Saturday, March 31, 2012

We can't stop here

There is nothing more exciting than a lottery ticket before its numbers have been checked.

I, along with tens of millions of others, have a mega-millions ticket stuck to my fridge or balled up in my wallet and lost on the passenger seat of my car. I have had the same what if conversations with people, promising to do good with some of the money, save most, and then waste the rest on frivolities. These dreams are possible because until I find out what the winning numbers are I might I have won. In fact, I haven't lost until someone or something tells me I have lost. No one has.

As each number is drawn that pool of winners gets smaller. Larger and larger groups of us have to go back to work on Monday. I am out $1. Less than the price of a soda.

But I did not get nothing for this moderate investment. I shared in a nationwide fantasy, in which there is an incredibly small chance that all my (monetary) problems simply go away. One whole set of adult worries are taken care of, to be replaced by another, more interesting set. Foolishness, frivolity, dreams, and how to dodge the media's attention.

Not bad for $1.

...

This post is brought to you by a losing ticket and having just watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Same old song and dance

Waking up from a bad night of gaming feels oddly akin to a hangover: I'm not really rested, my head hurts, and when I make it back down into the basement I wonder why all the gaming paraphernalia is not where I remember leaving it, instead mashed to bits or embedded in the wall across the room. It has been noted that I have a childish, terrifying temper when it comes to gaming, usually brought out by fighting games, so imagine how I end up after having a incredibly bad night of that followed by disc read errors.


Things started out well enough. I pulled a few more minutes of fun out of The Darkness 2, packed it up, and decided to spend the rest of the night with Street Fighter X Tekken. It took me about an hour to give back everything I had gained two ago and then some, eventually losing to some wanker playing Ryu who did nothing but throw fireballs and random hurricane kicks. During the last round I said out lout to no one in particular:

'If this bastard beats me I am never playing this game again.'

I have uttered the same words about every fighting game I have ever played, and always lose shortly after saying them. This time around I managed to avoid breaking anything by sitting down with Forza 3. At least I wanted to. On the third race my Xbox cheerfully stopped working and said that the disc was unreadable. I tried again and got the same result. I tried to install the game and it failed at around 80%. A second attempt failed even earlier just to drive the point home that the world had decided that I was not going to have any fun.

All day I worried about what I am going to play tonight. I could try Diablo 2 again. Nah, too ugly. Start The Witcher for the third time? Nah, computer has been running poorly as of late. Purchase I Am Alive? Nah, blew my XBLA budget on Sine Mora (which I have yet to say much about because I lack the skill required to capture how awesome 99% of it is). Culdcept Saga? Sure, because I want to waste three hours on one match. I even walked through a Game Stop hoping something would jump out at me from the used bin. The only thing that caught my eye was Kingdom of Amalur, which I will of course play eventually, but I do not want to drop $60 on it.

As soon as this is done I will wander back down to my couch and I know exactly what will happen. I will play it for a while, get frustrated, and go to bed, having gained nothing.

If it was Friday I would dull the failure with Guinness.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I feed on their hate

A corner was turned in Street Fighter X Tekken last night. Yes, I won more than I lost for the first time, but what means more (and is much more entertaining) were the incredibly negative comments I received from two people after they lost. These guys didn't even wait to send a message, they just started screaming into the mic as soon as the games were done.

#1. God damn wake up flash kick!

Well, what do expect me to do when every time you knock me down you walk up and start mashing jab? EX flash kick is one of the few good wake up options for any character, of course I am going to abuse it.

#2. You mother (pause) mother fucker!.


Not sure what the pause was all about, but this guy quit playing with about ten seconds left, content to wait for a time out win. I sneaked a jumping fierce in with one second left, knocking him and winning the game. A win would have also promoted him from D to D+, so his tears were doubly delicious.

