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Old 04-05-2005, 07:44 AM   #46
Nem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus4578

Umm, of course I've played it -- I reviewed it, after all.
Aah! I completly missed it *smacks himself in the head* ( i think it was because it was sandwished between two direct links in the PS2 listing on your thread. It eluded me )

Anyways i already went there and read it. I really enjoyed the way we tackled the game mostly in the same aspects but had some different views on some of them. It really made our personal tastes/opinions come out great.
Its great fun to see this happening :cool guy: im glad i started my own reviews thread too :bigsmile:
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:49 AM   #47
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Review: Anime

12 episodes

Genshiken (the society for the study of modern visual culture)


Synopsis

Sasahara Kanji is a new collage student, and he makes up his mind to join a circle to share his thought of Manga, Anime, and Game that has been hidden until he enters the college.

When he visited Genshi-Ken, which is short for Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyuu Kai (Contemporary Visual Culture Research Organization), his groundless pride was destroyed by the plot of Madarame, a sophomore student of Genshi-Ken. But he cant admit that he is an Otaku.
However, as he acts line with Kosaka, who is a deep Otaku in spite of his handsome looking, and other members of Genshi-Ken, by going to dojin (private publishing) shops and the anime festivals, he opens his mind and he resolves that he make his way into Otaku world.
With other members, for example, Kasuga Saki, who is not Otaku but is hot for Kosaka, and Ohono, the cosplayer, Sasahara's Otaku life in Genshi Ken goes slowly today.

Synopsis from animenfo.com

Genshiken is a comedy series that explores the japanese "otaku" (hardcore manga/anime/gaming fans) world in every aspect, pulling its every straw to explore its ridiculous and at the same time fascinating nuances. Its fairly easy to say this series is enjoyable and a "must-see" for every Manga/anime/hentai/gaming fan. The way the "otaku" world is potrayed is magnificent and it will pull you to great and enjoyable laphing moments.
The series feels very worked out to every detail. The producers actually went to the trouble of creating an original "clich?" anime series inside this anime series by the title of "Kujibiki Unbalance", wich funnily translates into something like "Unbalenced drawing". Also expect to see footage of "Guilty Gear Isuka" and "Puyo Puyo fever" beeing played to exaustion.
The animation in this series is also superb. You can see some pretty long seconds of non-stop animation more often than in most of todays series, wich is always nice to watch. This brings us to the Art department. Another of the aspects where the series shows its greatness. The Art is actually quite dodgy throughout the show. In particular, you will notice how the main character actually looks drawn slightly different in every episode. Sloppiness? Low budget? Not at all. This is one of the ways the series pushes around those "Otaku" heads. Everyone knows they would imediatly notice it and had to pull comments on it (and most probably negative ones). The series does take it all onto the "otakus" faces. But dont think "otaku" points of view arent defended quite spetacularly throughout the series since they are. Obviously, this is the theme at wich the story will go around, and to dig more into it would be to give the series away.
The characters also play a major role in the series structure. You have nearly every typical "otaku" displayed here. The fatty but good at drawing, the cosplay fanatic, the cosplayer female, the pretty but "otaku" gaming pro, the proud "otaku", the newbie "otaku" and above all the "otaku" hater female to balance it out. You will see them debate anime series, constructing "plamos" (plastic models), playing games, going to "doushinji" (erotic fan art) conventions and stores and also beeing punched by the "otaku" hater female (wich is in love with the pretty otaku, making their relationship one of the funnier aspects of the anime).
In the sound department, the series gets out clean. Good score, appropriate for a comical series and a surprisingly varied soundtrack once you actually get a hold of it. I confess this is the soundtrack i have in my car right now. The themes are so different but good in every style that the soudtrack never gets old. Its obviously not any type of epic soundtrack. Id call it average, but very enjoyable.
So, you call yourself a anime/manga/hentai/gaming "otaku"? This series is for you. All the underneath jokes are hardly understood at first unless you have a good anime background (mostly Gundam). Anyways, any average Joe can still enjoy this series as well. The "otakus" are the ones that will see its entire greatness though. The only flaw i'd point out, would be that the series is too short and its entirely possible for you to find yourself wanting more. But thats also what the series wanted to do by ending early, leaving the incomplete but great and misunderstood anime feel the "otakus" venere. Also, did i mentioned you probably wont get all the jokes at your first seethrough? Thats replay value! A "must-see".

