Monthly Archives: June 2013

You say you want a Tekken Revolution

gaming-tekken-revolution-screenshot-6

Last night, I switched on my DownloadStation 3 to see what I should grab next and add to my growing digital collection of games that I worry I’ll never get time to actually play. Yes, first-world pains and all that, but really now, the amount of free games being tossed into my face on a weekly basis is staggeringly frustrating. And now the Xbox 360 is getting in on the action with Fable III and more to come. Please pray for my well-being. Anyways, upon seeing that Uncharted 3 is a…40 gig download, which would probably take me an entire weekend to download and then install, I scanned the store for something smaller. First I grabbed Machinarium for free thanks to my PlayStation Plus subscription, and then noticed that there’s a new Tekken game available for all to enjoy. Me like Tekken. Of all the fighting franchises, it’s the one I feel most in sync with, and I think it has to do with the throws.

So, what exactly is Tekken Revolution? Well, in short, it’s a very simplified, non-serious version of the age-old Tekken utilizing a “free-to-play” business model. This mostly involves avatar leveling mechanics in order to lure new players to the franchise, as well as a regenerating token system to limit just how many online fights one can participate in over a given period of time. Currently, there are only three modes: arcade, online player match, and online ranked match. That’s it. No training mode, no silly bowling mode, no local competitive “vs. player 2” mode. You either fight a random roster of opponents up to the boss Ogre or you test your luck against online combatants.

Again, since this is not a full Tekken game in all senses of the phrase, the roster is quite small. You begin with eight default characters, plus four more which you unlock in a random order by earning gift points at specific amounts. In short, here’s who you can use: Kazuya, King, Paul, Law, Asuka, Lili, Lars, Jack, Leo, Steve, Alisa, and Bryan.

I played through the arcade mode twice and found the experience to be just fine. It’s the same ol’ fighting you know from previous Tekken editions, and it feels good. I played as Asuka and watched as she earned experience points by defeating enemies, eventually leveling up to LV 3. This meant I now had some skill points to assign, boosting her health total, the damage she deals, and her chance of nailing a critical hit. This felt beyond foreign and tacked on, and I have to wonder what the whole point of it is. Probably to make actual money, in that maybe players can purchase more skill points to be one step ahead of the curve, and then their Asuka will always be a slightly bit more powerful than mine. I don’t know. Again, it feels unnecessary. Oh, and once you assign points, there’s no going back.

After that, I was able to log on once to play an online match against someone using Law. The fight was very close, each of use winning two rounds, but I was defeated in round 5. I did not try to play any further rounds after that, but it seems like you have tokens that regenerate slowly over time that allow you to play arcade or online matches. If you run out, you have to wait to play more. Or you can bypass this roadblock by purchasing gold tokens via real money. In the short time I played Tekken Revolution, nothing got in my way of fun, but I suspect if I tried to play a few more rounds I would have hit a wall.

Probably the biggest bummer is the lack of story here. There are no intro videos for characters and, more depressing, no end videos after you take down Ogre in the last fight. These zany pieces of cinema were always a treat and made trudging through the arcade mode over and over worth it. Now it feels kind of pointless, and earning experience points is not enough to satisfy. I want to see Paul and Kuma hanging out and doing flips or something. I want Jack to blow up a planet. I want people tossed into volcanoes.

It’s certainly not a revolution, but it is something to play now and then if you like Tekken and, for some reason, don’t have a copy of Tekken II or Tekken Tag to enjoy. Well, you know.

2013 Game Review Haiku, #21 – Doritos Crash Course 2

2013 games beat dcc2 screenlg8

Slide jump for big air
Run up walls like you don’t care
For free, this is fair

These little haikus proved to be quite popular in 2012, so I’m gonna keep them going for another year. Or until I get bored with them. Whatever comes first. If you want to read more words about these games that I’m beating, just search around on Grinding Down. I’m sure I’ve talked about them here or there at some point. Anyways, enjoy my videogamey take on Japanese poetry.

2013 Game Review Haiku, #20 – Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

2013 games completed luigi's mansion dark moon

Mansion to mansion
Ghost to ghost, Luigi sucks
‘Em up, shivering

These little haikus proved to be quite popular in 2012, so I’m gonna keep them going for another year. Or until I get bored with them. Whatever comes first. If you want to read more words about these games that I’m beating, just search around on Grinding Down. I’m sure I’ve talked about them here or there at some point. Anyways, enjoy my videogamey take on Japanese poetry.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon took me for a chilly ride

luigi's mansion frozen pit boss

Some two months after getting it, I’m almost done with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, which is good seeing that Animal Crossing: New Leaf drops in just a few days and will continue to take up most of my portable gaming time for both the near and far-flung future, but I came very, very close to taking the cartridge out of my 3DS and never looking back. Why? Let’s blame the possessor ghost boss fight from the Secret Mine mansion, and let’s blame it coldly.

While the main levels within a mansion all follow a formula of slowing making progress to the house’s final area, ghost by ghost, piece by piece, there’s definitely not one tied to the boss fights at the end. Each has been drastically different, and the one hoarding the dark moon fragment in Chilly Ride took me by surprise for its difficulty and unrealistic expectations.

For starters, the game switches to a first-person shooter perspective, having you toss bombs at a looming monster face covered in slabs of ice while you race down a slippery ice tunnel. Once you break away each slab, you then have two chances to toss a flaming bomb into the monster’s open mouth; do that, and you return to more traditional grounds, sucking up the possessor ghost as usual in third-person perspective before being thrown back into the shooting formula two more times. Each subsequent time adds more slabs around the monster’s face, and you only have so much time to clear them off the boss before your sledding/shooting machine malfunctions. If that happens, you have to redo the entire fight from the beginning. Which sucks.

Trust me, I know. It took me eight attempts to finally beat this boss, roughly around 40 minutes. That’s the equivalent of two missions in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, wherein you are collecting ghosts, finding gems, earning money for unlocks, and seeing story beats unfold. I definitely have more fun exploring rooms than tossing bombs down ice tunnels and hoping for the best. Luck and a lot of timing played into this boss fight, which is what makes it so frustrating. When I finally did take down the possessor ghost, I didn’t feel like it was through genuine skill, just something I managed to sneak by.

But whatevs. I beat the Chilly Ride boss–cue Luigi’s adorable line, “I do it!”–collected the fourth Dark Moon fragment, and moved on to the final mansion to see this story to a close. Which I hope to do tonight or tomorrow. No really. I’m almost there, and I’ll probably have some final thoughts on the game, as there is, just like with Paper Mario: Sticker Star, a lot to enjoy here, but the frustrations are truly that, and this boss fight was almost bad enough to drive me away. Hopefully the final boss fight won’t kick me out for good.