The Aftermath of E3 2012

E3 2012 wasn’t the greatest show in its history, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. This year in gaming is the perfect example of the time where next-gen consoles are guaranteed, but the time to reveal them has not yet come. It is years like this where we get to see developers make games that take full advantage of the hardware of current consoles.

I’m the kind of person who tunes in for the games. New consoles are great, but it’s hard to look at a pricey $500+ box that may not launch with compelling games that are worth the sticker shock. Because of that, I’ve highlighted a handful of titles that I feel are going to make the second half of 2012 and into 2013 great. Now that the dust has settled and the near future of video games has been shown to us, here are my picks for games that struck a cord with me. Along with a few words, enjoy the videosfrom IGN, Gametrailers, and Youtube I’ve attached.

Tomb Raider

I honestly never played Tomb Raider. Back in the PS1 days I didn’t get into Lara Croft’s adventures probably on account of being too young. Over the years, she was also the victim of shoddy sequels that demoted her from a well regarded video game character to the biggest joke in the industry. This reboot to the franchise looks really promising, as it gives Lara a new origin story and shows how she became the femme fatale that many people fondly remember her as. It’s a great feeling to see a game character age as technology improves. Lara has evolved from a rigid, wirey-framed girl with a big polygonal chest to a realistically proportioned young woman. Watching Lara make use of both the limited tools she has with environmental hazards to take out the bad guys makes her out to be a very resourceful heroine. The preliminary footage of this new Tomb Raider is very promising, and if all goes well, I’ll be waiting in line to pick this up when it drops on March 5, 2013.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Need for Speed is constantly fighting against the likes of other racing franchises like Forza and Gran Turismo, but between the three, I’ve been enjoying Need for Speed the most. When Criterion started reimagining Need for Speed starting with 2010’s NFS Hot Pursuit, they succeeded in making a racer that didn’t have to be super-realistic, but still was very fun. However, the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted from 2005 is still my most beloved Need for Speed title. I can still remember climbing up the Blacklist 15, starting with a junky Fiat Punto and eventually blazing through the highway in a Porsche Carrera GT. Seeing it remade will satisfy the racer in me. With the Autolog, Most Wanted will monitor almost everything the player does, such as recording a new best time in a race. To fuel competition, this information can be broadcasted to other friends. Although it will be out on October 30, 2012, I’m willing to bet that the price for it will definitely drop just in time for Black Friday.

The Last of Us

After finally seeing some real gameplay footage, The Last of Us definitely has me interested. Naughty Dog has taken a bold step to create a harrowing experience where the combat isn’t just about taking cover and shooting a couple of times and moving to the next objective. Sometimes, you gotta get dirty. Combat appears to be more desperate, putting players at the edge of their seats. It was a nice touch to see that your enemies react to the sound of the player’s gun running out of bullets. Hopefully these struggles aren’t completely scripted, and the player can fail if they aren’t actually pressing a button. If the game is full of moments like the end of the demo, then I’m sold. This game is the perfect example of showcasing an exclusive game that Playstation owners can show off to their buddies who are missing out. The dreary atmosphere reminds me of The Road, but hopefully after playing this I won’t feel as depressed once it’s over. We’ll see more of the post-apocalyptic world in The Last of Us when it is released sometime in 2013.

PlayStation Plus

Although it isn’t exactly a game, the indirect value that PlayStation Plus offers continues to sweeten the pot for PSN subscribers. Many digital downloads for games are offered at discounted prices, and more often than not, for free. As of Sony’s press conference, inFamous 2, LittleBigPlanet 2 and MotorStorm: Apocalypse are free to download and own for Plus members. More free games are going to be offered every month as well. Barring any discounts, a full year subscription to PlayStation Plus is cheaper than a year of Xbox Live Gold. For those of us multiplatform gamers out there who have Xbox Live but haven’t gotten PlayStation Plus, we might really be thinking that our PS3’s aren’t being put to their fullest potential.

