God Of War: This Is The Real Deal

Posted in Best / Worst, Games with tags on April 22, 2018 by slateman

I’ve only just begun, but I’ve already uttered the famous words, “This represents everything I love about videogames.” Just a few hours in and I’m mystified by the world, intrigued by Kratos’s relationship with his son and left in awe at how spectacular the game looks. It’s simply amazing and is the best-looking videogame I’ve ever feasted my eyes upon.

And so to commemorate a mere portion of the game, I’m sharing some of that visual splendor. These are spoilers, of course, but holy shit, do they look good! I will be back with more, that is a certainty. Oh, and Ghost Of Sparta was a surprising title. It was a lot of fun, had an excellent story and it’s a game I’m glad to have gone back to consume. Unfortunately, GOW: Ascension simply couldn’t hold my interest. It’s OK. I’ll dare say the current God Of War may very well be the series’ best. Bold words after a few scant hours. That’s a testament to just how good things are going so far! OK, enough ado! Spoilers ahead!

God Of War Is Coming! A Look Back

Posted in Blog, Games with tags , on April 12, 2018 by slateman

The image shown here displays a few years of GoW history. However it omits my two playthroughs of the original on the PS2 and one run through its sequel. Yeah, I suppose I played 1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 2, 3, A, COA, GOS, if you had to really break it down, not counting incomplete playthroughs of those PSP games back in the day.

And as shallow as the games truly are, they were enough to beckon me to return, as made evident here. Now, I’ve only just begun Ghost of Sparta and never finished Ascension and so I’m by no means the series’ biggest fan. However I do believe that God Of War III’s finale was the perfect way to close the series out. It finished the tale and did so in utterly brutal fashion. And while they revisited it later, the trilogy feels very much complete and actually concise once you cut out the other three unnecessary games.

But in only eight days the series takes an enormous leap forward into Scandinavia! Both the story and the setting intrigue me and the visual splendor will be a marvel to behold. Hell, the remaster of 3 was stunning! I am thoroughly excited about the game’s return. Now, the change in tone will be as substantial as the new locale. Atreus. A bearded Kratos playing father. No more chain blades. I, for one, look forward to the new GOW formula. Reviews are glowing, but you can tell they’re holding back on story and gameplay info. What’s going on? How did Kratos’ new wife die? Wait, who is she and why is he there? It’s refreshing to know these details aren’t flowing from the developers and publisher. That restraint will help millions go into this game blindly, just as it should be. It’s hard to believe that 13 years have passed since the first game landed. I was still living in NY, to give that perspective. It’s been eight years since GOW III closed the trilogy out! I suppose amidst all that waiting, one final week should be easy. But some perfect-10 scores only made me thirst for more. April 20th cannot come soon enough!

Kalmah Get! Album Of The Year?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music with tags on April 6, 2018 by slateman

The mighty Finns return with album # 8 trying to trump the masterpiece that was Seventh Swamphony. The first singles didn’t win me over, but then again neither did the title track of album #7 and I’m thinking that may be top-20 ever. Really.

So, with the arrival of Palo – is Kalmah a shoe-in for yet another AotY victory? They took 2013, narrowly missed 2010, and won three times in the ’00s. Only fellow Finnish metalers Moonsorrow even mustered three AotY titles – could Kalmah make this their fifth?

Well, hold on now. We’ve got the mighty return of Dimmu Borgir ahead, Amorphis and even an Abbath-less Immortal record looming. However, neither of the two Norwegian bands ever captured an annual crown and Amorphis last flew their blue-and-white 24 years ago with 1994’s AotY Tales From The Thousand Lakes, truly a genre-defining album.

While some stragglers could pose a threat, there’s only one I can currently predict to genuinely battle the swamplords for the title. Yes, At The Gates is back! We’ve been treated to a pair of tracks from their second post-hiatus album: one an average filler song and the other which could vie for the best ATG riff ever written. That thing is a monster and made me salivate for the LP a mere eight seconds into the title track. The album arrives in six short weeks, plenty of time to devour this Kalmah opus.

