Saturday, 28 May 2011

Feature: My 5 Favourite and 5 Least Favourite Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition Fighters

What with my exciting Top 25 No More Heroes Bosses feature coming up, you'd think I'd be busy preparing for that. Well, I am, but that doesn't mean I've not had time to write a feature for this month. Today I present one of my most 'out-there' countdowns yet. I've been playing a lot of Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition ever since I got my 3DS, and it's truly brilliant. One standout thing about the game is the massive roster of playable fighters stuffed into the cartridge, many of which are packed full of personality and have interesting, well devised back-stories. In total, there are a huge 35 fighters to play as, all varying in design. However, some of the characters well and truly suck. Inspired by the game's nationality-spanning roster, I've decided to make a list on the fighters I like the most and the ones that just annoy me into submission. Welcome to my Top 10 Favourite and Least Favourite Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition Fighters.

Throughout this list I'll be talking about my most loved and hated characters from SSFIV3DE, but in order to devise a perfect list I'll be taking several aspects of each fighter into account. My decisions will be made by looking at each character's appearence, personality, backstory and move-set. Now that I've cleared that up, let's begin with my five least favourites before moving on to my five personal favourites. Remember, only characters who appear in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition will be put on this list, Arcade Edition fighters don't count! Let's get started with my top five least favourite fighters from the game...

5. Guile
I'll give Guile some credit - He was a decent fighter before the lite controls were implemented. Now this rough mercenary is quite simply a mindless spamming machine that somewhat ruins the online experience of Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Guile's two special moves, Sonic Boom and Flash Kick, usually require the D-pad or Circle pad to be held in a certain direction before they can be performed. However, with the new Lite controls they can be used straight away without the need to charge them up, and that's where all the spamming comes in. Go online and come across Guile and you'll most definitely go through the frustrating process of Guile standing at the far side of the stage spamming Sonic Booms until you get close enough for him to counter with a Flash Kick, making it impossible to land any hits however skillful you are at the game. If Capcom are planning on patching this problem then they seriously need to soon. Ranting about Guile's spammable techniques aside, he's kind of average when used properly. The bulky American mercenary is armed with a wide variety of unique button combinations and throws, but like I mentioned earlier only two special attacks. His Ultra Combos aren't great either. Flash Explosion is quite simply a combo of three Flash Kicks in a row, and Sonic Hurricane is just a massive Sonic Boom that spins around for a while. Don't get me wrong, Guile isn't bad at all, he's just so average. Add on top of that two annoyingly spammable special attacks and you've turned an average fighter into a frustrating rant generator. Patch it please Capcom.

4. E. Honda
While we're on the topic of spammable characters, say hello to E.Honda. This guy's been a Street Fighter regular since the SFII days, and like Guile, the Lite controls have ruined his legacy a bit. The extremely annoying Sumo Headbutt move can be spammed into submission by Street Fighter newbs, as well as a frustrating grab move that's virtually impossible to dodge most of the time. E.Honda's Ultra Combos are also pretty frustrating, involving the same techniques as the two special moves I mentioned. However, the spam factor of E.Honda's moves aren't quite as bad as Guile's infuriating techniques. It's his character that's the real deal-breaker here. Basically, he's a sumo wrestler who wants to show the world that sumo is the greatest fighting style humanity has ever seen. His voice is infuriatingly annoying, his back-story is stupid and don't get me started on his looks. E.Honda is basically Ganryu from Tekken but with face-paint, and that's a perfect description. And yeah, I'm aware that E.Honda was introduced long before that character, but he still sucks. I'm running out of things to say here, so let's move on...

3. Adon
"YAA, JAGUAR TOOTH! YAA, JAGUAR TOOTH! JAGUAR KICK!" Face off against Adon in an online battle in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and this is all you'll be hearing. Adon is extremely weak, but his moves are so fast that you'll be begging him to stop spamming them. Yup, we've got another spammable character on our hands. Basically, Jaguar Tooth involves Adon jumping to the upper left corner of the stage (or vice-versa) and dashing towards his opponent with a stab from his dagger-like legs. Yes, this move can be dodged easily, but the annoying aspect of it is that it's difficult to find an opening. Jaguar Kick sees Adon jumping skyward and dropping down with a slicing kick. Adon's final spamtastic attack is Rising Jaguar, which is basically Jaguar Kick in reverse. Adon isn't at all broken, his attacks are just crap and overused by the online community. Thankfully though, his Ultra Combos are spectacular, and reflect the psychotic personality of this muay-thai wrestler. Unfortunately, Adon isn't the cool kind of pyscho. Instead, his psychotic personality comes from thinking he's strong (like I said though, he's pretty weak). Much like E.Honda, Adon believes that muay-thai is the greatest form of brawling and that he is the strongest fighter in the known universe. Adon's annoying laugh and voice acting adds to his idiotic and pychotic beliefs, which is the main reason why he is my third least favourite fighter in the game. Things are about to get much worse though, trust me.