Rating 9/10
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Old 04-08-2005, 02:02 AM   #48
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Nem, nice review. I know nothing about the series but it still was interesting to read (which is great). You're obviously more into newer anime; what do you think of some of the earlier stuff?
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Old 04-08-2005, 09:00 PM   #49
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I only got into anime 4 years ago, so i havent watched much of the earlier stuff cause its so hard to get. I did watch series like "Urusei Yatsura", "Appleseed", "Guyver", "Ghost in the Shell: the movie", "Ninja Scroll: the movie", "Fushigi Yuugi","DNA2" and "V-Gundam", but i dont know if those count has earlier to you.
I find older anime movies to be of greater quality than recent ones though. Today's anime series seem to be going into a "lack of imagination" phase. Its hard to find something you really like to watch. I do prefer the newer animation (in the good series) and art though. Theres too much CG in anime's going around these days has well.
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Old 04-09-2005, 03:35 AM   #50
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Yeah, I'm kinda upset about the overwhelming reliace upon CG in animation these days. Urusei Yatsura was a fun series. Why not review that?
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Old 04-09-2005, 08:12 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Icarus4578
Yeah, I'm kinda upset about the overwhelming reliace upon CG in animation these days. Urusei Yatsura was a fun series. Why not review that?
Urusei Yatsura aired in a TV channel here, and as you can imagine, its hard to catch every episode (i didnt even catch the ending). So i dont think im confident enough to review it in these conditions. It wouldnt feel right.

Back on the CG theme. Have you watched Appleseed 2004, icarus? It was pretty, but it was only CG and the drawings were "cell shaded". It made me wanna cry even though it looked good. It ruined the original's magic. That was more CG movie than anime. GITS2 also suffered from that. It was nowhere near has good has the original movie.
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Old 04-10-2005, 01:07 AM   #52
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I've seen a little bit of Appleseed and it's not the only one where they use computers to do the cel shading. Such laziness! What, do the anime studios have some sort of problem with people having to manually color in the back of a cel? I'm telling you man, they are completely whacked out.
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:44 PM   #53
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Suikoden 4 review coming up in a few moments. Just have a few edges to finish. I sure wrote a lot this time around...
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:24 AM   #54
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Review: VideoGame

Platform: Playstation 2

Genre: traditional RPG

Suikoden 4

In 1995 Konami created a myth. A myth that has lived to this day by the name of Suikoden. Since the first minute Suikoden was a deep RPG experience combining drama with war setting an epic quest. Not only that, but the mysteries and vasteness of the Suikoden universe makes it one special RPG series where each installment is a new piece that fits perfectly in the big puzzle that is this grand series storyline. Yet, in a spider-man fashion... with great products come great expectations. And this might've been Suikoden 4's biggest shortcoming. Yet, lets get more into detail.

This time around, Suikoden moves its setting for the island nations south of the Toran Republic/Scarlet Moon Empire and takes place around 150 years before the events of Suikoden 1. The True Rune in focus in this game is the Rune of Punishment. A Rune governing atonement and forgiveness, that consumes the life of its bearer when its used has a True Rune, moving on to the next host when the current one dies. Indeed a dark Rune comparable to Suikoden 1's "Soul Eater".
Also worthy of an early note is the return of the "hero" structure to the game. After the coup d'etat tried by Suikoden 3 with the annoying and despicable attempt at destroying the Suikoden formula with the so called "Trinity System". Yes, the IGN review got to me. KONAMY WE DONT WANT THE TRINITY SYSTEM BACK!!

