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11:07 PM on 09.17.2012

Why Tekken TT2 is the Ultimate Relationship Tester

A relationship exists on a foundation of trust. I trust my friends will pick me up out of the gutter after a night out, I trust family to tolerate my cooking and I trust my partner not to laugh at me naked (too much anyway). However, all of these examples fail to test trust and by extension relationships, like Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

Both being huge Tekken fans, my girlfriend and I recently purchased the recently released Namco Bandai Games. The game bring a huge roster of Tekken characters (and for some reason Snoop Dog) to engage in two on two battles in the Iron fist tournament.

Because we Can!

We started the game out in usual manner, taking each other on in versus mode. What we didn’t discover until a little while latter was that within the game, you can chose to create a tag team that has two individual players controlling a character each. During the match, a player can tag the partner in at any time.

And this, this, is where we test trust.

We found that this game mode changed the very nature of the game. Now instead of fighting one another, we could be a team. Just like in real life (we’re Australian, so Boxing Kangaroos are a real thing here), we would work together and our very survival would depend on one another. Selecting our Team of Steve Fox and Nina Williams, we jumped on-line.

Our first match was against Kazuya and Jinpachi Mishima. We got off to surprisingly smooth start, years of round house kicks and uppercuts made us familiar with each other’s style. Unforchantly the other team was better (this should have been obvious, as Kazuya had a Top Hat) and I soon found Steve punches hitting nothing but air.

‘You’re in’ I announced and my girlfriend jumped into the receive a flurry of punches to the face. (No doubt distracted by the fashion crime of a leather Jacket being with a Top Hat). In the end we lost but instead of being bitter, we were the opposite. We had fought and died together; we endured hardships and had a great time doing it.

This experience with the game has been repeated several times with teaming up with friends and family. Playing with my younger brother, we picked the classic team of King (my brother) and Amour King (myself). Being the oldest my younger brother followed my lead. We went through a few matches with some wins and losses and at one point even managed to do one of the Kings awesome Tag moves. The experience was a different one than playing with my girlfriend but it was equally as enjoyable for different reasons.

Playing with one of my best friends, I found the experience to be different yet again. My friend, Mitchell, was the one who first introduced me to Tekken and someone who has constantly been able to defeat me throughout my Tekken carer.

I liken our teaming up to that of Goku (Mitchell) and Vegta (me). Mitchell picked Feng Wei and I went with my classic character Paul Phoenix. Our play styles are very different; with myself being very offensive and Mitchell prefer to time his strikes and use parries and grapples to great effect.

Our battles were again different experience, with both of us being too stubborn to Tag, or tagging with no warning. This caused some heated “disagreements”. Eventually we got into sync and started winning more matches than we lost. I must admit at one point I was in awe, as at one point on almost zero health Mitchell was able to skilfully defeat a much healthy team!

I found that this was truly the first game in which not only tested relations but was a also a crude simulation of my real life relationships. The different dynamics of my relationships has been reflected on the by the way the each team has played differently and I found I learnt a great deal about how I deal with things when interacting with different people.

How about you guys? Have you played the new TT2? And have you found similar effects with this Tag feature? I’d love to hear about and as always, thanks for reading![b]   read

2:49 AM on 09.03.2012

The Dark Knight visits Arkham City

Today, more than ever, the line between video games and movies is becoming increasing blurred. Games about movies (Alien Vs Predator, Terminator Salvation), movies about games (Hitman, Resident Evil & Street Fighter) and everything in-between, from toys to comic books.

In the case of video games, what this usually leads to is bad Game based movies and bad video games based on movies. This troubling trend can be evaluated by utilising the strengths of both mediums. As opposed to movies licensing games to be developed for them, why not utilises an existing gaming option?

The perfect example can be found with the Dark knight himself. The release of the Dark Knight Rises has, like many other people, got me excited for all things Batman. Batman screen savers, Batman related clothing, Batman comics and most definitely Batman games.

I now own this...

After seeing Rises, I wanted nothing more than go home and experience being Batman. This lead to me to returning to streets and rooftops of Batman’s latest video game outing: Arkham City. Arkham City is the best Batman game ever released and arguably the greatest superhero game available to date. seemly becoming aware of the difficulty in launching a fully licensed movie game, Warner brothers have attempted to deliver Dark Knight Rises via a mobile game. It's not half bad but it dose borrow heavily from Arkham city and being a mobile game, is somewhat limited in what it can do.

