WARNING – A massively outdated article follows!
It’s been a long time, and I indeed shouldn’t have left you, and regretfully I plead guilty to the crime of leaving you without so much as a dope beat to step to. But fret not all ye that grace the seven seas of Internet domainary atop the rigging of the good ship Grig! New York Comic Con has come and gone (actually, quite far gone now) and Capcom showed up in force as always, and trailing along amongst the usual trawled out Resident Evil nonsense and… some other games that Capcom probably make, there was of course, Street Fighter x Tekken! Thus, by my calculations (grigonometry, naturally) it is time for me to step forth once more to grace the Grig with the finest type of classy literature this side of an issue of Nuts! If that’s even still going.
And Lo! Ignoring the disappointment inflicted upon my good self by Ono and co at NY Comic Con and their new-character-no-show (except Rufus. But we’ll let the crowds awkward lack of applause reflect how much anyone cares about that.), we delve into what they did choose to let us in on as we squint to try and make out any kind of clarity through the increasingly bespeckled window of woe that is Street Fighter X Tekken. Thus, join us now my Griggers as we get down on our hands and knees and begin picking through this mess of a game that’s been smeared across the floor. There’s gotta be something there still worth getting excited about, surely? Why are you shaking your heads?
Street Fighters Blue Shell
Okay, lets start with the big talking point thats stirred the community into a frothing rage thats boiling over as we speak. The gem system. For want of any type of comparison, it sounds very similar to Materia from Final Fantasy VII. Equip your character with certain gems that bring out new abilities and gameplay possibilities. Hmm. Interesting. So far, so… RPG. But with reference to a fighting game of yore, it does smell a little like a progression of the gems you could pick up in Marvel Super Heroes, and that was a darn fine game. Except now you have to pay real money for them, as Capcom is already wielding their DLC hammer above their sparkly heads. And I’m guessing paying for rubbish gems is not much of an incentive so what are probably going to be the best ones will be the DLC, no? Pay to win? Oh level playing field, where art thou?! Pah, Capcom doth spit in thee’s face! In the last few days Seth Killian upon being asked about how these gems would be released claimed that it was still undecided. Undecided, or being reconsidered due to the monumental backlash that’s going on, hmm?
Lets face it – we all know what Capcom are like with their DLC tomschemery, and there be dollar signs twinkling in their beady eyes! For indeed my Grigs, not stopping at the alternate costume charging affront to decency, Capcom have added yet another avenue of exploitation to their roadmap of evil. And as Capcom lead their increasingly sorry looking cash-cow down that very seedy looking cul de sac, milking mit cocked menacingly under its monetary teat, the realisation about the true direction of this game is becoming all too apparent: After dipping their toe into the Uncle Scrooge-esque DLC money pool with their costume pack and shadow mode nonsense, Capcom this time have taken the concept of ripping us off and are building a game around it. By Capcoms own admission, the gem system will be ‘core’ to the main game, citing this as being a reason as to why there will be no mode that will be gem free as is being hoped for by the community. And yet, they are going to charge for it. True you allegedly get 200 or so straight out the box (enjoy waiting for muppets online to pick their 5 gems for each of their 2 characters. Its bad enough waiting for them to pick one character and one Ultra in Super.) but already the DLC preorder exclusive gems have been announced. Yes, a full 6 months before the title is out. Disgraceful.
But lets hold our horses a moment. Whilst Capcom ripping us off these days is all part and parcel of their new games and we by no means forgive them for it, let us save a rant about how they’re becoming the scum on the games industries anus till another day and instead, let’s turn our eyes to what these gems actually are. According to Capcoms various minions, they are ability gems that can be assigned to each character, five apiece, and then bring out different abilities based on both individual gems, and gem combinations. We are assuming that this is what Ono was alluding to a few months ago when he spoke about in the future having different versions of characters specifically tailored to fit the player, eg, one guys Ryu being different to another guys Ryu. Divided into various categories, the gems specifically spoken of so far are auto block (Wii players dream), auto throw tech (Wii players dream), speed boost, and context specific enhancements such as added strength after receiving or dishing out a specific number of hits.
But sadly, the Wii reference is probably not actually a million miles off, and as that excuse of a machines influence rubs off on another game, we cower in the wake of Capcom actually using the term ‘party atmosphere’ in reference to their latest brawler. Oh dear. It would seem that Capcom are looking for this game to be their equivalent of Smash Bros. as they try to expand their audience (at the expense of the one they already have, clearly). Now I can’t comment on Smash as I’ve never played it on the account of it looking like a stupid mess, but I can say that SFxTekken was looking a lot better before they started crowbarring all this extra cack in to it. We just gotta hope they know what the grig they’re doing.
Pandora-ing to the whims of idiots
One of the other modes thats raised an eyebrow recently is Pandora Mode. The games story (?!) explains that some cosmic cube nonsense coming from outter space – and looking just like the all spark from Transformers – has arrived on Earth and gives new powers to people in fights… for some reason. Sounds like an award winner. Anyway, it’s basically just some over powered variant of Juri’s Feng Shui Engine (don’t know where that will leave her when shes announced) that you can activate at the expense of one of your two characters, most usefully at the end of your life to swipe that last minute victory. But here’s the thing – you gotta finish your opponent off in 8 seconds or else you’ll drop KO’d on the floor and lose the round.
Well at least this doesn’t seem so bad now compared to the gems!
Show some character… NOW!!!
Of course, after the insult of the half hearted SSFIV Arcade Edition upgrades – or rather, lack of – I really don’t know why I put any kind of faith in Capcom to not grig me right off. After having gone a week after seeing the new Street Fighter character teasers which appeared to show Vega, Balrog, and my personal favourite Juri, I would have thought it would be the perfect time to properly announce the new challengers at Comic Con. I sat in fevered anticipation awaiting a grand reveal! Instead, they show three more teasers for Tekken characters (You know how it goes by now. A hand here, a shoulder there. Its more like a freakin shopping channel for Dr. Frankenstein!) and we got to watch Ono, Harada, and a bunch of randoms play a game of American Football. What the…? Is it just me, or is the hype building for these new games really starting to lose its buzz? Sheesh…
So to conclude, while the wind may have been taken out of my sails by Juri’s no show at NYCC, it certainly stings a little less when Capcom continue to take the entirety of their own wind out of the whole game with rubbish like the gem system. But like the suckers for punishment that we are, we’ll keep a beady eye on the games dwindling progress, as only time will tell for sure if we’ll be treated to an actual decent title, or if we’ve just been sifting for solids in a stream of diarrhoea. The jury – and in fact, Juri – are still out.