Author Archives: Preston Sotelo
A new chapter in the tale of souls and swords begins in Soul Calibur V.
The next game in the popular fighting game saga will see the return of many beloved characters such as Voldo, Cervantes and Ivy.
At the same time, it also will mean the departure of several of the series’ most beloved characters. Namely, Xianghua, Taki, Sophitia, Cassandra, Setsuka, Amy, Talim and Zasalamel.
Saddening as it may be to see these characters go, new fighters have risen up to replace them, most notably Ezio Auditore da Firenze who starred in Assassin’s Creed II and its two sequels.
Among other newcomers are the mysterious warrior known as Z.W.E.I. and his companion, the fortuneteller Viola. Z.W.E.I. uses a arming sword in combat and can summon a wolf-like being to aid him in battle. Viola uses an armored claw in addition to an floating orb that serves as her primary weapon.
Newcomers Patroklos Alexander and Pyrrha Alexandra are the focus of the game’s story-line as they are Sophitia’s two children. They take her place as well as that of her sister Cassandra on the new roster. Patroklos is a driven and righteous young man who seeks to become the next wielder of Soul Calibur.
At the same time, his sister is being carefully groomed by Tira, Soul Edge’s servant, to be its next host. All the while the stage is set for another epic confrontation between Soul Calibur and Soul Edge and warriors gather from all the corners of the world to claim and or destroy them.
Story aside, I must say that as long as the new fighters are interesting and add unique character to the game then I don’t mind the departure of some characters.
Along with new fighters there are of course new mechanics that have been worked into Soul Calibur V. The most significant of which is the addition of a special gauge called the Critical Gauge. The Critical Gauge fills when making and blocking attacks and is used to power the other mechanics that have been added to the game: Critical Edge, Brave Edge and Guard Impacts.
Guard Impacts used to be executable whenever the player wanted, provided the proper button input was made. Now, Guard Impacts require a small portion of your Critical Gauge and must be employed carefully. Critical Edge and Brave Edges are special attacks that require a full gauge to use and can be anything from a flashy attack to a special grab that deals considerable damage if it lands.
Just Guard is a new way to execute a Guard-Impact-like maneuver and break an opponent’s combo. It involves blocking an opponents attack just as the attack is made. With the attack negated, you can strike back immediately and without risk to punish your opponent.
Finally, the new Quick Step feature has been added to help compensate for the now limited use of Guard Impact. It is a simple, fast sidestep technique that allows you to dodge an opponent’s vertical strikes and counterattack.
I am really looking forward to trying out Soul Calibur V and seeing how the new mechanics fit in. I especially am excited about the massively expanded Character Creation mode.
What do you think of the new changes? Do you hate them? Or do you think they make the game better?
Feel free to sound off in the comments below!
P.S. Don’t forget to mention your favorite fighter! (Mine is Ivy)
I finally got around to playing Minecraft and getting a first hand taste of what has so captivated the hearts of many gamers for the past year.
Minecraft is a construction sand-box game that drops you into a vast, cubist world to build, create or destroy as you see fit. At night, monsters crawl out from their hiding places and will hunt you down on sight.
Players can choose from two main game modes: Survival and Creative. Survival drops the player into a fresh new world to explore and the player must work to survive, mining and crafting materials as well as building themselves a suitable shelter for when night falls. They will have to eat regularly to keep up their strength and will have to beware of monsters, as dying will rob them of any inventory on their person and dump them back where they first spawned.
Creative mode starts the same way, but gives the player access to an infinite amount of every kind of material. In addition, the player will be made invincible and will not have to worry about maintaining their Health and Hunger levels as they do in Survival.
Where this game truly shines is in the multi-player experience where you can play with friends via online servers. Together you can tackle the challenges of survival mode or create various architectural marvels. From scale models of the starship Enterprise to an entire recreation of Middle-Earth, if you can think it, you can build it.
There are also community of modders that create fun add-ons to the game, adding things like alchemical crafting tools and new enemy types. Youtubers like the Yogscast and CaptainSparkles cover all sorts of things Minecraft-related as well, so be sure to give their channels a look if you are interested in Minecraft!
I’m finally able to enter the wonderful world of PC gaming. For the longest time, PC gaming was something I ignored as my laptop was a absolute toaster and was barely able to manage anything more than the Solitare and Minesweeper that came packaged with the computer.
This was primarily since the graphics card on my laptop was non-existent and the RAM was laughably low for gaming. I really did try though, but Half-Life Episode 2 would freeze when there was too much going on and League of Legends would take forever to load into a match (much to the frustration of my teammates.)
But that’s all in the past now. I recently picked up a Laptop that can run most games at high with little problems. I know that a gaming desktop would be much better, but since I’m a busy college student, the laptop is just so much more convenient. I figure that I can get a desktop later. But I digress, I’m glad that I now have access to the wide array of games that I was otherwise unable to enjoy as there are a number of PC titles that become more fun than their console counterparts. One of the best examples that I can think of is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which has a number of hilarious and fun mods that can be added.
