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Darth Vader affected by the economy

darthvadereconomy

Darth Vader has cancer

alg_darth_vader
That’s right folks, unfortunately, the actor who played Luke’s father is battling prostate cancer, NYDaily reports:

Actor David Prowse, 73, who was the man behind the dark mask in the original “Star Wars” films, told Britain’s Daily Mail that he has been undergoing radiotherapy for two months.

You know what I’m gonna say here…

May the Force be with you.

Yup, had to do it.

The Force Unleashed

There’s been hype about it. There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding this LucasArts title ever since it was announced. I remember many times, I’ve had friends I’ve talked to say that they can’t wait for this game. The biggest appeal, broad use of the Force within the game ultimately falls rather short.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is an interesting title, inspired to fit within the dual trilogy canon. The events of this game takes place within the two decades between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. You take control of the nameless secret apprentice of Darth Vader, who is plotting an upheaval of Emperor Palpatine. Known only as Starkiller (Luke Skywalker’s conceptual surname), you as the Apprentice are sent on Jedi manhunts and other various missions at the immediate request of Darth Vader (Who unfortunately is not voiced by James Earl Jones). Along the way you have a token goofy robot sidekick and an headstrong female pilot who will serve as a love interest for the Apprentice in the story. While the story itself is well told as best as LucasArts can and its visuals are pretty good, the main fault of this game lies in the gameplay. So I can get this out of the way, the best parts of the TFU is it’s superb facial capture, but now onto what’s bad.

The controls are horrendous, plainly put. The camera angles often are cumbersome and during battle, it’s recenter function does not really function. It recenters for a split second and will overcompensate, something that is very difficult to work with in situations (and there are many) where you will be fighting multiple enemies and trying to dispatch them as fast as you can. On the subject of multiple enemies, the targeting system simply does not work. When you are faced with the many targets you can pick from, the selected target is very hard to see, and the camera is not locked so you may be targeted on something but you can’t see it on your screen. On top of that, you can also lock targets on the many many objects in the game on which you can use your Force telekinesis, so quickly selecting a target is undoubtedly infuriating.

As for the enemies themselves, they fall into the categories of rebels and empire troops, as in everyone’s familiar Star Wars fashion. But only the die hard fans will really care to notice, since they’re all out to kill you regardless. Seemingly, when it comes to basic grunts, they’re unimaginative; they only shoot, rapid shoot or try to prod you with their stun rods. One of my own personal complaints are the rapid shooting enemies. It seems that they don’t really need to reload and can fire incessantly (but then again it’s a laser weapon, who needs to reload anyway, right?) so within the concept of balance, leaves you standing there holding the guard button and repelling laser shots. Of course these shots are not immediately deadly, but a minor annoyance you have to deal with from the onset of the game and oftentimes enemies have an impenetrable defense…. to a lightsaber, but then again if you can cut through anything but other lightsabers, where would be the fun?

As for the battle system, there are several elements that could have used more work as well. The lightsaber combos are initially imaginative, but quickly get dull. There seems to be no real benefit to stringing together a flashy looking combo, as there is in the Devil May Cry series. The damage benefit is mostly negligible, as simple one button presses seem to suffice. Unlike God of War, Ninja Gaiden and Heavenly Sword, where combo damage and really sets in the fun of those respective games. Like the above mentioned games however, there are points to be distributed to build your characters stats. Speaking of point distribution, you can’t really change your mind either. So if you were to happen to accidentally put a point in something you didn’t want, you can’t take the point off and redistribute, and there is no confimation message. That is something that can always be patched of course.

Now, onto the marketing point of The Force Unleashed, the force powers. Force lightning, force push, yeah those are there, nothing new about that. But here you can pick up nearly any object (including enemies) and toss them at will. Even this feature wasn’t as will implemented as planned. You control an object you pick up with your Force powers and control them on the X & Y axis on the Left Stick and the Z axis on the Right Stick. However simple that sounds, it doesn’t feel natural to use to throw objects at your enemies, there is no aiming assist and when you release your Force button the object will be thrown in a general direction which you were holding with the Right Stick.

If you’re looking for an easy game to pick up, this really isn’t it. If you’re a Star Wars fan and want to fill in the gaps, by all means pick this title up. I found this game to be particularly difficult to play through and I could not recommend it to anyone else other than those who just want to experience a story that is actually in the canon. It’s not entirely unplayable, but I can say you won’t get through certain parts without wanting to snap your controller in half.

The Jedi Gym

As much as I’ve hated Star Wars since the prequels, I found this to be quite hilarious…

Dear George Lucas…PLEASE STOP!

In an recent interview with Newsweek, George Lucas spoke about his thoughts on Harrison Ford and the Indiana Jones franchise.  Here’s what he had to say:

He is Indiana Jones.  If Indiana Jones wasn’t in it, you’d have to call it ‘Mutt Williams and the search for Elvis.’ … Yeah, it’s ‘Mutt Williams and the Search for Elvis.’

He also added some insight on his plans for a 5th installment, with the following:

The franchise really depends on me coming up with a good idea.  And that series is very research-intensive. So we’re doing research now to see if we can’t come up with another object for him to chase … hopefully we’ll come up with something.

