Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Isaac Frost Might Be One Of The Hardest Bosses I’ve Ever Fought

So, I’ve owned, and have been playing the shit out of Fight Night Champion for a few months now.

While my first impression of the game was rather poor, after several hours tooling around in the demo; I finally decided to break down and buy the game.

After having gotten the hang of the new control scheme, (for like the 4th time in the franchise’s history…) the game opened up, and now I’m proud to say it’s one of the better games in the series.

In either case, it’s not everyday boxing videogames aimed at hardcore boxing fans are released; so even if the game was utter crap, I still probably would’ve picked up Fight Night Champion from a bargain bin at some point.

Anyway, over the past few months I’ve obliterated a handful of people in online play, I’ve rewritten history through countless bouts against the CPU; but as of now, I’ve yet to complete the game’s much lauded Champion Mode.

For those who are unaware, Champion Mode represents a first for the series, in that it serves as a sort of pre-arranged campaign mode, complete story cutscenes between and during bouts, featuring it’s own cast of characters.

Sadly, the actual narrative is kind of lame, with most of the characters being shallow stereotypes of the genre, and much of the dialogue coming across as more than a little inorganic due to the rather forced inclusion of exposition-y game speak.

"This guy's gone down on body shots in the past! You should hit him with body shots this round! Body shots kid, remember? Body shots!"

At the end of the day, Champion Mode ends up being a slightly watered down version of Soulblade’s Edge Master Mode, or Street Fighter Alpha 3’s World Tour Mode.

Basically, one plays through various boxing matches as the character Andre Bishop, though several matches require the use of specialized tactics or the completion of certain in-match achievements in order to win.

While limited in the sense that I’ve played similar, and better modes in games from 15 years ago; Champion Mode was a welcome addition to the franchise, though with one little catch:

They made the “last boss” too fuckin’ hard!

The “last boss” of Fight Night Champion is a massive, tattoo bearing, short-haired motherfucker named Isaac Frost.

I’d make a joke about how Frost looks more than a little more like a UFC spokesmodel, or I don’t know, RANDY FUCKING ORTON; than a heavyweight boxer, but doing so would be beneath me.

... I'll just let the picture do the talking.

I’d also make a joke about the plausibility of an unbeatable white American heavyweight champion in this day and age being slim to none, but some would perceive that as racist.

I’d perceive that a statement of fact, but to each his own…

Like any “bad guy” in a boxing story, Frost is a massive prick, though seemingly for no other reason than the fact that he likes being a prick.

The man has zero backstory, so there’s no real explaining his prick-ish demeanor; but the point is:

Frost is an ass.  You’re supposed to hate him.  In spite of all this, he also happens to be a FUCKING BEAST in the ring.

Thanks Google, now I know that there actually is a game called "Beast Boxing."

That last part serves as my reason for not having beaten Frost as of yet.

I don’t know if it’s brilliant programming on the part of the folks over at EA Montreal, or really fuckin’ cheap programming; but Frost is a fuckin’ force of nature to contend with.

He’s very tall, making his long strides more than a match for your best footwork.

He’s a genius at cutting off the ring, leading to more than a few instances where he actually tricks you into stepping right into his fists.

His punching power is off-the-fucking-charts, making 2-3 consecutive punches a recipe for putting you on queer street, or flat on the mat.

And on top of that, his AI is entirely based on the Fight Night engine, meaning his actions are engineered to be unpredictable.

While most videogame bosses typically hold all of the above advantages in terms of attributes, the one thing that really makes Frost unique, at least to me; is the fact that he doesn’t have any set attack patterns.

In short, like any fight in a Fight Night game, the battle with Frost plays out like an actual boxing match.

There’s no golden mechanic for winning the fight, with every engagement serving as a moment-to-moment clash of wits.

I’ve always made it my business to win underdog fights against the computer in Fight Night games, largely because I derive a great deal of satisfaction from winning said bouts; but fighting Isaac Frost is an entirely different affair.

Like many fights in Champion Mode, you’re expected to take on Frost in several stages, employing different tactics as the rounds go by.

The first 2 rounds see you dancing around Frost and basically trying not to get hit.

Pictured: What happens when you try to hang back on tall guys.

I can usually do this without going down, but not always.

The next 3 rounds require you to land a total of 75 heavy body blows on Frost, and that’s as far as I’ve managed to get against him.

I’ve tried stepping into his chest to diminish the punching power of his long arms, but usually I get caught by an uppercut.

