Archive for February 2013

DOA5’s Version 1.03a Patch hits 360!

February 27, 2013

Dead or Alive 5 hit the gaming world with a soft thunk, receiving middling reviews, minimal press, and very little recognition from the fighting game community. However, that did not stop Team Ninja! Possibly because KoeiTecmo’s earning for the quarter look great and DOA DLC may be responsible for a chunk of that.

Determined to deliver the best freaking DOA ever, they actually took fan requests on Twitter and compiled together what may well be the biggest patch in fighting game history! Weighing in at a whopping 260MB, the version 1.03 patch drastically alters the game adding in entire new moves, a whole new stage, alternate unlock requirements, netcode tweaks, and even fixing quite a few of my own complaints!

Better still, Team Ninja actually created a proper Patch Notes so you can see every single change they made to the game:

General System Changes

Character-Specific Changes

Yeah, kinda makes Street Fighter X Tekken ver.2013 look tame by comparison.

The update was released on PS3 a month ago. However, there was a problem. A glitch in the update made it possible to recover out of Critical Stun (thus rendering it a regular stun). As such the 360 update was delayed until the patch was patched. Why? Well companies have to pay Microsoft per-patch with an ever increasing price tag (a system put in place to try and prevent excessive patching and the release of unfinished games). As such it only made sense to not patch the 360 version until the patch was patched.

Said patch patch, ver.1.03a, hit at the beginning of the month on PS3 bringing with it a most peculiar change: they intentionally made tag-mode even more broken! Calling them “Gonzo Combos”, Team Ninja proudly advertised the more broken tag mode with a trailer.

A rather…strange choice. However, as you can see from the 1.03a patch notes, it only affects Tag Mode as the change is differences in hit stun and damage scaling in tag combos.

However, people were starting to get suspicious of Team Ninja, accusing them of playing favorites and claiming the 360 wouldn’t get the patch. Thankfully, they were wrong as the patch did hit XBox 360 today.

Better still, as an apology they are offering the Hotties Swimwear and Fighters Pack DLC at a discount until March 31st. The bikinis will only cost you $6 for all of them (half-price) while the shorts for the guys are only a buck!

This isn’t the first time Team Ninja has done this. Apparently they screwed up the listing for the Kitty Pack on PS3 in Japan, and thus offered it at a discounted price.

I know we shouldn’t be applauding companies for not crapping their pants, but it is nice to see that KoeiTecmo cares about their fans at least somewhat! It’s nice to not just be told to “deal with it”.

It is also worth noting that your old fight totals count towards the unlocks. I never bothered to get the preposterously difficult to unlock swimsuits for Tina, Christie, and Lisa. However, after one Ranked Match, they all instantly unlocked for me.

Of course, the fact that DOA5 is the biggest change the DOA series has ever seen and that Team Ninja is actively trying to improve the game post-release despite its lack of popularity. No, no one cares about that.

But put in SixAxis boob control and suddenly it’s front-page news!

Seriously, that is probably the most press and publicity DOA5 has ever gotten. All, of course, for the sake of wagging their fingers and telling Team Ninja “FOR SHAME!”. But it seems to be moving product as most folks were completely unaware that DOA5 was such a nice looking game (or that it even existed) from the middling reviews.

I’m sorry but that is a pet peeve of mine. DOA is cursed. Here they spend years working on a new DOA, completely overhauling the graphics engine, and rebalancing everything. They even initially toned down the fanservice drastically only to turn it back up at the last second due to fan demand.

Yet nearly every review calls it “more of the same”, “outdated”, and “they just focused on the fanservice instead of the actual combat”. Oh what, you mean the actual combat they spent years working on and the fanservice they spent a few months on? Yeah, sure. Way to be a jackass.

And on that note, exactly how is this game outdated?! Other than the lack of custom costumes, I can’t think of a thing! What, because it plays like a game from 1996 instead of like a game from 1992?!

Yeah, there’s something I want you all to reflect on: How many 3D fighters came out this generation? Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs Capcom 3 are 2.5d fighters, they play like a 2D fighter but with 3D graphics. Tekken plays like Tekken but yes that’s one but what else? Virtua Fighter, which no one plays? Soul Calibur, whose most recent entry was a joke? What else? There was the abysmal Samurai Shodown Sen, maybe the Naruto fighters if you wanna count those, and…Dead or Alive.