And speaking of…just being a new Kalmah record is hardly enough to secure top honors for the year. Subsequent listens of those first singles has really gotten me on board, but some of the middle tracks haven’t hooked me yet. It ends well, with catchy grooves and some bloody-fucking-fast blastbeats. However, I’m not fully convinced it’ll lie atop 2018’s heap of music just yet. But come to think of it, the same thing happened with Vintersorg just last year. Let’s check back in a few weeks. They’ll inevitably reclaim the title as my top-played band, but beyond that – who knows. ATG might very well be that goddamn good!!!

Star Wars Rebels – Please Don’t End!

Posted in Movies with tags on March 4, 2018 by slateman

I can say with confidence that Star Wars Rebels and specifically, some of its awe-inspiring episodes, are every bit as good as any of the blockbuster films. The darksaber episode and Kanan’s end were just remarkable entries into the SW canon and they are as memorable as any Luke moment IMO.

As I await the finale of this spectacular show, I figured I’d share two snapshots from that legendary Kanan episode which had both my and my children gasping in shock!

Platinum #25 – Ranking The Hardest

Posted in Best / Worst, Bloodborne, Games, Lists on March 4, 2018 by slateman

I succeeded in getting my 25th platinum trophy this morning: the brutal Bloodborne, a game I formerly abandoned, deeming it way too difficult. But after returning, I discovered just what a brilliant masterpiece it truly was. The lore, the visuals, the gameplay: utter remarkable. And getting that platinum required some serious time and dedication. But was it the hardest of all my platinums?

25 is an impressive number, I might say, and I can genuinely recall getting each and every one of them. However, with two being My Name Is Mayo, suffice to say they were not all significantly difficult. I thought I’d run through them all looking at which was the most grueling. To start, here are the 25 in alphabetical order.

  1. Bloodborne
  2. Borderlands
  3. Color Guardians
  4. Far Cry Primal
  5. Guacamelee!
  6. Horizon: Zero Dawn
  7. Lego: The Hobbit
  8. Lego: The Lord Of The Rings
  9. Lego: Marvel Super Heroes
  10. Lego: Pirates Of The Caribbean
  11. My Name Is Mayo (PS4 & Vita)
  12. Resident Evil 5
  13. Resogun
  14. Rocket League
  15. Tales From The Borderlands
  16. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
  17. Uncharted
  18. Uncharted 2
  19. Uncharted 3
  20. Uncharted 4
  21. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
  22. Walking Dead, The: Season One
  23. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward
  24. Zero Time Dilemma

The easiest would clearly be the absurd game about hitting a mayo jar. Next to that would be both the Telltale games: The Walking Dead and Borderlands as simply beating the game rewarded me with the plat. Similarly, the two Zero Nonary Games platinums benefited from some guide help, but neither required any actual dexterity.

Most of the Lego games are rather straightforward. Though some had challenging sections, they reside low on this list. Now we’ve covered 10 of the 25. The open-world games like Horizon and Far Cry Primal were both fun checklists of tasks. Rocket League was similar – not difficult, just time consuming and it was made easier when they changed the requirements for one of the trophies. THPSHD was a tough one, as I got stuck on that final trophy for years. Four-and-a-half to be specific. But a glitch (Robomodo + glitch = surprise!?!) allowed me to achieve it with utter ease. Color Guardians had some really tough segments but glitches worked against me here: I had to re-do entire stages, acing them repeatedly to get the trophy to pop. Live by the glitch and die by the glitch!

Now at 15, we have 10 left and things are getting a bit more difficult. Half of those are Uncharted games and not all were particularly challenging. The latest one had so many save points and auto-locking whereas the first had three specific, crushing sections on the highest difficulty. Oh what a nightmare those were!

Guacamelee! required some major start-over sections – repeatedly dying and retrying and dying again. Resident Evil 5’s professional difficulty was particularly trying. However, doing so in co-op really alleviated the challenge. That stupid troll segment was just annoying as hell though and almost made me quit that attempt.