I’ve tried leaping in after one of his jabs to hit him while he’s pulling back his punches, but I usually get caught by an uppercut.

I’ve tried hanging back and using my head movement to counter and then step around him, but I usually get caught by an uppercut… Among other things.

Pictured: Me.

The point is, Frost’s punching power is so dominating, and his punch accuracy so sharp, that I simply can’t find a way to get inside on him without getting brained in the process.

After much frustration, I’ve come to the conclusion that Isaac Frost may be one of the most difficult boss fights I’ve ever run across.

Oh well, at least I can still enjoy the game without beating him…

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Filed under: Boxing, Games, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cowboys & Aliens WILL Kick Ass.

Despite it’s ridiculous title, and dubious connections to the original comic book source material, I’ve got a good feeling about Cowboys and Aliens.

Aside from the inherent possibilities that could emerge from the peanut butter and chocolate combination of cowboys and aliens, I think the biggest thing going for the movie (at least the movie that’s being marketed to us) is it’s serious, but not too serious tone.

Given the goofy title, Cowboys and Aliens could very easily have ended up being a pandering and goofy-as-fuck giggle fest, but based on the visual aesthetic, and “hardened” expressions of most of the cast; it would seem director Jon Favreau has opted to imbue his film with at least some semblance of class and drama.

In addition to this, with a cast consisting of an Onimusha/Devil May Cry 4/Lost Planet/God Hand/EVERY CAPCOM GAME OF THE NEW MILLENIUM gauntlet armed Daniel Craig, the always excellent Sam Rockwell, and an aging and hammy-as-fuck Harrison Ford; the possibility of Cowboys and Aliens being anything less than “fun” are nearly non-existent.

The real reason we're all going to see Cowboys and Aliens: ADAM BEACH.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t always as up on Cowboys and Aliens as I am now.

In fact, when I first heard of the movie, I thought it sounded like a lame joke; another Snakes on a Plane without the loving support of every meme-gobbling fanboy in existence.

Don’t pretend you weren’t one of them.

In other words, I didn’t expect much; and I certainly was planning to see it.

That all changed when I found myself reminiscing about an old Ray Harryhausen movie of my childhood, The Valley of Gwangi:

In case you couldn’t tell from the trailer, The Valley of Gwangi was one of the coolest movies ever, especially to a dinosaur obsessed child like myself.

You could take pretty much any expectations you’d have for a cowboy or dinosaur movie of it’s day and expect to find them met in some way shape or form by Gwangi.

It was an excellent movie that I’ll continue to love for the rest of my days, and will likely see fit to show to my kids whenever I’m fortunate to have them.

That being said, in remembering Gwangi; I realized that, in the case of Cowboys and Aliens, there’s a good chance it could all work.

There’s a good chance Cowboys and Aliens could capture the magic of something like The Valley of Gwangi, and by golly; I’m excited to see if it does.

Come this July, I’ll be heading to the theater for Cowboys and Aliens, not as some internet retard looking for a cheap laugh; but as a wide-eyed man child looking to be blown away by a movie that’s title advertises exactly what I think we’re all hoping for:

FUCKIN’ COWBOYS, fighting FUCKIN’ ALIENS.

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The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #3


Well folks, we’ve finally reached the Top 3 of our Top 10 Videogame Songs, and appropriately enough; today marks the first occasion of a “serious” song adorning our list.

That’s not to say trashy Jpop isn’t without it’s value, it’s just not quite as substantive as some of the stuff that’s to come.

Pretty much every song on the list so far have been included in their respective games for the purpose of being “fun” or “colorful.”

Today though shit’s about to get REAL as we delve into the musical world of Metal Gear Solid:

#3. Metal Gear Solid – The Best Is Yet To Come

Assuming you skipped the lengthy (and mostly extraneous) briefing sequence at the beginning of the game, one’s first few musical minutes with Metal Gear Solid were bound to be some of the most memorable in gaming history.

I don’t know about you, but from the moment “The Best Is Yet To Come” first starts playing during the opening infiltration sequence of the game, I could tell Metal Gear Solid was going to be something truly special.

At that point in my life, you could probably count on 2 hands the number of games I had played that had any sort of digitized voice or CD quality audio, so needless to say; I was caught entirely off guard by Metal Gear’s use of a hauntingly beautiful traditional Irish song at that time.

To put things in perspective, I still had this in the back of my mind around the time I first played Metal Gear Solid:

Okay fine, that was actually kind of awesome, but you know what I mean…

Sung by Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, (good luck pronouncing that…) “The Best Is Yet To Come” stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable and thematic songs in gaming, if not the most beautiful.

