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Is Capcom helping or hurting Street Fighter and other fighting games?

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We all know that Capcom is responsible for not one but two major revivals; Street Fighter II saved arcades back in the day and Street Fighter IV saved the fighting genre and brought it back to the limelight. They have done wonders for the genre and for all of us fighting fans, we are thrilled at the prospect of new games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and others on the horizon. While I am quite excited at all of the revitalized buzz surrounding fighting games, I can't help but hold a looming fear at some of the decisions Capcom is making. I do understand their reasoning though so I am somewhat conflicted on the subject between their line of reasoning and also my love of the purity and challenge of fighting games.

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is the first notable game in the dangerous new trend of over simplified controls. Originally, the vs. series had the six button Street Fighter II format that we are all familiar with(X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter) but Capcom reduced the button number down to four in order to make the action a bit faster in arcades and also to accommodate the Sega Dreamcast. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom brought the number down from two separate punches and two kicks down to only three attacks of varying power. Input combos determined which special move would be executed accordingly and even with these limitations we were still given a fun, albeit,non-technical game.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 took it a step further in not only keeping with the three button format but now adding a "simple mode" where special moves could actually be assigned to buttons without the need for inputs with the controller. Capcom claims that this was added in order to attract new gamers to the fighting genre that might be put off by the complicated moves associated with combos, hadokens, and shoryukens. In all fairness, this is optional for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and can be avoided in online matches if desired. Another plus is the fact that using the simplified controls means you are limited in your overall move set available to you; which is designed to encourage players to get their feet wet with the game and then move on to the more complicated moves so you can enjoy the full game. The problem with this is most casual players are satisfied with the simple controls and then get bored with the game quickly, which doesn't actually help with Capcom's goal.

Next up is Super Street Fighter IV 3D for the 3DS. While this game is great and offers a portable version of the console classic, it also offers controls that are insulting to any self respecting Street Fighter fan. The touch screen can have four moves of the player's choice assigned to it in order to simplify things even beyond Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Not only can special moves (hadoken, sonic boom, tiger knee...) be assigned to any of the four slots but so can the super combo and ultra combo moves. Even though the six button set up is still part of this version of Super Street Fighter IV, what is the point of even trying to use it? With no consequences to using the simple touch screen options, the technical aspect that made the game so great has almost been removed. Granted, you don't have to use the touch screen, but how will adding such an option help grow the genre?

Attracting new gamers is always important. But as an old school gamer, I am one who appreciates the depth of a game like Super Street Fighter IV. I remember getting a sense of true accomplishment when I pulled off my first shoryuken with Ken. I remember how much I loved it when I learned to play with an arcade stick. I thrive on the adrenaline rush when I beat someone who is a true challenge. With these new simplified controls, all of these thrills are severely diminished.

My problem is the technical aspects of these games that has always been what has kept me coming back for more. With Capcom dumbing down the controls and taking away the challenge of the games, the experience and excitement is losing steam. Casual gamers don't have the staying power nor the dedication to learn the games and yet with all of the new simple controls schemes, they are more and more able to play on par with hardcore fighting game fans. While most of them will never reach the high levels of true competition level play, this new movement of simplification is dangerously close to alienating dedicated fighting fans.

This is not the first time Capcom has tried this. When the fighting genre started to wane due to over-saturation in the late 90's and early 2000's, the company brought home several fighters like Capcom vs. SNK 2 Evo for the Xbox and assigned special moves to the second analog stick in order to attract new gamers. This did not work and the genre continued to decline with only the hardcore fighters sticking it out. Granted the analog assignments were not the reason for the fall of fighting games but it didn't do anything to help the popularity of the genre either.

Now, unlike some out there, I get it. I understand that Capcom is looking for profit. I don't fault them for that. It takes a lot of money to make a great game these days. They want to ensure the greatest return on their investment. Not only that, R&D and advertising costsa lot, employees need to be paid, and investors put money in to a company to make money. I just wonder if simple controls is the way to ensure success. Street Fighter IV was incredibly successful without sacrifice as was Super Street Fighter IV. But if all we have to look forward to is simplified controls that remove the rewarding aspects of victory, then I am concerned that this current revival of the genre will see a rapid decline. Not only will casual gamers lose interest (as always in the past) but hardcore fighters will also snub their noses as well because the rewarding aspects of the games are being chipped away with each new installment.