Hate mail soothes my soul, I just needed to make my Guile annoying enough to replace Blanka.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Really dark darkness

Been on the road for a few fays. There is nothing like riving for seven hours straight to kill a person' desire to do, well, anything. So even though I arrived in my hotel room, carefully chosen to include modern amenities like a television of reasonable size and thickness (that included a HDMI in) my 360 did not make it out of the suitcase. Instead I sat on the couch and sucked up the entire places limited bandwidth my consuming two simultaneously streams from the Nor-Cal Regionals. Five hours of fighting games later and all I had to show for were it were the following:


  1. Super Street Fighter 4 AE is still relevant. It still produces tense, enjoyable matches. Valle is as old as sin but his Ryu is still a joy to behold.
  2. I will never understand Marvel, but I still like the flashing lights and shiny colors. And I have watched enough of it to know when players start dropping combos. Several people cracked, proving that the 'pro's' are still human and just as susceptible to stress as anyone else.
  3. Street Fighter X Tekken is no fun to watch. I can see it getting demoted to just above Mortal Kombat in a few months unless things improve from a spectator standpoint very quickly.
It was as the very least interesting that the top Street Fighter X Tekken players had come to a very differnet decision about what meter is for than the best people who frequent the PA boards. It the opinion of the PA folks (whom have kicked my ass more times that I care to count) that meter is for supers and tag supers because they either do unrecoverable damage or remove all red health. At NorCal people were using meter for extravagant (and wasteful) switch cancel combos. I am biased, but I think the PA guys are right, but just because something works on me doesn't mean it actually a viable strategy.

Because I am terrible.

...

Darkness 2 has served to fill the hours this evening. The first Darkness was so long ago that I had pretty much forgotten who Jackie was and why he had giant snakes growing out of his back. Darkness 2 tries to fill in a few gaps while at the same time introducing (and then killing) and new antagonist. I was too bust tearing people to pieces to notice. The game does a very good job of making the player feel like a dark, multi-limbed god, so much so that when boss fights roll around that actually manage to be difficult in comes as a surprise.

Fighting a crane swinging a wrecking ball around should never be easy.

The main campaign came and went, saving a plot twist for the post-credits Darkness 3 teaser that I saw coming when I read the back of the box. There is still more game in the form of Vendetta missions that run along side the main ones but star four slightly less powerful anti-heroes. The best part of playing as Jackie was picking up random objects and impaling fools with then. None of the four choices have that, but this also makes them more challenging to play. It feels like it was balanced for multiple players, so I may not make it to the end, but for once the side story, time padding missions are actually fun beyond a few more achievement points.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mass Effect fan boys and unwilling bedfellows

This is insane.

The level of entitlement present here puts even the people bitching about the locked characters on the Street Fighter X Tekken disc to shame. Think about it: Bioware has provided at the very least ninety hours of entertainment over three games, has allowed a player to use one character through the entire saga, provided meaningful choices throughout that effect subsequent events, and because some people don't like their ending(s) they decide to not only start a petition bitching at Bioware to give them a 'happy ending,' but also attach their selfish cause to a pre-existing charitable organization without said charities knowledge?

There are distinct levels of bull shit here that need to be called out individually.

First off, it is okay to not like the ending of Mass Effect 3.



It is not okay to demand that a creative work be changed to fit your idea of how it should have ended. This is Bioware's production, this is how they wanted it to end, and since it is their story they get to do that. This entitlement is a byproduct of growing attached to characters, I get that, but as much as I called my Shepard 'mine' he really isn't. He was one of many different possible Shepards, all of whom Bioware had accounted for in one way or another. All of these paths were brought back together for one of three possible endings, none of which included Shepard riding off into the sunset with Tali on one side and Liara on the other. What they did have was Joker and Edi (and various other members of the crew) surviving and several million aliens all stranded in the Sol system with nothing to eat.

A bitter-sweet ending, to say the least, but it is the ending that Bioware intended. Don't like it? Fine, go write some slash fiction about the unrequited love between Wrex and Garrus, but don't go piggy backing your silly 'cause' on a charity their neither wants nor needs your help. This is the second bit of bull shit here. Child's Play provides money and toys to critically ill children. It is not a weapon to wield again video game developers when they put out a game that you don't like. To Penny Arcade's credit, they had nothing to do with it and have in fact put a stop to it, but seriously fuck whoever it was who decided that his was a good idea.

In summary: don't like the Mass Effect ending? Fine, let's have a nice civil discussion about it, but fuck everyone out there on the virtual picket lines lobbying Bioware to alter the game to fir within their limited idea of 'good.' Fuck the guys piggy backing on Child's Play, and finally fuck Bioware. Why?

Because it looks like they might cave.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Intervention

Researchers note: it has been over a year since the last interactions with scrub #1. The intervening months saw him purchase Mortal Kombat, sell it, purchase and download the AE expansion to Street Fighter 4, sell it, and re-purchase again. He has also obtained the most recent King of Fighters titles, which he played twice and still owns, because, in his words: 'The box art is pretty sweet' and this past week purchased Street Fighter X Tekken. Scrub #1 presents all the classic symptoms of a victim of spousal abuse, returning over and over to the abuser thinking it will improve and sinking into depression and self blame when it does not.

