Soul Calibur V New Cinematic Spot!

Posted in Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur 5, Soulcalibur IV, Xbox360 on December 7th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Once more, with feeling: Siegfried and Nightmare clash.

Out of the blue, Namco-Bandai just posted this cinematic cutscene/trailer for Soul Calibur V. It apparently portrays the final battle between Siegfried Schtauffen and Nightmare that marked the end of Soul Calibur V. I’m thinking this may be the intro for the game’s Story Mode, a bit of a flashback before starting off the new saga. As cool as it is, I really just with the game didn’t need to use so many pyrotechnics and flashy lights all the time. Still, it’s plain to see this game is going to be something special when it arrives in late January. The new year of fighting games begins with this… can’t wait!

The Fighting Game Story Mode: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Action Adventure, Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters, King of Fighters XIII, Mortal Kombat, My Stuff, PS2, PS3, PSOne, Retro-gaming, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur 5, Soulcalibur IV, Streetfighter, Streetfighter X Tekken, Tekken, Tekken 6, Tekken Blood Vengeance, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, Xbox360 on September 22nd, 2011 by thelonegamer

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Soul Edge’s PS Intro: Always start a story with a rousing opening!

Ah, the Fighting Game genre. It’s certainly my most favorite of all videogame categories- my most beloved guilty pleasure in gaming. I’ve been playing fighters since I got into this hobby, from Streetfighter II on the Super NES to today’s Tekken 6 and Mortal Kombat remake. Many get into these games for the simple pleasure of owning someone else- the unabashed satisfaction of proving your dominance in the most blatant and base way possible- by sheer physicality or superior skill. Really, in the end, fighting games do of course boil down to a simple equation most eloquently shouted out by bloodthirsty masses in Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome- Two men enter, one man leaves. Well, sometimes Two women, or two THINGS. You get the picture, right?

Anyway, I think it’s a mark of a fan of these games themselves and not the sheer act of fighting that despite it being sheer gravy, that I put great importance on an aspect of these games that most often is glossed over- The Story.

Fast Tube by Casper

The Fight- and The Story- is All.

Why is all this fighting going on, anyway? Who’s the ‘good’ guy? Who’s the ‘bad’ buy? What’s at stake? Should we care? In all seriousness, it does add to the enjoyment of a story that we know the backgrounds of each and every single character in a fighting game’s often voluminous roster of Playables, and to follow their blood-slogging climb to the top of the tournament ladder. Drama, comedy, horror, evil, good, jealousy, courage… all encapsulated in what basically is about two guys hitting each other until one goes down and stays down.
Hell, if man going mano-y-mano with one’s fellow man didn’t make for good drama, then Homer’s Iliad wouldn’t have been certified a classic since the freakin’ Ancient Greeks. But hey, wouldn’t the Iliad make for a damn awesome fighter?

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MK didn’t always have great production values for it’s cutscenes…

This is probably something that fighting games spearheaded apart from other games- no longer did players fight to reach the end just to see a high score- they wanted to see an ENDING- something that couldn’t be quantified into any single number- but the satisfaction of reuniting your electronic avatar with his family, missing sibling or long-sought-after prize of revenge. Or a meeting with his country’s premier!

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Congratulations, comrade!

Anyway, relating a Fighting Game story has been done in various ways since the beginning. For the most part, the easiest and most expected way is the simple End Cutscene. Streetfighter II did it back in the day, rewarding the player’s victory over M. Bison with a bunch of screens with minimal animation and text. So effective was this that every game afterwards seemed to follow that same template- the ending was the reward, the narrative carrot dangled before the combatant. From SNK’s many brawlers like King of Fighters to Samurai Shodown to the original Mortal Kombat to every 90′s wannabee Streetfighter, it was all there in varying degrees of campiness.

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Your usual, run-of-the-mill Story Mode ending.

Of course there are a few games that didn’t bother to tell their story- the most significant being Sega’s Virtua Fighter series. All semblance of narrative was placed firmly outside the games, in arcane literature or dictated by actual game tournaments. In many ways, I think, that’s why VF has never found a certain closeness to gamers, with the most hardcore fans of this particular brawler more invested in game mechanics, frame counts and simple gameplay.

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Virtua Fighter’s Intro hints at a deeper story behind the fighters.

A benefit or detriment? Well, let’s just say that the fan support for VF, while rabid, is perhaps the smallest of all the big fighting game franchises. That’s not to say that the Virtua Fighters don’t have a story- it’s there, certainly, but just not being told as much. Perhaps when we are given a trail to follow and care for, perhaps that’s when VF will bloom to the emotional masses.

