Childhood, Cynicism, and the Devil May Cry Demo

I like to think that I love video games. I’ve been playing them since before I can even remember. I spent the brunt of my first thirteen years playing games at basically every chance I got. My PS2 was pretty much the best thing ever, and I’d play that thing until it broke, and then I'd buy a new one to repeat the process. I’d sit down and play Sly Cooper for hours, taking in the story and then making up my own once the original story ended. I’d do the same with Dynasty Warriors, Time Splitters, Tekken, Vice City, even Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater; all series that I came to love and treasure. I’d always play every game I got to death, exposing every single little thing that it had to offer, even going out of my way to find glitches, which I considered part of the big package (I was even part of a glitch-hunting clan in online THUG). I can truly say that I was an absolute video game fanatic through the first half of 2000’s first century.

However, the key-point is the fact that my entire first paragraph is in the past-tense. We’re nearing the end of 2012 now, and it’s painful for me to admit that my love has been faltering. GTA IV’s release marked the point that I bought my first PS3, and to be honest, I loved it. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, with graphics that blew everything else I’ve played completely out of the water and gameplay that just felt so real. I spent my first couple of days with it just driving around and taking it all in, getting comfortable with the engine and really settling nicely (by running over innocent civilians and pretty much just causing general chaos). I played the story mode and got as far as unlocking the third island, but then something weird happened. I just sort of stopped. I didn’t make any more progress past that point, and if I ever played GTA again, it would only be to play online with random people. It had dawned on me that advancing the storyline had become tiresome, a chore. I had suddenly completely stopped caring about making progress. After GTA came LittleBigPlanet, which was fun for a while, but really only served as a glorified chatroom with friends I had made online. Various other games came after that, but one game in particular really made me realize just how bad my cynicism had become, and that game was Red Dead: Redemption.

I was incredibly excited for Red Dead. From all the trailers and gameplay videos I had seen, it looked like one of the coolest things I had ever seen. I imagined how great it would be to run around with my posse, shooting dudes with sweet guns, and pre-ordered the special edition with no hesitation. I eagerly awaited its release, impatiently counting the days and having a lot of trouble containing my hype. Then it came out… I loaded it up, played it for a couple hours, and since then, I’ve never touched it again. Now this might make me seem like the most pompous, ungrateful bastard to ever live, but I can assure you, this event scared me. The gameplay was fine, the graphics were great, and the story’s presentation seemed really interesting! But I just couldn’t give a damn, and I had no idea why, and I didn't like the fact that I didn't give a damn. I didn’t like the fact that I would just blow off a game the way I did, when I spent so much of my years playing games with unquestionable love. I had realized that for every game that wasn’t a fighting game (that’s a story for another day), I just rarely bothered to play it for very long. Off the top of my head, the only games I can say I finished this generation were Bayonetta, Portal 2, Mass Effect 2, and Resident Evil 5. Resi 5 however, was admittedly the most fun I’ve had this gen, co-opping it in its entirety with a friend. Despite that, there just seemed to be something missing from all these games I was playing. I had no idea what was causing me to lose interest so fast, and it worried me to no end. I thought I had reached a point where I just didn’t like video games anymore.

Video Games as art, am I right?

But then, something weird happened. On Nov. 20 of this year, the demo of Ninja Theory’s reboot of Devil May Cry came out. I didn’t think much of it, and just absent-mindedly downloaded it while glumly playing PS: All-Stars. I installed the demo, booted it up, and got ready to be disappointed. And... I didn’t think much of it in my first run. Yeah, it was ok, it was a cool take on Devil May Cry and I found it to be alright. Today, I was bored, and had nothing to do, so I booted it up again. But this time, I tried something I’ve never tried before. I went into options, turned off the music, turned off the hints, and when the gameplay started, I advanced… slowly. I just lightly held up on the analog stick while turning the camera around, and noticed so many little details I had missed my first time through. Then the enemies spawned, and I realized I was doing what I used to do as a kid: trying to make the gameplay look as cinematic as possible, moving the camera around to get good angles while pulling off stylish combos. Everything was fitting seamlessly together, and before I knew it, I felt like my childlike glee of playing video games had returned, and I was absolutely loving it. I was doing everything I used to do, looking around for secrets, making up stupid little mini-stories in my head, and I even found a couple glitches. Then I found one of those doors that lead you to those bonus areas, in this case, the race against time thing. After beating it, I ignored the pickup, and explored. I stumbled upon a shot that actually kind of moved me. The ambient sounds of the place and the peacefulness of the waves are actually what motivated me to write this thing, and it’s been on my screen this whole time I’ve been writing it. I realized today that maybe I’ve been going through games expecting everything to be immediately obvious on the surface. What’s changed isn’t that game-creators have become lazy, it’s far from it. It was me who had become lazy with the games, and I had lost sight on what I really love about them: substance. I don’t know if the games I’ve played lately really do lack substance, or that I just never worked at finding it, but either way, the DMC demo has helped me realize that games today might be deeper than they let on, and I just haven’t been digging enough.

