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Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but there IS a cameo of Mr. Destructoid in Eternity's Child. To see him, go to the Ruined Forest level. As the level loads, you will see an elevator going up a line of coins to the left of the beginning platform. You won't be able to jump on the elevator the first time around, but wait for it to come down. This will take quite a while, but be patient. Get on it once you get the chance and go up.

At the top, there's a couple platforms and winged heart baddies, but clear those and you'll see what I took a screenshot of here.

Also, protip: The she-Knuckles fairy thing's right click charge attack, when fully charged, will knock a winged heart enemy out of the sky without making it burst into smaller enemies. That should help a little bit if you're bothered by the pesky things.

There's going to be an an Anime/Tabletop/Video Game con this Sunday at Lorain County Community College. Yes, I know where Japanator is, but I tend to spend a lot more time on Destructoid and was wondering if there were any Dtoiders in and around Ohio who'd be interested in going.

Admission is free and there will be Halo 3, Rock Band, and Super Smash Bros Brawl tournaments, and, if previous years are any indication, there will be free play too. The only rule for signing up for tournaments is to sign up before it starts.

The official site has more information, but the con basically runs the gamut of geek culture: Anime, tabletop, games, cosplay, cards, and on and on. The thing I thought was interesting is that they booked Ultraball, a band that writes songs dedicated to various Pokemon.

I'll be dressing up as the TF2 Scout for the day and will definitely try to get pictures up after the con is over. It'd be awesome to see some Dtoiders at the event.

Here's a map to the campus where it's being held. The con will mainly be in Spitzer center, a large building next to a sculpture in a cul-de-sac in the parking lot.

I hope some of you'll come, it should prove to be a lot of fun.

It seems a lot of people are up in arms over the new Team Fortress 2 achievements. These 36 achievements are a lot more difficult than people were originally expecting. Normally I'd think people would just shrug it off, but since unlockable weapons are at stake, apparently this is a big deal. Or not.

Think about it. Why do you play Team Fortress 2? Is it to get the achievements? If so, then you're probably useless to the team. Who cares if you're trying to get 25 headshots? You suck as a sniper, so play something else! If you're everyone else, though, you probably play it because it's a FUN ONLINE GAME. It promotes teamwork over mouse-moving skills, it's balanced so that all 9 classes are useful but not overpowered, and it's going to be supported by Valve for a good while.

The new weapons, while interesting, are not game-unbalancing monsters. The new syringe gun heals you a bit when you hit a target--but it is impossible to get a critical hit. The new medigun, when ubercharged, gives an 100% chance to make a critical hit to whoever's being healed by the gun. This one is still unclear whether the person will be invincible also or not, but I'm willing to bet on the former. The latter would completely throw away the balance Valve worked hard to build. And the bonesaw adds percentage to ubercharge, but it's slower. And the fact is, the bonesaw isn't a weapon that a medic can use effectively in open spaces. It's a tool for taking out spies, enemy medics, and people who aren't paying attention. They give the medic more options, but they aren't a ticket to getting ahead.

Let me put it this way: only DEDICATED MEDICS will have a use for these.

According to Valve's own statistics, the medic is played about 11% of the time by all players on official Valve maps. It's certainly not the least played class, but it clearly not the most popular. 90% of the time people are playing classes that are not medic. That means 90% of the time, people should not give a crap whether or not they have access to the "critzcrieg." Even if a heavy is being zapped with it, they still need somebody healing them otherwise they'll be blasted away when they try to play Rambo.

There's really on two types of people who will get these: Cheaters and hardcore medics. The cheaters will of course, set up servers with their friends and play all the scenarios required to get the items. It won't be fun, it'll be work, and I'd be surprised if they can keep their friends' interest long enough to get all 36. Even if they get the items, then what? They can try to be an ubermedic until they find out that they actually suck as a medic anyway. And then there are the hardcore medics. They may still set up specialized scenarios, but probably less so than cheaters and in the end, they probably won't use these new weapons exclusively. Maybe they'd switch permanently to the new bonesaw, and maybe even the new syringe gun if they need health more often than crits. But the critzcrieg is not a replacement for the medigun, and the other two weapons have enough disadvantages to not be easy replacements.

