Random TK/SC rant

On the one hand, I like being asked and therefore giving my opinion and on the other hand, the mention of the name of the worst character ever (in any context) is the quickest way to get your comment deleted on my channel. What to do? Rant on Tumblr of course!

Plus, I wasn’t really asked for my opinion, more like someone drew their own conclusion about me and commented about it.

The comment tonight was on my video showing off Soul Calibur 5 Critical Edge moves. The video was largely ignored by pretty much everyone, and by that I mean I certainly got no comments on my efforts and only later in person did friends of mine tell me they even watched it at all. I had actually been quite proud of it, but this person’s comment wasn’t really about my efforts either so can’t feel too bad.

Anyway, they asked “No Dampierre?” As in, I assume to mean, why wasn’t he in the video? It’s quite simple really. If I dislike a character enough, I will ignore him/her given the chance, and I find Dampierre repulsive. I would not subject myself to him anymore than I have to.

And then this person brought up comparing Patroklos to that character I despise from Tekken. I have hinted at such a comparison myself on this blog, but let me make it clear to anyone who cares to read this blog with a genuine interest in my opinion about the whole thing why my feelings differ.

Here is the HUGE difference.

There is A LOT of history in the Tekken 6 hype explaining events from E3 2005 to E3 2006 to 2007 to 2008 to 2009, and all the garbage in between. Believe me, I’ve recorded like 2 hours worth of audio explaining it, just figured it was boring material not worth publishing. In that time period, guess when it was known that we’d be stuck with that awful Scenario Campaign centering on two EXPANSION characters? April 2009!

Meanwhile, it was clear from about when Soul Calibur 5 was announced that Patroklos had the type of role he did. This person didn’t ask, but I don’t like Patroklos. He starts off as a stupid, arrogant douchebag and despite any character development in the story mode, said change does not make up for the numerous faults in Soul Calibur 5.

Added on top of those differences, my passion for Tekken was much greater than my passion for Soul Calibur. And then on top of all that, Tekken 6 left me so bitter that I swore off getting excited for a video game ever again. I don’t feel this way about Patroklos because I’m not as invested. I don’t post on a Soul Calibur message board, having to repeat my point or opinion about him all the time. I’m not bombarded over and over again with his face on this message board I do not go to or in my deviantART inbox or when I browse Tumblr looking up Siegfried.

The reason I hate Tekken 6 so much is because I wanted to love it so much. I loved Soul Calibur 3, but my hype for Soul Calibur 4 was nothing compared to how badly I wanted Tekken 6. Those aren’t typos. SC4 was a disappointment, and T6 was an astronomical failure, so I had my expectations in check for SC5, I can assure you.

The State of Gaming Press

Well, I don’t have a whole lot to add to this subject that hasn’t already been said by others, but I feel it’s noteworthy all the same, albeit I am a month behind anyone else who follows gaming “journalism” (which I don’t follow all that closely, but I catch some things on NeoGAF).

Among the better summaries I’ve read of what happened are these:

A basic run-down for the lazy: A writer by the name of Robert Florence (“Rab”) writes an article that’s posted on Eurogamer talking about the state of gaming journalism and its relation to PR, citing a picture of Geoff Keighley sitting by some Mountain Dew and Doritos and an example of some Twitter argument about game journalists using a hashtag to win PS3s. He named two people specifically, not really accusing them of anything so much as a warning of how they present themselves would give a casual observer reason to question what they are doing. Then the story exploded into something more after that.

Eurogamer received a complaint (possibly a threat of legal action though it’s hard to say) and amended the article to remove those names. Florence understands their position but notes that means he can’t do columns for them anymore.

Among those named was a Lauren Wainwright who worsened the situation for herself by doing things like tweeting that she worked for Square Enix as a consultant but never reviewed their games whereupon the Internet then digs up a Deus Ex review she did, proving that to be false. Her link to Square Enix had been included on her current resume and was later removed. She has since made her Twitter account private, but the news spread all the same.

Thus concludes my summary of the event and below is a little more of my thoughts on the matter.

Games journalism in the industry is largely regarded as a joke and largely for reasons such as what transpired here. I often see a Penny Arcade image that goes a little something like this: “This is how most gaming interviews go. ‘So how awesome is your game?’ ‘So awesome.’ They are part of a greater machine, a hype machine, and they have a status quo where accepting gifts is considered the norm. Some question it, many don’t.