The release of the Dark Knight Rises concludes the dark knight trilogy, which boasts world wide acclaim and huge box office success. One cannot help but notice the missed opportunity of two of the greatest representation of the character not collaborating. With the Dark Knight existing in a more realistic setting this would be difficult but not impossible.

What I would like to see is a complimentary collaboration between the two. The films and the game have an excellent opportunity to collaborate, as they are both under the Warner Brothers banner (Warner Brothers interactive Entertainment and Warner Brothers Studio respectively).

This could be done by having by utilising Arkham City’s challenge modes and alternative character costumes. An ideal Dark Knight Package would make available both of the Batman’s costumes from the movies and the latest cat women costume. These costumes would come with their own challenge maps based on the different setting from within the films.

As this is a celebration of the Dark Knight Trilogy, the levels don’t have to be limited to the Dark Knight Rises. The levels could be available from all the films. For example the levels could include the docks from the first film where batman first makes he’s presence know. The Narrows would also be a great option.

From ‘The Dark Knight’ we could have the Offices from Hong Kong, the night Club and the construction site where Batman has his showdown with the joker. From Dark Knight Rises we could have the Sewers, with Bane being a Boss for the final wave, We could also have the prison and Town square.

Modders with the PC version of Arkham City bring these ideas to life!

Obviously, there are a few issues with this; with the Dark Knight existing in a more realistic setting this would be difficult but not impossible. Furthermore, the combat styles of the two mediums are completely different, with the Dark Knights realistic grounded approach having the potential to clash with Arkham Cities free flow combat.

However, I believe that these are minor issues in the overall scheme of things. I believe that this would be a great way to compliment the Dark knight Trilogy without damaging the films or the games reputation.

In conclusion, I’d like to ask you the gamers what you think of this? Do think would work? Would you buy it? Or is this just a cheap way to cash in on the movie?   read

6:43 PM on 08.14.2012

Hands on with Sleeping Dogs

Recently, I won a competition that allowed me to get some hands on time with the upcoming United Front Games title: Sleeping Dogs. What follows is a description of the evening and my impressions from the game after getting some hands on time with it.

To set the scene, the evening was held in central Sydney, at the swanky News limited building. Upon passing though security, we were seated in mini theatre room. After a short wait for late arrivals, the evening began.

First off, the evening began with a personalised message from the producer of United Front Games, Jeff O’Connell . The producer spoke about what other media influenced the game, such as the Internal Affairs Movies, why the team loved the game in general hoped that we like the game.

It was a nice personal touch that gave a small insight into the influences of the game. This was followed by the newest trailer for the game, which showed kung Fu and things exploding in slow motion (which is never a bad thing in my book!) After this we got to see a level of the game played though.

The level shows our hero, Wei Shen, escaping from a construction site. The level demonstrated some of the abilities Wei has to use the environment in combat. This involved impaling enemies on exposed pipes, Lighting them on fire from stove tops and decapitating them with circular saws. These environmental elements add a great deal of variety and violence to the combat.

Following the game demo, we were treated to a fan made film. The film was amazingly brutal and was a great way to get you pumped up for the game. You can watch it here (I highly recommend checking it out

Finally, following one last trailer that was more stories based than explosion based, we were ushered into another room to try out the game. The room was filled plasma TV’s hooked to Xboxes, all loaded with a playedle demo ofas well as having a fully stocked bar and plenty of Asian themed food. After helping myself to some Beer and spring rolls, I got stuck in to the game.

First off, the game looks great. Wei Shen character model is extremely detailed and the way he moves is very organic. The city and environment itself also looks amazing, especially at night time. NPC’s looks great and I had to look hard to find two that looked the same during my play though.

The full game was not available to play, instead there were five levels to select from each display the different elements of game play. The first section I chose was a warehouse level, which had emphasis on the hand to hand combat. Much has been said about the combat in Sleeping Dogs, with many referenced being made to Arkham City style combat.

The combat of Sleeping dogs dose feature some similarities to Arkham city. The basic attack buttons are the same, with one for attacking and one for parrying. The attack button dose multiple different combos depending on which way you point the joystick.

The paries are the exact same as Arkham, with a one button being used to pary an opponent. The only difference being that the attacking NPC will flash red when they are about to perform a paraiable attack. On top of this there is a grab button, which you use to do attack with objects within the environment.