Valve is not cheating you out of weapons. In fact, I think they did this smartly. They made the new weapons so hard to get that only the people who really really care will get them. I think this will prevent servers being flooded with medics because the fact is, that's a lot of time playing a class you aren't familiar with just to get a few new toys that you may not even use.

I'm even willing to bet that most cheaters won't bother. Only 3.3% of the TF2-playing world has gotten the "With friends like these..." achievement. You know, make a team of 8 with only people on your friends list? If they can't organize that, I'm willing to bet they can't organize a team to play for the weeks required to cheat and get all the achievements.*

Just play the game as whatever class you want. It's not like you're increasing your gamerscore.

*I'll admit, I didn't get it either, but then again I haven't played in TFTuesdays or FNF yet, and most of my real-life friends would rather play Dawn of War.
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How to fix Soul Calibur IV Part 2/2: Lessons from SCIII

Sorry if my last post was a bit inflammatory folks. I'm not a prude, but my last post was basically warning Namco to avoid going down the path of depending on sex appeal to sell a mediocre fighting game. Soul Calibur IV has the potential to become a kick ass title, but they need to learn from their mistakes and really make the game spotless:

Exclusive Characters: The way Namco is handling Yoda and Vader is terrible, and obviously many people on Destructoid agree. The fact is, lots of people like Star Wars in general, so forcing us to choose between Yoda and Vader is cruel. Why not go with what works, and do what you did with Soul Calibur II? That one came out on the Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube and featured a different exclusive character, FROM DIFFERENT FRANCHISES. Nintendo fanboys loved the addition of Link, but it probably wasn't as huge a deal for Xbox or PS2 owners. Spawn definitely had a more American feel for the XBox fanboys, and PS2 fans were instantly familiar with Tekken's Heihachi. Everyone went home happy. My advice? Put Vader and Yoda in both versions, and then put Marcus Fenix or Master Chief as the 360 exclusive, and either Solid Snake, Nariko, Kratos, or Ryu (Ninja Gaiden) as the PS3 exclusive.

Voices: Granted, many games have terrible voice acting, but if you're putting the effort to make these characters beautifully detailed, why not make them SOUND beautifully detailed? Write better taunts and lines for the announcer. Put some more effort into facial animations. Having them open and close their mouth, and then have nothing else change on their face, makes me feel like I'm dealing with someone about as human as G-man. Characters showing emotion would go GREAT with the sexier characters because it makes them feel like more than dolls.

AI: The AI in Soul Calibur III was frustrating. It started out easy, but it quickly ramped up to fighting lightning quick speed demons who could run circles around you, comboing you to death giving you no chance to recover. Add to that the fact that you can't adjust the difficulty level, and the single player quickly becomes an exercise in frustration. I expect to have to redo some fights a couple of times before I win, but I want to win on skill and strategy, not luck. In short, work on your difficulty curve.

Some other quick complaints:
- Organize the store better. I literally had to load between sections of the store, and it was hit and miss whether some costume accessories would work with my character.
- Let me customize existing characters, not just generic dolls. Tekken and Virtua fighter do it.
- Cut down the loading times.

Bonus points:
- When making custom characters, allow us to do more than play dress up and change hair and eyes. Let us change height, weight, age, breast size for women (bigger OR smaller), and muscle bulk. Make it so we're not just playing with dolls, we're making our own character. Allowing us to choose taunts and moves would be even better.
- Play with some more multiplayer options, like perhaps tag team or a Bushido Blade realism mode.

