26 June 2012

Review: Street Fighter x Tekken (PS3)

For years fighting game fans have savoured one particular "what if..." scenario. What if... Street Fighter characters met Tekken characters in the same game? After a lakeful of emitted saliva their dream have come true. Alas, a dream it should have remained. Street Fighter x Tekken has got everything so wrong it's hard to decide where to start from.

Well, let's start with Tekken characters. As this is Capcom's idea of a versus scenario, the game runs on the latest Street Fighter fighting engine so all Tekken characters have been capcomized and fitted to Street Fighter's six-button configuration. It goes without saying none of their signature combos or fighting mechanics remain. But to add to the insult, all these capcomized Tekken characters feel like bad Capcom characters; lousy, unresponsive, weak and crap. And no. I'm not a biased Namco-fanboy as I find both Street Fighters and Tekkens very good fighting games in their different ways. Of course, Capcom's own characters beat the living daylights out of Jin, Heihachi, Xiaoyu and the rest of the Tekken cast.

But as they say, that's not all, folks. Yes, even Capcom's own characters feels like cheap copies of their previous incarnations in the new Street Fighter IV series. They don't play like they used to. Somehow, all the magic is gone. You know, for example your very own signature combo you came up with yourself and used to pull out (mine for Juri was j.mk, c.mk xx HK pinwheel xx FA2)? I'm pretty sure it doesn't work anymore. One of the reasons for this is the new graphics engine. Gameplay suffers badly from skipped animation frames. And why do animation frames skip? Maybe because of the new plastic graphics. Why on earth they didn't stick with the SFIV graphics engine? Why do they have these horrible new graphics with smutty textures sewed hastily onto characters and who shine from head to toes like they were polished with turtle wax? It's like once attractive celeb who has had too many facelifts and botox-shots for her/his own good. And Tekken fans, steer away from this game. All your favourite characters look like they were drawn onto a puddle of vomit. Backgrounds are equally gaudy with terrible looped animated objects. Street Fighter x Tekken doesn't either feel or look right, not Capcomwise nor Namcowise.

Looks like a yesterday's meal. On a shirt. You can' see bad animation and horrible texture work from this still though. Lucky you!

And the rant goes on. Beat'em-up characters aren't usually known for their deep psychology and characterisation but so-called Arcade mode with a different story for each tag-team is an insult. Everyone is out of character in their crap dialogue scenes and have been turned into one-dimensional idiots. Your Juri isn't Juri, she's just annoying mindless psychopat. You can all argue Juri was nothing but a psychopat to begin with but she sure wasn't mindless but had her own wicked sense. Nor is Asuka your temperamental Asuka. She's just an apathetic brute playing a second fiddle to annoying Lily. Yes, Lily is even more annoying here than she was in Tekken 6. In short, whoever is your favourite character, he or she isn't the same here.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, shall we dig into the most important matter? Almost all characters have one move (or a short combo) with which to beat all the odds presented to them? It applies for both the offline and what's worse, for the online play too. For network matches all you need is to learn one powerful move with a good advantage and keep repeating it ad nauseam. No matter how good you might actually be with your character, that one repeated move will take you down. As it is, the game doesn't encourage you to fully learn your chosen characters because it's completely pointless. Just do the same as everyone else and you'll be fine. This is the game-breaking fault, everything else I have written before this has just been (ugly) window dressing.

To put it bluntly, Steet Fighter x Tekken is an insult to the fighting game genre. It's just a cheap cash-in in a hope of sucking cash from both Street Fighter and Tekkens fans' pockets. Don't get fooled. Get Virtua Figher 5: Final Showdown instead. You won't regret it.

4/10 (yes, really!)

And here... aw crap, come on!

8 June 2012

Countdown to 100 - 93rd: NBA 2K12

2K sports killed EA's NBA Live series with the release of NBA 2K12. At least for a year as EA pulled back their effort for it being inferior to 2K's title. Having not played the game on PS3 or Xbox 360, I can't say how this PS2 version compares to them. Obviously it doesn't look that good (it doesn't look that good on PS2 standards either) but it plays good. There's no slowdown, framerate is steady and fast and the controlling is fluid. And there are more options to tweak than you can shake a stick at! (Couldn't resist writing that, a very British proverb, "shaking a stick at something".) This one from a bargain bin of a supermarket as well. A nice buy, worth of playing a two-player game of baskets now and then.

The game features also classic teams, like Michael Jordan-era Bulls.

5 June 2012

Countdown to 100 - 92nd: SSX3

Now here's a rarity. Actually a fantastic EA in-house game from 2000's! SSX3 is a thrill; it looks good, plays great (better than Xbox and Gamecube versions because of PS2 controller's four shoulder buttons) and it has a fascination of speed (and heights!) lacking severely from the recent SSX on PS3 and Xbox 360. It's a great game in a every way that counts and still as great as upon its release, maybe even better because of lack of good snowboarding games in recent times. Oh, and Allegra is such a babe! Picked this up from a bargain bin of a supermarket and asking myself why didn't I buy it back in 2003.... (I had this for Xbox but didn't play much. I read about PS2 controls and cursed that damn Xbox controller!)

Let's hope she's a downloadable character for the recent SSX. It would be pity if the new generation of players didn't meet Allegra, the SSX lassie!

3 June 2012

Countdown to 100 - 91st: 7 Blades

Released early on PS2 time line by Konami, a 3rd-person action adventure 7 Blades has stood the test of time remarkably well. Based on a Japanese movie from early 90's, the game still looks good with a characteristic cast and plays well enough even though there's no free camera which nowadays is a must. There's a choice between two playable characters, a sword-wielding young man or a gun-toting girl who are on and off lovers in the game's story, told through numerous cut scenes which are often humorous (in that weird Japanese way). Voice overs are in Japanese only which adds its own quirky charm to the game and there are some truly psychedelic moments to witness. The game cost only a couple of bucks from a used-games shelf and was worth it.

The hero and the heroine
Teppo Yuri lets it rip

1 June 2012

Countdown to 100

I regard Playstation 2 as the best modern times game console. Not for its technical specs but for the sheer diversity of its enormous game library. No other console can ever reach that. Sometime ago we decided to earn a real-life achievement of acquiring 100 PS2 games. Yes, we would have easily broken the barrier already if we hadn't traded games in the past years before we decided to hang on to every title for the sake of collecting. When we made this "100 games for PS2" goal, we had one rule; we wouldn't grow that number artificially by getting just some crap for cheap, like EA sports titles which are easily up for grabs for a penny. No, each game should be considered something we could still play for real. But of course there are exceptions which brings us to the 90th PS2 title in our collection...

Mighty Mulan

When Disney made the Chinese legend of Mulan into an excellent animated feature in the late 90's (the last good cartoon movie Disney has released...) there were bound to be cheap copies dabbled together straight to video. Mighty Mulan is based on one of them. It's a game only superficially as it's just a collection of sliding puzzles, coloring books and other crap. More than that though, Mighty Mulan features a 50-minutes long animated "movie". It can't be watched as a separate DVD, only through the game menu and lacks every feature a movie on a disc should have, like a chapter select, subtitles or even pause! The movie is a laugh really, with no real effort put into it but this Mulan beats the villain with a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick and that alone is a plausible reason why Mighty Mulan belongs to our game library. And no one sings in it! Thanks to our friend for getting this from a farmer's market jumble sale knowing our 100 PS2 games hunt.

Isn't the cover art convincing? Yeah, thought that much too...

More entries on the subject of getting 100 PS2 games on following days...