Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (XB360)

If there's any one fighting game series that has given me more joy than the others, it is Tekken. While I haven't always bought the latest one or kept up with competitive play, coming back to it after a year or so to see what has changed and who all these weird new characters are is always pleasant. Tekken Tag Tournament was my favourite in the series; while I enjoyed Tekken 3 immensely, I didn't like the changes brought into Tekken 4.

So, now I get to talk about Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which is a bit of a mouthful. Essentially, just like the first one, it is a 2-on-2 fighting game with all the previous Tekken characters included, ignoring plot events totally. Fighting game plots are stupid, so I am vastly in favour of this. It also means my favourite character, Kunimitsu, makes her return, and she has more silly ninja moves than ever.

The 2v2 game-play is as fun as ever, although because of TTT2 inheriting T6's bound system, long-winded juggle combos are even more important than they ever were. In my previous series play I never enjoyed these... while they make perfect sense from a competitive standpoint, I just don't enjoy inputting a precise series of buttons every time I hit a random launcher; it feels robotic. I'd rather play around with the ridiculously huge number of moves every character has. By contrast, Street Fighter IV gives its fighters maybe 50 moves each (counting for punch/kick strength variations, etc.) whereas Tekken gives them upwards of 200 and adds large amounts of stances into the mix to make things unpredictable. The sheer amount of in-game situations possible is mind-blowing and this is what I find interesting in a game. Solved games are less fun!

To let my love for the series shine through, I decided to go for 100% achievement completion. I had tried this earlier on Tekken 6, but I found it difficult to get any online matches (I don't exactly tend to play games shortly after their release date). TTT2's achievements are in the same vein; most of them are fairly trivial, some require on-line vs. play and some are grindy messes. The hardest achievement is definitely getting 1st Dan in on-line mode. That isn't a particularly high rank, but everyone else you come across is probably trying to get there too, and there are many, many characters to learn to beat. I used my time-honoured partnership of Kunimitsu and Lei and eventually got there. However, by far the grindiest achievement to obtain was "become Tekken Lord in offline mode". This took me maybe 25 hours by itself and was not much fun at all. Thankfully I managed to come up with a fairly safe opening which would work against most AI opponents (even the very highest difficulty ones fell for it every now and then) and trashed them quickly. 1000 Gamerscore get!

All-in-all I really enjoyed my foray back into Tekken-land. I'm not a huge fan of the focus on juggling, but the game-play is just as solid as I remember, and I finally get to rock my favourite probably-dead ninja woman again in peace.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

NES Remix (WiiU)

Although this is skipping a few games in my play order, I wanted to talk a little bit about NES Remix, which I got by spending my Club Nintendo stars. I didn't know a lot about this before I got it, but Emily said we should both enjoy it.

Essentially, it's a mini-game collection, except the mini-games are NES 'classics'. Instead of playing each game through, you are set some kind of task. These range from taking literally less than a second to beating an entire level. Your time taken for beating a task is then ranked from 1 to 3 stars, with a special 'Rainbow Stars' rank if you go really fast; I have a few of these. Here are the games represented, and some comments on each:

  • Mario Bros. - I really don't like this game. Both the physics and game-play are deeply unsatisfying. I dread when one of these stages comes up.
  • Super Mario Bros. - everyone knows this game is good, and I'm not disagreeing, but I'm not all that good at it. The more difficult tasks take me a long time to get.
  • Balloon Fight - I knew nothing about this, but it's really fun to play and optimise, good music too. In fact, we both liked it so much that we bought the Virtual Console version to play later.
  • Wrecking Crew - another game I haven't played before, seems simple enough, reminds me of Lode Runner in a lot of ways.
  • The Legend of Zelda - strangely I only ever owned Zelda II as a child, so this is new to me, it's good, the tasks are too short though so it's difficult to get into the groove.
  • Donkey Kong - it's not bad, it's not good.
  • Donkey Kong Jr. - better than the original, kind of easy.
  • Excitebike - blah I hate this game, it's all memorisation anyway.
  • Clu Clu Land - not done much of this yet, control scheme seems difficult, optimising it seems even more difficult.
  • Ice Climber - argh, this and Mario Bros. could have a fight for worst physics engine and I'm not sure which would win/lose. not fun, but at least the game has more than two mechanics.
  • Pinball - barely playable tosh.
  • Golf - no
There are also a few games which are only in the 'Bonus' category:
  • Donkey Kong 3 - fairly different but incredibly easy
  • Baseball - a little unsatisfying
  • Tennis - crap
  • Urban Champion - reminds me of Karateka, without the charm
  • and probably some others I haven't got to yet
Most of the stages are just short tasks (or sometimes gauntlets of tasks), but there are two 'Remix' categories which generally provide some kind of extra strange effect on game-play. Sometimes the entire level will be silhouetted against the background, or the 'camera' will continually zoom out until your sprite is only a pixel large. Maybe you'll have to control two characters at once, or help Link rescue Pauline. These are some of the more interesting and difficult stages.

