Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Review)

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I’ve long been a fan of the Tekken series. I remember, many years ago, when I first laid my eyes on a demo of Tekken 2. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was one of the last times I’d ever be able to use one of the most influential characters in the franchises’s history, Jun Kazama. Continue reading

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New Super Slim PS3 Incoming?

A series of documents recently submitted to the Federal Communications Commission by Sony have been revealed by Japanese website PocketNews which seems to be detailing what appears to be a new Playstation 3 model that IGN has decided to dub the “Super Slim” PS3.

The documents reveal that the illustrated device is called the CECH-4001x. The current slim Playstation 3 is CECH-30xxB, which definitely seems to indicate that this may very well be a new model that is indeed super slim.

When will Sony reveal the device? The most likely time would be during Gamescom 2012, which will be held this year from August 15 to 19 in Cologne.

Street Fighter X Tekken (Review)

Tekken has been my favourite fighting game series by leaps and miles ever since the third game in the series over a decade ago. The characters, gameplay, and mechanics have always been the cream of the crop in my eyes. Street Fighter, in comparison, has always been a distant second… But really, there’s nothing wrong with coming in second, is there? Both universes have good characters and fun gameplay, so combining them sounds like a formula for best fighting game ever.

Unfortunately. Street Fighter X Tekken falls a bit short in my opinion, which is a shame given my love and respect for the two franchises that star in this game. That’s not to say that SFxT is a bad game, because it’s not. SFxT is just merely a “pretty okay” game.

First and foremost, I’d like to mention the graphics. Outside of SoulCalibur V and Tekken 6, this is easily the best looking fighting game this generation. The stages you fight on are all extremely detailed and put even Street Fighter’s most hectic locales to shame in terms of how busy the backgrounds are. The game is also overflowing with a really fantastic sense of style with a lot of ingame hit animations and effects looking simply gorgeous. There are a few falters however, such as when you KO an opponent with an ultra combo. The screen flashes so erratically that I would worry for any epilepsy sufferers who would happen to be watching this game in motion and, as a whole, looks a little sloppy in comparison to the rest of the game’s pretty looking effects.

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Character models are mostly all pulled straight from the Street Fighter 4 series but with a few tweaks here and there. Some characters may have a little more detail in their textures while others may have slightly different proportions (for example, some say Cammy has bigger thighs, but I don’t see it myself). The Tekken characters are all brand new, though some of them are clearly just retextured and heavily reworked Street Fighter models (Ogre is an obvious Seth, Asuka is a redone Sakura, etc.) but, for the most part, they all look exceptionally unique. I’ll commend Capcom for really nailing down the look of some Tekken characters such as Hwoarang, but a few of them (Law and Paul being good examples) don’t look terribly faithful, giving off the impression that Capcom just shrugged their shoulders and winged it.

The music department isn’t too stellar. Music doesn’t dip above average in any instance in my opinion, and the versus screen tracks are just horrendous. Capcom usually does a pretty good job with fighting game soundtracks, and I can’t help but wonder if they used one of their second tier composers for this game. If not, then clearly whomever they used (was it the SF4 composer?) didn’t put forth a lot of effort.

The sounds and voices of SFxT aren’t anything to write home about either. All of Street Fighter’s familiar voices are carried over from previous games, so we know what to expect there (awful English Akuma and all). Tekken’s cast is pretty iffy when it comes to voicing. I’ll commend Namco on getting the original voice actors for some characters such as Lili and Steve (who both sound great), but others just sound really “off” in this game compared to their Namco counterparts. Paul sounds like he has a severe psychological disease coupled with rabies, and Marduk sounds like he has been taking one too many anger management sessions since we last saw him.

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In terms of gameplay, this is pretty much just Street Fighter with a more beginner friendly approach to inputs and delving into the finer technical side of the gameplay system. If you’ve played Street Fighter in the last few years, then you’ll be able to pick up and play SFxT without any issues. The Tekken characters all play like Street Fighter characters themselves, with some even having projectiles now, so they fit in pretty well with Capcom’s crew and are fun to learn how to use. I’ve found Steve to be particularly lethal when I can get into a groove with him, but it pains me to see my favourite Tekken character, Paul Phoenix, not having a great deal of tools at his disposal here.