Truth be told, it’s folksy nature prevents me from listening to it as often as some of the other songs on this list, but few can deny that it’s first minute, the one used repeatedly in the game to drive home the drama at key points; is utterly unforgettable.

In that sense, “The Best Is Yet To Come” won it’s high placement on this list largely due to it’s inestimable contribution to the gameplay experience of Metal Gear Solid.

Many of the songs on this list are opening and ending themes, songs that are awarded to the player for booting up or finishing the game.

“The Best Is Yet To Come” is very different from these songs in that it serves as the overarching theme song for the ENTIRETY of Metal Gear Solid, making it a key element in the overall experience.

Hell, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t genuinely touched by it’s inclusion in the Shadow Moses segment of Metal Gear Solid 4, as “The Best Is Yet To Come’s” presence in that game really served to bring the themes of the series full circle.

Anyway, enough gushing, that was song #3.

Check back tomorrow for something even better!

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Heavy Rain Doesn’t Like Me…

After months of indecision, I finally took the plunge and decided to pick myself up a copy of Heavy Rain.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the game thus far, so much so that I’ve been playing the game in long stretches; something that is atypical of my gaming habits these days.

Unfortunately, yesterday one of said protracted play sessions came to a grinding halt in the form of the game freezing on me.

In response, I waited a minute or 2 to see if things would pick up again; only to find that the game had indeed locked-up so severely that I was forced to turn off my PS3 via it’s embedded power button instead of the wireless button on the controller.

Following this, I ejected the disc, gave it a once over with some cleaning materials; and then popped it right back into the console.

As I did this, I found myself thinking of my days blowing on NES cartridges for minutes at a time to get them to work, or even worse; tilting my Playstation 1 at a perfect 45 degree angle to get it to read discs properly.

Aw... Now that's just cute.

While those were happy memories, having Heavy Rain lock up was an experience utterly devoid of joy.

Upon reinserting the game, things would run smoothly for a time, only to crap out an lock up a few hours down the road; usually during the beginning of a new chapter.

Despite this minor annoyance, I had buckets of fun with Heavy Rain yesterday; making it unfortunate that it would refuse to allow me to play it today.

That’s right, after randomly locking up a handful of times yesterday; today I encountered a sequence that is seemingly unplayable.

I tried restarting the console numerous times, and after reading through a number of reports regarding a similar phenomenon; even took the time to reinstall the game and it’s obscenely massive patch, resulting in virtually zero forward progression.

I don’t know if it’s my disc, my console, or just the game itself; but for now, in the house of the Azn Badger; Heavy Rain has taken it’s ball and gone home.

To date, I believe this is the first time a current gen game has ever frozen on me.

As mentioned earlier, freezing or otherwise misbehaving games and consoles are nothing new to me; but for whatever reason, I find this instance to be particularly vexing.

We’ve come a long way since the days of blowing on carts, and in all honesty; I feel like shit like this just shouldn’t happen anymore, not with the amount of time and money invested in products of the gaming industry these days.

I know it sounds like I’m whining, but bear in mind; I’ve never been red-ringed before, so my experience with the current crop of consoles is both limited and mostly fortunate.

BWAHAHA! That's what you get for buying a FPS/Halo Box!

Anyway, I’ll likely be exchanging my copy of Heavy Rain for a different disc, though based on the fact that my current disc seems perfectly clean, and loads quickly to boot; I’m not so sure it’s going to help anything.

For what it’s worth, I do like the game; and sincerely hope I can get a chance to finish it, especially considering there have been a handful of decisions I’ve made during the course of the game that I’d really like a chance to approach from a different angle.

See yah’ tomorrow.

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Heavy Rain: The Playthrough

Sorry, I couldn't resist slipping this one in...

Heavy Rain is one of those games that I’ve been this close to picking up for a long time now.

Essentially a long-form interactive cutscene/choose your adventure game, the game has always struck me as an intriguing, if not unique; gaming experience.

While I’ve heard many complain about Heavy Rain’s slow start, and distinctly hands-off approach to gameplay; based on the hour or so I’ve seen of the game, I feel that my personal opinion of the game remains mostly positive.

It’s taken me a long time, but recently I’ve come to realize that I tend to favor games that tell stories, even if said games can often be intensely linear or tedious.

I’m a completist, so open world games tend to intimidate me with the breadth of options they present to me.

