GGF#12: Soul Calibur IV – Babes, battles, parties

[Gamer Girl Friday]

Gamer Girl Friday this week is monopolised by Soul Calibur IV because it’s totally THE GAME OF THE WEEK. It’s like sold out everywhere. Even I can’t get a copy, if you must know.

Yes, it’s sad. I can’t get a copy of the game, even with all my nefarious connections, because there simply aren’t any copies left to be gotten.

But I’ll bet they’re printing up more copies even as we speak. Well, they’d better be. So, keep camping your favourite game retailers and train up your fingers in the meantime!

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Table of Contents

  1. The Goonfather and his $80 lanyard
  2. Soul Calibur IV quick review
  3. How to do a critical finish in Soul Calibur IV
  4. The babes of Soul Calibur IV
  5. At the Soul Calibur IV media preview
  6. Results of last week’s contest
  7. Ask Sheylara
  8. Win a limited edition PS3 GT5 windbreaker!

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The Goonfather and his $80 lanyard

One day, the Goonfather said to me, “Oh, man. I need to stop buying games.”

“Why?” I asked, dreading the answer, because you learn to dread answers from the Goonfather if he was the one who started the conversation.

“I have a stack of games still waiting for me to start playing. I haven’t even unwrapped some of them!”

He started listing them.

“Metal Gear Solid 4, Initial D: Extreme Stage, Grand Theft Auto 4, Devil May Cry 4, Heavenly Sword, Wangan Midnight, Armor Core 4, Need for Speed Pro Street, Motorstorm, Top Spin 3, Blazing Angels, Virtua Fighter, Medal of Honor Airborne, Transformers, Ninja Gaiden 2, Gears of War, Blue Dragon, Halo 3…”

When I woke up from my drone-induced slumber, I told him, “You wouldn’t have this problem if you’d stop playing Pixel Junk Monsters and rewatching Chuck and Larry!”

“But Chuck and Larry is so funny!”

Here’s the Goonfather’s games collection. About 10 of them are still in their original wrappers.

The next day, he announced over MSN, “I’m going to buy Siren: Blood Curse tonight!”

“You just told me you’re going to stop buying games!!!”

“But I need Siren!”

“Why???”

“Because they’re giving away a free PS3 lanyard with every game purchase.”

“…”

“Actually, I’m not buying a game. I’m buying a PS3 lanyard and I will get a free game!”

“What’s the RRP for Siren?”

“$80.”

“You’re buying an $80 lanyard?”

“Yes!”

“This conversation is over.”

Later that day, I attended the media preview of Soul Calibur IV for the PS3. I SMS’ed the Goonfather, “Don’t buy your lanyard first.”

That night, I went back and gave this to him.

“WOW!!!” he said. “This is even nicer than the one I wanted to buy!”

It’s light grey, with a reflective surface.

If you take a close-up photo of it with flash, it glows!

Good. Now that the Goonfather has an extra $80 in his bank account, I just remembered a nice Aldo handbag I’ve been lusting after which costs $80!

Thanks for the lanyard, Ogilvy (and the handbag)!

[Back to Table of Contents]

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Soul Calibur IV quick review

You guys have already seen the videos I posted up on Tuesday. So, today will just be pictures and talk!

I don’t like fighting games as a general rule, but I enjoyed playing it so much on Monday that I overstayed my welcome at the media preview organised by Ogilvy PR. (The event was slated to end at 7 pm but I didn’t leave until 7:30 pm.)

More about the event later!

The game lives up to its standard of being one of the most popular fighter series in gaming history. Apart from the novelty of seeing Darth Vader (PS3 version) and Yoda (Xbox 360 version) duke it out with cutesy anime girls, the graphics and animations in this fourth instalment leave me wanting more.

Perhaps I enjoyed playing the game so much because I was playing against journos and PR folks, to whom gaming isn’t exactly second nature, so I actually had a fighting chance to win at least half the matches.

I’m not normally a competitive person, but winning definitely adds to the fun of fighting games. One can derive a perverse pleasure in beating the crap out of one’s opponents and seeing them flail about helplessly while their armors get torn off and their blood spews liberally in artistic spurts across the screen.

Yes, in SC4, you can beat the armor off your opponent and suddenly, you’re fighting an almost naked dude. (Haven’t tried it out on the already half-naked female characters, though. I don’t know what happens when their flimsy “armors” get torn off.)

The critical finish animations are awe-inspiring, as you’ve seen in my video.

There are a few other features that we didn’t get the chance to explore:

  • Create custom characters and costumes, modifying 20 different parts including voice.
  • Change fighting styles and abilities
  • Acquire equipment along the way

And, of course, there’s Darth Vader and Yoda. Currently, Darth Vader is only available on the PS3 while Yoda is only available on the Xbox 360. But there is compelling evidence to suggest that both characters will be available on both platforms via downloads at a later stage.