Now I’m left with Bloodborne, Resogun and Borderlands. The latter took me over two years to finish, but with some high-level friends, it wasn’t all too brutal. Resogun was a solid challenge and the PSN says only 3.1% of players actually platinumed it. Bloodborne on the other hand shows 7.3%, a surprisingly-high figure. Now that we’re tossing figures out, Uncharted 3 and 4 are listed at 1.3% and 0.8% – Wat? o_0 Anyhow, back to things, while Resogun was indeed a chore, it was manageable in short spurts. Bloodborne on the other hand was an incessant trial of repetition, memorization and perfection.

The boss fights were maniacal: Blood-Starved Beast, Martyr Logarius, Rom the Annoying-As-Shit Spider, that Watchdog Of The Old Lords and that damn Pthumerian Descendant…the list goes on. That whole Defiled Chalice Dungeon (aka the ‘you inexplicably have only 50% of your normal health, good luck!’ dungeon) was brutal. Then I had to fight Rom again. And Blood-Starved Beast. Holy shit, some of these guys I was stuck on for days. I genuinely disliked myself during those days.

So, higher percentage or not, (PSNProfiles shows 23.8% got this platinum) I don’t care. This was a marathon trophy that beat me down repeatedly and this doesn’t mention just how bloody hard those opening hours were. And by hours, I really mean like 30 minutes, because I died 47 times just learning how the game worked. Brutal, I tell you! And so after looking at its two dozen platinum competitors, I really have no qualm in claiming that Bloodborne was my hardest platinum. It was my most rewarding and in some ways the most fun. It wasn’t without issues, of course, but they were worth overcoming to achieve the pinnacle of Playstation gaming.

Oh, and I tossed up some BB images from the latter parts of the game, for anyone interested.

Bloodborne: The Halfway-Done Review

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Bloodborne, Games with tags on February 4, 2018 by slateman


I’m somewhere in the middle of Bloodborne. Some gamers could beat it much more quickly, but a) I’m an old, filthy casual and b) this game is difficult! So, while I’m in the midst of the madness, I thought I’d share some thoughts on one of the best games of 2015. In fact, while it won’t likely usurp that year’s GotY, it will assuredly take over the New IP GotY from Rocket League.

First off, as I mentioned earlier, this game is gorgeous. The eerie gloominess plagues every facet of this game. It instills a genuine sense of fear and dread about what is lurking in that corner. When you approach that hazy fog and…OMFG GET AWAY! I don’t particularly like jump scares, but this simply has me spinning the camera around constantly, worried at every turn about whatever hideous, nightmare-inducing creation could be waiting for my approach.

However, when I’m spinnning that camera incessantly, I’ve noticed issues with the game’s frame rate. As a non-videophile, it’s something I’ve never noticed in any other game before. That stuttering can be jarring though, especially when there are several enemies on-screen. In addition, the lock-on system falters: in some cases, rolling away from an enemy or group, a click of the lock-on button merely refocuses your camera. Then, peering into nothingness, they feast on your flesh. Frustrating indeed.

But for those few gripes, I’m greeted with a half-dozen awe-inspiring moments. The changing-world demands exploration. The lack of true direction is a fresh take on the hand-holding games of the past decade plus. I don’t really know what that new item does but I can’t inspect it now; grotesque baddies are surrounding me. And there are secrets virtually everywhere. It’s similar to Mario’s adventures which reward you with exploration all while being virtually nothing like Mario whatsoever.

The combat has taken me quite some time to really grasp. The beginning was just so brutally difficult, partly as learning the systems and layout was so unique. Well, unique to a non-Souls player at least. That difficulty is sometimes compounded on a cheap feel. When an enemy or three surround you, your character can get trapped or hit consistently with no reprieve or manner of escape. It’s frustrating when your 80% health is depleted without the ability to counter or retreat. Boss battles can do this, particularly with the small environments they can be in.

But victory against those odds is wonderfully-rewarding. With my heart utterly racing, those last strikes give much-needed relief to the high-anxiety stressfests that some battles are. But you never feel safe (refer to the 80% health comment above) and it’s only when PREY SLAUGHTERED appears that you can exhale.