At the same time, first-person shooters tend to bore me with their largely one-note gameplay mechanics and twitch oriented gameplay.

These days, story driven action-adventure games with a clear cut A-B-C progression seem to be my what appeals to me.

While it’s supposedly very far from a linear experience, the core concept and mechanics of Heavy Rain appeal to me for perhaps the simplest, and most base of reasons:

The objective of the game lies within unraveling it’s story, a story that I just happen to be somewhat interested in.

While I probably will in fact get around to playing Heavy Rain at some point, the real point of this post concerns a little blip I happened on Kotaku.com.

Apparently someone went out of their way to create a 12 hour playthrough of Heavy Rain, with the strictly gameplay oriented segments removed in favor of presenting the story in a straightforward cinematic fashion.

Think of it as viewing Heavy Rain as if it were a long-ass movie or TV series.

Here’s a link, and bear in mind this is a playthrough, so be ready for *EVERY HEAVY RAIN SPOILER IMAGINABLE*:

http://www.youtube.com/user/direx1974

Anyway, while I myself won’t be viewing this playthrough, for fear of spoiling the gameplay experience for myself; it does in fact sound like the kind of thing I would watch after I’ve played through the game once or twice.

In any case, consider this post a heads-up for those who might be interested in checking out something like this.

One thing that’s kind of neat about a project like this, is the fact that the game is known to contain so many branching paths, making for a video compilation that very well may differ drastically from the gameplay experience of those who’ve played through Heavy Rain following a different route.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for tonight, see yah’ tomorrow!

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thoughts On Marvel Vs. Capcom 3

It’s been 10 long years, but it’s finally happened:

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 has finally become a reality.

While the overly dramatic statement above may speak to the contrary, let it be known; the Azn Badger has never felt any sort of excitement regarding the release of MVC3.

You see, I used to be a hardcore fighting game fan.

While I still bear a great deal of love for the characters of fighting games past, as I find them to be some of the most versatile and long-lived icons in all of gaming; when it comes to my actual skills as a player of fighting games, I’ve never been anything more than average.

That didn’t stop me from playing fighting games like a mad man… Up until the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

You see, I have this friend; a Korean from Up The Street, (henceforth referred to as KUTS) who sort of ruined fighting games for me.

Like many Koreans tend to do, he became enamored with the mechanics of the game, to the point in which dedicated himself to becoming an utter beast at the game.

Seriously, the guy’s been competitive with Top 10 Evo players.

Fielding his Storm-Magneto-Sentinel team, KUTS would go on to repeatedly thrash me in MVC2, and virtually any other fighting game; in such emphatic fashion, as to utterly crush my desire to play fighting games with any degree of seriousness from that point forward.

That being said, KUTS has been consistently playing MVC2 for the past decade.

Or at least until today, when it’s long awaited (or in KUTS’ case, dreaded) sequel was finally released.

Friend that he is, KUTS was kind enough to invite me over to play a few rounds of MVC3 with him.

Introductory reminiscences aside, here are my thoughts, as well as some thoughts from my buddy KUTS, regarding our impression of MVC3 thus far:

Gameplay

MVC2 is regarded as one of the most hardcore of fighting games.

It’s gameplay is some of the fastest around, and the precision required in it’s button inputs are tuned to near perfection in the eyes of many gamers.

It’s this frenetic, yet exacting gameplay that makes MVC2 one of the least accessible, but most rewarding fighting games to date.

That being said, when you take the pinnacle of fighting game precision, and “dumb” it’s mechanics down in favor of creating a simpler, and more accessible game; the end result is a game that will appeal to fighting game novices, and likely infuriate experienced players weened on more nuanced games.

Needless to say, both KUTS and I were largely unhappy with the mechanics of MVC3.

While I’m certainly no expert player at any fighting game, I noted a great deal of frustration coming off of my buddy KUTS as we played; largely due to the slower gameplay and questionable control accuracy.

If I were to compare the experience of playing MVC3 to any other fighting game, it’d have to be the crap-fest known as Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and the bore-fest that is Street Fighter IV.

Like both of the aforementioned games, MVC3’s control feel as if they “help” you a little too much.

What I mean to say is, in all 3 of these games; it often feels like the system gives you the benefit of the doubt for technically flawed or incomplete button inputs.

While Street Fighter IV requires a very precise sense of timing to execute effective combos, I can’t tell you how many times I found mysel pulling off special attacks, or complex chains in these games; seemingly by accident.