Objects that the player is able to interact with highlight red and there always seems too be several options available in any given area. I made great use of a phone booth, car door and an air conditioning unit. Although not perfect, the fights are remenistant of the kung fuu movies they are paying homage to and as a result their a lot of fun.

Next up was the gun play. Sleeping dogs takes many of it’s shooting mechanics from current popular titles most notably uncharted series and Max Payne. The third person over the shoulder shooting is accurate and responsive. Moving between cover is smooth and popping up and shooting is one quick and easy motion.

The bullet time in the game is active whenever you slide over an object, otherwise it can be activated at any time manually. Although there is no Max Payne style slow mo dive, the bullet time in the game works well and adds another layer to the gun combat, especially when you combine it with melee combat.

The section I played had me in a shot out in a night club and after gunning down several rival gang members in bullet time; I shot the last one in the leg and finished him off by jump kicking his face into a wall. I that this combination of Bullet time, gunplay and hand melee combat was a great way to experience the combat.

The third section was the driving. To me, this was the most pleasant surprise of the game. Ever since GTA 4, I have had low expectations of driving in the sand box genre. Imagine my surprise than, when not only did driving not feel like the car made out of cement but it was fun, really fun! Driving in sleeping Dogs feels like your in a racing game.

The controls are tight and responsive, making driving enjoyable as opposed to chore. Throughout the demo I tried several different vehicles and they all had a distinct feel to them. The stand out feature of the driving however was the new ‘slam’ feature.
The slam feature allows you to violently slam your vehicle straight, left or right. The slam quickly jerks the car in the chosen direction and can have devastating effects if used tactfully. In races, using the slam feature can dramatically change the dynamic of the race, by means of you actively attempting to take out other races.

Although this is not new racing tactic, the slam allows you do it more precisely and as a result, it is much more satisfying. The feature is also incredibly destructive to use on side walks and civilian, if you are so inclined (which lets face, who isn’t?)

Overall, I found the game to a really enjoyable experience. Each of the game different sections work well and feel very polished. The fighting section feels like a fighting game, the shooting sections feel like a shooting game and the driving feels like a racing game. In short, each section feels polished enough to stand on it’s own. These elements, Combined with an integrating story and unique location make for an incredibly enjoyable game and one that I myself will be purchasing and one that I would highly recommend to others.   read

5:57 AM on 06.19.2012

El Presidente: Gaming within a game

1999, For console gamers, online multiplayer was in the distant future and at the time, would have been assumed to be a sex act by anyone that heard it. In my little corner of the globe the Nintendo 64 rained supreme for one reason: 4 player multilayer.

If Resident Evil was a family bonding game, then the N64 was friend bonding over killing each other. My house was located on the way to school, so many of my friends would stop by my house before first class. Here I would play host to morning battle royals!

Super Smash Brothers, Perfect Dark, Mario Kart, Duke Nukem 64 and of course Golden Eye where all on heavy rotation. If Resident Evil was a family bonding game, then the N64 was friends bonding over killing each other in a variety of ways.

I had a friend who could not play Smash Brothers in the slightest, so he would simply pick Captain Falcon and spam falcon punch! (which was annoyingly successful) In Perfect Dark, we would creat our own subside bombers by sticking timed proximity mines to them. Another friend would spend an entire match loading the glass bridge on Perfect Dark with proximity Mines, Just blow it all to hell on one enemy (‘some men just want to watch the world burn…or explode…you get the point)

In Duke 64, we discovered that in co-op mode, if you do not destroy the bodies of dead enemies, two enemies respawned for every one enemy body. Before you know it, the level became pack with impossible amounts of enemies, to the point were you would respawn and die within 30 seconds! (I guess you could say this was our self invented version of ‘hoard’ Mode)’

Now, with Golden Eye being our most popular game, we found new and creative ways to keep it interesting. This involved creating our own game modes, the most prominent of which was a game we called: El Presidente.

El Presidente came from our group having a variety of various skill levels within our group of gamers. (There could be up to 6 friends at my house before school) The skilled players tended to dominate most rounds, so we decided to try and shake things up a bit, by making it easier for the less skilled players and harder for the skilled players.

How it worked, was one player would play as Jaws, with 10 + health ( Combined with body amour this made him near indestructible), two other players (more skilled) were on normal health and could only utilise small arms (Pistol, sub machine gun, as well as explosives) the final player: El Presidente was on -10 health and could only use a pistol.