Scrub #1's experience with Street Fighter X Tekken may very well have been doomed from the start for the following reasons:

  1. His main character from the games previous versions (Blanka) is not available in the games current form. While the character is actually present on the disc it has been locked away. The game publisher is reserving the right to charge more for said content at a later date. (note: this is an excellent idea to obtain further funding for our studies)
  2. Half of the cast in Street Fighter X Tekken is totally unfamiliar to Scrub #1. While he does have some experience with Tekken ('I played a lot of Tekken 5 at work when no one was looking'), their play style has little in common with their 3D counterparts.
  3. Scrub #1's play style in Street Fighter 4's various versions is best described as cautious and reactive. ('Down back erryday, bitches!' was the best explanation he was able to provide). This style is of little use in Street Fighter X Tekken, as the game focuses on offensive pressure.
Knowing all of this Scrub #1 willingly subjected himself to a task that he had little hope of being successful with. He also took a week off of the game right after it came out to play Mass Effect 3 (note, Scrub #1 describes the ending to Mass Effect 3 as 'balls,' holding with popular opinion). Upon his return he was initially surprised with his poor performance, but to his credit avoided the pattern of violent outburst followed by impulsive return of the game. Scrub #1 made an honest effort to improve, doing research on characters abilities and shortcoming, even changing his second character at least. (Note: Scrub #1 is not very good at choosing characters. His settling on Paul as his second should be considered a significant cause of what follows.)


Last night, his resolve faltered, and after a savage beating by what he described as a 'ten year old fucker beating the controller on his ass' he quit the game and went to bed. Judging from his previous irrational behavior this pattern will continue for one to three more days before culminating with objects of reasonable weight and size being hurled about the room. It is this observers opinion that the study should be brought to a halt and an intervention held. Scrub #1 is clearly not going to improve and he lacks the will power to bring the cycle to a stop on his own. It is in the best interest of him, his surroundings, his pets and his possessions that all fighting game titles, books and paraphernalia be confiscated immediately, not to be returned.

Several cases of Guinness may be required, but Scrub #1 should eventually cave.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Who are you and why are you in my TV?

There is very little to say about Twisted Metal. It is the exact same game as Twisted Metal 2 or Twisted Metal Black, just better looking. Some forms of game play age well, some do not. Well done platforming is timeless, as Rayman Origins proved. Overly difficult car combat set to a nihilistic theme? Pass. And I couldn't even sample the multiplayer part because, you guessed it, required online pass. I'm not bitter this time. Keeping me locked out of the actual point of the game saved me time. I was able to put it down a day sooner.

...

Enough time has passed since my play through of Journey to give me a little perspective on it. It was an excellent game, but it was also a tiny window into how I may be broken as a social animal. Journey has the same kind of anonymous online play that Demon's Souls did (or so I am told): other players will wander into your game to offer assistance and/or troll the other player. There really isn't much one player to do to help the other in Journey as there is no interaction beyond chirping sounds. What they can do is accomplish tasks for the other player, ruining the sense of exploration and wonder that a solo adventure better supplies. I didn't pay $15 for a one hour game to watch some nameless douchebag do things before I get a chance to.

The first time this happened as in the second level. I was wandering through the amazing looking sand trying to figure out what to do. Journey has just the right amount of aimlessness; it isn't always clear what to do next, but the answer is always over the next rise or around the corner. I cleared that next dune to see a building in the distance, and there was something walking up to it. As I got closer I realized that it was another player getting the next goal before I did, stealing the discovery and accomplishment from me. It was infuriating, so I quit out to the start menu and looked for an option to keep this from happening again.

No dice.

On my second attempt of this level the same thing happened and I pulled out the network cord in frustration. I was finally alone and free to enjoy an excellent game at my own pace, without the impediment of other people. Journey isn't much of a game, but it as an amazing experience. I do not begrudge That Game Company for charging a premium for it, but it would have been nice to be able to moderate my experience without pulling the plug.

Later I found that this anonymous pseudo-cooperation was the highlight for many people, which I do not understand. It's not a person, it's another character in the game getting in my way. Perhaps my hermit like behavior has extended into the virtual domain, or maybe I have made the final leap from 'kind of a jerk' to 'asshole at large.' It is certainly polarizing: I hate what everyone else loved about Journey, but I still think it was a very, very good game that everyone should play.