Make no mistake, even if I’m not an expert, I know how to play most fighting games; and few things frustrate me more than playing a fighting game seems to want to play itself.

Seriously, KUTS and I were joking that you could probably pull off a hadoken in these games simply by holding forward and mashing the punch button.

In addition to the stupid-ification of the gameplay mechanics, MVC3 also takes things a step farther by changing up the control scheme a little bit.

Assists are now assigned their own buttons, with the depressing of either of which for a second or so resulting in the tag command.

To my knowledge, there is only 1 kick button now, a button which I found myself rarely using for whatever reason.

Finally, launch attacks, formerly a command executed by pressing down-forward and fierce punch; have been given they’re own button as well.

While I found the launch and kick button situation to be odd, and difficult to wrap my head around, I’m guessing the changes were made to appeal to fighting game novices.

Of these changes, the one that I found to be somewhat intuitive was the merging of the tag and assist buttons.

Maybe it’s my tiny Japanese hands, but the simultaneous button presses required for the tag function in previous Vs. games was always something I had trouble with; making this simplification a welcome one in my opinion.

One last note:

The game seems slower, and super jumps are harder to direct in a Castlevania, momentum-based sort of way…

Roster

The roster of MVC3 is a decent mix of the classic and the eclectic.

Seriously, count me in as one of the people that thought we’d never see the likes of Dormannu in a videogame.

Oh yeah, and SUPER MAD PROPS to whoever got Capcom to put Taskmaster in the game.

There are around 20 fewer combatants this time around, with more variation between each entrants play styles serving to balance things out in some capacity.

While I can’t speak to the effectiveness of any of the characters as of yet, it’s worth noting that many of the character’s attributes seem a little unbalanced.

For instance, Phoenix is easily one of, if not the fastest character in the game; however she also happens to be fragile as tissue paper.

Seriously, one time I managed to take her down to half health with only 6 weak punches, using Viewtiful Joe no less.

Not only that, Magneto has been nerfed in every way imaginable, and Thor seems overpowered, despite his godly-status.

All that aside, I’m decently satisfied with the roster at this point.

Capcom did a good job of varying the play styles of the characters, and many are represented well via their movesets and animations.

I will say this though, Chris Redfield’s voice clips are hysterical.

Seriously, with phrases like “Eat it!”, “Taste it!”, and “Suck it!”; the man is a poster boy for the UFC generation.

Move over Brock, there’s a new meathead in town…

KUTS’ Team Thus Far:

Storm, Sentinel, and MODOK or Storm, Sentinel and She-Hulk.

Closing Thoughts

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a game for fighting game/Marvel fans, not the hardcore.

While it has yet to be seen what strategies or nuances can be uncovered in the gameplay for MVC3, if you ask me; or my buddy KUTS, whatever’s there isn’t going to measure up to MVC2.

That’s not to say MVC3 isn’t a worthy effort, as it is; it’s just not the same Marvel.

I will give it this though, MVC3 does have it’s predecessor beat in the presentation department.

10 years makes a world of difference in the world of videogames, and while I was fully prepared to hate the aesthetic of MVC3 based on it’s preview footage, I found I warmed up to it after awhile.

The character models aren’t as detailed as most contemporary fighting games, but the menus are designed well, the voicework is largely acceptable, and the damage effects and splashiness of the special attacks are actually quite stunning at times.

Consider that the one compliment I pay to MVC3.

Anyway, these were just my thoughts, feel free to disagree, ’cause they’re my thoughts and frankly I don’t give a shit what you think.

Thanks for reading!

Filed under: Comics, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thundercats Movie?

Let me lay this shit out for you:

The Grammy’s are on tonight, my WordPress is fuckin’ broken, and I’ve been playing Valkyria Chronicles all day.

Add all that shit up, and you get an evening scenario that involves me not wanting to write tonight.

That being said, you remember that fan-made fake trailer for a live-action Thundercats movie?

In case you don’t, here it is:

As goofy, and unintentionally hilarious as that may have been, I tip my hat to whoever made it; as I can’t imagine the time they must have put into it.

Anyway, for all intents and purposes, this clip serves as the best indication of what a potential remake of the Thundercats series could look like in this day and age.

That, and fuckin’ Avatar

Getting to the point, I was pokin’ around Twitchfilm.com earlier today, and I happened to notice a news post regarding the emergence of possible footage for a CG Thundercats movie or series:

Wow, I can’t speak to the quality of the audio, (no sound on my computer…) but that shit looks dated.

