Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: February 10th
Virtua Fighter Almost Here
So Virtua Fighter 5 finally hit stores in Japan this past week. First day sales of the game were reported to be quite decent - 32,000 copies sold. Reports indicate that Sega had only shipped 150k copies of the game, though. But it looks like the game will likely sell close to 70k for the entire week, which isn't terrible considering the amount of owners the PS3 has - and especially the state of fighting games today. Virtua Fighter 4 didn't do superbly in Japan either, when it saw its release. In fact, American gamers welcomed it quite a bit more than the Japanese did -- especially once the Greatest Hits VF: Evolution rolled out.
In any case, I'm extremely excited to play it. When I reviewed both VF4 and VF4: Evolution, I gave them each a remarkably high 9.8 - a score that I stand by even today. Virtua Fighter 4 offered depth that no fighting game on the market had. And even today, as great as Tekken 5 is, it's still just shy of VF4: Evolution. From what I've gathered, it looks like Virtua Fighter 5 may go unrivaled for quite some time.
Square, Forward, X, Triangle...........*BAM*
Of course, everyone will find something trivial to harp on in any game. Which leads me to: Virtua Fighter 5 lacking online. But don't get me wrong, I actually don't care that it's not online. My beef is with the people who refuse to comprehend why. I honestly don't know anyone who's tried playing a fighting game online, and enjoyed doing so. No matter how minimal lag may be, it absolutely crushes the experience and ruins the balance of the match. Imagine you both have crucial levels of your life-bar and an attack is performed from the both of you...the person who wins isn't who hit a split second before, it's the person with the faster connection. It's simply not feasible to have a fighting games, especially 3D games as complex as Virtua Fighter 5, to play smoothly online. Dead or Alive 4 does have online for the X360, but ask any enthusiast who's played it, and he/she will likely tell you that it's worthless.
But people still beg for it? They say it's just a developer being lazy, and they should still do it just to appease the fans. Why? Why would anyone want to waste money developing a system that doesn't function properly and will act as only filler? It's better off to just not do it if it can't be done right in the first place. And of course, you know that even if the game did feature online, those same people who complained about it being missing would just complain about it sucking. It's lose-lose for Sega.
Tissues Sold Separately
Is there anyone else out there, besides me, whos given up on games briefly only to return? Has this generation brought out the gamer in you that was once burned-out and jaded? It's weird, because for over a year, between Spring 2005 and Fall 2006, I stopped videogaming altogether. I stopped writing about games, talking about games, and even reading game discussions in forums. I isolated myself from them because I had suddenly gotten bored. One of the games that lead to this was Grand Theft Auto. GTA began to bore me, and when I realized that it had begun to set a trend for many games to come...I didn't enjoy it. Nearly every other free-roam title to follow GTA was just a half-assed attempt at the genre. Eventually, I felt like even GTA became a shadow of its former-self. I didn't enjoy San Andreas very much, if you've ever noted my review score (8.4). While the score isn't bad...it's certainly not what everyone else thought of the game. I personally felt burned out with the series, but I still did acknowledge all of the things San Andreas did right.
My focus quickly shifted, as the only games that appealed to me were Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo and Need for Speed. I had even thought I wouldn't complete another Final Fantasy game ever again. In the fall of 2005, I purchased and completed MGS3. The game was phenomenal and easily the best in the series. But aside from MGS3, I had limited myself to random sessions of GT4 and completing Need for Speed Underground 2 on the PC. Basically, 2 out of the 16 months had me in front of a videogame at one point or another.
I owe my return to Final Fantasy XII and the PlayStation 3. Don't ask me why the PS3 and not the X360, that's not the point. As a fan of Final Fantasy, I felt like I had to at least play FFXII for a few hours just to see what the newest entry was all about. A few hours would later become nearly 80, and four months later I still come back to the game at least three times a week. It's insane how an RPG like this has pick-up and play elements to it. I can play FFXII for an hour, and feel content -- even though my average sessions last 2-3. And the PlayStation 3...I don't know what it is, but when I had returned to writing on a part-time basis, I never expected a game console to change my mind-set. And when Sony had sent me a PS3 the day it came out, something inside of me came alive. The feeling of a brand new console made me remember why it was that I started doing this in the first place.
I was around 13 years old when writing about videogames was nothing more but a hobby. Grammatically, my writing was that of...well...a 13 year old, but I had fun! Overtime it managed to develop and improve thanks to one great, former, co-worker of mine. Having proof-read most of my work for about two years, I was constantly offered advice that'd stick with me until today. Once I developed a flow of my own, things began to click more and more, and I realized how much I enjoyed doing what I do. Those were the memories that jolted back into my head when I had opened that heavy FedEx box to find a PlayStation 3 inside, with 5 games and a Blu-Ray movie. My eyes widened up, I remembered doing what I loved to do. And I remembered that feeling when I first got my SNES, then my PlayStation, and especially my PS2. I simply couldn't suppress it any longer, I wanted to write again. So here I am, 3 months later...content with a full-time commitment, and it only took a brand new videogame console to make me remember something that I love.
2/10/2007 Arnold Katayev