Truth be told, I have a couple of gaming sites on Twitter lists but NeoGAF is where I go for news because I trust them to moderate it a bit better than the journalists. They sort of filter through a lot of the BS and tell you the meat of what you want to know (well, what I want to know anyway, which is usually just “What’s the release date?” but I have a general curiosity for sales numbers too).

If any participating in the whole gaming industry machine would genuinely want to know: I think higher standards would be better, such as not accepting gifts to name an item I’ve seen mentioned or at least an acknowledgment that some calling themselves journalists aren’t. They’re fans, writers, “enthusiast press” I think is another term I’ve seen. Would I read them more? I don’t know, but I’d roll my eyes less and have a bit more respect for those involved.

Wreck-It-Ralph Review

Another movie I saw this past weekend and more up my alley than Cloud Atlas was Wreck-It-Ralph. I don’t think this review is particularly spoiler-heavy but some more sensitive to them than others, so here’s a warning link just in case.


Continue reading →

My TTT2 Review Transcript

A friend (Cary) had asked interest in reading my review before she knew it was a video. I offered to transcribe it for her if she’d rather read it, so here is that transcription:

Alright, so here we have the menu when you first load up the game and we’re going to go through a few of these, not extensively on all of them: Online Mode, Offline Mode, Fight Lab, Customization, Tekken Tunes, Gallery, Profile, and Options.

Tag 2 takes elements from Tag 1 and combines them with elements from Tekken 6 and adds a few of their own. We have tag combos, tag assault, tag throws, rage, bound and various stage breaks like wall break or floor breaks or balcony break. In addition to that, instead of usually having one tag team against another tag team, a player can choose instead to stick with only one character and have that character with regenerating health as opposed to the separate two characters.

Now insofar as my opinion of all of these elements, I felt-now mind you, I know I am a casual player, but I felt that a tag assault or tag combo against the wall felt pretty unfair. I did ask another friend of mine for his general input on gameplay because he would know more about it than I would, and his input was basically that he felt that the movement in comparison to Tekken 6 had been significantly improved. He had felt in Tekken 6 that the easier characters provided greater reward despite being easier to use and the harder characters didn’t have enough-as good reward for using them.

Arcade Battle is essentially the game’s story mode where you pick a character, go through nine stages, and get an ending cut scene after beating the final boss. Such a mode has been customary for all Tekken games. One of the differences in Tag 2 compared to Tag 1 was that when you pick a tag team and you go through the story mode in Tag 1, right before you fight Unknown, you have a couple of sub-bosses that are relevant to the characters that you picked. Tag 2 doesn’t do this. Instead, you will always fight Jinpachi and Heihachi, then Ogre, then Jun, then Unknown. As a casual player who simply tried to beat the game on Easy, it did feel like the difficulty escalated significantly when moving onward to the bosses, and it didn’t really feel worth the trouble of beating Unknown, especially when I found there was an alternative way to unlock a lot of the endings.

As for the endings themselves, I’m a big fan of Jin, so I was interested in his endings, and I was disappointed. I feel like they are the worst endings that he has ever had. Barring that, a lot of them are better, but I noticed a couple of things. There’s a big disparity between the longest ending and the shortest ending. The longest is almost 4 minutes; the shortest is slightly over 30 seconds, so that stands out. I don’t really know if this is better or worse, but it’s something I noticed-that a lot of the endings have special filters on them to give a certain look and feel, and this series usually doesn’t do that.

Ghost Battle has some added incentive in that you can unlock the endings through there if you prefer. When you finish a match, you can pick between 3 upcoming matches. If one of those is highlighted in gold, you can fight that character or pair of characters, and you will have the ending of the first character in that list. You will also earn a couple of customization items and of course some money.