I understand Capcom's thinking but it is only mildly profitable in the very short term. That may be all that matters to a company in this economic climate but it will not help their legacy which I think is equally important. A major part of why Street Fighter IV has done so well is because it harkened back to the glory days of Street Fighter II. By taking away the thrill of the game in order to cater to the casual crowd, Capcom is taking away from the greatness of their own brilliance. That will not build success. It will only hurt the series and company's reputation in the long run.

I think Capcom needs to stop this new trend if they want to continue supporting their products properly. If these games lose their appeal because the challenge is removed, then they will lose their core audience. It is the fierce competition that has kept people interested over the years. If Capcom continues to level the playing field for casual gamers then the competition will suffer. And in the end, no one will play.

New review :Call of Duty: Black Ops

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Read my review. I have submitted it for the 360, PS3 and Wii. Click that you like itif youdo. Let me know what you think of it. Thanks for reading!

Super Street Fighter IV review in the works.

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It's posted but not finished. I have a lot more to say. I began writing the review today but I had to do something else and wasn't able to finish. I had to save it some way so I just posted it and noted that it isn't finished. I am sure it will be worked and tweaked over the course of the next week. For those out there that care, it should be done soon.

Bioshock 2 review is up...

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... to my few loyal fans, give it a read and tell me what you think. If you like it, please feel free to recommend it at the bottom of the review. Many thanks.

My DSi LL import is here!

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Well, it arrived today. The DSi LL (as it's called in Japan) is finally here and it's everything they said it would be. It is nothing more than a bigger screened DSi. Am I complaining about that? Heavens no! I absolutely love the larger screens and now I realize just how much they dwarf my DS Lite.

The setup is exactly the same as that of the standard DSi except being all in Japanese. There is no English option, sadly. If you are thinking of importing this system, make sure you know at least a little Japanese. Otherwise, just get the DSi or wait for the DSi XL to release stateside.

My system is the Red Champaigne model. It has a nice glossy top with a matte finish on the lower half of the system. It has a very strong and sturdy feel unlike the DS Lite and it has both cameras just as it's smaller brother does. Functionally, there is no difference between this system and the current DSi.

That said, why the hell would anyone want to waste time or money with the DSi when the DSi LL's screens are so enormous?! Both the top and bottom screens are roughly the same size as a PSP screen with a slightly different ratio. The detail in each game is fantastic and the speaker quality is outstanding. You have to see the system to fully understand just how much of an improvement it is to the overall gaming experience when viewing these screens. The resolution has not been changed but seeing everything games have to offer in such a larger screen will give you that "new game" feeling all over again. Many people have complained that the screens for the DS have always been to small. Now, those people can enjoy games with bigger and brigher screens or they can just eat their words.

Like I said, there is literally no difference between this system and the DSi when it comes to function. It's just much larger. But the increased size adds a lot to games you already have and to future games you plan on buying. After playing it for a while, I simply don't think I could go back to the smaller DS models. It really makes that much of a difference.

I love the DSi LL and when it comes to you as the DSi XL, you will too.

Just ordered a DSi XL...

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... or DSi LL as it's refered to in Japan. It's done. Mine is on the way with a couple accessories (hard cover case, screen protector). I got a $50.00 gift card for use on ebay along with a $25.00 Visa gift/debit card. I used both of them to buy my new system and I'm hoping it will all be here over the next week.

I have had a DS Lite for a long time now and when the DSi came out, I considered the upgrade but something inside told me to wait. I'm glad I did becase the DSi LL is the exact same system but with 4.2 in screens. My one complaint about the DS since it first came out was that the screens were just too small. Now, that won't be a problem for me anymore.

For anyone interested, I'll be leaving a full report on the DSi LL as soon as I have had a chance to play it. I'll let you know how everything looks, plays, and sounds on the new system. This will help many of you decide on whether or not you're going to get it as soon as it releases stateside.

I'll keep you all posted.

Missing Emblems; I sure hope this doesn't happen again.

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Last year I wrote a small blog stating that I was less than happy with the missing emblems from my voting on games for the years of 2006 and 2008. I did in fact vote however my profile does not reflect that at all. Now, here we are in 2009 and I, again, have placed my votes in all of the gaming categories. I realize it is a bit premature to expect my profile to be updated as I have just placed my final vote, however I dearly hope I will not run in to last year's problem again.