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A Tekken CG Ending waaaay back in the PSOne days.

As game technology and CG animation got better, ending cinematics became slicker and more elaborate. Perhaps the series that most surely chronicles not only it’s characters’ personal sagas but also visualizes the gradual leap of graphical and animation quality is Namco-Bandai’s Tekken series- from the very basic and simple end cutscenes of the first Tekken on the original Playstation, the cinematic cutscenes have raised the bar with every installment afterwards.

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Despite being an unpopular chapter, Tekken 4 placed more emphasis on story than most other installments in the franchise.

The series has now the reputation for these eye-catching cinematics, with perhaps the culmination of that reputation being the somewhat controversial Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie- perhaps the most complex cutscene yet for a fighting game.

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Tekken 6 endings are gorgeously animated, but the stories told range from the cool to the downright silly.

Ironically, Tekken 6′s Scenario Campaign is actually a very different way of telling the game’s story, albeit the mode proved unpopular with some players. I actually found this a very engaging and enjoyable mode, though perhaps it could do with some improvements.

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Mortal Kombat’s Story Mode is Epic in so many ways.

But CG visual quality isn’t the end-all and be-all of Fighting Game storytelling- Mortal Kombat proved this with it’s 2011 remake’s quite revolutionary Story Mode. It may have been a bit of a gamble on paper- a long and involved story told in real-time, in-engine graphics, visualizing the whole MK saga from the beginning to the future and back to the present, running many, many hours long and throwing the player into the boots of various warriors. But ultimately, it WORKED. Gamers got into the story, they loved it and acclaim for this way of doing the till-then tired Story Mode was pretty much universal. The one best thing about MK’s Story Mode? It showed one thing that other games always get wrong- The Ending is NOT the Story.
Mortal Kombat showed us that it was all about seeing the fighters’ tales unfold, seeing plots twist and turn and end up in outcomes we didn’t see coming and snowball to something we fear/await/dread was entertaining and kept us going hour after hour, through every fight till the very end.

Of course, MK isn’t the only fighter to have a long and involved Story Mode- just the most visible and perhaps the one boasting the highest production values. Truth be told though, 2D fighter Blazblue has a very involved and complex Story Mode as well, though told mostly in text or voice-driven static cutscenes but boasting multiple endings and paths, sometimes dictated by your victories or defeats.

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Blazblue’s anime-style storytelling makes for many hours of battle, voice-acting and battling voice-acting.

Dead or Alive Dimensions on the 3DS was able to summarize it’s entire enigmatic decades-long saga with it’s rather long but entertaining main Story mode (. The upcoming King of Fighters XIII will also boast a Story mode bursting with replay value for multiple playthroughs when it arrives later this year on consoles.

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The Soul Calibur series often featured interactive endings, where a button press could change the outcome.

Going back a bit, Namco-Bandai’s almost ill-fated Soul Calibur series has had a past filled with exceptional story modes. The original Soul Blade on PSOne had interactive endings where you could change the outcome of your fighter’s fate with a fast button press. Soul Calibur III had a Tales of Souls mode which boasted multiple paths and alternate endings- it encouraged multiple playthroughs so you could see all the possible endings and cutscenes, or unlock a very challenging boss encounter.

Sadly, SoulCalibur IV dropped many things from the previous installments, many of them conceivably fan favorite aspects that were sorely missed. Gone were the multi-aspect Story Mode and explorative minigames, in their place a generic Story Mode with a repetitive and generic cutscene and rather enigmatic endings. The Tower of Lost Souls, a challenging ladder game, proved to be more frustrating to many players than anything else. Perhaps the result? SoulCalibur IV was almost the last game in this long-running series, apparently only saved from the brink of oblivion by fan requests and support.

And so, what have we learned from all this? One important thing.

The Best Story Modes should be about The Journey, NOT the Ending. It’s about a story that’s compelling throughout, not just a prize waiting after all that’s said and done.

But would other fighters learn from this example? Only future fighters will tell. Or, perhaps, the next wave of fighters will.

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Soul Calibur IV’s Endings looked great, but the overall storytelling left much to be desired.

Soul Calibur V, set for release in First Quarter 2012, looks to have a Story Mode that hopefully has been influenced by recent games. Though we’ve yet to get any solid information on the gameplay, we’ve seen screens showing a map screen, which should bode well for the chance that this won’t simply be a series of fights leading to one ending. At the very least, cutscenes and a pathways chosen by the player may be included, and hopefully challenges and encounters that add and encourage replay- something the series is not a stranger to, as we’ve seen.