Essentially, this is just Street Fighter with Tekken characters and an engine that is easier for beginners to ease themselves into. Unfortunately here isn’t much else to it than that, literally. Beyond the standard arcade and online fighting modes, there is just versus, practice, and mission mode. Versus is mandatory of course, but it is just another fighting mode. Practice is essential too, and is pretty much better than mission mode (dull and mindless character trials) in every way possible when it comes to learning how to play the game. Mission mode is, literally, a complete waste to even play. As was the case in Street Fighter 4 and Marvel vs Capcom 3, mission mode teaches you nothing that you can’t learn in practice mode. It’s pointless.

There are no fun bonus game modes and very little to do besides just fight, which has become typical of Capcom fighters nowadays. There is a customization menu for assigning gems to your characters (they modify your damage output, speed, and other things during fights) as well as colouring your characters. Both of these features were hyped by Capcom pre-release, but after sinking my teeth into the game I can tell that they weren’t properly developed and are particularly lacking in terms of appeal and content.

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Overall, this is just another fighting game by Capcom. There’s a significant sense of “been there, done that” when playing. It’s evident that Capcom has stopped raising the bar when it comes to fighting games, as they feel that they can just slap a few fighting modes together and call it a day in recent years. There’s a wealth of new moves to learn from the Tekken characters, as well as a few gimmicky bonus characters, but when everyone online is going to default to Chun Li, Guile, Juri, Ken, Ryu, and Sagat then… Well, what’s the point of it all?

Final Score

6.8/10

Pros:
+ Street Fighter engine has been dumbed down to gently ease beginners into it.
+ The character roster is absolutely huge and will grow more later in the year.
+ Very flashy and great looking presentation.

Cons:
– As expected of Capcom nowadays, there’s a severe lack of content.
– Some Tekken characters are represented very poorly.
– The game could have sounded a lot better as a whole.

Mega Man Confirmed For Street Fighter X Tekken

Mega Man has been officially revealed as a playable character in the upcoming Street Fighter X Tekken fighting game as an exclusive character for PS3 and Vita players!

Joining Mega Man as Sony exclusives are Pac-Man (who rides a controllable Mokujin robot), Toro and Kuro, and Cole McGrath from Infamous.

I don’t really want to spoil the surprise for anyone who hasn’t seen the trailer yet and stumbled upon this place before IGN or Shoryuken… Though I suspect that anyone who came in from my front page may already know what is in store for them. Heh heh. Watch the following trailer and enjoy!

Tekken Tag Tournament HD (Review)

Ah, there’s nothing better than kicking back and enjoying Tekken Tag Tournament! What’s even better is enjoying it in it’s remastered HD version. Tekken Tag Tournament HD is part of the “Tekken Hybrid” package which also contains a pretty mediocre demo the Tekken Tag 2 and a new CGI movie called Tekken Blood Vengeance. This review will only be brief and deal with a game we’ve already played tons of on our dusty PS2 consoles.

First, what’s good about Tekken Tag Tournament? Well, until Tekken 5 dropped, it was pretty much the best offering of Tekken available. It contains everyone (sans Angel, Dr. B and Gon) from previous games including hidden characters like Eddy Gordo’s alternate Tiger outfit. Kunimitsu, Jun, Prototype Jack, and Ogre were all here and looking better than ever. The roster may pale in comparison to Tekken 6’s freakishly huge cast of characters, but it is still pretty acceptable even by modern standards. That’s pretty impressive for such an old game.

If you’ve never played a Tekken game before, it’s all pretty straight forward. You have four attack buttons (one for each major limb). To jump, press up. To block, hold back. Want to perform a throw? Easy, just hold two attack buttons down. The controls for Tekken have always been very user friendly, which allows many first time players to pick the game up and immediately have sme success provided they haven’t chosen some of the trickier characters on the roster.

Juggles are extremely prevalent in Tekken and, in Tekken Tag, they are almost insanely over the top and silly as some hits will send your characters rocketing almost off the top of the screen. Tekken has always prided itself on being one of the most realistic fighters in terms of actual fighting (so there are no bladed hats or hadoukens), so the wild nature of Tag’s juggles feels a little out of place to say the least.

The “tag” aspect of the game comes from chosing two characters that you can freely alternate between during matches. Whenever one of your characters are knocked out, you will lose the round. This isn’t like Marvel vs Capcom where all characters need to be taken down. In Tekken Tag, only one character must be defeated. There’s a fair amount of strategy here as you’ll be jumping back and forth between characters frequently.

There are no unlockables in Tag HD, which is great. Namco understood that we didn’t want to go through all of that unlocking again for a game we’ve already played. Everything is available right out of the box with absolutely no restrictions at all.