Like, CG TMNT movie dated…

Based on the quality of the animation, my guess is that this footage was indeed produced for a feature film; (albeit, a shitty one) however that’s just a guess, and an uneducated guess at that.

Thundercats was a product of it’s time.

It was a decent cartoon, with terrible animation, horribly dated character designs, and one of those gorgeous opening sequences that so many cartoons of the era used to trick kids into thinking they were getting ready to watch the coolest shit ever.

Hell, the same production company, and the same voice cast tried the same damn thing with the equally mediocre Silver Hawks:

… And then tried the same shit with the crappy, utterly doomed-from-the-start show that was Tigersharks:

The point is, Thundercats worked for us as kids, but I guarantee you that if you take a look back at it now, you’ll find that the magic has long since faded away.

Trust me, I’m speaking from experience on this one.

The question I ask in regards to a possible redo/reboot of the Thundercats franchise, is the same one I ask whenever something of a previous generation is recycled/repackaged for today’s youth:

Why?

In the interest of brevity, I’m going to leave things at that and go watch a stupid fuckin’ music awards show that involves not one artist I’m familiar with.

Man, I need a job…

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The Sankara Stones

Ugh.

I just spent my whole weekend playing through God of War 2 and 3.

While I must admit I feel like a mega-dork for wasting an entire weekend on videogames, thankfully both games turned out to be worth the effort.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed the God of War series.

The first in the series was the only one that I played when it first came out, and while I liked it a lot at the time, I felt it had some pacing issues that seriously crippled the overall fun factor of it’s gameplay.

2 and 3 streamlined the feeling of progress awarded to the player, largely through making the puzzles less arcane, and changing venues more frequently, as opposed to the rather static feel that the first God of War had once you got to the Temple of Pandora.

Anyway, having conquered God of War 3, I’m presently without a new game to dick around with; so chances are a new purchase is in my near future.

As always, Valkyria Chronicles is at or near the top of my list for new games to pick up; however this time I might do something bold and give one of the new Fallout games a chance.

I’m not much for free-roaming games, but I loved Fallout 1 and 2; and given the almost universal adoration 3 and New Vegas have received, I’m thinking they might be a worthy investment.

Anyway, I’m done for now, see you tomorrow when we reach 100,000 hits!

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Thoughts On Fight Night Champion Demo

So, I tried the new demo for Fight Night Champion on my PS3 yesterday.

For those that are unaware, I’ve written quite a few posts in anticipation of this game’s release.

Most of those posts were fairly critical of the new elements being introduced to the franchise, and sadly; today’s post will continue that trend.

The Fight Night Champion demo consists of a local and online head-to-head mode and several video featurettes detailing the new gameplay elements and graphical improvements.

For anyone whose been following any of the pre-release videos and articles regarding this game, the videos contained in the demo are exactly the same that have been used to promote the game thus far, so you may as well skip ’em.

Anyway, let’s get to the important stuff, namely the actual gameplay of the demo.

The local version of the demo (I haven’t tried online) comes with 4 fighters at 2 different weight classes, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson at heavyweight, and Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao at welterweight.

 

Not what I'd call the most even of matches for a demo...

If I may diverge for a moment, I feel a need to rant about stats in boxing games.

I think it’s kind of funny that they listed Manny Pacquiao’s stats as being 93 overall, making him on par with Muhammad Ali.

While I don’t doubt that Pacquiao will find his way into Canastota (the boxing hall of fame, dumbass) in the near future, and will likely be regarded as a top 100 of all time fighter, the very notion of stats in a boxing game kind of irks me, largely because a few nasty experiences I had in fighting opponents with vastly superior stats (read: BROKEN) in online matches in Fight Night 3 and 4.

 

Then again, I was playing as this guy most of the time...

If attributes were guaranteed to carry fighters to great success, as they typically do in videogames; then guys like Edison Miranda, John “The Beast” Mugabi, or Zab Judah would be all-time greats.

Just so we’re clear, those guys aren’t not ever will be anything more than “good” in the sport of boxing.

Muhammad Ali was solid in every category of physical capability that a fighter should be, with his durability, speed, and stamina serving as the foundation for his game; however the factors that put him over the edge, were intangibles like his unfaltering tenacity, ring intelligence, and heart.

Now watch, EA will go ahead and introduce a “ring intelligence” stat in the next Fight Night just to shut up dumbfucks like me.