For Online mode, I only played a little bit, just far enough to get my 1st dan trophy, so that was mostly ranked matches and 1 quick player match. I didn’t know when I was first put into a waiting room with Mokujin that I was supposed to just wait there and for someone to come along, so eventually I figured that out, but something to communicate that I think would have been good. Otherwise, I think it’s a good idea to allow a person to practice moves and combos that they might know with the characters they picked or explore things. I would have liked a command list at least because there’s no other features that you would get from a practice mode here in this waiting room, including a command list-you don’t have that. Also, for connections, at first I was willing to try anything because it was Saturday morning, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to get many, but then I had one bad experience with lower bars, so I decided to maintain at at least 3 because I felt the lag was bad enough to warrant that.

Something nice that I learned from a friend of mine is that any matches against non-AI opponents will be saved into a Replay Theater so since I only played a few online matches, all of mine are actually saved and I can go through and re-watch them. If I were a more dedicated player and even though I’m not a dedicated player, I would say this. This is useful for learning from your mistakes and trying to study and improve, so I commend this inclusion.

A nice addition to the practice mode is a key to tell you which moves bound, which moves initiate a tag combo, and which moves will hit a side-stepping opponent.

Most Tekken games come with a little extra something such as a Tekken Force mode or in Tag 1, there was Tekken Bowl. In Tekken 3, there was Tekken Ball and in Tag 2 what we have is Fight Lab, which isn’t quite like any of those. Fight Lab is more like a glorified tutorial with Combot. So, it’s kind of disappointing that there’s nothing quite like Tekken Bowl that is included, but what’s nice is that we aren’t stuck with anything like Scenario Campaign either where the game tries too hard to force that mode on you.

Customization feels like quite a step backwards. There’s no option to just buy and then equip an item right away for instance. There’s no-I’ve already picked everything that I like-now I want to add gloves and just add a particular pair of gloves, I can’t do that-at least I didn’t see any such option with Alisa. You know, when I bought a ponytail, and I wanted a particular kind of bangs, I didn’t know that I could buy those bangs only after I bought the ponytail. Another thing is that I’m under the impression from my experience as playing Alisa and reading things online is that you don’t see all of the items that you can unlock that can be equipped. You have to unlock some of them by playing Ghost Battle and for that reason, you have no way to see your progress on unlocking or buying everything for a particular character. That’s something that I would like to do during a game-just, I would buy or equip-I mean I would buy everything for Jin and Devil Jin, for instance. But if there are items that I can only get through Ghost Battle, then I won’t know-heh heh-if I have everything, and I like to be able to set goals and meet them when I play games and with this kind of setup, you can’t do that because you won’t know when you’re done.

A couple of other small notes: The characters no longer have special intro poses that shows them interacting before a match like you did with Tag 1. And there are not really 2nd player outfits. I mean there’s a second panel and for at least Alisa, there’s even a third panel where you can get an alternate outfit. It seems to be associated with a clothing line of some kind, I’m not sure, more like T-shirts is what I see lately. But, for instance, Lili-her first player outfit actually isn’t the frilly dress, it’s a bustier with some pants, and that is not an option. So, those are missing as well. Tag 2 improves I think where Tekken 6 was weakest and has a few other minor improvements, yet at the same time it feels like other parts that were taken for granted have now taken a few steps backwards.

September NPD TK Context

Okay, now I’ve had some time to look back and reflect at the pieces I know of the NPD puzzle to add to my earlier post.

Tekken 6 did not chart on NPD’s top 10 when it came out either. I guess I still expected TTT2 to do so because T6 was on a chart for October sales and TTT2 for September. Unfortunately, NPD no longer gives numbers so unless you happen to find the info elsewhere, you mostly only know a rank nowadays. There used to be numbers for titles in the top 10 at least. TTT2 not charting doesn’t actually say much, such as if it did better or worse than T6 or even Soul Calibur 5. SC5 did chart, however, that was for sales in January so the competition usually isn’t as strong (though FF13 came out the same day as SC5). I tried finding out the numbers by searching for NeoGAF’s February 2012 NPD thread, but it’s just not coming up on any Google results, and I can’t search the forum myself since my account is still not approved, assuming they have such a feature.

Someone did happen to post that T6 for PS3 was ranked #16 for PS3 and did between 113K and 150K. Mind you, that wasn’t particularly good for T6 back then either, it’s just hard to say where TTT2 falls, such as mildly disappointing or really disappointing…but probably in some variation of disappointment. I think. More info might come out at later time such as a fiscal report from Namco.