The aim of the game was that the two ‘normal’ players were the body guards of El Presidente, and that it was jaws job to kill him by any means nessciary. This Game was best played on facility, with Mines or grenades as the weapons choice. With everything in place, controlled chaos would ensue. Battling 10 +health jaws was like a mini boss battle, he was unrelenting and near indestructible. (Within our group he was often played by our friend Andy, who although terrible at Golden Eye, would go on to become awesome at COD)

To keep the game fair as well, whoever played El Presidente had to keep on the move, making it harder to protect him. This resulted in body guards hurling themselves into hallways filled with proximity mines to clear a path for him or charging ahead to face Jaws alone. To slow Jaws pursuit bodyguards would fill a hall with remote mines, stand in the hall, empty rounds into Jaws and then we he got close, detonate the mines. As a last ditch effort, a guard would run at Jaws with the pin of a grenade pulled exploding it in his face.

All of these efforts usually resulted in a slightly injured Jaws and very dead body guards. As you can imagine, this course of events turned out very poorly for El Presidente. The image of jaws emerging from a smoke filled hallway after a an explosion is one of my best memories of gaming with my friends. (That and we invented a theme song for El Presidente, which was sang constantly throughout the game. )

I’d love to hear about any of your personal games you invented within games, wether the old or new, the more the better! As always, thanks for reading!   read

2:31 AM on 06.14.2012

Resident Evil: A Family Affair

For the first time ever, I felt fear and dread. I was Stranded in a zombie infested police station with little ammo and no idea what to do next. As run though a deserted blood stained hallway, my thoughts on what to do next are interrupted by several ghouls bursting though the windows! With little health or ammo, I run and I don’t stop.

As many of you have guessed, I’m talking about resident evil 2 and at age 14, it was my first experience not only with the ‘Survival Horror’ genre but with the feeling of fear in a video game. Never before had I experienced a game that left you feeling utterly helpless, where the goal was not to win but simply to survive by any means necessary. At such a young age, this game shot to my second biggest fear, the first being girls…

Resident evil is not just a game, in my family, it’s a religion. My brother, sister and myself have played multiple versions of the games on multiple consoles, multiple times. Collectively we have accumulated thousands of hours of resident Evil Gameplay beaten us each of us have achieved our own moments of greatness over our history with the games.

My brother was the master of puzzles able to figure out, my sister was the first of us to defeat RE 4 on professional, slaying the U3 with ease. (My brother and I died multiple times attempting this) and I was the first in my family to complete RE2 four times though with both Leon and Clair on the hardest difficulty.

Growing up with Resident Evil became a bonding experience between me and my siblings due to our shared goals and collective struggle. We discussed the best weapons and tactics for survival (save the machine for play though B, to use against the tyrant), how to solve the water puzzle, buy the RPG to save ammo when going to face the first El Gigante and of the best human sacrifices for survival.

It is because of feeling like that, that I have stayed with the resident Evil franchise my whole life. Wether it was running from zombie dogs, being poisoned by giant plant, or facing off with nemesis himself I loved Resident Evil and the rush that came with the game, that crazy rush of stress and fear, that is only offset by the highs of success against great odds.

Resident Evil is sprinting and dodging though an eerie hallway full of zombies, shooting a licker in the face with your last shotgun shell and standing your ground against impossible monsters…all to get the god dam Club Key

And this, ladies and gentlemen brings me to my most anticipated game of 2012: Resident Evil 6. As I have grown, so too has the Resident Evil series. With RE4 came a whole new experience: New smarter enemies, stunning new graphics and a whole new control scheme Resident Evil 4 was a breath of fresh air to the series.
Resident Evil 5 followed this and although a good game, it was not what I had come to love in the Resident Evil Series. It’s hard to have an atmosphere of fear in a sunny African village. (RE 5 is a whole other blog.)

From what I’ve seen of RE 6, it seems to be trying mesh both old and new, which I think is a great idea as I’ve been missing me some zombies! That and this can help breach the gap between classic and new Resident Evil Fans, similar to how Nemesis meshed Brads face with his hand…

Having said this, I hope that with the reintroduction of old enemies, that this also reflects an effort on the series part to bring back some of the tension and scares of the past. Being able to move and shoot, doge and roll empower the player to a great degree and this in turn needs to be offset by more dangerous enemies and a more terrifying atmosphere. From what I have seen of the game, it seems that Capcom is striving to achieve this and, as a fan of the series, I can only hope they succeed.   read

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