2. Blanka
What do you get when you mix Yoda from Star Wars with the brains of a child? Something much worse than self-obsessed muay-thai wrestlers and spammable ex-war veterans, that's for sure. Introducing Blanka. Not only is this short, green, mutated alien-like creature (sound familiar?) an expert at the arts of spamming (not again...), but he's also armed with a frustrating personality. Just so this list doesn't get repetitive, let's discuss Blanka's personality first. Basically, he's a lonely freak who got adopted by an old lady who he now calls "Mama" and lives his life to impress by fighting in tournaments. Blanka is yet another character who suffers from infuriating speech, too. I know I keep referencing Yoda, but I'm gonna do it some more: Imagine the Star Wars Jedi master but with a really deep and slow voice. And did I mention Blanka's looks? Better skip that bit. Of all the personalities in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Blanka is by far the second worst. And you guessed it, the king of all annoying fighters is up next. Before that though, it's time to discuss Blanka's attacks. Most of Blanka's special moves involve rolling up into a ball and homing in on the enemy, a-la Sonic. These moves are spammed a lot by other players I've come across online in the game, but the frustration doesn't end there. It's little known, but if you add Blanka's Electric Thunder move to the touch screen, you can beat any opponent that doesn't use projectiles. Forget Guile, this is the real problem that needs patching up. Oh well, at least Blanka made beating Gouken on Hardest easy. Now it's time for the one you've all been waiting for. Or not.

1. Balrog
Some video game characters can surpass being extremely annoying. There happens to be one of these characters in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Case in point? Balrog. This annoyingly rude boxer is by far the worst character in the game in my honest opinion. Balrog is the rival of Dudley, another boxer who's actually awesome. Both characters are complete opposites: Balrog is an American, money-obsessed, rule breaking fighter with literally no style whatsoever, while Dudley is a slick and suave British brawler who fights for nothing but fun and paying the rent. You can see why I think Balrog sucks. Like I said, the mindless boxer is addicted to cash and will try to earn as many bills as he can by any means necessary. His voice is frustrating and slurred, his backstory is stupid and he seems to have been designed with very little flair and imagination. I simply can't stand Balrog. There's literally no plus points about this guy. What about his move set, you ask? Don't expect anything amazing. The vast majority of Balrog's attacks involve a slow forward dash followed up by a punch. They're tough, but easy to block or counter. Aside from that, Balrog can use a not-so-nifty headbutt attack (are headbutts even legal in boxing?) which is virtually impossible to land on opponents. And what about Balrog's Super and Ultra Combos? His Super Combo is... Okay. As for Ultras, Dirty Bull involves Balrog smashing his head against his opponent's skull, stepping on their foot and delivering a single right-hook. Nothing too special there. Violent Buffalo is exactly the same as his Super Combo, but a little stronger. So yeah, nothing good in the move set department for Balrog. I hate this guy with all my hate...

Friday, 27 May 2011

REVIEW: Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
[Capcom] [3DS]
Good news everyone, it's my first 3DS review! This one's been in the works for quite some time, but now I can finally kick-start my stream of 3DS reviews with Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Quite possibly the most well-received 3DS launch game, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition stands out as a near perfect port of 2009's excellent PS3 and Xbox 360 fighting game. Every single character and every single feature (excluding a few online modes) have been poured into a minuscule 3DS cartridge with almost identical quality, and there's an excellent new Figure Collection mode exclusive to the 3DS version too. Plus, you can play the game on the move, obviously! Having read this last paragraph, you can obviously expect Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition to get an excellent score, as the original Super Street Fighter IV already has a ton of high review scores under its belt. You'd be right, but that doesn't mean the game doesn't have its flaws. Read on...

As I mentioned, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is a near-perfect port of the original game that was on home consoles. The visuals have been toned down a bit and a couple of online multiplayer modes - namely the Tournament, Endless and Replay Channel options - Have been annoyingly removed so that the game cartridge doesn't explode. Of course, the visuals can be enhanced with the 3DS's 3D capabilities, but they don't massively improve the game and are only really spectacular during the characters' jaw-dropping Ultra Combos. It's safe to say that this game isn't the best example of 3D on the system at the moment, but that doesn't really matter. 3D is just a gimmick in the end, and while it can be amazing in some games (Pilotwings Resort is a good example) it doesn't make or break one. In fact, I tend to have the 3D switched off when playing Street Fighter, as it actually has to make the graphics a tad more pixellated (not to say it doesn't still look great) in order to keep up the frame rate. I'm not saying the 3D effects in the game are bad, they're just not as astonishingly good as some of the other games we've seen and heard about on 3DS.

