a review of Soul Calibur 4
a videogame developed by Namco
and published by Namco
for the arcades, the microsoft xbox 360 and the sony playstation 3 computer entertainment system
text by Remy Cote D'ivoire
“hey pussy try doin different moves i bet if u did other moves instead of wat u do now or if you picked another person ud get fukn smoked bitch”
A young man sent me that message via the PSN email service earlier today. I beat him five times in a row. I’m almost ready to say that fighting games aren’t ready for online play.
It makes me sad when the rare bluetooth headset owner who doesn’t scream nonsense at me actually says something like “good game” after a match is over. I have gotten my ass kicked at arcades on several occasions, and every time, the guys (and one Japanese girl) who beat me would usually say something. Often times they would say “good game,” sometimes with a smirk on their face, but at least it was something.
It’s just, I don’t know, it’s just that this whole online thing is so hecking mercenary. It doesn’t help that as you beat people you get “points” and gain “levels”. You have a “win percentage”, too, and that’s fine. I mean, there are people who are over level one hundred who have win percentages in the sixties; so, in other words, they aren’t actually very good. They just played and played until they scavenged enough victories to claw their way into the upper echelons. I’ll make an educated guess here and just say that these people play a lot of World of Warcraft. Having a big shiny number next to their idiotic names is obviously a big ACHIEVEMENT for them.
Just get rid of them. The levels. Good god, just go ahead and . . . get rid of them. They’re useless, useless. They bring the game down. Number of wins, number of losses, and winning percentage. That’s all we need. The winning percentage isn’t even totally necessary, but it helps us put the skill of the player we’re about to fight into perspective quickly, without forcing us to do any calculations or any of that garbage. No thinking, just fighting. Fighting for the sake of a good old fight.
No leaderboards. Kind of. Just the names of the top 500 players. The person with the most wins and the least losses at the top, where they should be. Maybe then people would have something to aspire to; they would look at that list and rub their hands together muttering to themselves “I’m going to get you, you motherhecks, you sons of bitches.” That’s when the wins would start racking up. People would start practicing, and playing routinely, and getting good. Or they would play, and lose, and find out they suck, and quit, so as to leave the real fighting to the people who are actually pretty good at the game.
Now, I’m no psychologist, but I reckon that when an Average Joe sees a list with some names on it, he immediately wishes his name was at the top. Unless it was, like, a hit-list or something. I guess I should rephrase that and say that when an Average Joe sees a list with some names on it, and the list represents something that people are good at, he wants in on it. He wants to be the best. So he will practice, methodically. Analyzing his every mistake. Researching new tactics. Crushing anyone foolish enough to get in his way. And when he loses he won’t throw a hissy fit, he’ll shake his head and sigh, and keep playing. That’s the kind of person I want playing fighting games online. Icy professionals.
No voice support. Seriously, people don’t even talk stuff anymore, they just whistle or blow into their headset, or, if they speak Spanish, call me a “punta” (this happened after I beat the asshole in question, so I couldn’t really take him seriously).
While we’re at it, get rid of that stupid Tower of Lost Souls mode, too. Make all the equipment available right from the get go. Although, including the Tower of Lost Souls is actually a good way to pick out the people who aren’t good at the game, the ones who spend all their time unlocking equipment/making poorly designed costumes. And on the topic of – –
Remy wakes up at this point. He’s not fully awake. It could be seven in the morning. He looks at his clock and the time isn’t moving. He picks up his watch, and that’s not moving either. He concludes that both the watch and the clock have run out of batteries. He contemplates the likelihood of this happening. He realizes that the chance of this happening is highly unlikely. He doesn’t like the feeling of not knowing what time it is. He feels like he should get out of bed, but there is a dull throb behind his eyes.
–Remy Cote D’ivoire