Lets talk about the graphics for now. Right when you start the game you will notice that the game has very inconsistant graphics ranging from the nasty to the good. When you visit the first town you will notice how simple and void the town is compared to previous titles. Fortunely this improves a bit in the next towns you visit. Yet, i loved the architecture diference in the buildings between the islands. Each had its own style based off real life ones you'd see in colonized islands. A nice touch that probably passed many by. Unfortunely, the towns are small and scarse. Actually there arent that many areas to visit. You'll have something like 10 islands total to visit and 2/3rds of that are island towns. Nevertheless, i get the feeling that with both Suikoden 3 and 4 the world has been shrinking... personally id welcome the return of an interactive World Map for exploration. Suikoden 4 actually tries to do that but its done horribly (more on that later on).
The Runes special effects are more contained this time around and are basicly back to what they looked like in the 2D games. A good thing if you ask me.
I must stress my worry in the commitment Konami took with this game though. I have never seen a Sea based game span such simple looking water. Its something in Playstation one level. And what's odd about it is that the game has this great water effect for the credits, random encouter detection and even for a water terrace like structure in the ground of an area where you can actually walk on it and make the water stirr. It makes me wonder what was Konami doing with this title?...
Theres more though. You travel in the world map by means of a ship. That in itself shouldnt be bad but the ship moves very slowly even with the run button pressed. Yet, thats not the worse part. The collision detection with islands is made horribly. The islands actually have invisable auras that will send your ship off in a different direction with no control over it for 2 seconds at every collision. This could still be manageble if not for the encounter rate ruining every enjoyment you could bring out of the ship navigation. This is DC Skies of Arcadia random encounter level (on airship exploration). Except, it might actually be worse since the seas of Suikoden 4 are vaster than the skies of Arcadia. Also theres nothing to find in the seas. Theres only the few small islands (very few, and very far apart). Exploration is not rewarded. And that was a terrible design flaw. The designers tried to appease thing by allowing you to build 3 ship parties, but when something is bad you cant save it by supporting one of its bad features. Fortunely, this is a Suikoden title, and has such its pretty easy and fast to retreat/Disengage from battles. Again, i ask what Konami was thinking?!
Yet, something was done right on Suikoden 4. Actually it might be one of the titles best points. The combat system is back to the speed, enjoyment and structure of the first two titles of the series. The animations in battle are pretty good. Tal, backflips back to his position, other characters just jump in the old Suikoden fashion, others just teleport back and forth, other runs all the way but make short teleports so the run doesnt take too long. Anyways, a good translation of the old battle system in a way.
I cant stress how happy i was with this battle system actually. I thought Suikoden 3's battle system was slow, boring and when i think of the ***** chanting needed to use runes that went through several turns sometimes... well... i hated it. Yet, just like with most of this title, there was a shortcoming. Theres only 4 characters in a party. So, even if you return to the old battle system, it wont work has well since the strategy of the front (phisical tanks)/back (long range/ spellcasters) row startegy with 6 characters is missing. This is important Konami!! Its vital for the use of the several different characters Suikoden offers. Yes Konami, the original system is the best. Dont mess up, and just translate it faithfully.
Yet it was relieving move in the right direction.
Ah yes, this time around the player has control over the camera, but it sure feels like this was only made so the developers didnt have to bother finding good view points. Its not that bad anyway. I do prefer to move the camera myself, so i can look wherever i like. Its just that the camera looked somehow displaced behing the "hero" (maybe it should be farther away?).
The soudtrack also falls short. Especially compared to previous titles. I really enjoyed the main theme "La Mer" and the battle music. But, i felt like hurting someone at Konami for having the ending theme "Genso no Sekaie" remixed in suiko4 style. KONAMI DONT MESS UP MY MUSIC! Well... apart from that, the rest of the soundtrack passes you by completely. Nothing stellar to write home about. You are also branded with silence when on the deck of any ship. Once again... Konami what were you thinking?!

The story in Suikoden 4 feels unfinished. The initial theme of friendship with "Snowe" didnt seem to be explored has it should've been. The Adventure is quite short by itself actually (i finished the game with 40something hours, but i played around too much. Even though i advise anyone else to do it since its where the game meets the ends). There arent many events or plot twists. The meat of the story is actually hidden or saved up for the last moments. When i say hidden, it means you will only find it if you explore the suikoden world. Read the old books, go for the extra cutscenes, confession scenes, comment box, the usual but very enjoying Suikoden fare. Also, has always, its a pleasure to reunite the 108 stars of destiny and build up your headquarters.
Its hard to talk about the characters though, since there are so many of them. Yet, ill point out that "hero" wasnt has appealing has he could've been with that odd haircut. It made it hard to synch with his character. The strategist "Elenor" doesnt make a scratch in Suiko2's "Shu" with her strategies (nor are they used much due to the short quest) but her backstory was interesting. "Lino en Kuldes" was a more unusual and interesting character has King of Obel. Kika the pirate and her right side men were also interesting characters but were underdeveloped. The villains also looked underdeveloped... actually i think i pitied some of them for beeing so utterly useless... A special thumbs up for Jeanne, Viki and a special someone that returns to the roaster. By the way, Suikoden 1 fans really should go for this game. Something special awaits them.
Its also around the ending of the game that the usual strings and mysteries of the Suikoden World are touched upon.
I read a review of Suiko 4 saying the final boss was very hard but thats not what i thought at all. I brushed off the final boss with only one True Rune (hero's) and a combo in my party. Of course i had several other normal Runes equiped, but my thoughest characters only had lv12 weapons ( but i had the Golden hammer, dont get me wrong^^). Nowhere near the levels 15/16 of previous suikoden's. Anyways the final boss was a beauty to look at. Great design.