Tekken Bowl is also present. If you have ever wondered what a bowling game would be like with Tekken characters then… well, here’s your answer. Tekken Bowl relies on precise button presses to roll your ball towards the pins at the end of the alley. You choose which characters to use in this mode, and they all have different strengths and weaknesses. Generally a character that is harder to control will be able to roll the ball faster and with more strength, so you have to decide if you want slow and accurate or fast and risky. It’s a fun little diversion, but it can’t stand on it’s own well.

The only significant ugprades to the game are in the graphics. The game essentially looks the same as it did on the PS2, except everything is now in high definition. Character models look much crisper now. There is not blurring of textures and no pixelation, so everything looks much better now. The graphics are far from current generation, but Tekken Tag certainly looks better than any actual PS2 game. Graphically, it’s sort of in limbo between PS2 and PS3 quality visuals.

There’s not much else to say. This is an old game and it hasn’t been changed much aside from going HD. If you liked Tekken Tag, you’ll still like it just the same. If you’re a Tekken fan who has never played Tekken Tag, then the HD version could be worth your while. It all comes down to how soon Tekken Tag 2 hits consoles, so I can’t really say whether or not this is a good investment for those who haven’t played Tekken Tag. Still, it’s a solid fighting game and can certainly be enjoyed by many.

Final Score

8.7/10

Pros:
+ Game looks much nicer in HD.
+ Large character roster even by today’s standards.
+ No unlocking of characters required.

Cons:
– Juggles can perhaps be a little too over the top at times.
– Music and sound effects sound awfully dated.
– No changes at all beyond the graphics.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Review)

Capcom sure has taken a lot of crap from their fans in recent months. Hordes of angry consumers are upset that they have to buy Marvel vs Capcom 3 for a second time, but I’m not even going to get into that. This is after all my review for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and Capcom has really proved their doubters wrong with this thorough upgrade to an already great fighting game.

Since I already wrote a review for the original release of Marvel vs Capcom 3, I won’t really rehash anything I said about the gameplay systems and what not so if you haven’t played Marvel vs Capcom 3 at all, read that review first for my thoughts on the overall structure and playability of the game. So what does Capcom bring to the table with the Ultimate update? Twelve new characters, ten new stages, a revamped main menu and UI, as well as extensive balancing and expanding of existing character move lists.

First, let’s talk about the returning characters. A lot of characters have brand new moves which will force their long time fans to come up with new strategies and ways to integrate the new moves into their play styles. Wolverine is perhaps my favourite example of this as he has gained an attack called “Swiss Cheese” in which he slices his claws repeatedly in front of him. It’s a lot like Super Skrull’s “Tenderizer” attack and is easy to execute (perhaps too easy). Various other characters have a new trick or two up their sleeves while almost every character has been rebalanced or tweaked to some degree. Most of the changes are fortunately minor and won’t really affect the gameplay any differently for regular players, though the hardcore tournament players will be obsessing over each and every small change due to even the slightest tweak being a potential game changer for specific characters on the tournament scene.

All characters now have six colours to choose from with most of them being new colour schemes that were not present in the original release. Captain America, Deadpool and Zero have some cool alternate colour schemes with Zero perhaps being the most interesting due to how his alternate colours pay homage to various characters in the Mega Man universe. In typical trollish Capcom fashion, Zero has received a brand new Mega Man X alternate colour scheme. This is sure to annoy some Mega Man fans, but they haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait until DLC costumes!

In terms of new characters, there’s a lot of really interesting variety. Twelve new faces have been added in total, six to each side. On Capcom’s side we have Firebrand, Frank West, Nemesis, Phoenix Wright, Strider Hiryu, and Vergil. Firebrand is a winged red demon who can flutter around the screen shooting fireballs and doing various dive attacks. He’s a little difficult to get used to, but he seems like a fairly pleasant surprise. It’s pretty possible for Firebrand to be anywhere at once, and I anticipate he’ll be the bane of a lot of inexperienced players online.

Frank West seems like a very enjoyable character. He appears to be very melee oriented due to starting off with his baseball bat and camera. The fun thing about Frank is that he can level himself up and gain new weapons. Each time Frank levels up, his melee weapon will change. What starts off as a mere baseball bat will eventually end up as much stronger combo weapons that we all know and love from Dead Rising.

Phoenix Wright is a real handful to use. His animations are confusing and it is difficult to determine what “moves” will hit your opponent. Phoenix Wright’s moves include throwing papers, sneezing (or coughing?), and falling down on his butt. While I appreciate the fact that Capcom included Phoenix Wright in the game to please his fans, he is an obvious joke character – but not in the good way. In my opinion, he is a waste of space in this game.

