By GolazoDan 1 Comments
This week, on a whim, I spent too much money on a fighting stick for my Xbox 360. I'm not very good at fighting games, although I would quite like to be, so I managed to get my hands on a Street Fighter 4 stick. That's how the pros do it, right? And all those slightly insane and incredibly misogynistic bearded men, but I'd rather not be like them. That arrived on Friday in an absurdly large box and I gave it a whirl, playing Street Fighter 4 for the first time in honestly about two years. While initially I'm not particularly great, working through the battle mode as Ryu (your entry-level character for these games) and trying to learn the moves, I'm actually able to execute supers, ultras and even the basic Shoryukens and Hadoukens with minimal fuss, which is something I couldn't say about my pad experience. I'm yet to try the stick with Mortal Kombat, my other fighting game, but hopefully it also helps there.
I also, randomly, decided to go back to Driver: San Francisco, one of those games that got lost in the ever-growing backlog (the Splinter Cell: Conviction memorial list). And let me tell you, this is a good, good game. Is it the best sandbox game of all time? No, not at all. Grand Theft Auto 4 is the daddy in general, whereas Burnout Paradise's constant crazy driving is superior, but this is an absolutely cracking effort and reminiscent of the early Drivers that I enjoyed so much when I was first getting into video games. It is, and I say this in the best sense, the definition of an 8/10 video game. The funny thing is, I read people complaining about the shift mechanic before, like it was hackneyed and a cheap gimmick and all that ("Mindjack with cars"), but it's absolutely fantastic. It works well in the storyline itself because it makes for some complete mindfuck moments and supernatural weirdness, but it also makes for some incredibly fun side activities that are, dare I say it, Hot Pursuit-esque. Except, instead of getting helicopters to help you and using EMPs to blow up racers, you stop these racers by shifting into a lorry further up the road and driving headfirst into them. It's AWESOME. The driving itself feels a bit heavy at first compared to those other games but it kinda suits the classic vibe they're going for (and have gone for in past Driver games) so once you work it out it's totally fine. I'm also a great fan of the cutscenes involving Tanner, Jones, Jericho and various other random characters around the city. They're all prerendered and that but they're incorporated incredibly well in a talking-head style. There are very little moments where you think "Oh great, this is gonna be an entirely prerendered cutscene" which I appreciate.
I played lots of Fez and Trials: Evolution but instead of writing about them I'll just say that my hands, brain and sense of pride really hurt right now.