Just not with me.

...

And Flower was better.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Outweigh the needs of the few

Or the one.



Mass Effect 3 spoiler time.

I can understand all of the angst over the ending(s) of Mass Effect 3. After making my choice and watching how the galaxy fared I looked up the other two. They really aren't much different and none of them, even the one with a hint that Shepard survives, are what could be called a happy ending. Poor Shepard is forced to choose between killing all the reapers and in the process destroying all machines everywhere, taking control of the reapers and sending them away, and forcing some sort of evolutionary leap in which biologic and synthetic life are combined. For me the choice was easy: take control of the leapers. It would the least suffering. Or it would if all three choices didn't destroy the mass relay system. Even the best choice leaves the larges fleet every assembled stranded in the Sol system.

That is a lot of Krogan with nothing to eat.

Would I have preferred some sort of happier resolution to five years of work? Of course. I would also have preferred to not have Tali kill herself, but that is what makes the game interesting. It highlights the futility of how you live your life if you have the misfortune of living during the end time. It really didn't matter how Shepard behaved; he would have been presented with the same choice at the end. All the lives I saved, all the species that I got to cooperate for the sake of Earth, and by extension the entire galaxy, are all fucked. At least for this cycle.

One complaint: I built an impressive army that was stuck at 50% readiness because I did not have an online pass. Even if I did have the online pass I would not have bothered with the same hoard mode that has been infecting games since Gears of War. My issue is not with the inclusion of of multi-player in my single player game, it is with making participation in it a requirement for the best single player results. The slippery slope of the 'online pass code' cannot be escaped.

Strangely enough, I have similar complaints about Journey, but that is for another post.

...

Almost forgot the Mass Effect 3 bug report. In my game Tali died after I got the romance achievement. The night before Shepard's fleet was finally assembled she showed up in his room to comfort him. Interesting bug, but I chalk it up to Shepard finally cracking from all the stress.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The needs of the many

What have I done.

I knew, via sideways glances at character bios on various wikis, that if Shepard handled the war between the Quarians and the Geth poorly that he would have to choose one over the other, and choosing the Geth meant Tali would fling herself off a cliff in a moment of grief. I had managed to broker piece between all the other races, why would this one be any different? Every decision was agonized over, and I thought I had it, right up until the end when I was given the option to stop Legion in the middle of upgrading all the Geth, everywhere. There was not going to be piece, the Quarians were not going to stop their attack, and the fair and logical side of me sided with the Geth. The Geth had not started the conflict and were willing to end it, but only if the migrant fleet stopped shooting for a few seconds.

They of course didn't, and I think it is because I attacked the reaper base before taking out more of the Geth fighters, which in turn did more damage to the migrant fleet, convincing them not to surrender. One thing after the other, consequences for decisions made, and the character I have been talking about for days kills herself. Worst of all, no one seems to notice. I would expect Garrus at the least to say something comforting, as he knew about Shepard's and Tali's history, but nothing happens. She is just gone and the game moves on, as if Bioware assumed no one would be asinine enough to foster a romance with Tali and then choose to massacre her entire race.

Whoops.

This is the second time in recent memory that I feel real guilt for some virtual offense. Infamous 2 had a similar, 'I can't believe that I did that,' moment right at the end. The difference this time was that Mass Effect 3 would have let me take it all back. As soon as Shepard returned to the Normandy I checked my save files and sure enough, there was the option to restart the last mission. I could roll back time, choose the Quarians over the Geth, fix the whole thing. But I didn't, because it would be defeating the entire purpose of there being a choice to be made. Finally, Mass Effect 3 had thrown a no win situation out and I didn't win. From a military standpoint the Geth were the correct choice (though getting both is possible and would have been better), but from a personal point Shepard is devastated. He did what he thought was best and it cost him personally, and no one seems to care.

...

It is also too late to start another romance, so Mass Effect 3 Shepard gets none.

Friday, March 16, 2012

We're getting the band back together

Finally, after around fifteen hours of play, I have assembled my preferred squad: Shepard, Garrus and Tali. Strategically I have no idea if this party makes sense, nor do I care. Combat has yet to require more strategy than 'get behind something, shoot the bad guys,' and soldier Shepard is more than capable enough to take care of this all on his own. The party banter, specifically between Garrus and Tali, is absolute gold. Shepard, never to let imminent danger to life and limb interfere with getting his freak on, was openly flirting with Tali while they were fighting their way through a geth cruiser. It was blatant, and Tali was not being shy in her responses. Cue Garrus:

'I was around the last time you guys got together. Get a room and get this sorted out.'

