Sunday, October 21, 2012

No One has to Fight

I fired up the old television machine on a lark to-day during lunch and caught part of Fareed Zakaria's show on CNN. I was surprised and delighted by the fact that it didn't annoy me. The news networks tend to be filled with hosts too caught up in self esteem issues or are busy trying to figure out how they can fit a certain mould. Most of the shows feature distractingly bad editing too--this Zakaria's show quickly and unobtrusively delivered information about Germany's use of solar energy and France's use of nuclear energy without the sense that we were only getting one or two intensely polarised views about the energy alternatives. Opinion people, experts, workers directly involved with the energy production, and government officials were all cannily edited together.

Really groggy to-day, related I suspect to all the scotch and Halloween candy I had last night. I might go over to Tim's anyway to play some Soul Calibur 5. He's had the game a few weeks now and I've been going over to his house on the weekends to play--I've been playing the Soul Calibur games since Tim got the first Soul Calibur game on his Dreamcast, oh, it has to have been at least ten years ago. It's a fighter game, like Street Fighter, though I've almost never played it in two player mode.

This new one, which I'm of course playing on hard mode, seems to have gotten a big AI upgrade, as characters I was so thoroughly familiar with using, and who have gotten no real changes in how they move or are controlled, are suddenly a lot harder to use against the computer. Only some of the characters are returning, most notably absent is my favourite character, Sophitia, the ancient Greek dame. Well, she's technically in the game as sort of a boss--two of the main characters are her children, grown up, one a neurotic girl raised by an insane clown, the other being a run of the mill douchy anime guy. Both have some of Sophitia's moves, and they get some more of her moves when they upgrade, but there's no real satisfyingly 100% Sophitia style character in the game.

There are a lot fewer single player modes in the game--the previous ones experimented with survival modes and tournament modes and even a crude strategy game mode in the third game, but this one just has the standard story and arcade modes along with a "quick battle" mode that seems designed for online play but will provide AI opponents. I suppose the big leap is in the more advanced character creation mode, which now, in addition to allowed you to change your character's clothing parts and intermix them from a broad selection and allowing you to change face, hair, and colouring, now also allows you to change the body shape and type--height, the size of different body parts--not just breasts! You can even make a fat woman if you like.

Though oddly it's in this mode that it feels certain corners have been cut. The ability to change the voice tone and pitch worked so well in the previous game, but now any attempt to change this results in a very distorted voice. Several articles of clothing which worked well together now can't be worn together--you can't, for some reason that I can't understand, wear stilettos with thigh highs, for example.

In the previous game, the articles of clothing all had stats, contributing to strength, hit points, and defence differently. That's gone from this game, meaning you can put your character in whatever you want without worrying he or she will have messed up stats, which is nice in that you no longer have to look like a clown who fell into a samurai and baseball mascot factory in order to get decent stats, but it does also remove an aspect of the game that could be interesting. All in all, though, I'm enjoying it.

Twitter Sonnet #438

Hairy fields dig into the pig's Pluto.
The false purple misleads monochrome rocks.
Secrets echo with the screams of Bluto.
The pumpkin will be carved until it talks.
Fingers scrape the plastic with phantom selves.
Hoods won't replace pagodas in the spring.
Oreo landmines murder Keebler Elves.
Now there are no cookie songs left to sing.
Complicated screens conceal the dresser.
Simplicity's a sordid dalmatian.
Ghosts grunt like waffles in the compressor.
A strange black hat eclipsed the Play Station.
Yellow triangles press the green's button.
Somehow the assassin thought of mutton.

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