Awesome!

[Back to Table of Contents]

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How to do a critical finish in Soul Calibur IV

This is very, very hard to do, unless you have a friend willing to let you beat the shit out of him without fighting back.

That’s why it’s really special. If you manage to perform a crit finish, a very nice animation plays and you win the round right away.

So, here’s how you do it!

First, notice the two green orbs on both corners of the screen at the top? They’re called Soul Gauges.

If you hack at your opponent while he’s blocking, his Soul Gauge will start flashing red.

(Once he stops blocking or you stop hacking, the gauge returns to green, so make sure you pound on him mercilessly because you want it in the red.)

If you bully him long enough in that manner, a Soul Crash will happen. That’s when you’ll hear a crackling sound and your opponent will look like he’s being electrocuted.

At this point of time, you only have one second to react. Immediately press L1 (on the PS3) or LB (on the Xbox) and the crit finish will execute.

Now, all you need to do is find an opponent who enjoys blocking above all else.

Good luck!

[Back to Table of Contents]

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The babes of Soul Calibur IV

I just had to do this. They’re all too kawaii not to! So, feast your eyes!


Hilde


Mina


Amy


Scheherazade


Taki


Talim


Tira


Xianghua


Angol Fear

My favourite to play is Hilde (first picture) because she uses a spear. If you’re playing against a moderately clueless opponent, you can poke him senseless from afar without even getting a scratch on yourself.

Hilde also looks really sexy in her full suit of plate armor.

But then, poking someone with a spear endlessly gets a bit boring after a while.

There was another character I enjoyed playing but I can’t remember which one. She does a very mean scissor kick using her thighs and the opponent’s neck, which had all the guys around me roaring with laughter every time I executed that move.

Females are cool.

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At the Soul Calibur IV media preview

On Monday, the nice folks at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide hosted a media preview of Soul Calibur IV for the PS3 at a cosy corner of their office in Robinson Road.

I was a little stressed because we were expected to try out the game but I totally don’t play fighting games.

I thought I could play the damsel in distress card and kinda appeal to the sympathies of the guys by claiming to be a non-violent and helpless damsel so that they would try not to pwn me too much.

But it turned out that most of the guys there didn’t even play games, so I ended up thrashing them as much as they were thrashing me, if not more.

We were pretty evenly matched, which is good. There’s no fun if your opponent is too tough or too easy.

There was quite a lot of laughter and exclamations during the matches, a good testament to the fun factor of Soul Calibur IV, considering that none of us were actually fans to begin with.

There was also a lot of: “Wow, that was a cool move! How did you do that?”

“I don’t know.”

And a lot of photos of me, presumably because my socks made interesting photography subjects.

It was a good gaming party with a good game and good food and wine. Well, okay, there was only finger food, but that’s my favourite kind of food!

I couldn’t let go of my plate even though I had finished my food. There was, of course, more food (they catered enough food to feed a small army), but I was being coy.

Very nice, Ogilvy PR and Sony PS3.

More gaming parties, please, and photographers who take nice photos!

[Back to Table of Contents]

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Results of last week’s contest

Three contenders made it to the last round for the prize of a Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 headset!

Thanks modchip, lawless and aig for your kind perserverance!! I’m sorry only one of you can win it, though, wish I had more to give away!

I shall do a random now to see who gets the prize.

I feel nervous for you guys. Really!!

***RANDOMISER IN PROGRESS***

And the winner is… aig!!

Oooh! Will contact you soon about collecting your prize!

Okay, more contests coming up!!

[Back to Table of Contents]

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Ask Sheylara

Ask me any gaming-related questions! Post them in the comments or e-mail me, I don’t really care. I will try to answer all questions (unless I get like 500 questions a day).

narusegawa69 asks an Initial D: Extreme Stage question:

Is Initial D Extreme Stage for PS3 only?

Sheylara Says:

Yup.

Relax asks a fitness game question:

Nintendo Wii Fit vs. XaviX J-Mat, who winz?

Sheylara Says:

We had a discussion about this in my blog, Relax and me. Relax thinks that the J-Mat is cooler because it came first and people thought that Wii Fit copied it. But he also thinks the design fails because it looks like a female hygiene product (which it does).

My response is that I’d pick the Wii Fit any day because I don’t really care who copied whom. The Wii Fit balance board is sturdier and looks so much nicer than the silly-looking rubbery J-Mat. But that’s just me. I haven’t actually played either machine, so I can’t fairly comment which is better.

Relax is a Jackie Chan fan so he supports J-Mat. I’m a Nintendo fan so I support Wii Fit. LOL. So much for informed consumerism.

nadnut asks a strange request:

Can Gamer Girl Friday please try out this game for this/next week’s column?! :p

Sheylara Says:

The game in question is a sex mmorpg. You can read her thoughts about it here.