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation

While I don’t have a Playstation Vita yet, Assassins Creed III: Liberation looks to be one of those titles that will help put more copies of Sony’s handheld into the laps of more people just like me. Admittedly, the change of setting to the New World has renewed my interest, and most importantly, this game stars a female African-French assassin. I dare you to think of how many games in the last ten years that have done this. Details are pretty scarce at this point, but by its October 30, 2012 release date which also coincides with Assassin’s Creed III, we’ll know much more.

Watch Dogs

One of the disappointments of this year’s E3 was that almost everything that was shown was either leaked prematurely, or we’ve known about it for months. When you actually reveal a new game at your press conference like Ubisoft did, you create real E3 moments. Posed as a high tech Frankenstein of features from both Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell, Watch Dogs thrusts players in the near future, where every piece of information about us exists as data. In the hands of the capable, this data can be exploited. The gameplay video explains it all. I would love to carry around a smartphone like that. When people are wondering if this is a current gen title, or something for the next batch of consoles you know you’ve made an impact. Couple that with an open world third person shooter and you just might have the highest acclaimed game in the show. Watch Dogs will be out in 2013.

Star Wars 1313

In my opinion, I have yet to see a Star Wars game on the same level as Jedi Outcast. Contemporary Star Wars games have tried to deliver on so many fronts that when taken as a whole, they simply failed to reach their mark. Star Wars is a legendary IP and presents a universe where thousands of stories have been told beyond the movies in the form of games, novels and television shows. It appears that Jedi, Sith, and other aspects of the Force in general are absent. The player is a Bounty Hunter, and well, shoots stuff. This premise might fall into the mold of “just another third person shooter,” but I’m really hoping that it doesn’t. Although the cover based shooter style is tried and true, 1313 could spice things up by taking advantage of the various tools that bounty hunters like Boba Fett had. Jetpacks, flamethrowers, grappling hooks anyone? This “mature” take on the Star Wars universe got many fans watching with great interest. Also, this game looks absolutely amazing. Details are also slim, but more information is likely to be on the horizon.

Agni’s Philosophy

The idea of next-generation consoles permeated the air of this year’s E3 like the subtle aroma of breakfast in the morning – we all know it’s coming, but can’t really do anything until it emerges on the table. Everyone whispered and speculated, but Sony and Microsoft had nothing to talk about. Square-Enix had a rather dismal offering in its RPG department – Final Fantasy Versus XIII was absent for yet another year, and as much as I like Kingdom Hearts, its handheld outings have not done much to move the story forward at all. Enter Agni’s Philosophy, Square-Enix’s tech demo showcasing the graphical potential a next gen game engine could be able to produce. While this is just an exercise in eye candy and graphical muscle, let’s play the what-if game for a minute. What if Agni’s Philosophy could be a starting point for a new style of Final Fantasy, where dragons and other creatures are really monstrous? Not everything is as elegant and pretty, yet the world is a perfect mix of gritty environments married in with locations where magic and technology go hand in hand? If this is a taste of what Square-Enix is capable of, faithful fans will be frothing at the mouth to play their new stuff. That is, after get around to finishing the numerous projects that have been announced but have yet to materialize.

There’s tons of games and new technology to get excited for, and there are a number of other titles, peripherals and software not mentioned in this article, this is just a taste of what’s to come. I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with a controller once these great titles finally release.


Video Credits –,, Youtube, and all of the developers and publishers who showed of their great titles at this year’s E3.


Alice: Madness Returns First Impressions

When it comes to combining video games with other entertainment mediums, we often think of movie-inspired games that almost always end up disappointing. The preconceived notion of building games off of other properties often spells out disaster, but when this practice changes to involve literature, a different beast is created. While I’m only a few hours into Alice: Madness Returns, I’m very impressed with what I’ve come across.