Good job though on getting rid of that awful Chronicles of the Sword mode. Just remember that its replacement should be actually FUN and shouldn't drag on. Soul Calibur II's Weapons Master mode wasn't too bad. If you can fix these problems, Soul Calibur IV could turn out to be an awesome fighting game. It would prove that you aren't relying on just sex to make a solid game.
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Dear Namco,
I've been casually following your Soul Calibur series since I got II for the Gamecube, and I'm rather disappointed with where it's going. Seriously, why has Tittymania struck your team so badly? Just look at what you've done:

Normally I'm not a huge fan of Ivy, but in this game I just feel sorry for her. She has a freaking tourniquet on her boobs. If she doesn't hurry up and win the fight so she can undress somewhere all airflow will be cut off and she'll need her chest amputated.

By the way, here's the progression of Sophitia from Soul Edge to Soul Calibur 4:

Awesome, so the supposedly pure Greek mother is one step away from a wardrobe malfunction with her "nursing action" triple G cup breasts.

Even my favorite non-slut, Cassandra, is testing the advantages of small, tight-fitting clothing that can easily be slashed off during a fight!

And no, Taki's boobs have not gotten any more realistic for an athletic, stealthy ninja.

Namco. You have a solid fighting system. The horizontal slash/vertical slash/kick thing works. The 8 way step makes moving around the arena fast. Heck, you already know how to make a fighting game that doesn't rely on boobs because you have the Tekken series, which is going on into number SIX. Why do you need to make this mass-market hentai crap?

Seriously, the reason I eventually sold Soul Calibur III was because I realized I was only playing it for the hot girls, and there really needs to be more than that in a fighting game to make it good. In the next article I'll go over some goofups in Soul Calibur III gameplaywise and how you can fix them and make Soul Calibur IV a truly awesome game.

The next article isn't going to be totally negative, I promise! =P
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9:35 AM on 12.31.2007


Of course it does, to you, me, or any modern gamer or technophile who gets turned on by higher pixel count. It matters to your average electronics store, who was pushing HDTV's like crazy this holiday season. Heck, local news here in the Midwest states was like watching an advertisement for HD as people from Target "informed" us about the next generation of television for low, low prices. They even finished it off with some misinformation icing: That analog TV signals will be cut off in 2009. This is true, but that only means you need a digital cable box, not an HDTV.

But what about the average person who doesn't wake up in the morning to check Destructoid or Gizmodo? Honestly, I think this is all beyond them. There are two cases I can recall this holiday season that make me think the road to total HD domination will be a long and rough one.

Case 1: I was in a Best Buy with Christmas money in hand to buy a copy of Civ IV Gold (old yes, but I didn't have it yet, so whatever.) There was for some reason only one register open in the entire store, so I got stuck waiting in a long line. Behind me was a guy hefting a small 19 inch 720p tv. Trying to make conversation and act like I wasn't a complete sociophobe, I decided to ask him what he was going to do with it. He told me he was putting it in a bedroom. Not what I meant.

I decided to try to make it clearer: "Are you going to be watching movies on it with BluRay or HD-DVD? Maybe you're going to play your 360 or PS3 on it? Maybe upgrade your cable package and just watch television with dazzling detail?" Nope. He was just going to watch standard def cable on an HD TV. He probably won't even be bothered by the fact that his picture looks like blurry shit.

Case 2: My grandma was over for the holidays. She's a nice lady, but when this happens I have to put up with her and my mother discussing politics and technology with horribly misinformed points of view. So, one time she and I were watching the local news and she asked me to explain the whole HD thing to her (yet another HD newsvertisement was on). Well, the fact that you need to pay more for HD channels was as far as I was able to get. She absolutely refused to even attempt to process ANYTHING that had to do with the technical side of the subject, and I wasn't even going that technical (720p was less expensive, but less detail. 1080p was more expensive, but more detail. That's IT!) She gives me this line that she's to old to learn anything different i.e. she doesn't care enough to bother.

I dunno, maybe I live in the wrong town and associate with the wrong people. But while I applaud all these businesses' push to move everyone to HD, looks like we're going to have to wait for an iPodesque stroke of genius to dumb down this thing to the level dumb people will understand.