The game's spectacular Ultra Combos look astonishing, especially in three glorious dimensions.
So far, this review has probably seemed quite negative. It has been, but that's only because I want to get the bad stuff out of the way first. You see, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is such a masterpiece that I don't want to end this review in a non-climactic way. So yeah, let's get on to the plus points of the game. All 35 characters have been successfully shoved into the game, each of which has their own unique personality and fighting style. There are a few iffy fighters, but I'll get into that in my Top 10 Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition Fighters feature. Regulars from previous games in the series return as well as some brand new fighters. The amount of characters to play as adds to the replay value massively, and I think it's safe to say that anyone can find a fighter they are comfortable with. The newest additions to the Street Fighter roster are by far some of the best: Cody and Guy are both characters from the classic arcade game Final Fight, and continue their stories in SSFIV, while two all-new fighters, Juri and Hakan, add even more unique personality to the roster. In terms of rosters in fighting games, you can't get much better than Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition's selection of crazy personalities.

It seems that Ken is winning this dissing contest. Ryu will most probably beat him into a pulp later, though.
Of course, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition isn't all about the personalities you'll be playing as, it's what you'll be doing with them that matters. The first option you'll see on the main menu is the standard Arcade mode, which is the main bulk of the game. Here, you'll fight several opponents, face a couple of fun challenges and fight the notorious final boss known only as Seth. The standard fights are self-explanatory: Face off against someone else from the game's roster in hopes of beating them into submission and moving on. The bonus modes are a throwback to the Street Fighter II days, and involve you smashing up cars and breaking barrels. The former is easy, while the latter can be a bit more tricky. If you aren't a fan of these mini-games, you can always tinker with the Arcade options and switch them off. Before you challenge the final boss, you'll enter a Rival Battle. These fights involve your chosen character having a chat with one of his or her 'rivals' before engaging in an epic duel. Different Rival Battles are unique to each character - For example, one of Ryu's rivals would be Ken, and Cody's rival would be Guy. As for the final boss, let's just say it isn't a walk in the park. Depending on the difficulty you choose, Seth is one tough customer. After beating Seth (most definitely after hundreds of continues) there's a chance you might come across one of the game's two secret battles. No spoilers here though, of course.

The new over-the-shoulder camera option greatly enhances the 3D effects in the game.
Aside from Arcade mode, several other options are available. Challenge mode allows you to play the Barrel Buster or Car Crusher games in order to beat your high score, and Trial mode is an interesting distraction from the main game, giving you the task of executing some insane combos. Training mode is pretty self-explanatory. However, the best thing about Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is the online options. Here, you can play against players from around the world in an attempt to keep up a win-streak and boost your Player Points, which show how good of a fighter you are. Win a match against another player and you'll boost your PP, but lose and - well, you know the rest. Each specific character in the game's roster also has their own BP stat, which increases your grade with that character the more points you get. It's simple, but oh-so addictive. You also have to option to challenge your Rivals from your 3DS's Friends List to a battle, without the need to add them in-game. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition's online mode will keep you coming back for more brawling, and without it, the game would lose many marks. One brand-new mode, exclusive to the 3DS version of the game, makes use of StreetPass. Figure Collection is an excellent new addition to the game, having you spend Figure Points earned from battling both online and offline on figurines of the game's roster. Each figurine has a different Level from one to seven, as well as different stats which are made use of by the actual StreetPassing. By walking past someone with a copy of the game, your assembled team of six figures will brawl their figures, and if you win you're awarded with more points to spend on new figures, as well as a great sense of achievement. While I've only StreetPassed one guy on this game, it's still a brilliant addition to the main menu that mixes up the game a bit. Unfortunately though, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition still lacks variety...

The main problem with many fighting games is that they tend to lack variety, and only appeal to those who are into the fighting system that is on offer. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is, in all honesty, no different. Sure, there's the Figure Collection mode that mixes things up a bit, and online multiplayer and a load of achievements will have you coming back for more - But if you're not into the core fighting, I can't recommend this game. I said the same thing about Tatsunoko VS Capcom last year. I absolutely adored that game, and even though I don't play it any more, I was obsessed with it at the time. However, not everyone else was, and I feel the same way about this title. Then there's the question of whether you should buy 3D Edition or the console versions - Again, it's down to your personal taste. Still, if you're into Capcom's 2D brawlers, I can't recommend this game enough...