The introductory level eases players and Alice herself back into Wonderland. For review purposes and the interest of time, I went with Normal difficulty, so I could get through the game with as little roadblocks as possible. The first moments of the game were rather spot on, capturing Alice’s murky, colorless, dead-end of a life in Victorian London as a resident of an insane asylum. The jump to Wonderland itself found her once again surrounded by the utopia that could only be described in words. Seeing Lewis Carroll’s world come to life was a treat, but seeing American McGee’s influence in turning it into a nightmarish environment was equally important. Everything seemed fine until the pastoral setting of the Vale of Tears began to erupt with lava, changing the coloring of the entire landscape. The further I got with this level, the more twisted and vile Alice’s escape from the real world was becoming.

Of everything that I’ve observed so far, I was most impressed with the game’s controls. Alice’s movements are nimble and with finesse – the way she spins  when she double jumps and floats from one ledge to the other, or when dodging, she bursts into a swarm of blue butterflies only to reappear out of danger. While Alice isn’t a hulking bruiser brandishing a sword as tall as they are, she clearly shows that she can dish out the pain and look stylish while doing it. Movement isn’t slow and stiff, but it isn’t completely loose either.

Although this is a video game, players will get the most out of it if they’re familiar with Lewis Carroll’s original stories. Throughout the Vale of Tears, I was constantly picking up on nods to the books, from the gameplay mechanic of shrinking and growing to traverse new areas, to the Duchess awarding Alice with a Pepper Grinder (which doubles as a machine gun). This isn’t just another hack-and-slash game in the vein of Devil May Cry or God of War, but it takes some cues from those contemporaries.

I’ve only scratched the surface of Alice: Madness Returns, and so far, I’m excited to see what happens next for her. As someone who has read the book, it’ll be interesting to see how changed the denizens of Wonderland have been influenced by it’s degradation, and how the game allows us to explore and interact within this digital reimagining of Carroll’s classic. With the Vale of Tears behind me, I just stepped foot into the Mad Hatter’s domain.

Stay tuned for a review for Alice: Madness Returns.

Preparing for Alice: Madness Returns

Back in March, I was stationed on the Children’s floor of the local library that I work at, tasked with tidying up the shelves and making sure the place was orderly. I always admired it because the majority of the books I enjoyed from elementary school well through high school were aptly defined as children’s books. While I never could read everything I set my mind to back then, I always walked past a certain title that made me wish I were a kid again, with no responsibilities, free to leisurely read. Before Harry Potter took the position of the most important children’s book of our generation, that title was firmly held by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

I checked it out immediately, and made a habit to read a couple pages a day since then. I finally finished it last night, and I not only enjoyed it for the literature it was, but I believe its going to be very important in terms of understanding the context of the upcoming game based upon it.

Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to 2000’s American McGee’s Alice. Both games take the original plot from Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in a decidedly darker direction… And darker is putting it lightly. Wonderland, the utopia as it was shown in the books, is corrupted by Alice’s mind, twisted into a bloody, grotesque, evil incarnation. It’s inhabitants also morph to reflect these changes; The Cheshire Cat goes from a plump, jolly feline to an emaciated feral beast with pierced ears. The Mad Hatter, constantly dining with tea and a pastry, regresses into a green-skinned fellow who spends his time experimenting on the other hapless denizens of Wonderland, taking them apart and replacing their body parts with machinery…

…This isn’t Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter, and this isn’t the Wonderland any of us were taught in grade school. These are just a few differences, but you get the picture.

Although Alice: Madness Returns is clearly an action adventure title, I think it’s very important to not only take into account the game play elements, but also the atmosphere and the storyline. Many game reviews will either praise an action game’s storyline if it’s good, or hastily push it to the side and not weigh it as much if it’s bad. For this game, I think both sides will be important to take into account. Not many games draw directly from the world of Literature like Alice does, so I think this game will definitely be a treat.

Alice: Madness Returns will be dropping on June 14, 2011.