My other favorite character is dead (Mordin, rest his soul), so my party is set for the rest of the game. Everyone else is either clingy (Liara), bitchy (Kaiden), too much of a bro (Vega) or downloadable content. It's a good thing that I genuinely like Garrus and Tali. Garrus is the best friend that Shepard has; he is one of the few people that shows concern for his well being without trying to get him into bed. And Tali is the perfect mix of innocence and 'I will kick your ass if you cross me.' She is the kind of girl that you wanted to meet in college but that does't actually exist.

...

Technology for Street Fighter X Tekken continues to advance while I spend my time scanning planets and saving the galaxy. My original intent was to put time into the game, time enough to not be terrible, but my slim attention span and self deprecating manor have once again pushed virtual fisticuffs to the margins of my allotted gaming hours. I will probably play tonight, but then again I would like to drink tonight, and my low ability does not mix well with my low tolerance for both alcohol and failure. Almost every video I watch is of the same Heihachi combo whose third hits is an overhead (and no one blocks), or ridiculous shenanigans involving one of several fully exploitable infinits. There is a great game in there, I can smell it, but it may be six months before anyone actually gets to play it.

And Blanka with a severely nerfed through range is going to be a chore to play. Not that I wont try.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's mine, all mine

The number of variables that Bioware had to account for when they decided to allow a single character to move through games is staggering. I though I was doing pretty well when I made it to the end of Mass Effect 2 with everyone alive, and it pleased me even more to see many of them return. These are not just cameos, there are significant chunks of the game build around characters that may or may not actually be alive for the Shepard being played. If the characters are dead are they simply replaced by a stand in, or does that quest line become unavailable? Each of these missions adds to the galaxies military readiness, so I would imagine that if they are  not done then the resources they produce are unavailable as well.

Does this mean that you could start Mass Effect 3 irrevocably fucked because you screwed up the end of the last game? I certainly hope so, as i find that kind of abusive consistency delicious. Actual consequences for you past actions in a game is quite rare. Even having kept all my characters alive (and loyal) I am still not in the clear. Destroying the research on curing the genophage led to the death of the one fertile female Krogan. This is will probably cause something else bad later, as it was called out several times. But sparing the rachni queen not once but twice means I have an army of bugs helping to build my uber-weapon.

Mass Effect could never work as a movie. The experience is too personal, too built of history, to work in a shared environment. My Shepard is mine, and I treasure his rugged good looks and paragon ideals. Seeing him worn down by the weight of the entire galaxy on his shoulders is difficult, as him surviving past the end of this adventure is doubtful.

No spoilers. I have managed to avoid all the complaining about the end of this game, though the simple fact that there is complaining at all does give me pause.

And no Tali yet. Where the fuck is she?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shatner would approve

The time balance between fucking around and moving the plot along in Mass Effect 3 is squarely on the fucking around side. I spent an hour and a half last night wandering around the Citadel taking care of side missions, building support for the good guys' side of a hopeless war. When I ran out of things to do there I grudgingly advanced the story just enough to get a few more planets to scan. I may be missing the point, but I find the side missions just as interesting as the main ones. They also don't come with a helping of regret for things I did in the previous games.

Decisions that I had forgotten about from Mass Effect 2 have come back to haunt me. Yes, I kept everyone alive through the final mission (and I am still waiting for Tali Zora vas my johnson to come back), but  I also destroyed data that could have been used to cure the genophage. Somehow Wrex knew this and confronted Shepard. Shepard buckled, as one usual does when confronted by a krogan at point blank range. I felt a bit guilty about it, but Shepard sidestepped the issue with a Kirk-like dismissal.

My Shephard has become Kirk. I am so proud.

Still, every confrontation has had an easy way out to maintain my paragon status. Shepard was tasked with 'getting rid of' an troublesome general by a mercenary group as a way of getting their support against the reapers. He didn't want to kill the general of course, so he convinced a black market weapons dealer to donate replace weapons. I didn't even have to look hard for this, it was an option in quest. I don't want cheap ways out of ethical quandaries, I want to me forced to chose between to evils.