With its non-linear paths, it goes against so many video-game tropes which leave an “anything can happen” feeling. It’s fresh, curious and beautiful, in a dreadful way. I’m hoping no future boss battle turns me off as much as Rom did (and, earlier on, the Blood-Starved Beast). I don’t know if a platinum trophy is possible, but my eyes are on the prize. Loving this game right now.

[Compare this last screenshot from the one in my previous post. It’s amazing how the world changes.]

Bloodborne: Dripping In Richness

Posted in Best / Worst, Games, Resident Evil with tags on January 25, 2018 by slateman

I played Bloodborne a few years ago and, like many others, didn’t get all too far into its campaign. Its brutal difficulty required time. Time to learn how the game works, how it functions, how not to get destroyed. And so, I shipped it back to GameFly and didn’t look back. However, in late-2017, I kept coming across comments and reviews claiming its brilliance was not to be missed. Hmmmm…

And the wait began for a sale. It was $8 a while back but I missed that. However, a $14 GotY-edition sale hit and I decided to jump back in. And immediately I got pummeled. Its difficulty has not been overrated.

As the arduous path leads you towards accomplishment, I reveled in the game’s incredible art design. Lurking around every corner is wondrous attention to detail and grim, macabre backdrops. Every enemy demands respect, as even the earlier ones can end your hunt prematurely. While the Souls games have been widely heralded as classics, I only ever tried the first, and briefly, in an age long past. Learning the game’s nuances is as important as leveling up your character. Arriving at Hemwick Charnel Lane, I marveled at its ghastly beauty before being defeated by a gang of hideous and genuinely-frightening witches. The game’s world is utterly gorgeous in its decay. No title has ever captured my interest quite like this one, nor has any painted such grim environs. Much like Resident Evil before it, I actually fear going down that path or entering that house in shambles. As much as I want to gaze upon this world around me, the lurking doom keeps a sense of anxiety present at all times.

On the downside, the tough-as-nails difficulty is severely limiting my success and the elation of besting a boss isn’t always worth the frustration of getting killed a dozen times. As much as I want to finish this game, I do fear the likelihood of it happening. I write this at yet another impasse: two bosses stand in my way. We shall see how my progress goes, but in the meantime I wanted to share just a solitary image of the game’s terrible beauty.

Edit: Don’t ask me how, but those two bosses have been downed with another on my first attempt. Booyah! Now I don’t quite know where to go, but I can’t wait to see what more the game has in store for me.

Game Of The Year 2017

Posted in Best / Worst, Games, Lists, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Uncharted on January 1, 2018 by slateman

A few months ago I listed the games I’d beaten in 2017 but of course, not all of them were actually from last year. In fact, a majority of them weren’t. While my trophy list shows a varied year with a fair share of games, very few were 2017 titles. Here is the brief list of games I played last year:

  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
  • Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite
  • Nex Machina
  • Nier Automata
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  • Tekken 7
  • Uncharted: Lost Legacy

Now, it’s easy to whittle down some items. Neither fighting game will win, Nier Automata didn’t convince me in the few hours I played it so far and FFXII is a decade-old remake. That doesn’t leave much else. Oh, Nex Machina was fun, but by no means was it the year’s best.

So we’re down to Horizon Zero Dawn, RE7 and UC. The latter was fun that trimmed a lot of excess out, but UC4 won GotY in 2016.

Horizon Zero Dawn already not once, but twice. The open-world, third-person genre may be overdone, but I’m rather selective in the games I end up playing. Therefore, I’ve skipped out on a lot. In any event, the entire game was a remarkable experience. Its deep gameplay, gorgeous world and genuinely-interesting story kept me intrigued and curious up until the very end. Aloy was well-written and likable and the support cast was fun. I loved getting this game’s platinum trophy.

However, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard was an insane experience. Its claustrophobic first-person view created a tension unrivaled in most games. The entire Mia introduction was insane, gloriously unsettling and most-importantly, memorable. It joins my other favorite moments in gaming and my review began simply with my repeated sentiment, “This is terrifying.” None of the game’s follow-up DLC really compelled me to return and beating Mia is the only thing between me and the game’s platinum trophy, but that’s OK. RE7’s experience was a worthy follow-up to the series’ legacy while not suffering from that loyalty to its history. The game was a phenomenal addition to the convoluted canon and represents my 2017 Game Of The Year.