Bullshit ramblings aside, while I took the time to play as all 4 fighters, I spent the majority of my time playing as Miguel Cotto against Manny Pacquiao, largely because I felt playing with a stat advantage would cloud my perception of the game.

I suppose it also helps that I like Miguel Cotto.

Anyway, from a presentation standpoint; the game is pretty impressive.

The fighters bear a closer likeness to their real-life counterparts, and the entrance animations are far more organic than in previous entries in the series, which had the fighters looking and moving in a very bland an generic fashion.

*Whew!* At leas it was never that bad…

In all, the most striking graphical change in the somewhat fuzzy, washed-out filtered look that the game sports.

Fight Night 4, and indeed many of EA’s recent sports games like MMA or Madden, have sported kind of a sterile/Walmart-y, plastic-y look to them that had all the human characters looking like Ken dolls.

Doesn't it look weird?

The texture work in Fight Night Champion seems more realistic, with pores, imperfections, and muscle definition appearing more realistic overall.

In-game, the default camera angle is a little annoying, with the fighter’s heads being too close to the top of the screen, and the ring ropes often obscuring some of the action; however this is an option that is changeable, so I can’t complain too much.

Despite the graphics looking nice, from a gameplay standpoint; the framerate seems a little out of whack.

Maybe it’s just the demo, but Fight Night Champion felt a little choppy to me.

It’s not that it felt slow, on the contrary it felt faster in some ways; it’s just that the game didn’t seem as “crisp.”

The delay time from controller input to on-screen action is a little more pronounced than in previous Fight Nights, and the motion blur effect is taken to near ridiculous heights, with Manny Pacquiao’s white gloves turning into white smudges any time any sort of action occurs.

Speaking of “action,” Fight Night Champion makes use of a brand new control scheme dubbed the “Full Spectrum Punch Control” system.

The new system consists of flicking the right analog stick to execute all of the punches in your repertoire as opposed to miming them with the analog stick.

Truth be told, I don’t like the new system.

Flicking the analog stick is probably more efficient, however the end result is a gameplay mechanic that is simply too sensitive for it’s own good.

Think about it, if you move the stick just a little bit off, you’ll end up doing something completely different from what you intended.

Not only that, but when you factor in the delay between action to implementation in-game; you end up with a game with an overly sensitive control scheme that queues your fuck-ups and plays them out well after you made them.

Seriously, if you have this demo, try spinning the analog stick for a second so you can watch the game play itself.

Moving on, guarding is now mapped to a shoulder button, resulting in all blocking being executed automatically, with no additional inputs required to guard high or low.

As with the punch control, this system reeks of someone thinking it would be a good idea to “streamline” the gameplay mechanics.

As with the punches, I feel that this was a big mistake.

Maybe I like being able to block high or low.

Maybe I like the idea of being able to lay traps for my opponents by aiming high with weak shots, and then going low with heavy ones.

 

Gatti vs. Dorin: Kick-Ass Bodyshot For The Ages

Honestly, why would EA think it would be a good idea to remove this?

For the time being, my overall impression of Fight Night Champion is mostly a negative one.

While Fight Night 4 was a little bit too hyperactive to be considered an accurate boxing simulation, the gameplay mechanics were solid and responsive, but moreover; it was  fun.

Fight Night Champion looks great, but the choppy framerate coupled with simultaneously overly and inadequately responsive gameplay; results in a product that if you ask me, could probably use a little bit more development time.

Either that, or less Canadians at the helm of the game’s development team:

Seriously, that guy was hella’ Canuck…

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

If you disagree with me, please leave a comment, I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on this.

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I Miss The “Old” Metal Gear Theme…

I miss the Metal Gear Solid theme.

More specifically, the old Metal Gear Solid theme.

That’s not to say the new theme music is bad, (it’s not) I just feel the old theme was a whole helluva’ lot better.

The composition was more interesting, the tune catchier, and the overall “feel” of the track seemed to fit the series like a glove.

For those that are unaware, the original Metal Gear Solid theme, used in all of the games up until the PSP exclusive Portable Ops; was removed from the series due to implications that the track had been plagiarized from an existing composition.

Composed by Tappi Iwase AKA TAPPY, the theme made it’s debut as the background music of the promotional trailers for Metal Gear Solid, and was also featured as an alternate ending theme:

The original version of the Metal Gear Solid theme was entirely synthesized, and had a very electronic and, unfortunately; “cheap” sound to it despite it’s instrumentation being intentionally implemented for the purpose of simulating an orchestral feel.