I’ve never written anything like this before. It felt good to get it off my chest, though, in hindsight, I realize this blog looks like some giant advertisement for the new Devil May Cry game, but whatever, I liked it; I liked it way more than I thought I would, and I definitely didn’t expect it to give me such an eye-opening experience the way it did. I think I can enjoy games more because of it. For someone who's first childhood memory is playing Parappa the Rapper, it's easy to see that video games mean a lot to me. Journey is downloading now. I’m pretty excited.

TL;DR: I loved games, then I didn’t like games, now I’m liking games again.

8 Comments

TEKKEN (2010) comparing it to the game.

Tekken (2010) was as good as any video-game based movie, meaning not that good. The casting was fine but only going by the characters looks, as I have no idea who half these people are. But I'm not writing this to talk about how the movie was no, but rather, how close it came to the popular franchise I grew up with and cherished. While it did not bring my opinion of Tekken any lower, it certainly may make some fans face-palm.   
 
WARNING: These quips may contain spoilers!
 
1. Costumes: 
The costumes were almost identical to the games. It's obvious the main focus here was on instant character recognition and they nailed it here. Every costume were either exactly like the video-game character's costume (Bryan Fury, Dragunov) or just minor differences (The flame on Jin's pants is blue intead of red) and the hairstyles were spot-on. The only characters they really overhauled were Steve Fox and Kazuya to an unrecognizable state. Steve looked like some WWE wrestler wearing leather and Kaz had the cliche'd 'bad guy' look (you know the one, gelled hair, goatee, yep) and I didn't know who was who until someone said their names.  
 
2. Fighting Styles: 
Mixed bag here. Jin fought Kung Fu style, like a martial-arts movie hero should. Eddy's capoeira was like any capoeira fighter. But the biggest letdown was Raven. My second best reduced to very bland boxing/frantic kicking. He's introduced as a 'ninja' and does nothing 'ninja' at all. He doesn't come close to his game alter-ego which quite frankly, isn't that hard to imitate. Big dissapointment from Rave-party. I'd say the one who stays truest to his game self would have to be Dragunov. His actor's definetly played some Tekken and does a fine job imitating his style and all his moves seemed to be taken right outta the game. Too bad he only has like 5 seconds of screen time before he's killed by Bryan. Heihachi becomes this frail old guy who can't even fight which is the complete opposite of what he is in the games. Also, Anna never even fights. What the hell?  
 
3. Personalities: 
Everyone but the lead role, Kazuya Mishima and Marshall Law, ALL. WRONG. Miguel, the pissed off but calm spanish street-fighter becomes a trash-talking, all talk meathead who is way too egotistical and weak, NOTHING like the strong-willed Mig we all know and love. Nina's a whore as opposed to a badass. Anna's a whore (who I don't think has any lines...) which actually isn't too far from the game. Raven's got the monotoness but not much else. Dragu dosen't have enough lines to judge, Bryan's not loud and cocky enough (though he tries) and Christie's the lead's girlfriend. Heihachi was probably the most messed up. They get his bad guy demeanor down in the beginning but then he becomes this ''Honor! Wisdom!'' good guy by the middle. No, no NO! Heihachi is bad to the bone!! He's a badass! How can they fuck up Heihachi?? He's pretty much the star of Tekken!! Eddy's meh. 
 
4. Relationships: 
No study was taken of the game for this. First of all: Why the hell is fuggin' CHRISTIE the lead girl?? Sure she's possibly the hottest Tekken chick to fans (though I'll always stick by my girl Zaffy) but she has NOTHING to do with Jin in any game before Tekken 6, and this movie obviously does not take place in that era and even then, Christie wants to kill Jin... Also, Nina and Anna are like BFFs, because sisterly hatred in games transfers to partnership in movies.  
 
5. Overall: 
 I'd say the movie does well in the looks department and nothing else. The characters look like they're alter egos, but don't act like them. I said nothing about Yoshimitsu but only because he's always changing in the games so there's no trouble for that in the movie.The only one I'd say they nailed to the bone was Dragunov. He was absolutely perfect. So in all... 4/10. 
 