As Emily and I have different WiiU profiles, the game saves our progress separately. I wonder if there is an area which compares best times for each user? Emily and I have difficulty with different games, so maybe we should create a new profile which we both play on, to cooperatively get the best times! Maybe chase all those rainbow stars...

Overall I'm enjoying it. It's not a particularly innovative game, but I am definitely getting three stars on everything because I'm a speedrunner.

Hiatus, listing part 3

Onwards, brave lists.
  • Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) - we already have Heavy Rain, Emily is enjoying it, so...
  • God of War Collection and God of War Collection, Volume 2 (PS3) - that is, the HD versions of 1, 2, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta. hacky slash fun
  • Wild Arms 2 (PSN) - PS1-era RPGs for ridiculously cheap? yes please
  • Breath of Fire IV (PSN) - like I said
  • NES Remix (WiiU) - this looks like fun, got with Club Nintendo points
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) - I've heard good and bad things, hopefully it's at least beautiful
  • Warriors Orochi 3 (PS3) - more Musou!
  • Valkyria Chronicles (PS3) - caught some brief glances of gameplay, looks neat
  • Gears of War: Judgment (360) - argh, kind of hated 2 and I haven't played 3 yet
  • Terraria (360) - again, already own on Steam
  • Demon's Souls (PS3) - why did I buy this? Dark Souls is hard enough as it is
  • Resonance of Fate (PS3) - looks like a flashy JRPG?
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (WiiU) - hey, the WiiU has GBA games. got with Club Nintendo Platinum reward
That was a lot to get through. As well as all these games, there's also something like 15 beaten games, and some others that I've started, so I have a lot to write about. I'm thinking of trying to write more per game to make it a little more in-depth, so prepare for... lots of late posts.

Hiatus, listing part 2

More games.
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus (3DS) - also Club Nintendo present!
  • Tomb Raider (360) - yeah the new one, also free
  • Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon (PS3) - so I have something to play :p
  • Super Mario 3D World (WiiU) - coop madness
  • Nintendo Land (WiiU) - pack-in
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (WiiU) - it had to happen sometime
  • Hyrule Warriors (WiiU) - more Musou! more Zelda!
  • Dynasty Warriors 2 (PS2) - though it's called '2', this is the first real Musou game, as the prequel is a vs. fighter
  • Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos (PSP) - the sequel to that other Generation of Chaos game I mentioned in the previous list
  • Pokémon Shuffle (3DS) - Nintendo made a Facebook game
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect (PS3) - murder mystery!
  • Drakengard 3 (PS3) - well, this means I have to find 2, now
  • Final Fantasy VI (PSN) - finally bit the bullet, this means I own every current main series game! if you ignore the FFXIII sequels anyway
  • BioShock Infinite (360) - free, also supposed to be good
You may have noticed this list contains WiiU games. Well... yes, Emily's family did decide to buy one while we were over there. I know it shouldn't really surprise me any more, but the depth of their generosity still stuns me.

This time when coming home we brought both the WiiU and the PS3, so I can be even more paralysed by indecision than usual when it comes to playing games.


Wow, it has been a long time.

Since I last updated, I seem to have somehow bought or acquired FORTY games/DLCs, so obviously my Backloggery is bursting at the seams by now. This is going to be a series of boring list posts. I'll talk more about the games I've actually played later.
  • Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire: Special Demo Version (3DS) - yeah I know
  • Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (360) - I played the first one and basically enjoyed it
  • The Walking Dead, Episode 2 - "Starved for Help" (360) - the first episode haunted my dreams, so here's to more bad sleep!
  • Gratuitous Tank Battles: The Western Front (PC) - DLC woo
  • Sword of the Stars: The Pit - Juggernaut (PC) - more DLC
  • Tales of Maj'Eyal: Ashes of Urh'Rok (PC) - yet more DLC
  • MX vs. ATV Alive (360) - free stuff is free
  • The Midnight Station (PC) - game made by UltraJMan & co., looks neat
  • The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief - Ancestry of Lies and A Murder of Ravens (360) - Emily wanted more Zellner
  • Sniper Elite V2 (360) - I also got this free on Steam... it's an FPS, so I'll probably play that version instead
  • Hunted: The Demon's Forge (360) - cheap 360 games!
  • Viking: Battle for Asgard (360) - don't you just love games with unnecessary subtitles?
  • darkSectOr (360) - no idea
  • Dynasty Warriors 3 (PS2) - part of our ongoing quest to own all the Musou games
  • Generation of Chaos (PSP) - looks like a strategy game, some research turns up the fact that the series is incredibly long in Japan and we only got a couple of releases here
  • Super Mario Land (3DS) - Club Nintendo present!
Yep, ran out of tag space.