Yeah, the entire 3D fighting game genre was practically run out of town. They were too “button mashy” and no one wanted to learn them.

Now they have become so non-existant that they are considered an outdated relic of the past, as opposed to modern fighting games which play like…Street Fighter II with worse controls.

Sorry reviewers, but this is where I put my foot down. DOA5 is what happens when DOA focuses more on the fighting and less on the boobs. The only reason you can’t see it is because you’re not focusing on the fighting, you’re focusing on the boobs.

Oh, and no I don’t see any boob control on 360 and no, patching in Kinect support is out of the question (it’s rather complex and may require extra approval). How would that even work anyway?! Trust me though, you’re not really missing anything. It’s SixAxis boob control, afterall. It’s not exactly good. Please, please do not try and tell me this is KoeiTecmo playing favorites or I might have to punch you through the internet and that’s not even possible!

Dead or Alive 5’s new DLC brings equal skimpyness!

February 20, 2013

If there’s one thing that DOA is known for, for better or for worse, it’s sexy women in skimpy clothing. Every now and then though, whether jokingly or not, someone suggests putting the guys in equally skimpy outfits.

Well ladies (and gentlemen) your wish has been answered as Tecmo just released the “Fighter Pack” on PS3 which puts all the guys in boxers, briefs, and wet suits.

SkimpyJannlee

The pack contains outfits for Hayabusa, Brad Wong, Jann Lee, Bayman, Gen Fu, Hayate, Rig, Eliot, Bass, Zack, Akira. However, only Jann Lee wears briefs, Elliot gets a wet suit (so we don’t see him shirtless), and most annoyingly of all: Ryu Hayabusa still has his stupid mask!

DOA_dudes

That last one is a sticking point as many people have been demanding maskless Hayabusa. We’ve seen him maskless many times in the DOA series so it’s odd that they’re insisting on keeping it on here.

16375910150098688041785

Also the fact that Brad Wong’s hair isn’t down is disappointing as well. I liked playing as “Drunkeroth”!

bradwong-doa4

Still, I’m sure this pack will please somebody. Would you believe a hefty chunk of the top-ranked DOA players on 360 are women? Even if you find the pack as disappointing as I do, at least it’s well priced as you get undies for all the guys for $5. Meanwhile skimpy outfit packs for women cost $5 for 3. Yeesh!

Speaking of the 360, this pack is not yet available on 360 due to the current hold up with the big patch. Microsoft has some pretty stringent patching guidelines which continually bites the console in the ass. Namely, there’s a size limit and companies have to pay money to put their patches up. As such, Tecmo is being very careful about the release of the version 1.03a patch and they cannot release the Hottie’s Swimwear or the Fighter’s Pack until said patch is up.

Having said that, Tecmo has not abandoned 360 players. They merely have to jump through more hoops.

My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic still fighting…sorta!

February 20, 2013

The other week I posted the disappointing news that the high-quality fanmade My Little Pony fighting game had been hit with a cease & desist and this cancelled. I then went into detail about why “reskinning” the game isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Well, apparently the team is pretty darn proud of what they made out of 2D Fighter Maker regardless of if it involves ponies and as such has claimed they are not giving up!

Just the other day they released a big post about the cease & desist claiming they had no intention of stopping now. Currently they are pleading with Hasbro, but remain un-hopeful. It seems they have quite a few fans amongst the show’s actual staff and thus they are hoping to pull a few strings on the inside to let this one slide. But chances are that won’t happen. This isn’t about the show, it’s about the brand.

Having said that, they still plan on making something even if this falls through.

Yes, in spite of the fact that it would probably take another 2 years to produce a “reskinned” version of the game, they plan on actually doing just that in a worst case scenario. It does make a little sense as the sheer amount of hype generated by this one game has given them a bit of clout. Possibly a bit more than they deserve. As such if they produced a random fangame now, people would be all over it whereas if they made one before Fighting is Magic, no one would have cared.

Well I have my fingers crossed that they get to release Fighting is Magic in some form and am glad all their hard work did not go completely to waste. I wish them luck…but do not look forward to enduring another SkullGirls worth of meaningless hype. Blech.

(Note: SkullGirls is a good game, I just did not enjoy having people yell “SkullGirls is better” for THREE YEARS every time a new fighting game came out.)

New Characters for Playstation All-Stars Released! GET THEM NOW.

February 20, 2013

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale launched with a roster nearly everyone mocked for one reason or another. For me personally it was a distinct lack of female characters with only Fat Princess and Nariko as the only girls in the game.

