Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bringing grave misfortune: New releases for the week of 3-4-12 (Street Fighter X Tekken, Mass Effect 3)

Street Fighter X Tekken

(PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) Crossover between the two beloved fighting game series. This game uses primarily Street Fighter-inspired gameplay mechanics- 2D, fast, lots of projectiles and over-the-top moves, everyone yelling at the top of their lungs at all times, etc.-while Namco will be putting out its own game, Tekken X Street Fighter, with more Tekken-like gameplay later this year. I've been informed by competent authority that the official pronunciation of the title is “Street Fighter Cross Tekken,” which does appalling violence to English orthographic conventions but at least makes more thematic sense than my previous guesses that it was either “Street Fighter Ex Tekken” or “Street Fighter Times Tekken.” It also saves me from having to do any horrible math jokes about how Tekken X Street Fighter and Street Fighter X Tekken are actually exactly the same game when Namco's game comes out, which is a relief.

In keeping with the tradition that fighting games are the one place where the otherwise universal requirement that PlayStation 3 owners be given the shitty end of any stick is reversed, there are a number of characters exclusive to the PlayStation 3 version. Some of them are pretty cool, like Cole McGrath from Infamous.

There's also Mega Man, triumphantly returning to fighting games after being excluded from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 to make sure that there was space for other Mega Man characters like Zero and the all-important Tron Bonne. Except this version is inspired by the Mega Man on the original American box for the first game, legendary not only for looking nothing like the character in the game, but for being the ugliest son of a bitch ever to appear on a videogame box.

The fan response to this seems split between intense amusement at the sheer goofiness of it and intense anger at what some fans feel just adds salt to the wounds of Mega Man fans after his exclusion from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3. Count me among the former group; if you can't screw around a little in a crossover between Street Fighter and a franchise where one of the fighters is a freaking bear, where can you? I I just can't get mad at a company that is apparently now being run by Calypso from Twisted Metal or some evil wish-granting money's paw.

Honestly, though, Street Fighter X Tekken's Mega Man doesn't really do the almost militant unattractiveness of the original model justice. The fat, somewhat slovenly-looking guy called “Mega Man” in the game is still practically Fabio, Brad Pitt, and Cary Grant combined compared to the hideous wretch from the original Mega Man box art. The new guy seems a lot more jovial and fun, too, whereas the original has a look on his face that seems to cry out, "WHY WILL DR. LIGHT NOT ALLOW ME TO SELF-TERMINATE? WHY?"

And really, can you blame him?

I Am Alive

(PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade) Wait, when did this become a thing that actually exists? This is a game I remember hearing about being in development years ago, and getting delayed, then it just seemed to drop off the radar screen into what I assumed was oblivion. Hearing that it was actually out was really weird, like walking into the local GameStop and being told that they just got a new shipment of StarCraft: Ghost in stock.

Mass Effect 3

(PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) The conclusion of the science fiction RPG trilogy. I'm avoiding spoilers, so I just hope that the massive reaper attack on Earth portrayed in the trailer and the demo is legit and not another cruel Halo 2 trailer-style tease, where we're promised a globe-shattering apocalypse that leaves whole continents in flames and turns the world's greatest cities into charnel houses and end up getting a foppish alien clergyman leading a handful of ships on a minor vandalism spree instead. If you show me the entire state of South Carolina being engulfed in a colossal firestorm visible from space ninety seconds into the cinematic trailer, it had damn well better be a lifeless hellscape of drifting ashes, unburied corpses, and radioactive glass if I end up there during the actual game.

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