Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Preemptive Strike - Street Fighter X Tekken and Soul Calibur V

Welcome to Preemptive Strike, where I hurt a game before it hurts me. Basically a carefully constructed analysis of certain aspects of a game I have not actually played. (Really? That's my catchphrase for this segment?)

First, Street Fighter X Tekken. I don’t particularly buy games new so I’ll see it much further down the line beyond the release date, but I still want to talk about…….him. Yeah, that. The Box Art Mega Man. This is an amazing idea. A wonderful idea. Absolutely hilarious. But Capcom has the most legendarily horrible timing with this. Timing so bad that it ruins the whole idea.

First there’s Mega Man 9 and 10, games that went over quite well and felt nostalgic. Then those epic anime trailers for Mega Man Universe. Not showing gameplay, but still some of the coolers trailers ever. Things were going great. I’ve never really been a fan or gotten any exposure to the series and even I noticed that. Then everything spiraled down at an alarming rate. From what I understand, it started with Keiji Inafune, the creator of Mega Man, leaving Capcom. Then Mega Man Universe was cancelled. Just gone. Shortly after that, Mega Man Legends 3 for the 3DS was canned too. This was a much more devastating blow, since it was apparently going to be awesome and the 3DS needs as many awesome games that aren’t N64 remakes as it can find.

As an outside observer, I wasn’t that upset and figured that’s just the way the company crumbles. Stuff happens, games get cancelled, and I get that. But rather than renewing their efforts to keep Mega Man going, Capcom added insult to injury when they didn’t let you play Mega Man in Marvel VS Capcom 3. That disturbed me, and I’ve never even played a MVC game. Mega Man is Capcom. He’s their mascot, or at least the closest thing they have to one. To not put him in MVC3 is like not putting Mario or Link in Smash Bros. Then just for good measure they also refused to put Mega Man in Ultimate MVC3.

Now the fans are noticeably pissed. It’s at this point wise company would start showing Mega Man as much respect as possible. Then there was an update for Street Fighter X Tekken. And now the only Mega Man we get is the hideous box art version from the original. Now let’s just say Keiji Inafune didn’t leave, Mega Man was in MVC3 right off the bat, and Universe and Legends 3 weren’t cancelled and were quite on-schedule. While there might be a mixed reaction, Box Art Mega Man would be a hilarious and brilliant idea and it would work. But that is not the case because Mega Man has been seriously getting the shaft lately. And I’ve heard that box art Mega Man was one of Keiji’s ideas and they included it as a little tribute. It’s still incredibly ill-timed.

But there’s another matter in Street Fighter X Tekken that warrants my attention: the other cameos. The guy from Infamous, the two Sony mascot cats, Pac-man in a mech, and the aforementioned Box Art Mega Man. First of all, they’re PS3 and Vita exclusives. Considering Infamous and the cats are Sony-exclusive, I get that. But Pac-man and Mega Man are third-party bound to Namco and Capcom. Why aren’t they on the Xbox 360 version? I got three Xbox-exclusive characters for you right now. Master Chief (who admittedly doesn’t really belong in a fighting game, but neither does Ezio or Link and they worked out fine), Male and Female Commander Shephard (perhaps on a time travel adventure), Kaim Argonar from Lost Odyssey, and that one guy from Gears of War. Doesn’t matter who. Or put in Xbox-exclusive Big Daddy as revenge for Sony stealing the Bioshock exclusive. From what I heard Xbox doesn’t have any exclusive characters in its version because Microsoft didn’t really have character ideas that panned out. Well think harder or Sony’s gonna get the sales. I don’t care if you put a guy from Lost Planet in there, just do something.