The Importance of Demos

In a time where many of us gamers judge potential game purchases by reading reviews on Metacritic or the video game publication of our choice, I’ve noticed the growing lack of immediate support for demos on our main consoles. We’ve progressed past receiving demo disks in the mail; packed with trailers and excerpts of a handful of choice games that are poised to be out, because next-gen games are so large in size it simply isn’t feasible. Now that I think about it, this was the main way that I decided what game I wanted to buy when I was much younger. While Youtube bridges the gap between reading about a game and actually playing it, nothing beats test-driving a game where you can judge it yourself, devoid of someone else’s insights and opinions which are inherent to reviews.

Back in the day, demos for the hottest titles dropped months or weeks before their release date. This gave ample time for the intrepid gamer to check out a game, and if they liked it enough, they went out to buy it. Now that demos are digitally distributed through avenues like Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Sony’s Playstation Network, or Nintendos Wii Shop Channel, I’d assume these games would be much more available to us all (since most of us have an internet connection, right). Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that demos for a lot of big name titles don’t go up until months after the game’s original release date. Mass Effect 2 as well as both Call of Duty Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2 are guilty of this. It costs a developer a significant amount of money to provide a demo for users to download, but I’m having trouble understanding why the likes of Bioware and Activision respectably took a while to get their latest games out for people to test out before buying.

As an aside, the only reason I ever considered playing Mass Effect 1 and 2 a few months back was entirely due to the fact that Mass Effect 2’s demo was released. If ME2 didn’t have a demo like ME1 didn’t, I’m quite sure I would have never played it at all.

This week saw the release of the demo for El Shaddai, an action adventure title that is said to blend the fighting elements of Devil May Cry, the platforming of Mario, with the visual style of Okami. After reading an article or two about it in a couple magazines, I was pretty excited to see that this game had been uploaded. My interest peaked after watching a gameplay clip followed by an interview with it’s producer. As I grabbed my credit card to renew my Xbox Live Gold subscription after 3 months of inactivity, I knew I was making the right choice. After completing the demo, I didn’t arrive at a definite conclusion about El Shaddai like I had expected. While the demo had brought something fresh to the table, I saw a couple problems that I knew I would be wrestling with if I went to buy the full game. Luckily, El Shaddai doesn’t release until July – people in my situation have will enough time to evaluate the game more, and most importantly, they haven’t missed the boat and are coming into a new game much later than everyone else. Although I’m personally unsure of if I’ll be buying El Shaddai right now, I still have the opportunity to play the demo as many times as I need to until I can answer that age-old question of “Is this game worth spending my hard earned money on?”

I think it’s very important for more games to do what El Shaddai did this week, regardless of if they’re guaranteed to reach astronomic sales like Mass Effect and Call of Duty does regularly. If there’s a demo to speak of, I believe it would be in everyone’s best interest that it should come out before the full game is released, so we can all play through it and decide to take the plunge and buy it, or choose to skip it. If more people are given the chance to support any given game, it’s preliminary sales would increase, as that demographic of gamers who still prefer trying a game themselves before purchasing them would be accounted for.

Review: Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy Review

A noteworthy movement of the PSP’s swan song.

Publisher: Square-Enix


Release Date: March 22, 2011

Players: 1-2

Rating: Teen

The PSP’s days are numbered. While a lot of handheld gamers are flocking to the recently released 3DS, people are quick to write off the PSP as yesteryears craze, thinking it has nothing left to offer. Although triple A PSP titles have been few and far in between, when they do show up, the competition can’t help but blush. Judging by the hundreds of hours I’ve put into the first Dissidia Final Fantasy, it’s clear that this game will always be known as one main reason that I own a PSP. When it comes to sequels to fighting games, the best solution to improving on a great formula is to simply add more of everything, and Dissidia 012 does just that.