With the future of this fan-supported fighter perhaps lying in SCV’s performance, I’m hoping they make the story something that really gets players involved and wanting more of this Tale of Souls and Swords for years to come.

Fast Tube by Casper

Soul Calibur V, set 17 years after the last game, looks to have a story more dramatic than ever before.

With the current resurgence of Fighting Games as a popular genre in gaming, there will surely be more emphasis on the Story Mode. Thanks to Mortal Kombat’s high-profile success, we may expect even more epic storytelling to come from beat ‘em ups in the years to come. Hopefully we’ll see the Fighting Game story evolve into something truly enjoyable and interactive for gamers, so that our favorite fighters continue on and have their Tales Eternally Retold.

Musing About: Tekken Tag 2 Character Customization

Posted in Arcade, Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Soulcalibur IV, Tekken, Tekken 6, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown on February 24th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Just a sampling of TTT2′s Customiza- is that a CAT on Wang’s head?

One of the most popular features in Tekken 6 was Character Customization. Now while there are purists out there who pooh-pooh playing dress ‘em up in a beat ‘em up, many are the players who enjoy pimping out their characters with the coolest, weirdest or most badass outfits. It also gave cool incentive for you to fight if you weren’t interested much in rankings or battle percentages, so you could earn that slick jacket or that killer pair of gauntlets. Or that pair or shorts.

Well, to be honest, the original arcade version of Tekken 6 had somewhat limited customization in terms of items, which was kinda-sorta remedied in the eventual sequel Bloodline Rebellion. The final Tekken 6 version added in a truckload of costumes and items and the complete hair customization feature (well, as complete as it could be). Still, the feature wasn’t as voluminous in choices as the most comparable customizable fighter- Virtua Fighter 5 (arcade), and many players complained (rightly so) that several fighters had fairly pitiful stuff to choose from (Alisa, Lars, Zafina, etc).

Well, that looks to be changed in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which promised, among other things, a revamped Character Customization feature. A glimpse of this new system could be seen in the recently-released AOU trailer.

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Tekken Tag 2′s Customization looks CRAZY!

Though it’s in Japanese, we can deduce stuff according to the visuals (as modelled by the lovely Asuka). The obvious is that there probably is going to be a lot more stuff- stuff to customize the various sections of the body- head, face, upper body, lower body, waist, arms, feet, back. The clothing so far shown on Asuka seem all new, but there are hints of old costumes returning again from the previous game.
But as the video goes on, you can see something new- Asuka seems to be wearing stuff that is normally associated with other fighters- particularly in one instance she’s wearing Nina’s Death by Degrees gloves, a vest and shirt normally seen on Julia, and items usually seen on other characters (Bryan’s shotgun, Kuma’s fish, angel wings). Lili is seen swinging a bat (previously only used by male characters). Even hair customization will be improved, with the addition of hair ornaments to the options.

It can be gathered then that clothing and items in TTT2 are universal- as in, most (if not all) may probably be available for use for all characters, though perhaps clothing may be limited to same gender. This may suggest that many costumes from the previous game will be back, as well as having new ones added. If this is true, perhaps everyone will have the same range of options, including basic stuff like options for Bare Hands and Bare Feet, which weren’t available for everyone in Tekken 6. The pic in the official site (seen at the beginning of this article) suggests a lot of new looks available in TTT2.
Having a large assortment of clothing pieces and options available for all characters should certainly solve the problem of some fighters having too little stuff, and should make for some interesting combinations. I am also hoping that instead of having multiple copies of the same item/clothing in different colors we’ll be able to change the colors of each article ourselves with a Color Mixer or similar system, such as that found in SoulCalibur IV.

It’s not known if there will be items unique to certain characters- the vid shows Kazuya using the Hammer Head item to apparently finish off his opponent by literally nailing them into the ground, while King uses an unspecified item to end his match with a sitdown piledriver/3-count pin: both seem unique or suitable only to them.

Though we may have to wait a bit for the english version of the AOU trailer to get a better idea of the new treats in store for us in TTT2, it seems very clear that the devs are planning cooler things for us. More as we get it then!

Musing About Fighting Games: Tekken VS Soulcalibur

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gaming, My Stuff, PS3, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV, Tekken, Tekken 6, Xbox360 on May 25th, 2010 by thelonegamer

Iron Fists versus Steel Blades!

It’s almost the middle of the year. All the big guns in fighting games have fired their salvoes. Now it’s all about waiting for the next wave. Tekken 7? Soulcalibur V? Super-Duper Streetfighter IV? Done that. How about something like… Tekken VS Soulcalibur? It’s a topic suggested by one of our longtime readers, so why not? What would I expect from a Mash-up Fighter starring Namco-Bandai’s two fighting franchises?