Who am I kidding, my Kirk-Shepard is far too cool for that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mass eclipse

Mass Effect 3 in unreasonably good. Its quality is truly at a level that is unfair to every other game on my plate right now. Part of this is having a Shepard who is on his third game. He is just the way I left him: a soldier who shoots things in slow motion and has a soft spot for the space ladies with three fingers on each hand. Starting with a character who already sports maxed out stats in an ability or two cranks up the enemies a bit, which I don't mind. I don't want to cake walk through the game, but I don't want to spend too much time on my back either (yet...).

The weakest part of Mass Effect 2, the mining, is gone. It has been replaced with just scanning them on the fly, but there is always a danger of attracting reaper attention while doing so. Not an instant kill, but enough to keep the wrote resource gathering from getting too boring. Location to explore open up as both optional and main quests point to them. This keeps obsessive/compulsive types like me from wasting hours at a time scanning planets instead of moving the story along.

I assume that most of the previous cast will at least make a cameo, as I kept them all alive through the end of the last game. Jack just showed up, and while I do not think I can get her in my party is was very amusing to see her trying not to drop F-bombs all over the place. Maybe it was fan service, maybe I can recruit her, either way, it is nice to see old friends.

...

Oh yeah, there was a fighting game I was playing. Exposure was limited to about an hour on Sunday afternoon. I didn't win a single match, but I got a better hang of moving from one character to the other. Meter can be used freely, especially now that Guile is sporting nothing but meter gaining gems. There is a fair amount of ill will surrounding this one for reasons that vary from on the disc DLC to the sound not working during online play. These are of course true, and the sound issue is infuriating, but I do not recall anyone complaining about how small the roster was before hackers found more characters squirreled away on the disc itself. At this point they are complaining about the character download being an unlock key instead of three gig.

It doesn't matter that they are on the disc. Capcom never said they were going to be available, so it should come as no surprise that they are not. I am not defending them, but they never lied about anything either. I am just upset because I need to wait six months for Blanka.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 2 = more pain

My resolve weakened, I deserted Steve at about 9:00 last night. Playing again people were already significantly better than me in the last game probably did not help, but the truth of it is that Steve's execution requirements are beyond me. Canceling a normal into a move in one thing; canceling a normal into a command dash into a move into an EX move into the command dash into a normal (and so on) leaves in the dust. Guile was fine. Better than fine, actually. His move seem to more damage and he has relatively easy combos after a tag. So who to replace Steve with?

Without knowing I managed to pick another bottom of the barrel character, at least according to other early opinions: Paul. My rationale was and still is that Paul's offense revolves around the phoenix smasher, which you can cancel into from just about anything. I was mostly right, but Paul has the same problem as Steve: getting close enough to actually hit anyone with anything. It isn't quite as bad, and Paul at least has a few anti-air options, so he is the new Tekken part of my team.

For now.

And now to complain. I still think that AE is about as good as an online fighter can be. The lag is acceptable on a good connection, it is easy to find matches easy to avoid people you don't want to play. Ranked in particular works very well, allowing me to host matches and weed out poor connections. SFxT has abandoned this in favor of Marvel's backwards mechanic of just searching for whatever ranked match is available. If that isn't bad enough it takes forever to find a match. There is also no fight request system, so if I want to play in ranked (which I do, because losing to strangers is slightly less humiliating than losing to people who know me, even when 'know' means they see my silly internet posts) I have to sit there staring at a rotating icon while waiting for the stars to align.

This relegates me to fighting people vastly more talented than myself. Watching Heihachi juggle me for twenty seconds at a time is making Mass Effect 3 (or even finishing Goldeneye Reloaded) better all the time.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 1 = pain

I didn't win much last night. I would like to blame picking a difficult characters, but most of the Tekken characters have, at first blush, much more to them than their Street Fighter counterparts. Steve is my first choice because I played him in Tekken 5, but this version of Steve does not feel at all like the one I remember. He has no range to his attacks and is absolutely free to low pokes; all of his counters and dodges only work on mid to high. When he does get in his combos are a great deal of work, with attacks canceling into dodges that cancel into other attacks. The end result is a boatload of damage, but getting close enough to attack someone is beyond my ability right now.

This is not a surrender, just an acceptance of being terrible with him for quite some time. Thankfully Guile is still Guile, plus the ability to reliably combo into his super, so the backup is good.

