Bahn Unplugged: Volume 8 Feature - The Next Level

Bahn Unplugged: Volume 8

Find out how GN's editor-in-chief unwinds after the holiday craze.

Article by Chris Bahn (Email)
January 4th 2006, 04:47AM

So anyways, I picked up the game and man; I've been hooked ever since. Despite having some familiarity with the series' earlier releases, I still felt like something of a newbie. Before I even felt confident with my abilities, the first 24 hours was spent beating the story mode with every character. This proved to be something of a headache because Team Ninja and Itagaki have this wicked sense of humor when it comes to the challenge factor. You see; while many of you will undoubtedly breeze through a few characters simply by mashing away, don't expect to get very far with that. Pretty soon, the game picks up the frequency of attacks you use and in turn, executes counter tactics to even the odds.

Now, I am all for having a challenging CPU opponent, but as players of any skill level can admit to: the AI in this game is CHEAP. Really it is. It's disheartening when the game choose to counter several of your attacks, one behind each other. Even more upsetting is to experience a situation when you're on the verge of victory only to have it snatched away by methods that practically seem to defy logic and reason.

I realize this is a rather futile complaint since by now, we know that Team Ninja has started to fashion their titles (see: next generation editions of Ninja Gaiden) to be exceptionally difficult. Oh, and please don't get me started on the newest boss character: Alpha-152 (Kasumi's clone) who I've passionately call "Blue Bitch". I know some of you who've played against such bosses as Cervantes, Rugal B, and Championship Edition Bison probably thinking I am tripping -- but trust me, after you encounter Alpha -- you will believe.

All quibbles aside, I am really loving the gameplay a great deal. The characters are of course -- SWEET. S-W-E-E-T... period. Christie is my all-time favorite who reminds me a lot of Tekken's Nina Williams. I also dig Brad Wong for his drunken master style -- it's effective simply for the fact it will keep your opponents guessing what he's about to do. Hitomi and Eliot are next on my list, once I become my skills with Christie and Brad are a bit more solid. To be totally honest, I can see myself eventually learning the whole entire cast just so that I am familiar with their abilities.

I wish I could say the same about the storyline. Unlike Soul Calibur and Tekken, the vibe here just screams convoluted and over the top. Take the mermaid sequence for Kasumi. While I thought it was sort of cute, what does it have to do with DOATEC. Team Ninja stepped up the soft porn edge a lot more, as made fully evident in the Lei-fang and Hitomi ending sequences. But fear not, as I said, there are a few over the top moments too and then there is the actual "real" ending which will only be revealed if you're good enough to unlock Helena and beat the game with her. I'd comment on the ending, but I am actually against spoilers. Of course, if you don't own the game or just can't fight the temptation to see it now, I am sure you'll find them somewhere on the net.

Well, I've said a lot more than I planned to for today -- but there's a few more things that I'd like to get off my chest (like what happened to the Animal Crossing blog) and will save for another day.

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