A Crazy Storyline to Tie It All In. I guess this should be required for any Crossover. How the heck can the fighters from the present meet up with those of the lost chapters of antiquity? Perhaps a shard of Soul Edge is discovered in the Tekken world, which, once handled and unleashed by some poor fool, opens a doorway or portal through the dimensions and time, linking both worlds together in a potentially disastrous bond. The good fighters from both realms must fight to sever the bond, while those seeking chaos will try to maintain it and perhaps destroy both worlds, or create a ruined new one from the ashes of both realities. OOOH…
Hopefully this story will be told through cutscenes (I prefer in realtime) where the fighters interact and converse (though hopefully in scenes more gripping and interesting than the talking-heads expos from Tekken 6′s Scenario Campaign). It will indeed be interesting to see how Mitsurugi and Kazuya react to each other…

Mitsurugi: Hey, you! You’re strong. Let’s fight!

Kazuya: Insect. (Puts up fists)

… or not. Oh well. Anyway, a Tekken VS Soulcalibur game will most probably have a nifty subtitle, as Crossover games are wont to do… how ’bout Tekken Vs Soulcalibur: Strongest Souls Clash! or Worlds Shattered by Fate! Ouch.

A Battle System that Does Justice to Both Games. Hopefully TvsS will find a way to let both fighters from either side be strong and bad-ass without being too powerful. How strong will unarmed fighters be against warriors with enchanted weapons? Maybe the Tekken Fighters can arm themselves with enchanted bracers or gauntlets (like Hei did in SC2)? Or maybe their mastery of Chi is enough to empower them against the blades of the Caliburverse? Anyway, it will be a trick to meld two games with very different fighting styles, but it surely can be done.
Perhaps the new battle system will meld elements from each side, like the Guard Impacts of Soulcalibur plus the Bound! System of Tekken. Maybe we can have Tag Team modes for some awesome pair-up pummeling. Let’s see Lightning Screw Uppercut combos into Angel Step-Triple Thrusts for a 20-hit combination. Awesome.

Big Bad Bosses. Who is pulling the strings in this Crossover-Contest? Soul Edge? The Mishimas? Devil? Yet another Gigantic Tekken Boss? Perhaps each side can have its own end-villain to take on, perhaps empowered by Soul Edge’s evil power, and perhaps using mind-controlled fighters (from either world) as it’s unwilling pawns. Friend may be pitted against friend, or good guys (and girls) against other good guys (or girls). Oh the drama!

Character Creation and Customization. Let’s see the Soulcalibur manner of Customization to rule here, meaning more control over how we dress up the fighters. Maybe we can ‘modernize’ the Calibur fighters’ look with present day fashion, or gear up the Tekken crew in fantasy armor. Or just strip everyone down to their trunks or bikinis and be done with it.

Crazy Modes. I give up… we’ll probably never see Tekken Xtreme Beach Volleyball, not in one of the canon Tekken titles. But perhaps a just-for-fun crossover fighter may be the venue to put in out-there modes like that, plus you have two stables’ worth of babes to compete in it. How ’bout the return of Tekken Bowl, but this time with the Soulcalibur cast on board as well. Tekken Tennis? Mixed pairs to the death? Hey, why not?

In any case, Tekken characters can indeed stand toe-to-toe with the sword-wielding warriors of Soulcalibur, as we’ve seen in the past. Namco-Bandai has two awesome fighting games in their stable… why not bring them together for an awesome two and a half? Who knows, it may happen. Or not. The possiblities are endless!

New Super Streetfighter IV "New Challengers" Trailer

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Soulcalibur IV, Street Fighter IV, Xbox360 on November 26th, 2009 by thelonegamer

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Alpha Males join the SSFIV cast.

IGN just posted this pretty cool trailer for Super Streetfighter IV, featuring the newly-added challengers. As previously revealed, returning Alpha fighters Cody, Adon and Guy will be available in 2010′s fighting sequel, along with T-Hawk, Deejay and Juri. The trailer also features the characters speaking in english, which shows that the dual language track feature started in the first SFIV will be back (I’ll be setting mine to Japanese, of course).

With about three to four months to go to release, I’m expecting a LOT more to be revealed before we get this brawler on our consoles. More as we get it.

Finally Got to Play Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny…

Posted in Fighting Games, Gaming, My Stuff, PSP, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV on September 18th, 2009 by thelonegamer

No, my damn PSP’s still on the fritz… but a friend of mine let me play around with his portable and copy of the game for a bit. I played it for about an hour, messing around with CAS, playing some Gauntlet and Quick Match… okay… quick impressions.