Some of the other titles that I recently got for PC were Portal 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Team Fortress 2.I also downloaded the demo for Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which succeeded in scaring me more than any other game I’ve played so far.
That and I’ve become hopelessly addicted to MOBA games, specifically League of Legends.
I’ll be picking up more PC games over the holidays so I can start doing Let’s Play’s over my Livestream channel, so If anyone has good suggestions feel free to send them my way.
Portable gaming is coming to something of a crossroads. It used to be that one would buy a separate system that would play video games and provide a suitable amount of portable entertainment. Systems like the Nintendo DS and Sony Playstation Portable were the primary systems of the portable gaming market with various variations and newer editions of each being released as the years went by. However, in recent years the emerging smartphone market as brought with it a stream of app games that have taken the world of portable gaming by storm.
There are a number of other choices for on-the-go entertainment and most people would rather carry around less gadgetry around. That said, I feel there has been a marked decrease in attention directed towards the release of the Nintendo 3DS and the Playstation Vita. Not that people have ignored these portable consoles, but I notice the 3DS has not really caught on like the DS has. This may be due in part to the fact that not everyone can handle the 3D feature turned on. I have several friends who have the 3DS and more often than not I find that they play with feature turned off. The feature requires a precise angle to be viewed properly. Deviate only at the expense of your eyes. The PS Vita has yet to see release but so far the overall response seems to be somewhat muted. However, I confess I am excited to experience the PS Vita and look forward to its release.
But I digress, the power of the app gaming market is not something to take lightly. There have been a number of app games that have taken the world by storm and have formed their place in the world of portable gaming. Games like Angry Birds are able to provide just the right of amount of amusement and intuitiveness that just about anyone can get into while being small enough to quit and easily resume later. The App gaming market is certainly more geared toward the casual gamers and the everyman in this respect. Games on the portable consoles were somewhat similar, adventures and amusements that could were designed to provide long-lasting entertainment in bite-sized chunks of game time. However, unlike the app games, portable games often demanded a fair amount of time and thus only hardcore gamers really picked up these titles and played them through.
Now as we head into the future, smartphones are rapidly becoming more advanced and multifaceted in their functions. One can surf the web, take pictures, make phone calls and more. It seems only natural that their capabilities to play games should evolve and improve as well. To that end, smartphone will be able to compete on some level with portable consoles in the future. Now, without a doubt a dedicated portable console will continue to be the purchase of choice for hardcore gamers. But for the casual gamers, it will certainly give them pause on if they should purchase that particular system. Also it’s not to hard to imagine, given the number of re-releases of classic gaming titles like Final Fantasy as app games as well the the development of special titles exclusively for the app gaming market (Chaos Rings) that more gaming companies will continue to do so on a larger scale to help gain footholds in this emerging market.
I’ve spent a few days now playing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and roaming the grand landscape of Skyrim. Over the course of those days, I’ve rescued a city from a dragon attack, aided mages in a magical excavation, joined the College of Winterhold, Skyrim’s version of the Mage’s Guild and explored an ancient ruin or too. However, in a game like this it is but a mere glance at the enormous amount of content that the game has to offer. All the same, every accomplishment only fuels my desire to play further and see what else Skyrim has in store as well as allowing me an opportunity to enhance my skills.
I’m so happy to see this game live up to the hype. The Bethesda team has responded to every concern that gamers had with Oblivion and then some. In particular the new leveling system is a great improvement over the last game. Players now have more freedom in developing their skills and the type of character they want to play, due to the way that the improvement of any skill now helps the character increase their level. Not only that, but the system has also been simplified and streamlined. The main attributes have been shrunk down to three: Stamina, Magicka and Health. A few skills have been dropped or modified with some new ones added. In particular, the skills of Acrobatics and Athletics have been eliminated due to their minimal effect on actual gameplay and certain skills such as Mysticism have been melded into previously existing skills to help trim the fat off the leveling system.
There are also great improvements about the variety in the game, from the numerous dungeons and exotic locales to the NPCs themselves which now feature a wider range of voices and even include children. This wider assortment of cast members gives Skyrim depth and realism that pulls you further into the game.
However Skyrim isn’t so much about telling a great story as much as it is about creating your own story of grand adventure. That is what I think has made the Elder Scrolls series such a popular and powerful RPG franchise. The ability to carve your place in a fantasy world that is akin to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series is role-playing fun at its best.
To that end, I plan on spending a good long time exploring Skyrim and familiarizing myself with every nook and cranny of the expansive world that Bethesda has put before us.
Round Two of Devastation 2011 brought even more zaniness to the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament as many cosplayers joined the fray for the title of R.P.S. Champion. Out of the matches I saw, the most interesting was Morrigan vs. Ash Ketchum.
Now one of the funniest things about watching these matches was also the penalty that the loser was dealt. The loser had to give the winning player a massage. If I recall correctly, this was a penalty that the audience had decided for this particular match with the consent of the announcer who oversaw the match. So in the end, Ash lost the match and had to offer his skills as a masseuse to the winner.
