Day 1 wasn’t so bad.  I was a little too ambitious in wanting to see the sights, do some shopping and visit all of the panels on my schedule [app] and as each timer went off, 10 minutes prior to each event, I just got more and more tired of having to run back and forth and eventually get lost in the depths of the Los Angeles Convention Center.  I would be the one to plan one event in one hall and the following in the farther hall, only to have to double back to the first area to stand in line for 3 hours in the heat for something that only lasted an hour. But it was still worth it.  Actually, one of the lines I got into was about 4 hours in the sun and I made it into the Sword Art Online II premiere.  The seating for my vision impaired self was a little frustrating; It was subtitled so I didn’t get to see the entire thing, but over all, it was pretty cool to say I attended a premiere event for a favorite Anime. 🙂

Tony Oliver and David Vincent during the AIVA panel

I sat through panels with A-1 Pictures with a couple of the producers, a few panels with Funimation and finally got to see the Adventures in Voice Acting workshop.  Tony Oliver was our host and David Vincent (known for playing Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez in BLEACH) was our featured guest, with casting director Mami Okada also hanging out in the room.  David is apparently voicing Senketsu in another new favorite of mine, Kill La Kill. I’m finishing up my first go with KLK with the Japanese voice actors, and honestly I cannot wait to hear the English dub! (Now, before all you Anime-Heads out there go crazy, I stand on the border with this one. I don’t discriminate! I watch both! As an aspiring VA, I definitely support the dubs though.)  Adventures in Voice Acting gave me some insight to how the actors work: It’s all about timing, understanding the voices especially the pre-voiced ones from Japan, and listening to constructive criticisms from your director/coach.  There’s more to it, and even though I was too shy to raise my hand when they called for volunteers, I still learned a lot and can’t wait to attend the next. That being said, I actually decided to dive into the line for the AIVA auditions for Magi… there was a line to get into a line to get a number, and as I stood in a front with a pair I had just met — we talked about getting over our nerves and just diving in…they cut off the line.   Just my luck! Oh well, better preparation and luck for future opps!

Visiting AX was a really good way to get exposed to various titles.  Yes, there’s your Naruto, Bleach, Full Metal Alchemist, Fairy Tail, Attack on Titan, Death NoteSailor Moon, Miyazaki films, etc… but it also opened my eyes to the ones like Oreimo, Free!, Idolmaster, Aldnoah ZeroMagi, Durarara, the upcoming Ninja Slayer and the new Fate Stay Night! Some of these titles may old news to some of you diehards, but for me they’ve been brought to light and I am stoked to watch them.

One of my favorite panels has to be with the English cast of Sword Art Online. We had Bryce Papenbrook (Kirito), Kirk Thornton (Klein), Sarah Williams (Lisbeth) and Patrick Seitz (Agil) … and they had improv, bloopers and some fun stories to tell about dubbing one of the most popular anime out there.  They all seemed like they loved what they were doing, and had fun connecting with their fans. It was a blast!

Sajin Komamura
Captain #7 of the 13 (Bleach)

The cosplay was incredible! I saw some of the most beautiful, twisted, bizarre and creative cosplayers out there.  It even inspired me to figure out who I could ‘pull off’ and make my costume for future events.  You could tell that there was a lot of thought and hard work put into most of the costumes of the con-attendees, and I also want to give some formal props to the men that were crosplaying — especially the ones who dared to brave the con in heels!

Vic Mignogna

…Then there was VIC MIGNOGNA who is just inspiring in person as he is on screen.  Vic had an inspiring message for all of us, after an hour of sitting in and having a one-on-one(crowd) moment with him. Sure, he sang Let It Go which remains to be heard in and out of my head continuously since the con ended… *shakes fist* but it made the experience all that memorable.  The Q&A session felt more like an intimate conversation with the industries uber-humble superstar, that is Vic Mignogna. I was absolutely blown away by how he interacted with everyone, and made them feel like family.

It’s sad to say that I missed out on Matt Mercer’s panel and autograph session, but getting to see him *le sigh* was pretty fantastic. He’s voiced Leon Kennedy in the Resident Evil series among many many many other things.  Other super cool sightings included: Erin Fitzgerald (Chie from Persona 4), abec (artist for Sword Art Online light novel series) and Eir Aoi (J-Pop artist, known for singing the title theme to Kill La Kill)…

7-yr-old creator of “CHESS”
 Symana Symanski during our brief interview

A tremendous shout out to TinyTales (The creators of “CHESS”)! To the young Symana Symanski, her mother Natalie, as well as Jessica Boston Fuller and Emily Weinberger — congratulations on your launch and successful sales at Anime Expo. I hope you guys continue to sell some of this wonderful story because it deserves to be read/seen!  If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t have made it out to visit Anime Expo, and for that…I am so very grateful! Thank you!!!  Tiny Tales has also launched their Kickstarter project for Volume 2 of their series, so please stop by and donate towards this amazing project! Click Here for the Kickstarter!

Also, I’m pleased to announce my involvement with The Chronomage Chronicles, a game in development with phail-safe interactive.  Myself and [IC Amanda] will be helping with the theme music for the game! The game just underwent a facelift, and it is looking fantastic! Follow the game on Facebook for details on how you, the gamer, can help with its development!

Overall, it was quite the experience, and that’s putting it lightly. I learned a lot for my first huge convention and here’s to hoping it was not my last.  Now. I have a ton of new things in my Hulu queue to keep me busy for quite some time…and then some. 😉

I’ll have a video up soon, stay tuned!


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all photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy S5