And my answer is: WTF?

[Back to Table of Contents]

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Win a limited edition PS3 GTS windbreaker!

Wow wow!! What have we got here?

It’s a super cool PlayStation 3 Gran Turismo 5 windbreaker!!

This week’s prize is kindly sponsored by Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong. Thank you!

I’m giving away one Size L windbreaker to one lucky reader!

And it’s going to be really hard to win it because this is a rare jacket! Okay, listen carefully:

To win this prize, post a comment here saying you want it (before next Friday).

OMG, I know! What a tough job I’ve given you, but don’t give up hope. I know you can do it!!

Only one winner, so names will go into a lucky draw!

Good luck, you all!

[Back to Table of Contents]

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Well, there is only one thing left to say.

“Do not underestimate the power of the dark side!”

Okay, I don’t know how relevant that is to anything. Not much probably.

But, hey, when you’re Darth Vader, who cares about anything?

[Gamer Girl Friday]

Bloggers stress test the HTC Touch Diamond

So, I think bloggers are a really scary breed of new media journalists. Since they don’t answer to anyone but themselves, they can afford to display higher than normal levels of curiosity and skepticism.

Also, without the need to rush back to the office to file a story, they can afford to hang around after an event to badger the product specialist.

Here’s what happens when you invite bloggers to your event.

Other things that happen include excessive camwhoring and badly-taken photographs.

Examples of camwhoring:

[HOW!]
From left: DK, Jayden, Nadnut (front), Sabrina (back), Sheylara, Claudia, Precious

[Black is the new black]
Surfing to Sheylara.com on the HTC Touch Diamond

[Lightning never strikes on the same spot]
Jayden was really pleased with the phone

Examples of badly-taken photographs:

[She forgot her lines]
The host of the event read off cue-cards the whole time

[It was like magnet]
The HTC Touch Diamond tagline: Not too big, not too small

[Crowds scare me]
The talk was held in a very ostentatious ballroom

Examples of badly-taken camwhoring photographs:

[It was like magnet]
Sheylara and Precious hang out in the toilet

[What?]
Sheylara and Precious enjoy a lipstick break

Sidetrack a bit.

Some guys have asked why women like to take photos in the toilet.

That’s the wrong question.

The right question should be: Why do women like to take photos anywhere?

To which the answer is: Do women need a reason to do anything?

End of sidetrack.

I guess I should talk about the phone but I’m really tired now, so I’ll just do the point-form thingy.

[Sparkling HTC Touch Diamond]

What I like about the HTC Touch Diamond

  • At the outset, HTC is already pretty well-known for producing reliable and function-rich PDA phones.
  • It looks really sleek, with a glossy piano black surface and, as the tagline proclaims, is “not too big, not too small”.
  • It runs on HSDPA for Internet connectivity and is the fastest you can get on mobile phones right now. I tried it. It’s really fast.
  • The interface is kinda like the iPhone. You can use your finger or the attached stylus to grab stuff on/off the screen.
  • It has a graphics processor! Which means watching videos on this phone is really sweet.
  • When surfing the net, you can zoom in to read passages of text and the phone automatically wraps the text for you so you don’t have to scroll left-right!! And the zooming is instantaneous, no waiting for the browser to reload the page.
  • It doesn’t allow external memory but has 4GB of storage, which I think is enough.
  • When you’re in a phone conversation and pull out your stylus, the phone automatically displays a notepad so you can take notes.
  • It has a built-in Google Maps GPS program so you will never need to get lost again!

[Maps!]
A live demo of the phone’s Internet connectivity

What I don’t like about the HTC Touch Diamond

  • The interface is kinda sluggish, with a 1-2 second delay, when you navigate the touch screen with your fingers. That problem seems to be minimised when you use the stylus, though.
  • HTC claims that it has an intuitive interface that mimics tasks you do daily so you won’t need to read a menu to learn how to use the phone. But I wouldn’t say it’s immediately intuitive. Like, when I wanted to scroll through the phone book to watch the nifty animation, I ended up calling some guy, instead. Then I couldn’t figure out how to stop the call and go back to the phone book.
  • It’s too expensive at $1098.

Well, in a nutshell, if I were really rich, I would definitely get it. (Wouldn’t we all?) The phone will be available for purchase in June this year.

I wonder if I can get HTC to sponsor me one! ;)

But I really enjoy attending media events because I get, if not free phones, then free food.

[Food]
Farinelli couldn’t wait to dig into the food

[Fooder]

[Foodest]

There was actually a lot more food than this, but I was really, really hungry and decided to neglect my duties as a sometimes food blogger and just start eating.

Feed the hungry blogger!

Please invite me to more of such events because I’m really hungry.

lol.

After the event, some of us went on a bus field trip.

[Happy campers]

[Lone rangers]

I shan’t tell you where we went!

lol.