And of course, who could forget the spectacle that was Tifa Lockhart vs. Poison Ivy? An epic showdown of femme fatales. One that Tifa unfortunately lost.
Aside from the continuing Rock-Paper-Scissors and video game tournaments. I visited with some pretty interesting people who had set up their booths in the northwestern corner of the floor.
The first person I talked to was Ominous Red, a Hip Hop DJ who was showcasing his custom fightsticks. Having recently started his custom fightstick business, Ominous Red had several button layouts along with a myriad of designs to choose from.
Though there were mainly Tekken and Street Fighter graphics, Ominous Red also will work to try and put whatever kind of graphics you would like to grace your custom fightstick.
Ominous Red even gave me a peek at some of the concept art that he was planning on putting on a new series of custom fightsticks. Drawn by a friend, they feature Star Wars characters with a Feudal Japanese flavor.
All in all, the designs look pretty cool and I look forward to seeing the designs on a custom fightstick in the near future.
While we chatted about fightsticks, conversation turned to our favorite kinds of games, particularly fighting games. Ominous Red confessed that he just recently started paying attention to the storyline behind the action in video games. I eagerly explained that my blog was centered around such topics. I went on to explain that my favorite fighting game: Soul Calibur IV was more exciting when immersed into the epic mythos of “souls and swords” that surrounds the series. My digression went so deep into battle tactics and combos that I inadvertently managed to get Ominous Red excited to play Soul Calibur again.
Bidding Ominous Red farewell, I moved along to the nearby booth of digital artist Anabel Martinez. Martinez was an avid Mass Effect fan and was showcasing some of her latest pieces of Commander Shepard and his crew members. Martinez was even sporting a fantastic Tali costume that was crafted with superb attention to detail.
Most amazing of all to me was the fact that she had managed to fix the helmet in such a way that the mouthpiece lit up when she spoke as it does when Tali speaks in the game.
Finally, I paid a visit to the Aqua Red booth and took a look at their collection of unique graphic t-shirts.
Once there, I also talked with Drew and Helsa who informed me that Aqua Red was a relatively new company having only been in business for little more than half a year. Drew showed me the latest shirt that they had made, a shirt covered with white tigers. It was part of a four part series that featured each of the Four Guardians of the Four Compass Points of Chinese mythology. The tiger shirt represented the Guardian of the West and the god of autumn: Byakko, the White Tiger.
However, the Byakko shirts were only the second in the series. Seiryu, the Azure Dragon was the first in the series, with shirts featuring blue dragons in an eye-mesmerizing design. The shirts are also made in limited quantities, so the t-shirts quickly become collectables and hard to find after Aqua Red has sold out of a particular design. So when you check out Aqua Red’s shirts be sure not to wait too long to buy the shirt that catches your fancy.
I also got to meet the man behind the incredible artwork on the t-shirts. His name is Myke Bui, and he is the artist that designs the unique designs of Aqua Red.
I must admit, I am a complete sucker for anything tiger-related. They are my favorite animal after all. So I picked up one of their Byakko T-Shirts and left to watch the continuing Soul Calibur IV tournament.
I have to say, watching the matches for most of the fighting games was a wonderfully intense experience. Especially the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 matches. Players would engage in a deadly dance in which the slightest misstep was punished with an insanely long combo that was sure to devastate the opposing player. Speaking of insanely long combos, I had gotten word that Justin Wong, the famed pro gamer was due to make an appearance at Devastation 2011. Perhaps he already had and I had just missed him for the day.
Whatever the case, I was excited to see Justin’s legendary skill in person. Devastation 2011 had only one more day left, but there was still plenty in store. I was looking forward to seeing the final rounds of the many tournaments, not to mention the League of Legends Dominion Tournament, which I believe is the first ever. For me, Sunday could not come fast enough.
Round One of Devastation 2011 kicked off with a bang as the first round of many tournaments began. The more popular titles such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Halo: Reach, Mortal Kombat, Heroes of Newerth and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 began the first of many rounds to come while others like Blaz Blue: Continuum Shift, Tekken 6 and Michael Jackson the Experience only had one round of competition.
However of all the tournaments that had multiple rounds there was one in particular that I wanted to see, the Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament. The other tournaments that I mentioned were ones that required a considerable amount of skill and practice in order to vanquish your opponents and ensure victory. However, Rock-Paper-Scissors is a game of that mixes luck with strategy. There is no real skill requirement other than basic coordination and knowledge of basic strategies. As a result there was quite the crowd that had gathered to compete. Since the Game Zone booth was right by the entrance, I went to talk to Richard first and get a report on how busy things had gotten. Given the booth’s location he could watch the crowds come and go throughout the course of the event. From what he was able to tell me, the event had really gotten busy and they were doing some decent business. It helped that their booth was ideally placed near the entrance providing the perfect spot to attract attendees that were both arriving and leaving the event.
Unfortunately, I missed the earlier part of the event due to class and other engagements. As such, I missed a great deal of the events on Friday, but Saturday would prove to be especially eventful. Don’t worry, I promise to have more on Saturday’s events.