Get ready for the next battle!     

10 Comments

My thoughts: Tekken X Street Fighter/Street Fighter X Tekken


If anyone knows me at all, they know I'm a hardcore Tekken player (and if you didn't, now you do.) which is why my confusion regarding 2 games as different as Tekken and Street Fighter joining together for a crossover. At first I was doubtful, when my friend told me about it via text I immediately put if off as a joke or something. Then, when I looked it up out of sheer curiosity, I was quite suprised (and slightly dismayed) that these two rivals of franchises were teaming up. Reading on, I discovered there'd be TWO different, but similar games. One with the Tekken engine, and another with the SF engine, so basically a 2D one and 3D one. I then had a heated argument with myself of how impossible this would be to pull off. Projectiles with Tekken characters? Long ass juggles with Street Fighter veterans? How oh how will this work? 
 
After seeing a trailer and gameplay video, I have to say I'm actually pleasantly suprised! The battle they showed was Street Fighter engined and completely! Even down to the announcer, it was Street Fighter 4 in the flesh! But on the right side of the screen stood a stranger to that strange world. Ryu vs. Kazuya Mishima and what a fight! The fight went on in a classic Street Fighter way (with notable differences whick I go over below) with Kazuya dishing his classic Electric Wind God Fists and always spammable uf4,4,4,4 and no one coming out the victor but instead a ''To be Continued!'' wipe. There were some things I noticed that might seem alien to veteran SF and Tekken players alike: 
   
- 2 vs 2 battles. While we Tekken players got a taste of that in Tekken Tag Tournament, this is completely new to Street Fighter (to my knowledge) and is a worthy note. 
- Ryu pulled off a weak punch Shoryuken to a heavy punch Shoryuken in one combo and no EX or anything. This would mean juggles will play an integral part in both games. 
- At the very beginning, Ryu pulled a Hadouken, a projectile, at Kazuya who has no projectiles (Or does he?) who did a little forward dash, dodging it. I suspect every Tekken character will have this as projectiles in Tekken are nearly non-existant. 
- The stage they were on is of Tekken atmosphere, with a destroyed NANCY robot laying there.  
- Walls seem to play a much bigger role now as I saw Ryu deliver a regular looking kick to Kaz, bouncing him off the wall into a combo.  
- Double ultras look nice, but seem random and un-comboable. This might be changed/fixed. 
 
Well I will say that I am actually quite hyped for this and expect good things. I am however, still curious on how 2D Street Fighter peeps will fare on 3D Tekken ground.
4 Comments

Another 'first blog' blog.


Oh hai. 
 
It's pretty late, (or early?) in the morning as I'm writing this. I've been awake for 15 hours now. I've been playing some great Left 4 dead 2 and Super Street Fighter IV on my nice new Xbox 360 slim. They've both been a blast to play and I think I'm fairly used to using the analog stick for my fighting games as opposed to the D-pad on PS3. 

 

(Tekken 6 nerdage ahead. Fairly ye be warned.) 

I've been thinking difficult thoughts about Tekken lately. Mostly about the fact that I'm considering giving up on my girl Zafina. The guys over at the chatroom FFFFFFFFFFF are telling me that I shoudn't do it, and reminding me how long it took to get her where she is now, but I'm at the point where I don't think I can get any better with her. I mained her despite her place as the second worst character in the game and felt proud at my multitude of wins using her. But where I am now, she's metaphorically 'getting old', and her badness is actually getting in the way now. I realised if someone knows Zafina pretty well, your basically screwed. Being she's THE unsafest character in the game, there's rarely any moves that aren't risky, and those moves suck.  So should I 
A: Give up on Zaf and aim to main my second best, Raven? 
B: Continue using Zaf and hope to find a cure for her suckiness? Or 
C: Give up on Tekken altogether. 
 

(Tekken 6 nerdage FINISH) 
  
My Rose has gotten good! I know he won't admit it but I know he loved my sweet comboz. Still can't finish her damn trials though. Damn focus cancels... Still trying to find my ideal second best. I'd like someone rare and safe. Any suggestions? 
 
I need new games for my Xbox. Suggestions? I'm an avid fighter fan so unless there's a really underground and really good fighting game you know about and I don't, don't bother posting any of those since I'm probably already going to buy em'.   
 
Persona 4 endurance run! 21 episodes left!  
 
Eh, I guess I'm done for now. Cheers!  
 
-M_33                                                                                                                                       

8 Comments