The main storyline of Dissidia 012 is actually a prequel to the first game. Two gods, Cosmos and Chaos, are perpetually at war with one another. Dissidia 012’s name comes from the twelfth cycle in this war. To settle their eternal conflict, they summon various warriors to fight in a battle that seems to last forever. The premise is simple enough, but still succeeds at being more convoluted than the games it pays homage to. The disjointed narratives in each characters story offer a small piece in this puzzle of a plot, and the differing perspectives certainly keep things fresh. However, with the amount of fights between each plot point, it was a chore to bother keeping up with the story, other than the fact that there were good guys and bad. The true appeal to this game is seeing a representative from each Final Fantasy on the PSP screen. The huge roster doesn’t lend itself to much development, other than background information any Final Fantasy fan would already know about.

Square Enix has always known the importance of great visuals, and they definitely delivered in terms of eye candy. Every character and battlefield are faithfully recreated from their respective game and brought to life again here. Seeing characters from older Final Fantasies who used to be confined to crummy pixels and low quality sprites fully come alive on the PSP’s screen is also a treat. Watching the particle effects from every strike is stunning, as characters fly through the large creative arenas while engaged in combat.

Although this title sports the name Final Fantasy, Dissidia 012’s game play blends its familiar RPG elements in with a fighting system unique to any game out there. Characters have hit points which govern how much life they have, and bravery points. Bravery attacks are strikes that add to your own bravery and subtract from your opponent’s. HP attacks use the bravery you’ve built up to actually hurt your opponent. Are you the kind of player that builds up a large amount of bravery to knock out your enemy in one clean blow, or do you prefer to break them down piece by piece with a bunch of HP attacks throughout the match? With this concept, coming up with intricate strategies to take out your opponents ensure that fighting never gets boring, as the vast majority of your time will be spent playing will be in the battlefield anyway. Assists are an interesting addition to the battle system with Dissidia 012, and they’re similar to Marvel vs. Capcom’s assists. By dealing damage you build up a meter that allows you to call them out, either to bail you out from a beating or to set up a combo of your own. It would have been nice to see teams of characters fighting at once, but having guests momentarily jump in to pepper a few strikes before disappearing was nice.

While the core game play of Dissidia 012 is the same as its predecessor, this game really shines in the additions Square-Enix has made to the existing system. To break up the monotony of wandering a grid between battles, there is an actual world map to traverse. It’s nice to have the feeling that you’re actually exploring an expansive world to reach a new locale, rather than wondering how one scene takes place aboard the cart of a rushing train, and the next one occurs on the moon. Another noteworthy addition is the party system, where you can form teams of five of your favorite characters during the adventure. If you’re in the middle of a long dungeon and you get tired of playing as one character or if they die in battle, you can swap in another one on the fly. For those looking for even more juice to squeeze from this fruit of a game, there’s even an option to alter the rules of the game itself, or to create quests where they control every possible variable. Once you’re done, you can share your unique quests over the internet. The levels of customization are essentially endless. Unfortunately, enjoying a lot of this content (like dressing your characters up in alternate costumes, playing different battle themes, etc) is only available outside of story mode, which will be where the bulk of your time is spent.

It should be no surprise that you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with Dissidia 012. The main storyline runs at about 20 hours, and upon completion, you unlock the entire story mode from the first game, with updates to reflect the changes Dissidia 012 brings. With over 30 characters to build up to level 100 and various forms of customization like more costumes, new attacks and items to collect, hundreds of hours will go by in a flash. While the PSP may be on its last legs before being replaced by its successor, you can sit by comfortably waiting for the next wave with Dissidia 012.

Rating: 4/5

DLC Review: Mass Effect 2 Arrival

DLC Review: Mass Effect 2 Arrival

Another day, another galaxy to save.

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Playstation 3, Xbox 360

Release Date: March 29, 2011

Players: 1

Rating: Mature

“The Reapers are coming…” Or so that’s the overshadowing thought that rested in the back of our minds as we played Mass Effect 2. Although the healthy doses of downloadable content packs have provided a lot of extra game time, none of them have really shed any light on the issue of the Reapers themselves. With the conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy rapidly approaching at the end of the year, Bioware has whetted our appetites by producing extra content to bridge the storylines between the second and third game. Arrival, the last episode before the release of Mass Effect 3, gives us one final adventure to keep us busy while we wait.