Online right now is a mixed bag. There is a terrible sound bug that causes most of the attack sounds to simple not play. It's distracting and there is no reason that is should have made it into a release build. The actual netcode feels pretty good to me. Better than Mortal Kombat and Marvel, at least as good as Street Fighter. It seems to handle latency a little different, skipping frames to prevent input delay, and the end result can make the game look less smooth than it really is. I am not good enough for this to make a difference, so I can deal with it.

Did I have fun last night in spite of winning no more than two matches? Of course, it is fun to discover new things. If only I had the balls to go with two completely new characters. This may happen, as I like playing characters that no one else plays. I was thinking about replacing Guile with Yoshimitsu, who I played in Tekken 2, but Yoshi is apparently ass tier, which would not do much for my already high frustration level. I like the game, but I want to like it and be good at it, something that there is a good chance will not happen until I get my green crutch back.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One last time (until the next time)

This may be the last no Street Fighter X Tekken related post for a while. The game is sitting in my car alongside the apparently rare guide just waiting for me to get my scrubby hands all over it. I don't necessarily have characters picked out yet since both of my go to guys have been left off of the list. Steve looks good, but just because he is the only character I played in Tekken 5, and it is hard to go wrong with Guile. The final goal is of course going to be Blanka and someone, but that is six months off.

Side note, it appears that the universe is against me focusing on this game. The timing was perfect: I had just finished Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Modern Warfare 3, leaving only Goldeneye Reloaded to breeze through (more of that later). Yes, the queue was full, but it would be a few days before anything shipped. At least, that is what I thought before Mass Effect 3 inexplicably shipped out to arrive in a day or two. That's a forty hour game waiting in the wings. Worse, a good forty hour game that, if history repeats, will completely monopolize my time the same way Skryim and Oblivion did. It's not fair, I tell you.

...

Playing Goldeneye Reloaded right after Modern Warfare 3 is hilarious, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Goldeneye Reloaded is fan service from beginning to end. That does not necessarily make it good, but it is certainly amusing. Enemies behave erratically, the auto-aim to far to generous, the levels are linear and still have a map to get you through. Even the side missions are pointless. In other words, it is just like Goldeneye 64.  It looks better, but it is hard to make an ugly shooter these days. In spite of how archaic the whole thing feels I did enjoy the few hours I spent with it last night. I have no idea how many of the levels are actually retreads of the original beyond the first (Goldeneye 64 was a long, long time ago and Perfect Dark was better anyway), but each has been sillier than the last. There is some stealth involved, and it is terrible, but the 'fuck stealth' option is always there, you just end up having to kill more bad guys.

And that is what a shooter is all about anyway, right?

I have no idea if or when I will finish it. Perhaps when my hands have cramped up, or I realize that a new game does not alleviate the fact that I am just not very good at virtual fisticuffs.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let the trolling begin

Typing this while watching the top 8 in AE at Final Round, so it might be a bit disconnected.

First of all, this:



I cannot describe how happy this makes me. Even if I have to wait for the Vita release and pay extra for him, I can still come home eventually in Street Fighter X Tekken.

Secondly, congrats to Kinderparty for making top 32 in Marvel. I beat him once in Street Fighter two years ago, which means absolutely nothing, but it was good to see one of the PA boys do well.

Finally, Modern Warfare 3 came and went over two nights. It was a series of holy shit moments, each bigger than the last. I would be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy it, though I should probably feel guilty about it.

Enough talk, time for watching more skilled men than I engage in virtual fisticuffs.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

To be continued my ass

Too tired to post, to nervous about being sedated for more extreme dentistry tomorrow to go sleep...

Final Fantasy XIII-2 pulled away from by initial infatuation with the combat very quickly. An extended section without Noel was not enough, they also had to include semi-random encounters more difficult than any boss prior and a final boss that is as over powered to moderately leveled characters as I have seen in quite a while. And then?

Sarah dies, and the game end with 'to be continued.'

I am certain that there is a hidden ending, and I aim to YouTube it up shortly, but this really was half a game. The combat was good, despite my misgiving about difficulty spikes, but story was terrible. It was also only twenty or so hours long. There is more to do, but going back through all the previous levels to unlock slightly different versions of said levels does not strike me as a great way to spend my time. It is done, I will not miss it.

The timing could not have been better. If the most recent Modern Warfare holds true to its predecessors I will be able knock it out over the weekend. This is assuming that I wake up again and can play a little tomorrow night. I may lose all of tomorrow and wake up on Saturday, fully rested and very hungry. Blacking out sucks, but multiple crowns suck more. I choose to not remember it.