The Oz Blog View about stuff while living in the Land of Oz


Game Review for the Week of Feb. 7 2012

Just what the hell is Voldo, anyway? Soul Calibur 5 is the sixth game in series to feature the V-man, and yet still no one knows what he actually is. More to the point, what does it say about the people who created him? Out of all the humans in the universe, though, real or pretend, Voldo would be pretty near the bottom of a list of people we’d like to fight in real life. Just imagine it. The horror. Soul Calibur 5’s new story mode doesn’t shed much light on the matter. Voldo does make plenty of appearances during its linear, cut-scene-and-still-image driven narrative path, but beyond the fact that he’s weird and up for a scrap at the drop of a pair of leather chaps, no one’s any the wiser. In fact, that’s a sentiment that you could use to sum up SoulCalibur 5’s story as a whole. Only those paying very close attention will be able to follow the tale of Malfested (infected with some sort of powerful nastiness) sword-wielders, the origins of Soul Edge and the true nature of perennial badass Nightmare.

If you are paying attention, though, you’ll get an insight (albeit one that seems like it’s been written by an eight-year-old) into the world of Soul Calibur and why, 17 years on from the events of Soul Calibur 4, everyone’s still hungry for that crystallised shiny Soul Edge sword. No mention of why you had to fight Yoda in space back then, though. Hmm. You spend most of the story playing as new character Patroklos as he first tries to rescue his sister Pyrrha and then embarks on an adventure with her, with story scenes punctuating scraps with arbitrary guards and standard roster characters en route. Anyone can pick up a pad and start mashing buttons in Soul Calibur 5 and they’ll get results, but pitch them against a master and they’ll be sent home packing with their kitana between their legs. While the meat of the game is largely unchanged – it’s still chunky, sexy Eurasians kicking each other in the balls and slashing each others’ chests apart – there are some significant tweaks to the flow of the action. I give it a very gnarly 3 out of 5 unicorn poops..just not what I had hoped for.
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Past UFC games have divided opinion. Critics have generally liked these ‘thinking mans fighting games’ owing to their accurate representation of MMA fights, licensed fighters and complex grapple and submissions system. Opinion from gamers is more diverse, problems with fiddly controls, too many ‘highlight’ knock downs and an online mode beset by players finding loop holes in the controls. Although we didn’t get the opportunity to go through UFC 3’s career or online modes, our first take of hands on scuffling were encouraging.
There are numerous fresh features for UFC 3, the largest of which is an available new amateur control system. Although a pro version still appears, the originally unintuitive revolving on the right thumbstick can be replaced for a much easier system of up and down flicks. You forgo some accuracy in this mode, but we discovered it made for much more diverse battles - yes its simpler to instigate grapples and submissions by clicking the stick but its subsequently easier to counter attack too. Even submission holds are more distinct thanks to a new octagon visual effect, both gamers have a bar within the graphic and the striking gamer must endeavour to conceal their challengers bar for as long as they can to force them to tap out. Sounds difficult but it actually works pretty well. The other interesting new arrival is the addition of a Pride mode. While the real establishment does not exist any more, UFC 3 features a complete Pride fighter list, complete with more loose rule system and mixed weight class fights. This time round the fights seem to be more violent than ever. Opponents faces swell up with bruises rapidly, and strikes land with more fierceness than they did previously. If you find yourself totally overpowered by a challenger You will probably feel pretty happy when the ref breaks it up. UFC Undisputed is certainly more straight forward to play - and easier to enjoy as well. We hope the online and career modes turn out to be just as exciting. I give it an absolute yummy ground and pound gogaplata 5 out of 5 unicorn poops...I feel this is the one that breaks the mold.


Now for the lighter side of things..if you want to dip into your childhood a bit on XBLA right now you can download The Simpsons Arcade game for only 400 MS points. I remember going to Pappy's Pizza on the outer road of Mo HWY 50 and pumping quarters into this game while my parents played Bingo. Great game..I got it along with Haunt which is a Kinect arcade game for 800 MS points and Quarrel which brings together Risk and Scrabble to make one of the funnest games I have played since Brain Challenge. Quarrel is available now for 800 MS points.

Hope you all enjoyed SuperBowl XLVI as we watched the New York Giants win their 4th title in franchise history. And thank you to MIA during the halftime show telling 1.5 billion people F**k You. I am now going to go run around with a P99 and a tactical knife...enjoy a no winter Midwest and we will see you in the Emerald City...Deuces Bitches.


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