Well the recently released DLC remedies that somewhat with Kat from Gravity Rush. Also, Emmett from Star Hawk is here to add an equally needed black guy to the game.

Whether you own the game or not, I’d recommend grabbing the DLC NOW. Why? Well because it’s free for a limited time and only 100kb (the actual characters are in the update to the game). So get on PSN and download it or you’ll be kicking yourself later.

Disappointingly, the update does not add a much needed HP Mode to the game. So yes, it’s still pretty questionable from a mechanics standpoint.

Also, Sony just gave me $10 for being a loyaly PSN customer. I dunno what exactly I did to trigger this but it’s appreciated (especially with so much DOA5 DLC to get). I’d boot up your PS3 and check to see if they gave you anything as well. Don’t forget that Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires is next week and also there’s some kind of Idea Factory/Sting collaboration for PSP and Vita avalible for $20 as well.

In Defense of Idea Factory

February 17, 2013

“Idea Factory’s reputation is starting to become well known, and since this column already covered one IF game it may seem like bullying to highlight another one.”

Yeah, it does.

The following quote comes from Hardcore Gaming 101‘s “Weekly Kusoge” (Shit Game) section, where they recently decided to feature Spectral Force: Genesis. Lets make no mistake here, that game is not exactly “good” but shit?! That’s a bit of a stretch. I bring this up not because of the game in question though, but because of HG101’s history with Idea Factory.

You see, for a while we saw Idea Factory games see occasional U.S. releases and no one batted an eye. They were rough, but they had their fans. However, then HG101 ran an article claiming that Idea Factory was infamous for making bad games and that they’re known in Japan as “Idea Fuck”. This was the first I had ever heard of this, but it would not be the last.

Skip ahead about a month after this. There was an Idea Factory game coming out that I was interested in and I mentioned it to a friend of mine. His response? “Oh no, not Idea Fuck! Dude all their games suck!” This person had never played an Idea Factory game in his entire life and had no frame of reference. But now “Idea Fuck” was well known! No one is supposed to play an “Idea Fuck” game!

Worse still, the guy had never read HG101’s article on it. He heard the term from a podcast.

A while later I was talking to a different friend and the term popped up again. “Oh no! Not Idea Fuck!”. Later I saw it on a message board, and then again, and again! Now it seems nearly inescapable!

Indeed, Idea Factory’s reputation is starting to become well known…and it does seem like bullying.

Spectral Force: Genesis being called a “kusoge” though is just sad, as is the write-up for it. I’ll be blunt, the game is very flawed but it still has bright spots. Something an astute reader can actually tell from the text as the writer fails to properly convey any sort of major issue but rather just a bunch of decent complaints.

There are two lines of outright hyperbole that bother me though:

“Spectral Force Genesis is on its own unsalvageable level of trash even when compared to other IF games.”

Err…I think I could salvage it with one minor tweak. One so minor you might be able to hack it in with a GameShark/Code Breaker/Action Replay.

“Battles between armies are nearly unplayable.”

Really? Because all I had to do was draw a line from one group to another. Didn’t seem that hard to me. In fact, I found the game to disappointingly be a cake walk!

If you’d like me to explain, Spectral Force: Genesis is a world conquest sim on the Nintendo DS, similar in many ways to Dragon Force. You pick one of 40 different nations and try to rule it while conquering the rest. Combat involves up to 3 units of tiny sprite-based soldiers (similar to Dragon Force again) with one of three unit types that are strong and weak against one another Rock-Paper-Scissors-style. Units are controlled via the touch screen where you draw a line for the path you want that unit to take and when it encounters an enemy unit they fight. Meanwhile the top screen shows a dynamic 3D view of the brawling 2D sprites.

It’s pretty easy to see why I like this. It’s like Dragon Force but portable and a little different. Also, there’s nothing else like it on DS. Shoot, games like this are rare in America in general!

Having said that, the complaints the HG101 writer brings up are true. Using specials can potentially be a bad idea because time does not stop (use them at range/the beginning of the fight) and units get caught on one another (though only briefly). Also getting the good ending does require too much guess work. But really these are just rough edges in my estimation.