Despite it’s somewhat primitive sound, (at least by today’s standards) the theme possessed a rare combination of energy and catchiness that make it synonymous with the series to this day.

While the Metal Gear Solid theme was first featured in the game of the same name, the first time I can recall hearing it was actually in Konami’s Beatmania games on the orginal Playstation.

I had a couple of friends that had “Goldfingers” for their Playstations, and I remember one of them being really into Beatmania and Dance Dance Revolution.

While I honestly wasn’t too keen on either of those games, (still aren’t) I remember playing a lot of co-op Beatmania specifically to hear the remix of the Metal Gear theme:

That, was my introduction to the Metal Gear Solid theme.

As a remix, it’s actually kind of shitty; however the core sound of the theme manages to give the track a lot of strength and memorability.

Gotta’ love that English dude yelling random shit in the background though…

I’M-GONNA’-KICK-YOUR-ASS.  PLEASE-DON’T-KILL-THEM-ALL!”

*Ahem!* Moving on, I think the last time we got to hear the Metal Gear Solid theme music, was in the sequel; Sons of Liberty.

Combining TAPPY’s previous motif with Hollywood film composer Harry “I do military themes that sound like Hans Zimmer’s early 90’s work” Gregson-William’s, this iteration of the theme represents my favorite version of it:

Essentially split into 2 halves, the first portion of the composition is essentially an orchestral and synthesized re-imagining of TAPPY’s original motif, while the second half is a decidedly more somber military march-esque tune composed primarily by Gregson-Williams.

The end result is a powerful and exhilarating theme that I had hoped would endure for years to come.

Sadly, this was not the case.

As mentioned earlier, facts surfaced regarding the composition of TAPPY’s portion of the theme that heavily implied that the tune was stolen from Russian composer Georgy Sviridov’s “The Winter Road”:

Most likely fearing a possible lawsuit, Konami pulled the tune from all subsequent Metal Gear Solid related productions, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

With the “old” theme gone, Konami ended up using Gregson-Williams’ half of the composition as the official theme of the series from that point forward.

As I said earlier, I really don’t have a problem with the “new” Metal Gear Solid theme, truth be told it’s rather good as far as themes go; it’s just that it simply doesn’t fit as well as it’s predecessor.

It’s like John William’s Superman theme:

You can make new movies, and you can reboot the series all you want, but the day you stop using Johnny’s theme music; is the day I stop believing a man can fly.

The original theme bore an energy and sense of urgency that really sucked you in.

If you closed your eyes listening to the Metal Gear Solid 2 version of it, I swear you could see Solid Snake running around chokin’ bitches in your head.

The “new” theme, which bears more than a few of Gregson-Williams’ somewhat one-dimensional compositional touches; feels a little slow and overblown if you ask me.

That being said, the Snake Eater version of Gregson-Williams’ theme was actually quite good:

Essentially a medley of most the major themes used in the game, the full length version of the Snake Eater theme was an intense and far more organic sounding track than previous compositions in the series.

Let it be known, the heavy percussive segment towards the end of this track is one of my favorite action cues in the entire series.

The instrumentation of the track did well to keep in line with the game’s dated Cold War setting and decidedly more somber tone by making use of a richer sounding orchestra, as well as a particularly effective acoustic guitar towards the end.

To date, the acoustic guitar version of the “new” theme remains my favorite version of it.

The Metal Gear Solid theme variant used in Metal Gear Solid 4, renamed “The Metal Gear Saga,” left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth:

While the core theme was retained, and the acoustic guitar element reused with the addition of a bugle for effect; the bulk of the track felt excessively busy and scattered.

The synthesized elements in particular stand out as being particularly noisy and extraneous, such that the track actually weakens the intensity of the sequence it plays over.

The Metal Gear Saga was used in a fight scene towards the end of the game, and I remember feeling genuinely disappointed upon hearing it.

Make no mistake, that scene was amazing; but the music that played over it, wasn’t the one I had been humming to myself while I was playing the game…

While I knew ahead of time about the lawsuit regarding the Metal Gear Solid theme music, I played through Metal Gear Solid 4 hoping against hope that Konami would sneak it in there in some capacity.

The “new” theme is passable, but suffers from fairly generic composition, largely brought on by Harry Gregson-Williams’ tendency to recycle his music… A LOT.

In my book, the “old” theme is the one true Metal Gear Solid theme music.

It’s what I hear in my head whenever I think of the series, and it’s what I scour the net for remixes of whenever I’m in the mood for good background music to write to.

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