Even though there are many games out there on shelves that I have little to no interest in, I'm always interested to play them. Be it downloadable demos, games I don't own or in-store displays, I'm up for anything.
TEKKEN 6 (played on PS3)
Just to preface this, I was a mad keen Tekken player back in the day. Hwaorang was my dude of choice and I took him to the many heights and lows that Tekken 3 on the PS1 would allow. Since then, my interest in the King of Iron Fist Tournament had gradually waned with each installment of the franchise. But number six is the first entry to land on current generation consoles, I decided to check it out.
And holy fuck, nothing has changed.
I picked Hwoarang out of the forty-two character select screen (just to illustrate how big this roster is, there are two Armor Kings) and was surprised that he hadn't changed since the late nineties. Still rocking the forehead goggles and leather chaps, it was something of a comfort to see the orange-haired biker who hasn't aged a day looking up at me with the same ol' attitude that won me over those many years ago.
Yep. Still awesome.
I entered the standard Arcade Mode and was pitted against another old-timey character, Panda. Now, if you had asked me a week ago how to perform moves and grabs in Tekken, I would not have known where to start. But as soon as I had that Playstation controller in my hand, my thumbs knew what to do. Seriously, I had no recollection of any combination of buttons. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my memory, the moves came flooding back almost immediately. Straight away, my fingers somehow knew that pressing triangle and circle together executed a throw. I was blown away that I could remember such things considering I hadn't touched a Tekken game in years.
Long story short, I kicked Panda's arse in two rounds. Granted, I played hundred of hours of Tekken 3 back in the day so that may have helped me. Hwoarang was exactly the same as I remember him. KICK, KICK, KICK, KICK change stance, KICK, KICK. I have to say I enjoyed myself but was really disappointed at how stale the game seemed. Yes, I only played one round but Namco Bandai aren't exactly shouting from the rooftops about how they've redesigned the shit out of Tekken. All I got from number 6 is that it was 3 with better graphics. And, hasn't that been the case with every damn Tekken?
DJ HERO (played on Xbox 360)
When I first heard about Activision's attempt to translate their billion-dollar Guitar Hero franchise into the world of DJing, it was obviously a money grab. While I didn't care less about DJing in general (anymore), I couldn't see the concept of a DJing game being anything but awful. Then they released shots of the turntable controller. It looked, quite simply, like the dumbest thing ever. I started picturing nothing but a sad loser, sitting alone in his underwear with his stupid toy turntable playing his stupid DJ game, looking all stupid.
Then I played it. And you know what, it's kinda fun.
The crux of the songs featured are mash-ups. Yes, I was like you in rolling my eyes. The mash-up in itself is so tired it couldn't be revived no matter what. I fired up the menu screen and was suddenly thrown into a track. It was a mix of Marvin Gaye's I Heard It On The Grapevine and Gorillaz' Feel Good Inc. I quickly grabbed hold of the turntable with my right hand and the cross-fader with my left.
I had no idea what to do with the crossfader but everything seemed to be pretty straightforward and...pretty enjoyable. Holding down the blue (x) button on the turntable while scratching when prompted was actually rewarding when I managed to pull it off correctly. I played through the entire track and scored a pitiful one star for my efforts but it opened my eyes a little to what the possibilities of this game could be. Perhaps I might pick it up sometime next year on the cheap. Because right now it's upwards of $130.