Friday, 13 May 2011

Why Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version will be a Blast when the eShop Launches

You may have heard of Mega Man Legends 3. Over the past few months, a small development group have been working on this exciting new game for the 3DS, but it hasn't received the 'green light' yet because Capcom reckon it won't sell at all. After all, the Mega Man Legends games were apparently brilliant... Back in the PS1 era. I had never heard of the games until they announced the 3DS game, and I'm sure many other gamers haven't either. With this in mind, not releasing the game may seem like a more profitable decision for the huge publisher that is Capcom. Still, it's worth seeing if that speculation is correct, right? Along with the release of the eShop for 3DS this month, Capcom are publishing the first all-new downloadable title for the service: Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype Version. This isn't a demo of the upcoming (or not) game though, Prototype Version is a seperate title that uses the same engine as the full game to create a title with its own 10 missions, unique characters and seperate story that takes place before the full version of Mega Man Legends 3. And you still haven't heard the best part: It'll only be a few pounds. Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype version will see the release of the full retail title if it sells well enough - A clever decision from Capcom.

Barrett sure packs some firepower. He's also a skilled free-runner, which adds to the game's fun factor.
In Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype Version, you take control of Barrett, a robot humanoid thing that is a dab hand (and leg) at free-running. Barrett's abilities seem to make the game one of those games that you can have fun with just by running around the open world that's on offer. Barrett can run, boost, perform crazy jumps, ride and fly vehicles and amazingly run up walls, so there's no shortage of awesome free-roaming action to be found in the game. When you're done with messing about in the overworld, you can play the ten missions that are on offer that set the scene for the proper, full version of the game. What these levels will exactly involve is unknown at the moment, but from what we've seen in screenshots and the like, you'll be blasting and slashing away at foes whilst exploring areas outside of the overworld. You'll also be interacting with other characters from the Mega Man universe such as Mega Man himself and his female partner Roll via dialogue sections. It seems that some huge robotic bosses will be up for a fight in some of the missions too. Like I mentioned, the best thing about the game is that it's packed with so much stuff for a download that will only set you back a few pounds. Sure, it's definitely nowhere near the standards of full retail titles, but we'll be having a bulkier version of the game released in the shops if Prototype Version sells well enough. At such a cheap price, I'd be surprised if the full game isn't released. I'll be getting the game on day one for sure, will you? If not, an awesome game might not get the green light..

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Update: My Biggest Feature Yet and Other Exciting New Posts!

What's that on the horizon? Why, it's another Update post. Today, I'll be revealing my plans for this month and beyond, including a double whammy of reviews and my biggest Feature post to date. A Feature so big that it'll have to be spread across two posts and I'll have to delve as deep as possible into two of my favourite games of all time in order to write. What is this almost mythical project, you ask?
Read on and find out...

Planned Posts for this Month and Beyond, and New Banners!
I've given my new feature a hell of a lot of build-up (well, a few sentences) in the last paragraph, so I think it's fair that I reveal what it is now. Well, I'm gonna keep you doods and doodettes waiting even further. Before I discuss the two new reviews I have planned, I'd like to reveal that I'm working on a number of banners for the blog in a similar style to the Okami one I have up at the moment. On top of this, I'll be mixing them all up in a random image milkshake machine so you'll be seeing a different image every time you look at the blog. I'll be adding more and more images and taking away old ones until I ditch my blog (which I don't have plans to do anytime soon!)

Now, I have two reviews in the works at the moment which will both be posted this month. One of these will be of another of my favourite games, Resident Evil 4. I've played through the game on both PS2 and Wii and I've decided that it's time to review it. My other planned review this month is another Capcom game, Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Not only will this mark my first 3DS review, but my modern handheld review since Disgaea DS. Speaking of Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, I have a feature planned on my top five favourite and five least favourite characters in the game that you can expect up this month. Not only that, but you can also expect the usual gaming news and discussion in the regular random blog posts too over the coming months.

Finally, I'll end this short update with a big reveal of the biggest feature ever composed for my blog. Coming soon: My Top 25 No More Heroes Bosses! That's right, I'll be counting down every single boss from both No More Heroes games and revealing my favourite, least favourite and everything inbetween. This gargantuan feature will most definitely be up at the earliest in June, maybe even July. Sure, it's a long wait for a post, but E3's coming up and I'll be concentrating on writing about that next month. Be sure to look forward to that too! Until next time, this is Noodle out!