It’s worth noting in my full listing that Horizon Zero Dawn still received the New IP GotY recognition.

It’s also worthy of mention the games I missed in 2017. Chief among them is Super Mario Odyssey which, according to reviews, looks like it’s right up my alley. I may have to come back to remedy this list at some date in the future. It may be a few years though.

Finally…2018. Here’s a list of potential GotY winners based on hype alone. I’ll put them in order too of potential best-to-worst, with no basis whatsoever. Wow…there are some good games coming up!!!!!

  • God Of War?
  • Red Dead Redemption 2?
  • Ghost Of Tsushima?
  • The Last Of Us: Part 2?
  • Days Gone?
  • Far Cry 5?
  • Metal Gear Survive?
  • Crackdown 3? (Haha, we all know that’ll never come out)
  • Darksiders III?

SF 30th Anniversary Collection: Thoughts & Speculation

Posted in Blog, Games, Street Fighter on December 26, 2017 by slateman

My excitement level for the SF30AC release is enormous but I must temper those expectations with a reality check. I’ve already written about these concerns, but I wanted to take the time to give an in-depth look at what these “arcade perfect” releases might contain. I truly believe this is one of Capcom’s greatest chances here. This could be a collection to remember forever, but a few missteps could leave us with a very empty feeling.

To start, we should look at the late ’90s. After a long wait of high expectations, Playstation and Saturn owners were treated to the first Street Fighter Collection, a disappointing two-disc compilation which was lacking the initial three releases of SFII. Of course, they would be issued later, with a few perks, as Street Fighter Collection 2. These were mostly bare-bones releases that left a bad taste in the mouth of fans even though the latter set the stage for Hyper Street Fighter II and HSF Zero.

We can fast-forward to 2006 when Capcom put out Street Fighter Zero: Fighters’ Generation. Unlike the former collection, this was utterly packed with modes, features and perks. Its sound test featured virtually every SF song ever. There were training modes in all games and dynamic battle was also present. It also featured Pocket Fighter! But the most impressive and most important part of this collection was the ability to play alternate versions with dip-switch access. The base roster of games (Zero, Z2, Z2A and Z3) exceeded the American and European versions by including a few items. It came with the American version of Alpha 2 (which had Evil Ryu) and the arcade version of Zero 2 Alpha (in addition to Z2’/A2G). It may be minor, but that attention to completion and to detail is just wonderful. Dip switches helped change every portion of each game. It changed the number of Vega’s Psycho Shots, it changed voices, dizzy effects, animations…Very infrequently are more options worse than fewer.

And that’s not even getting to Hyper Street Fighter Zero, a holy shit package that is fun, over-the-top and utterly broken. But that’s not a bad thing. I’m not even going to speculate about a MUGEN-inspired SF mishmash that simply will never happen in this collection.

And this leads us to SF30AC. The game promises arcade versions of twelve games, online support for four of them.
It also features:

  • Interactive Timeline – Could be cool for a visit or two.
  • Concept Art – I love art galleries.
  • Music Archive – How complete will this be? Can we change the soundtracks in each game?
  • Sprite Viewers – This could be really cool.
  • Background Wallpapers – There appears to be a ton of these.
  • Save States – Good for short sessions.

But the announcement doesn’t say anything about:

  • Training Mode – This is a must, this collection needs this!!!
  • Dramatic Battle – This was in all the Zero games.
  • Achievements & Trophies – Will these be like SFIII:3SOE and MVC:O?
  • Alternate Versions – Read more below.

I don’t particularly need dramatic mode, but the idea is that merely having arcade and online modes will feel a bit empty. I’m not expecting SFZ3UU Mode Mania or anything, just hoping for more than two basic modes.

More importantly, training is a necessity and easily implemented. All of these games have had a training option in a home conversion in the past.