The big issue, and the one thing that needs to be changed, is the random schedule. For reasons beyond human comprehension, what you and every other country gets to do that turn is decided randomly ahead of time. You can only Battle on Battle turns, you can only fortify defenses on Build turns, you can only get more troops on Financial turns. This removes a lot of the strategy, tension, and challenge. You never have to worry about the enemy hammering you with attacks because you’ll rarely see two Battle turns in a row! That means you can completely refill your forces before every encounter. So just make units that contain all 3 troop types, keep your forces stocked, and fortify the perimeter. Easy win, no problems at all.

So, all you have to do to “salvage” the game and turn it from “sub-par” to “rough but pretty good” is let the player choose what action they want to take every turn. That’s it! All you have to do to make the game better!

This is why they’re called “Idea Fuck”! Not because they make crap games (not exactly anyway), but because they have great creative and fun ideas…and then they fuck them up in some utterly baffling way! In this case: Why would you ever make what you can do every turn into something completely random?!

I would also like to say that we keep getting the wrong Idea Factory games. For some reason they keep sending us the bland turn-based grid-based FFTactics-esque strategy games rather than the World Conquest Sims! Seriously, Idea Factory makes a ton of those and we rarely see any! All we got in the genre from them are Spectral Force: Genesis and Generations of Chaos (which I am poking at on Android)! I wanna see more of that stuff! I got a cheap Korean copy of Mists of Chaos and lemme tell you that thing looks fascinating. We’re talking little girls in penguin suits buying weapons from bunnygirl maids while commanding armies of giant enemy crabs! Now THAT is what I’m talking about!

*ahem* Still, I hope this clarifies something: Why Idea Factory has fans/is still in business. Yes, there are fans of the company and despite being burned by a number of their games, I can still see why: Their games are unusual, adventurous, and packed with content. Yes, they are often rough and have some stupid glaring game design flaw that will make you scream “WHY?!”, but they have a certain charm to them.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go play Black Stone: Magic & Steel again and see what I think of it these days. I can’t exactly remember why I quit. Something about a big stupid tower level early on…

We Cheer 3 is coming! …sorta.

February 12, 2013

If you’ve been following me or my blog, you know I have a massive soft spot for We Cheer. Though it looks like shovelware on the surface, beneath its pink glittery exterior was the best freaking music game on Wii. Great interface, awesome presentation, and the sequel brought in plenty of customization. It was undeniably my most played game on Wii and one of my most played games of the generation.

However, it’s hard to sell the masses on a cheerleading game. As such, few knew of the awesomeness that is We Cheer and the series sort of vanished…sort of.

The mechanics would reappear in an exercise game called Exerbeat which recieved such a limited US release that it was not available at GameStop at all. However, repetitive exercise routines are no replacement for creative dance routines.

Said mechanics would be used again in the dance mini-game in Go Vacation, which is technically the third We Ski game and thus technically part of the same series. But again, five watered down dance numbers is hardly a proper sequel.

Well the We Cheer mechanics are being dusted off one more time for the inevitably Japanese-only Pretty Cure All Stars: Zenin Shugou Let’s Dance!:

(yes it’s supposed to be soundless for some reason)

I had heard about this a while ago but wanted to see video footage to confirm it. Early screenshots made it look like it might be running on the Happy Dance Collection engine (a Japanese-only game similar but inferior to We Cheer). However, now that I see it in motion there is absolutely no doubt about it: that is We Cheer! And easily the most badass We Cheer yet!

That’s not a joke by the way. You don’t mess with the Pretty Cures.

…and that’s not even getting into the absolute BEAST that is Cure Moonlight who will BREAK YOUR SPINE!

Yeah for those of you who aren’t familiar with Pretty Cure, it’s sort of become a Magical Girl dynasty. Initially it was just one show but once it started getting old a few seasons in, they decided to start fresh with a new cast of characters. Now there’s a new Pretty Cure basically every year, preventing things from getting too stale. Of course, as you can see, the main unifying concept of the show is that these girls actually physically fight their enemies.

Of course people tend to miss their favorite Pretty Cure teams so also every year is a big flashy cross-over movie where all the Pretty Cure teams get together.

But more on-topic-ally, is the dancing ending themes. At some point in the series, they started using cel-shaded models of the characters dancing for their ending animation. This caught on and now every Pretty Cure series has a cel-shaded dancing ending theme, as does every Pretty Cure All-Stars movie. The result is…colorful:

So it was only a matter of time before someone put the pieces together and made a Pretty Cure dancing game on Wii.

