There's basically two things going on in today's strip.
One, the Watch changes hands.
Two, we've got imports of Soul Calibur 2 for the PS2 and the Cube, just to get an idea of the differences. My own PS2 isn't modded, nor is it Japanese, so it's basically Gabe that's playing that version - but as we were discussing, it's like having an old friend back. Other than somewhat more elaborate backgrounds, the eight-way run we don't use much, and progressive scan, this is the game we love and have loved. The Weapon Master mode - returned from Soul Blade/Soul Edge - is truly a fancy feast, replete with treats and choice meats. And phat beats. Our eyes sweetly meet, discreet as we mete love's feats like John Keats.
While you can certainly play SC2 as a person who doesn't speak Japanese - I don't think anybody will find out or anything - these games take themselves fairly seriously for fighters, so story-wise there is a lot there that will be mysterious to you. Basically I'm saying that if you bought it now, you'd just have to buy it again to grok it in fullness.
I made use of the term "fan service" incorrectly on Wednesday, and I am truly sorry. I am always seeking out lean new jargon to deploy into my lexical gumbo, and some of the best terms are specific to certain sub-cultures. Fan Service is an Anime Enthusiast term that, I have been informed, typically amounts to panty shots or sensual depictions. So if you didn't see the last comic because you were afraid to see Div in a thong or something, please rectify the situation.
I know that I talked about Desert Combat quite a bit the other day, but it reveals such glittering futures that I couldn't help myself. Desert Combat turns many of the conventions of Battlefield 1942 on their head, and to be honest, they look pretty good like that. Whereas the original game is designed (almost without exception) to sport man to man conflicts bolstered by decisive vehicles, the theory behind Desert Combat appears to be "Streamline The Experience And Maximize Fun." So, where the Anti-Tank kit in Battlefield sports a rocket launcher, in Desert Combat they sport the RL and mines. Medics and mechanics are rolled into a single "Support" class, with placeable mortars (I had originally typed "Mortarts," which sound delicious!). Some tanks can even fire on artillery targets! There are a lot of very interesting decisions, but chief among them in my mind is that there are multiple vehicles that can carry three or more players. My crew have about five people in it, good luck getting everybody where they need to go. I feel like a flustered mom in a Lunchables commercial trying to get all these brats in a row. In Desert Combat, there are tanks that sport five seats. Tanks! I believe there are helicopters that seat Six, the cargo plane - which you can spawn into and organize paratrooper raids - there's at least six in there. The Coalition side even has varying styles of Humvee, which are true man haulers. That is a huge deal. The other things are just good ideas, in general - they make a person feel more useful. But being able to crew up into hardware like that is not only more exciting, it fundamentally weights the gameplay to favor vehicle against vehicle combat. That was excellent in TAC, and it's still excellent.
My constant, oppressive discussion of the mod brought out others who have a favorite take on Battlefield, and I am pleased to introduce you to these projects if you are not already fixated on them. From our Gabriel Department, let me direct your attention to Galactic Conquest, a Star Wars themed mod whose scale is much different from any official Lucasarts offering. From the same department, but also from others, comes the GI Joe mod whose purpose should be clear enough to all thinking men. My vote certainly goes to Empires, which flexes Natural Selection/Allegiance/Savage style RTS/FPS gameplay. I'm completely astounded by the ambition of this project, and if they need somebody to sit on their ass and not do anything I'm their man.
Yesterday's torrent of mail also included a nice bit about Raven Shield, a game whose co-operative mode has been so engaging I haven't even played it against anyone yet. You might remember my complaints about the Karma Physics implementation they use in the game, where you will shoot a guy who looks like a tough terrorist pr something and then instead of dying he will look like he'd doing yoga or some shit. Well, look to Raven Shield Platoon for the answer - modified "ragdoll" files that make enemy expirations conform to the bones of the human body. Dish up.
the dead jumped up to run