Most importantly is finding that one tr00 arcade version to play as. Some of these are going to be very simple choices. However, for others, like Zero 3, it’s not an easy choice. For this title, we know we won’t be getting the bonus characters found in the GBA or PSP port. That’s fine. But will we see the original arcade release with 25 base fighters? Or are we looking at the Naomi version of SFZ3 Upper which, with its 33 fighters, many feel is less “pure”. There’s no real right answer here, but I would be disappointed if it were the former. Certainly Capcom has to choose one to represent the online mode, but one must hope that both would be available for offline play, much like they were in SFZFG.

And to me, this is the biggest question about the upcoming compendium of fighters. Which versions will we get? So, for completion purposes, I wanted to look at which is which, assuming we don’t get a true compendium like Fighters’ Generation was.

Street Fighter

Only one version really exists for this game, outside of its prototype. This has been included in other collections over the past few years, on a bevy of platforms. I expect very little out of this one but its inclusion is nice.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior – 22nd May, 1991

Initial boards were issues in February with its final release in May. The 910522 ROM is certain to be used. I believe this fixed some of the early glitches (particularly with Guile). Either way, it’s classic and performing some of Guile’s heavy combos are incredibly impressive!

Street Fighter II’: Champion Edition – 3rd August, 1992

Nine months on, the first CE board was issued and later saw two revisions. The first cabinets were shipped in March, an updated ROM was seen in May and a final version came out in August. These fixed various bugs.

Street Fighter II’ Turbo: Hyper Fighting – 9th December, 1992

Due to the sheer number of bootleg ROMs, SFIIT came out merely months after CE’s final update. There were no revisions to this release. I don’t know how authentic the Xbox 360 version was, but this won’t be the first time Hyper Fighting will be online.

Super Street Fighter II – 5th October, 1993

The first SF CPSII board was issued in several regions. Though dated separately, there appears to be only two main versions, one in September and another in October of 1993. We’ll be seeing this version of SSFII.

Super Street Fighter II X – 23rd March, 1994 / 29th May, 1994

The final major SFII entry arrived merely five months after SSFII. The U.S. only received one update to the February 1994 ROM. However, the Dreamcast version in 2000 listed a different date (the second above) and also got an updated revision (00/12/22) which is likely the source of Tien Gouki. That title also shows a ??/??/?? revision which, well, we don’t know much about.

In addition, it’s all but certain we won’t see any changes found in the multitude of other versions of the game, in particular HD Remix and this year’s USFII. Considering its long-revered status, staying true to the final arcade revision is hardly a bad thing and it’ll be the first time the original version will be playable online.

Street Fighter Zero – 27th July, 1995

There were up to four different versions of SFZ though certain territories, like the U.S., only received one. On SFZFG three were selectable, the last being just seven weeks older than the first. Oh, I remember the summer of ’95 well. I thought being able to play as Adon was so cool. It’s going to be nice having this game playable. Outside of the PS1 version being made available on the PSN, SFZFG is the only release in the last 20 years.

Street Fighter Zero 2 – 30th April, 1996

Several revisions exist to this game. The last, which arrived in Brazil, is likely just the 30th April version. Recall that Evil Ryu was playable in the U.S. version and not in the final Japanese revision. Considering the game’s popularity, this may be the game we receive.

Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha – 5th August, 1996

Z2 may be popular, but this title is the best of all the SF games IMO. It was issued in four different territories on three different dates but all are likely the same version. The date above is the Japanese date.

This game was later modified for the home version of the aforementioned Street Fighter Collection. There it was given the title SF Zero 2′ (JPN), SF Alpha 2′ (EU) and SF Alpha 2 Gold (US). These home versions are not the same as the arcade version, however. The differences are minor, but each is better than the base Z3.

The real question is whether any of these games will be featured at all in the SF30AC. I genuinely feel no collection is complete without them, as they have some functional and substantial tweaks to the game system. This really is the main reason why I am hoping Capcom gives this collection the love that SFZFG received.

Street Fighter Zero 3 – 4th September, 1998? 2001?

A full two years after Zero 2, we got the finale, an over-the-top kitchen-sink version of the Zero series. Several iterations of this title were issued as well, of course, but that’s not truly the concern.

In SFZFG, Z2A was an entirely separate game. However, for this collection, it could be considered an alternate to Z2. If that were the case, it would be awfully nice for the Naomi version of Z3 Upper to be considered an alternate of Z3.