Pretty Cure All-Stars on Wii will feature all the Pretty Cure teams including the new Doki Doki Pretty Cure girls, whose series just premiered a few weeks ago. Screenshots indicate that cross-over dance numbers will appear. The game looks rather sparse in the music department (25 songs I think) and I doubt we’ll see much customization either.

However, it’s great to see one more We Cheer! Astonishingly, this is actually the last Wii game to come out of Japan. Honestly, I can’t think of a better send-off for the Nintendo Wii than with one more entry in the only series that could actually use it’s broken-ass controller!

Pretty Cure All-Stars hits the Wii at the end of March. There will be a Gaming with GEL.

My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic hit with Cease & Desist

February 9, 2013

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has become something of a…divisive internet phenomenon. However there was absolutely no denying that fan-made fighting game Fighting is Magic looked impressive.

In fact, this game is the only reason me and many of my friends even bothered giving the show a chance! With its entry as a potential game for EVO and a front page GameSpot article, it was receiving a lot of attention.

However, after two years of development and the game nearing completion, Hasbro hit the team with a Cease & Desist letter.

Now normally this would be expected. However, Hasbro had traditionally been very accepting (and even supportive) of fan works like this. They even allowed episodes of the show to be hosted on YouTube because to them it was “free advertising”. So this does come as a shock. Especially when the game has been in very high profile development for two years.

The good news is that last year’s EVO build (the one featured in the combo video) was leaked so the game can be played weather Hasbro likes it or not. The bad news is that the more polished version with Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy in it has not. Unlike most free fan projects, this one has been very closed. The team took great pride in their work and refused to release it until they had the 6 main characters complete. So much so, in fact, that they found the leak of the EVO build quite devastating.

My point is, I don’t expect the full game to be leaked.

Now one could take one look at this and say “Hasbro should just buy them out and sell the game for real” or “they should just reskin the game with different characters”. In fact the former creator of the show, Lauren Faust, even offered to make characters for the game. Quite the nice gesture indeed, but there’s a massive problem:

This is a Fighter Maker game.

Yes, as has been stated many times in the past, the game is made with Enterbrain’s Fighter Maker 2k engine. It’s an incredibly versatile engine and every fighter made with it feels unique. Other examples of Fighter Maker games include the astonishing looking Vanguard Princess:

Which you can get for free right here: http://wiki.mizuumi.net/w/Vanguard_Princess

…or for another unlicensed fangame version there’s Pokemon Type: Wild

Which you can find here: http://www.pokesho.com/typewild/download.html

(though you’ll need to have a Japanese system location set up to run it)

An old favorite of mine though was the unfinished but awesome Destruction Desire

(You’ll have to search around to find a download link of that)

As you can see it is an incredibly versatile engine. None of those feel like the same fighting game with a different skin but like completely unique games.

However, what this means is that the Fighting is Magic team cannot just “release the engine” and the art assets are a huge part of the game. I’d say about 75% of the game is so deeply ingrained with the art that putting in different characters is nearly impossible. Someone would have to make quadruped characters that fit into the same hit boxes and use the same number of animation frames. Then someone would have to spend another 2 years actually animating those characters. In short: It’s not gonna happen.

This also means that Hasbro simply “buying” the game and selling it is also impossible. They would have to negotiate with EnterBrain to be able to use the engine in a for-profit game.

…and did I mention that Fighter Maker 2K was never released in America, meaning the game was probably made on a pirated version of the software?

In short in order to release the game on consoles or Steam as a real sellable game, someone would have to build an entirely new engine from scratch. Amazingly, this would actually be easier than redoing all the artwork. Not that it would be easy though.

Considering how many other fan games exist, considering the game is completely free and non-profit like every game made with Fighter Maker, and considering the existence of other fan made Fighter Maker games, this is a real dick move. The game should really be viewed as fanart and nothing more.

Hopefully though an agreement could be reached. Perhaps a few name changes, recolorations, and the removal of the cutie marks could do the trick. Ponies: Fighting is Mystical with Twinkle Sunset, Cakey Pink, Jackie Apples, Shyla, and Ruby would still be just as awesome. Here’s hoping they consider that route.

 

EDIT:

Having said that, this is why projects like Pokemon Type: Wild release frequent public Betas rather than hoarding their game for two years until it is “ready”. Should Nintendo ever shut down Pokemon Type: Wild, it can still exist in the hands of fans and none of the hard work put into it goes to waste. If nothing else, this should become a cautionary tale for makers of fan games.