Although Arrival can be played at any point of the game after the first round of recruitments, it’s heavily implied that this mission should be done after the main story is completed.

In an emergency transmission from Admiral Hackett, Shepard is notified of a captured scientist named Dr. Kenson who apparently uncovered some lost Reaper technology. What’s worse, the scientist calculated that the Reaper invasion is to occur in a matter of days. Embarking on a solo mission to rescue Kenson, Shepard finds himself tasked with not only saving one person, but his actions have the potential to affect an entire star system of hundreds of thousands of inhabitants in the process.

I could have seen Arrival lasting a little bit longer than it did. Other than a chance encounter at the climax of the mission, this functioned much like any other side quest, except it had actual dialogue. I expected more involvement from Hackett, who had been completely absent in the second game. The combat sequences weren’t unique next to previous DLC packs for the game, except that Shepard does all of the fighting on his own. If anything, a couple battles were more difficult, but they were nothing a seasoned player couldn’t handle.

A doomsday-style clock is present throughout the mission, which helped add some intensity to the situation. As I passed by it between finishing one task and starting the next, I often stopped to catch my breath and glance at how much “time” had passed. Seeing how much time was left always made me start rushing again to finish the mission, because I didn’t want to stick around and see what happened when the timer ran out.

Stacked up with the previous DLC like Lair of the Shadow Broker, Overlord and Kasumi, Arrival was a nice addition to the bunch. There were some upgrades like extra health to pick up, but they were redundant since they wouldn’t really be put to use, unless you play this mission out of the order it should have been initiated. For the price and the length, it isn’t a must buy, as a couple Youtube videos could sum up the content of this pack pretty well. It’s decent, but isn’t an absolute necessity.

Arrival is priced at 560 Microsoft Points, or a little over $7 on Playstation Network. If you’re itching to get a couple extra hours of playtime in Mass Effect 2, you will not be disappointed.

Rating: 3.5/5

How to Beat the Scrub Out of You

Every fighting game match has the same outcome – someone wins and their opponent is the loser. By and large this is how things go, and very rarely will there ever be a draw. This is objectively true, but for every new fighting game people flock to, a staggering percentage of the player base has historically had trouble with understanding this fact. If you’ve been fervently playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3 like I have, your inbox that’s probably full of hate mail can verify that you’ve also come across this special type of player; perhaps you’re one of them yourself. I’m talking about the Scrub.

What is this Scrub you speak of?

For those of you who don’t know what a Scrub is, it’s the type of player (although not limited to fighting games, but this is where they flock to) that feels the need to take things a step further with their opponent after they’ve lost a match. Whatever tactic that was used to win will immediately be scrutinized; it was “cheap”, they used too many projectiles, they didn’t “fight like a real player,” they too chickenshit to get up close, their team was just so much better than the loser’s; the list of complaints go on and on. The sad thing is that each and every point of argument is so steeped in stupidity and rage that it cannot be taken seriously.

Because of the reasons I stated above, I venture to say that the only type of match a scrub would really enjoy would be one that doesn’t suffer from those “flaws.” Further, I imagine this fight would be perfectly balanced, so to speak. Perhaps it’ll go something like this: He does a number of tricks and really injures you, and you return the favor with your own arsenal of moves, while explosions are going off in the background and both of your fan clubs are hopelessly cheering you two on. But in the end, he wins, because he’s supposed to. If he doesn’t, then there’s something wrong. The perfectly scripted encounter is supposed to go his way because nothing else matters as long as the scrub wins. No matter how ridiculous a match goes, a scrub will never ever complain if they win in the end. If they lost, then they’ll suddenly feel violated, and the verbal insults fly in every direction. The truth is, anything goes. There is no code of honor when it comes to a fighting game. There’s no perfect way a fight is supposed to go, and that’s never going to change. You deal with it, and you focus on getting better. If you can’t do that, it’s best to stop playing for your own sake.