Yes, he was serious and I’m going to say this straight out.  George Lucas, you are wrong!  The franchise does not “depend on you coming up with a good idea.”  That’s Spielberg’s job, or at least it’s certainly appeared that way.  Spielberg was the one who prevented you from making a vomit-inducing atrocity of sending Indiana Jones to outer space.  Please, please wake up.  Either retire or come up with something new!  No more special edition, restored, remastered, digitalized, 3D rereleased Star Wars garbage.  Please stop.

I can honestly say that George Lucas has been the only writer-director who has made me wholeheartedly embrace his franchise with open arms and in the end, hurl massive wads of spitballs at it.  I remember completely loving Star Wars as a kid, watching all 3 Special Edition theatrical releases on their opening days, eventually buying the VHS box set with the Darth Vader cover slip.  I even had a box set of that Star Wars collectible card game with the Rebel and Imperial card backings and different planet packs.  Flash forward 10 years…now I utterly loathe Star Wars and can’t stand the sight of it.  “Clone Wars” simply looks like a rehash of the CGI-garbage we got for the prequel trilogy and it’s the last movie I’ll ever seriously watch (factoring in “Gigli”).  During my visit to Comic-Con, Lucasfilm had an enormous “Clone Wars” booth which featured life-size displays of some of the characters, a wide assortment of action figures, and giant, overhead screens that played fan-films.  I did not visit that booth once.  The reason: Mr. George Lucas.

So to Mr. Lucas, please put an end to Star Wars.  I assure you, it’s better off dead at this point.  I am sick and tired of seeing fans dressed up as Jedi Knights, desperately clinging on to a franchise that has been threatening suicide since Episode 1.  They don’t deserve this.  You don’t deserve this.  Please stop.

One more thing, let Spielberg take over the next Indy film.  You will be the demise of Star Wars and I seriously do not want that to happen to the Indiana Jones franchise.  “Crystal Skull” was an apocalyptic foreshadowing of the tragic events that are to come if you do not let this franchise go.  I cannot ask for anything more.

Signed,

Disgruntled Ex-Star Wars Fanatic

Soul Calibur 4…the tale of souls and swords eternally retold — now online.

So I’ve been waiting for SC4 for a while. I’m not expecting much difference from the last iteration, besides the major bug fixes so don’t expect too much for new functions; it’s a fighting game. You can’t really change much without totally revamping the formula and ruining the core game experience (See: Street Fighter EX). But in the spirit of covering all the new stuff, here goes. New things: Destructible armor, Darth Vader, customizable costumes (read: fighting in skivvies and man thongs), and online play. Okay, now that’s over and done with, let me focus on the most important aspect here — ONLINE PLAY.

As of this writing the lag issue is surprisingly very good. I am able to compete fairly well online, moves that require a little bit more precise timing such as guard impacts are not impossible to do, while there is some latency problems that arise, it doesn’t make it unplayable, as matches in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection sometimes were, although that required a lot more precision than Soul Calibur does, which makes one wonder how Virtua Fighter 5 performs on XBL. Mismatched precision comes with the territory, so don’t get your hopes up for a true one on one experience, but honestly it’s not bad at all.

Your statistics are recorded on the server. It shows a players wins and losses and win percentage. And you’re ranked among other players just as you’d see on any sort of competitive ladder. It’s divided by the two game modes: standard and special. Standard has no special weapon or armor effects. Special mode will allow your weapon and character customization to come to life, allowing your character to drain life, automatically break throws or guard impact, really just minor fun stuff. There is also a choice to play without affecting your record. If you want to specifically match up to play with friends though, your record will not be affected. Generally playing online has been a very good experience. The player matching system doesn’t seem to work all too well, from what I’ve seen so far, the quick matching system almost never gets you into a match, but obviously it does work since I have chosen to host all of my games. The matches are fast and with minimal lag. Most players I’ve played against have had a 3/5 or 5/5 bar of signal. I think that may be attributed to the seemingly large number of players who have decided to pick it up.

And this is what I have to say about the competition I’ve encountered so far: with the new guest characters, we now also have an influx of n00bs people who have no idea now to play, and thus button mash. While one of the major complaints about Tekken, Soul Calibur, DOA or any true 3d fighter is that it’s easy to win by button mashing, I counter by saying you should learn how to play better if you’re getting beaten by a button masher. Any really experienced player will tell you that if you really know how to play you should know how to get around people who don’t know how to play. I can go online and get matched with someone and generally if I see them pick Darth Vader (I got the PS3 version) or the apprentice, I’d say about 98% of the time, the player does not know what he/she is doing. Another notorious button masher character is Maxi or even Raphael, if you see those, be weary, more than likely they’re probably going to be molesting the controller. And while I do encourage people more players to come online, I would also like to see less blaming the game for a player’s lack of skill as I’ve been witnessing on some forums. This is expected when you choose to include two very famous characters from an already extremely popular universe. It also explains why Soul Calibur 2 sold very well for the Gamecube. The guest characters were included to increase sales and it seems to have worked out just as planned. I just wonder how many people are going to give and return or say they’re going to return the game because they keep losing online, Soul Calibur hasn’t exactly been in competitive form since really the first game.

Dancing with the Star (War)s