Long story short? Will we see the CPSII version or the Naomi board replicated in this collection? Whatever your preference, I think we can agree having both would be ideal! Unfortunately, the real question is which will be online?

Street Fighter III: New Generation – 4th February, 1997

Heading back in time a little bit, SFIII:NG came out just six months after Z2A. It was a particularly prolific era in Capcom fighting history, with Pocket Fighter, Street Figther EX, the Marvel VS. series, Zero entries and SFIII all being issued within a few years.

I believe there was only one arcade ROM for SFIII:NG and we’ve only ever seen one home port of it, 1999’s SFIII: W Impact. It’s OK that this won’t be online, it’s just gonna be good to have this available.

Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact – Giant Attack – 30th September, 1997

Just half a year after NG, its successor arrived in arcades, again with no ROM upgrades. As Hugo was not complete for the February release, he arrived here in what, nowadays, would simply be a patched update. Taking a note from the Vampire series, EX moves were now available as well as Gouki’s arrival. Again, this only ever saw one home port but I look forward to playing this.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike – Fight For The Future – 8th June, 1999

More than a year-and-a-half later, we got 3S, what is now considered one of the most highly-regarded SF games ever. At the time, though, SFIII wasn’t particularly loved outside of the hardcore fighting community and 3S added some rather unmemorable characters.

While we saw a release on the DC, PS2, Xbox and later the PS3 and Xbox360 in the form of Online Edition, they all were essentially the arcade version. A Japanese ROM was issued a month before it was in the west and a final revision came in June. This fixed Urien’s unblockable attacks and was the basis for virtually every port moving forward (I believe).

As this will be online, it’s pretty straightforward. I’m hoping this is the ultimate version of 3S.

So, that’s that. There are a lot of questions about what exactly SF30AC will look like and what it’ll contain. Capcom can really make this a collection to remember, much like SFZFG before it. I just hope they give it the care it deserves and don’t cut corners. The $40 price tag makes me a little worried, but I’m trying to remain optimistic. We’ll find out in May!

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog with tags on December 18, 2017 by slateman

I remember it, 34 years ago. Watching Episode VI in the theaters as a seven-year-old boy. I recall the anticipation, getting in the car, smiling throughout the film. In many ways Episode VII two years ago, was almost as exciting. But with such online vitriol for the surprisingly-different Episode VIII, I didn’t know what to expect.

[SPOILERS BTW] And now having seen it, the verdict is simple. The bad was average and a bit cheesy and out-of-place. The casino segment, the iffy middle storyline, the corny humor…There were some parts that gave me the feeling of Episode II, my least favorite of the eight (+one) SW movies. That’s not a good thing.

But on the other hand, the good of this film was GOOD. The entire intro sequence was impressive. The Kylo/Rey connection was a new take on the force and it hearkened back to Episode V and VI in all the right ways. I enjoyed his struggle, his tortured soul, the flashbacks to what led him to this point. Snoke’s death, while an impressive sequence (particularly in the aftermath), felt a bit empty as we don’t know anything about his backstory, his purpose. The final scenes both looked incredible and had such weight. The battle, Luke’s goodbye to Leia, the Luke vs. Kylo fight. OMFG. The latter had me on the edge of my seat. Then Kylo strikes him down. NOOOOooooo! Oh…he’s OK. Wait. Wait!

It was crushing. My childhood hero has succumbed. I just wanted Luke Skywalker adventures forever and he didn’t even leave his planet. It was disparaging, but as he faded away with the dual suns in the distance, the beauty and sadness were far more profound. It was so incredibly powerful and redeemed any shortcomings the remainder of the film had. Despite the discouraging reviews citing disappointment, I ultimately quite enjoyed it. And the best parts of the film could stand up alongside the highlights of the series.

How amazing it has been: from seeing Episode VI in theaters as a seven-year-old to taking my six-year-old to see Episode VIII three-and-a-half decades later. A perfect film it was not, but it was poignant and visually appealing and I got to say, “goodbye,” to my idol and every kid’s crush from the same era. And with that…the wait for Episode IX begins!