“If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough…”

I know what it’s like. Over my years of playing fighting games I too have suffered so many losses that I’ve had no other reaction than blind rage. I would let my anger cloud my better judgment, leading me to make more mistakes. As a result, I was also more susceptible to falling for the same traps and the same attacks over and over. For example in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, whenever you get blasted by Doctor Doom’s beam attack your character falls to the floor. If you’re not immediately blocking, you’ll roll up, only to get blasted again. If I don’t wise up, why should my opponent do anything different?

It takes a certain type of mindset to play fighting games. Have you heard of the phrase “when you get knocked down, you gotta’ get back up?” well, I’ve never seen that idea apply more to anything than a fighting game. If you don’t start playing with the frame of mind that losing is an occupational hazard that will happen more than you’d like, you’re going to destroy yourself. The one thing that divides a scrub and a regular player (not even professionals) is that when a regular player loses a match, he or she doesn’t dive right into playing the blame game. Regardless of how the loss happened, a player that can rise above is taking notes. They are watching and analyzing how they are losing, and will promptly GO BACK TO PRACTICE MODE to iron out those kinks.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is unfortunately synonymous with a lot of scrubby debates, but I can definitely sympathize with them. I’ve gotten spanked by Sentinel more times than I can count. In fact, on the second day of playing online, I got so depressed from losing that I didn’t want to cover this game anymore. Every character has the potential to defeat every other character; it just takes a lot of effort and experimentation to find out what combination works for you. When all else fails, you just might have a bad matchup. In that case, take note of it, and move on.

But I’m so lost don’t know where to begin…

If you decide to play a game like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, you have to consider the fact that you’re going to lose. You’re going to lose often. The best way to deal with this is to pay a lot of attention to how the match is going. What strategies is your opponent using? Are you able to overcome them with your own style? If you’re losing a lot to a general playing style like ‘keepaway,’ where the opponent does everything in his or her power to keep you pinned with projectiles and other attacks to force you in the corner, use characters who excel at ‘rushdown’, who can bring a lot of pain when their right in the oppositions face. This is pretty rudimentary, but still effective, especially if you haven’t considered this. By really learning your characters and the characters that you’re facing online, you should start to develop strategies to beat them. Of course, it may be hard to think of all of this on your own, but remember, this is the internet! Go to message boards, watch technique videos, read a strategy guide! There’s a mountain of resources out there made for people trying to get better. Use them!

If you ever feel like you’re not getting where you want to be, go back into the lab. Keep experimenting, and come up with new strategies. Perfect your team and work on any weaknesses you have, or are learning about based on how you’re losing. The time you put into practicing will reflect on your overall skill. While spending ten or more hours a day like professionals do when they’re preparing to compete in tournaments may not suit you, find out what works best for your situation, And watch as you start to rack in some wins.

Here’s a couple links that can get you started if you feel like you want to improve your game:

–’s comprehensive “hyper guide” details EVERYTHING you need to know about Marvel vs. Capcom 3. While there’s a lot of material to sort out here, so my advice is to read a couple pages, and practice what you’ve learned. Once you feel like you’ve gotten a few things down, go back and read more. The front page also has video walkthroughs explaining each character’s strengths so you can start putting together your dream team.

–          I’ve always made it a point to visit GameFAQ’s forums for every game I cover as a second resource. While this community is not strictly composed of fighting game enthusiasts like Shoryuken, I’ve found a couple of good discussions here as well.

–          If you wanted a more focused discussion about an individual character, this is the place to go. I usually go here when I want more information about a character that catches my interest after watching the introductory videos found on the first link above.

Good luck, and remember not to get discouraged if you lose.