Second, what are they thinking adding in these characters? When I heard this game was going to be called “Street Fighter X Tekken” the first thing I thought was “That ‘X’ looks weird for a title” and the second thing was “Why, this is a capital idea. I expect Street Fighter characters fighting Tekken characters would be delightful and perfectly fitting because they’re all fighters. Good times!” But with Box Art Mega Man, Pac-man and more this is turning into “Capcom vs Namco, mostly Street Fighter and Tekken.” Why do we need the damn cats? How can they justify Pac-man in a mech in a fighting game? Oh god no, they’re borrowing Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s worst ideas: non-fighting characters shoved into a fighting game solely for marketing. Now Brawl kicks ass, but characters like Olimar should never be in it. When they specifically advertise Street Fighter X Tekken, I expect those to be the only two franchises participating, with a max of one extra per console (ala, Soul Calibur II and V).

I blame Namco for all this. The same idiots behind having 3 Star Wars characters in Soul Calibur IV (Both Vader and Yoda are DLC for the opposite consoles). You can say George Lucas did it, but Namco had the high ground because it was their game and ultimately their decision to accept or deny ideas that don’t fit with the setting. They can never leave it for what it is and should be. It worked with Link and maybe Ezio and that’s it. Spawn? No. Heihachi? This is a weapons fighting game, so no. Lloyd Irving? Well, that was a good idea but it was a terrible game so who cares? Star Wars? What is wrong with you people? Why are these so proud of these intrusive cameos?

Speaking of Soul Calibur, numero cinco has been released recently and I do not plan on buying it in any form. Mostly because of the money, but also because it’s filled to the brim with bad ideas. A 17 year timeskip. What part of that was ever a good idea? Aging the entire cast by 17 years is not what they need. Well good, because that’s exactly what they didn’t do and the cast looks as young as ever. Now some of the males aged, but the women don’t look a day older. The thing is they axed all but 3 of the women because “35 year old fighting chicks are gross, right?” So after 17 years every woman except Ivy, Tira, and Hilde have hung up their swords and had kids and apprentices replacing them. At the ripe old age of 35 to 40 they’ve just lost the will to fight evil and would prefer their kids to go do all the dangerous stuff.

And from what I hear, the story mode leaves much to be desired in developing or introducing all these new characters. Why do they even bother skipping forward 17 years if they don’t give a crap about the story? If they didn’t want to put effort into single-player then why did they create such instability with the timeskip?

They practically threw half their fighter roster in the trash and replaced it with little of value. All the classic women are gone. Cassandra, Sophitia, Seung Mina, Setsuka, Xianghua (who was the original wielder of Soul Calibur), Taki, Talim, and Amy are gone. Replaced by their children, students, and successors. No idea why they axed Talim and Amy because they were the youngest fighters and could've aged well. But they kept Ivy because boobs, Tira because psycho, and Hilde because whatever. And none of those 3 has aged a day. I kinda get Ivy not aging because she might have some eternal youth thing from her backstory and Tira might have gotten something similar, but I know Hilde’s got nothing. Now what does this all say about female fighters? That once they hit 35 they can't fight anymore because they're too old to be attractive/marketable?

Don’t take this as a legitimate review; these are just my initial thoughts and rants. But you’re probably thinking “How would you know? You haven’t played the game. That’s not fair play.” And you’re right. It’s not fair. Paying 60 bucks to actually find out and back up these things first-hand for a short rant is completely unreasonable. Get this: we live in a world where you can find things out about a game without actually playing it. Why on earth would I have given Sonic Colors the time of day if delusional fanboys and jaded critics alike said it was somewhat better than the rest of Sonic’s most recent works? Did anyone really need to play Bioshock 2 to know that no matter how good it is, it cannot possibly be better than Bioshock 1? Soul Calibur V’s timeskip is the very premise of the game, an instantly bad idea for the reasons I pointed out. Maybe Namco actually did a good job and made the most out of it, lemonade out of lemons. But these are the same idiots who put Star Wars into the series and they have yet to show any regrets other than they coincidentally decided not to do a stupid thing twice in a row.

I cannot tell you if Soul Calibur V is fun. I cannot accurately predict whether Street Fighter X Tekken will be good or not, though it does look promising even if they missed the point when it came to some bonus characters. I can neither recommend these games nor steer you away from them. I’m saying these games have stupid ideas at face value and people dumb enough to roll with them make multimillion dollar games. Games that will either flush their money down the toilet or worse, actually make an amazingly huge profit.

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