It’s Soulcalibur IV on PSP. Big surprise. It controls the same, moves the same, feels the same. Freakin’ awesome.

Not too many things to do. Really, would it have killed Project Soul to include a simple Arcade or Story mode? Even with silly anime illustration endings instead of the usual cutscene finale. Something to that effect would have helped this game a LOT in terms of the single-player experience. Quick Match is fine to just play against an opponent but it’s just not the same. Gauntlet is interesting but too focused on the various missions and fiddly. Actually, the most fun I had was in CAS, where I spent a bit too much time trying to compose my fighter’s photo… heheh…. that was neat.

Character Creation is pretty cool. In a way it’s better than the console versions due to having more items and some new options. However, the inability to customize the regular roster of characters HURTS. Still, I guess that makes the PSP CAS a complement to the console CAS, and not a full replacement.

A.I. is exceptionally good. Quick Match opponents are nasty, and I do see the CPU opponents aren’t pushovers like before. They spam moves, use combos, sidestep and so on… almost seemingly like a real player. Almost. I like.

Graphics are amazing. The characters are detailed and awesome, even if the screen just too small to appreciate it all properly. Well, it IS a PSP after all, so still, it’s an incredible achievement for the PSP. The animation quality seems very close, if not exact to the movements of the console versions, which is awesome.

I’m definitely getting this game on my own PSP, and it seems a great time-waster. I just wish the devs went a bit more into making the Single Player Experience more… conventional. As it is, it’s still a cool tool for honing your Calibur skills, but unless you regularly play with friends or online, would you need that? Oh well.

Weekend Warrior

Posted in Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PSP, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV on September 4th, 2009 by thelonegamer

Whew! Another week in and out. But for some reason, there’s still four freakin’ weeks left to September… what the heck? Oh well. What can we do to make the wait lesser aside from just doing other stuff?

My agenda for the weekend will be to have my darn PSP fixed, so I can eventually get to play Soulcalibur Broken Destiny. All the reviews have been quite good, and I’m raring to get my mitts on it. Also gonna try and play some of my new acquisitions, including Batman: Arkham Asylum. Aside from all that, I should catch up on sleep and just chill out.

Enjoy the weekend, dudes. Next week’s another week, another step forward.

Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny 1Up Review

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PSP, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV on September 2nd, 2009 by thelonegamer

The folks over at have given the down-sized Calibur their verdict. Quite a nice score, that. Check it out here.

Anyway, SCBD’s out already on sites like Play-Asia, at least in Japan and Asia, although I won’t be getting it right away thanks to my PSP being on the fritz at present. I’ll try to have it up and going over the weekend. The pocket slasher looks really slick though I have to say I am disappointed that you can’t customize the Regular Characters anymore (you can only edit colors), which I guess is the swap for the availability of P1 costume pieces into the Character Creation pieces… in this regard the console SCIV is still tops, though I really want to try out Dampierre’s crazy moves. Heheh… and what’s this about Zasalamel rambling about divorce and panty shots..?

Soulcalibur BD on Famitsu, PSP Woes

Posted in Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PSP, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV on August 24th, 2009 by thelonegamer

Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny is on it’s way- at least for Japan. The pocket slasher gets unsheathed on August 27 for gamers in Nippon. The PSP translation got a decent score of 31/40 ( 7, 8, 8, 8 ) from Famitsu of Japan.

For gamers not in Japan, the english-translated version is set for a September release… which is all right for me since my PSP is busted at this time, and it will take a while for me to have the chance (and the spare bucks) to have it fixed. And I want it to be fixed with both SC and Tekken 6 coming to the portable in the very near future. Oh well.

1Up recently had SCBD on their Gaming Night feature, and while the participating hosts testing out the game could have been a lot more… articulate… it showed off quite a bit of the game, including neat stuff like Dampierre’s ridiculously hilarious Critical Finish. Check it out if you haven’t already.

New Soulcalibur Broken Destiny Screens

Posted in Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, PSP, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur IV on August 14th, 2009 by thelonegamer

Dampierre tries to sob-story his way past a fight.

Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny on the PSP is inching closer and closer, and so far it’s looking quite smashing (or is that slashing?). The Magic Box just posted a bunch of new screenshots, most of them showing off the dapper Dampierre and the ubiquitous Kratos in action. Also, take a gander at Damp’s slick alternate outfit! Check out all the slick new screens here.

What can I say? This game looks to be a must-have, even if you have SCIV on your big main console at home. Having the Calibur Gang in your pocket wherever you go is just freakin’ awesome (and they’ll be joined by the Tekken Crew later this year). Hold onto those portables, everyone.