As a long time Marvel vs Capcom fan, I’ve been putting a lot of time into Strider Hiryu and am loving how he plays in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. He is fantastic at both short and long range and his teleports can really help mix things up quite a bit.

Nemesis and Vergil also seem quite handy and I’m sure each of them will be devastating in the right hands. Nemesis sort of reminds me of Venom while Vergil is sure to get a lot of play from Devil May Cry fans as well as anyone who prefers sword-based characters.

On the Marvel side we have Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Nova, and Rocket Raccoon. I’ve really only taken to two Marvel characters and they are Ghost Rider and Nova. The rest, unfortunately, just don’t mesh with my play style at all which is a real shame since I was really looking forward to Iron Fist before release.

Ghost Rider is a long range virtuoso. His chain attacks often stretch all the way across the screen which makes it pretty hard to run from Ghost Rider, and his “eat chain” line that he spits out with each attack sounds great. I feel like I probably like Ghost Rider’s look and voice more than how he plays but, overall, he feels like a really well made fighter with his chain and fire attacks. Oh yeah, and we can’t ignore his hyper where he jumps on his bike and mows down the opponent!

Nova took a lot of heat before release with many fans saying that he just looked like a rehashing of other characters. Essentially, they thought he was a bland and boring version of Taskmaster. I was always looking forward to Nova and I’ve grown to really enjoy using him now that the game is in my hands. He does have a lot of close range rushdown attacks as demonstrated in his trailer, but he also has quite a bit of long range possibilities as well and I can’t wait to try him out against human opponents.

Now, the four characters I don’t like too much on the Marvel side? Doctor Strange seems very well made, but I can’t adapt to his floaty mechanics and, due to him hovering slightly above the ground, I haven’t had much luck using Strange against the likes of Amaterasu, Arthur, or Rocket Raccoon.

Hawkeye isn’t a bad character and his bows have excellent range and speed, but he feels seriously bland and uninspired to me. I like his theme music, but playing him is honestly a bore. The same applies to Iron Fist who I thought looked like a blast in his trailer, but after using him? He just felt hopelessly generic and is nothing but a Bruce Lee rip-off in this game. I understand that Iron Fist is an exceptionally talented martial artist, but the Bruce Lee vibes could have been taken down a few notches.

As for Rocket Racoon? I don’t have any problems with him and his quirky design amuses me, but his small size makes him a little harder for me to play with. It feels like Yoda from Soulcalibur IV all over again. He has plenty of range and can even use traps (think Trish), but Rocket Raccoon is pretty pitiful in my hands and I don’t want to comment on him very much because of this.

I suppose I could mention Galactus as a seventh Marvel character since we are able to play as him now. In Galactus Mode, you simply play as the planet devourer himself as you take down team after team of opponents. It’s fun for one or two matches, but after that it becomes a bit dull. Playing as Galactus is interesting, but it usually feels like a lot of effort on my part to even make him do anything. Capcom does not include a move list for him, so figuring out how to use Galactus is all guess work.

There are ten new stages in total, but they are all just “remixed” versions of existing stages. For example, Kattelox Island is now covered in snow and the SHIELD heli-carrier stage is now set during the day. Fortunately the remixed stages add just enough variety to be interesting to play on, though Demon Village Redux (essentially a black and white version of the original Demon Village) feels like a bit of a lazy rush job.

There aren’t too many other new features, though the ingame UI has been improved making it easier to tell which character is on point and how much life your teammates have left. You will also always know when you have X Factor available due to the electrified red X at the end of each player’s life bars. Another small thing worth mentioning for those who don’t play online much is that the computer AI has been made a little more difficult.

Overall, I feel like Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is a huge step in the right direction. All of the new characters (except Phoenix Wright) feel as if they belong in this game and all of them are probably pretty viable. While we’re sure to see a frightening number of Vergils online, at least we’re still going to see a little more diversity! If you were a fan of the original Marvel vs Capcom 3, then I would definitely suggest checking out the Ultimate upgrade. The game feels remarkably exciting and fresh again and the new characters add plenty of unpredictability to the fights.

Final Score

9.4/10

Pros:
+ New characters and stages all look really great.
+ Old characters receiving new moves was a great idea.
+ The new characters add lots of new possibilities.

Cons:
– Galactus fight is the same as ever.
– No new innovative game modes.
– Phoenix Wright. Capcom, what were you thinking?