I place my votes because I believe that gaming is a great hobby. I write reviews, I make recommendations, I talk to friends and others about gaming... I like to think I do my part. Voting is a part of that. I believe in voting when it comes to the US government and, while it's not on the same level of importance because the nature is geared toward entertainment and not the laws by which we live, I believe in voting here too.

I think it is important to recognize not only the right to vote but also the responsibility to do so. When my favorite site (yes, Gamespot) asks the people to contribute by voting, I think it is something I should participate in. I believe in pushing gaming into the future and I believe developers listen to the gamers (well, the good ones do at least) and what better message can we send to them than purchasing hight quality games and then voting for the games that deserve to be recognized for their outstanding achievements? It is the best way I can think of to get the word out there to developers so they know what it is that gamers like and what they want in future games.

As for Gamespot, I just want my emblem that shows I voted. I have been coming here since1999 and I registered in 2004. I like to think I have shown my loyalty to this site especially since I have sent many new members to the site for their gaming information. I support Gamespot. I hope they will support me back by recognizing my contributions. It may seem petty, but I think it is important. Should someone look up my blogs, my reviews, or just my profile, I want them to know that I am someone who knows games and knows what he is talking about. How will that person know that if I don't have the emblems the reflect that I have stayed up with the times and voted for the games that have done well?

The voting is requested by Gamespot. The emblems are there for a reason. I think it's only fair.

I have Modern Warfare 2!!!!

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I have a friend who is a private distributor and he was able to sell me a copy of the game early. I have it on PS3 and I will be playing it for the next few days in serious depth and exploration. Expect a full review from me on or before launch day!

Just FYI, it's beyond incredible so far. It is fantastic!

Final Fantasy XIII has arrived!

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Well, it has for me anyway. I just got the Japanese playable demo along with the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete in the mail today and I am going to play it to death. Later, after giving it a real good solid play through, I'll write out a full report on how the game looks, plays, and any other details that may come up that are worth mentioning. I'll let you all know how it goes.

-Shabulia

Final Fantasy... 12 games... 12 months!

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I am going to beat all of the Final Fantasy games within one year.

I have debated whether or not I posess the dedication required to take this project on. After weighing the pros and cons I think it is time for me to make my decision. I will be playing though the first main 12 Final Fantasy games, one per month, to completion for the next year. I plan on reporting on each game as I play through them. Of course, I will have to substitute Final Fantasy XI Online for with another title (X-2, Crisis Core, etc) as it is an online title that never ends.

I already own each game and they are all just waiting to be played. I have already beaten some games in full but I will have to play them again in order to keep them all fresh in my mind. I am having trouble deciding where to start. It would make sense to begin with Final Fantasy as it is the first one and progress through them numerically to see how the series has progressed. It would also be nice to start in the middle somewhere and alternate between newer titles and older ones to see some real contrast. Any suggestions would be welcome.

This is something I plan to undertake after I play though the Japanese Final Fantasy XIII demo on PS3. I have ordered it and once it gets here I want to play it thoroughly and report on how the game looks and plays. I plan on being done with all of the Final Fantasy games in one year, and hopefully before Final Fantasy XIII actually releases in the States. If time allows, I will include the various side stories like Crisis Core, Dirge of Cererus, X-2, The After Years; but my focus will be on the main original games.

I will update this blog as I play through each game. This is a good place to talk all things Final Fantasy so please feel free to talk to me and/or each other about this amazing series. If you have questions for me or any of the games, please post them here. Chances are, this will be a good place to find your answer.

For me, this is a very serious goal that I hope to accomplish. I am a full time worker and student so this will be tough for me to do, plus I have a GF (a girlfriend, not Guardian Force... dork!) and she's not going to just let me off date nights that easily. It's going to take a lot of dedication and commitment to do this. I'll need some support and encouragement so feel free to push me along the way.

My adventure will begin after the FF XIII demo is played through and I expect it here this week. I will be sure to let you all know what the game is like thus far.In the time before FF XIII, I will probably play a little of the beginning of each game to try to decide where to start. Again, any suggestions are welcome. I'll make me decision soon. The way I figure it, each game averages about 50 hours; some more, some less. That means if I give an hour and a half of play to each game everyday, I should be able to do this.

For now, that's all I have. Wish me luck!

-Shabulia