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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

Tissues Sold Separately

Is there anyone else out there, besides me, who’s 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.

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