Actually, even after writing all this, i feel like i havent said all that i wanted to say about Suikoden 4.
Yet, its obvious that Konami went easy this time around. Maybe relying too much on the Suikoden formula? Its true. The formula is great and makes for a good game. But, to be a great game Suikoden needs a little more in its main story and characters. Let's face it, the Sea ideia was a bad one. Suikoden is a game of "armies" of war, and not a skirmish of a few boats. The Sea attack does make a good theme for a battle though...
I read many reviews saying how bad the game was, but after playing it, i feel like the game was more unfinished than bad. Also the several enjoyments present in the Suikoden formula were understressed in many reviews (and maybe even my own). The improved battle system, the reuniting of the several stars, the mini-games, the extra cut-scenes, the Naval battles that played like Suikoden 2's army battles, the always fun duels, and of course the touch upon the story of the Suikoden world make this game another piece in the big Suikoden world storyline puzzle. Its just that this was a small and unpolished piece. In the end i still felt like i played another epic tale in the Suikoden Universe. One that im happy i didnt miss even though it felt short of expectations. I hope Konami learns not to lax around next time...
Oh! And Congratulations to the Suikoden series for its 10th anniversary!

Rating 7/10
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Old 04-20-2005, 07:05 AM   #55
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I changed the look of the reviews header. I think it looks better now^^

I want to do more reviews, but im really busy and have 0 free time right now
The only thing i have time to play right now is a bit of MK: Deception. So its safe to assume ill be reviewing it eventually I have an urge to review some older stuff right now though
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Old 04-20-2005, 07:32 AM   #56
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From all I've heard, Suikoden 4 does not live up to the standards set by the first two. So I'll be passing on this one. I wonder why Konami doesn't just take the engine of the first one and use it again; it seemed to work perfectly fine. They don't need to add a bunch of wasteful stuff in an effort to impress people.
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Old 04-20-2005, 12:59 PM   #57
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Good review of Suikoden IV.

I agree with pretty much all of it. Overall, a disappointment.

Did you manage to get all 108 stars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus4578
From all I've heard, Suikoden 4 does not live up to the standards set by the first two.
It doesn't. However, Suikoden III is pretty under rated as far as RPGs go.

As for Suikoden III - I liked it. I liked the Trinity Sight System for story telling. (Thought it was really cool.) Though I agree about Suikoden III's battle system - it was annoying.)
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Old 04-20-2005, 05:34 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus4578
From all I've heard, Suikoden 4 does not live up to the standards set by the first two. So I'll be passing on this one. I wonder why Konami doesn't just take the engine of the first one and use it again; it seemed to work perfectly fine.
Exactly what i think. I wonder why they didnt do just that since the combat system is the same (suikoden 1/2) except for the loss of the back row and 2 characters. If it was a design decision it was a bad one. If it was due to eventual limits on the PS2 hardware (wich i dont believe since this is no graphic wonder) they just had to limit the polygons on the characters when in combat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nephlabobo
Did you manage to get all 108 stars?
Of course^^ couldnt have it any other way. I almost missed one though (that special someone i mentioned in the review), but luckily i had an old save to backtrack. I did use a walktrough to get some of them though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nephlabobo
As for Suikoden III - I liked it. I liked the Trinity Sight System for story telling. (Thought it was really cool.) Though I agree about Suikoden III's battle system - it was annoying.)
I did say in the review that i didnt feel for the trinity system, but if it necessarily had to return at least let us have hero has a main character and not some chumps and a hero you look forward to and end up not getting...
For example a trinity system in Suikoden 2 with hero and jowy would be interesting if well done. But has i said in a post one of these days, the trinity system makes you lose focus on your main character and thats not the way Suikoden is meant to be. You have a main character with wich you should relate to. If you're always switching characters you're just watching a movie from different points of view without ever getting attached to a single character.
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:00 AM   #59
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I just came across something Suikoden fans will love. And since i just reviewed suiko4 ill post it here.

Its the rare genso suikogaiden vol2 soundtrack. Its composed of some of the best suiko2 themes and a great ending theme (even made me recall panzer dragoon saga).

You need bittorent and you can find it here http://tracker.laplumepourpre.com/
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:21 PM   #60
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Review: Videogame

Platform: Playstation 2 (also available GC and Xbox)

Genre: 3D Fighting

Mortal Kombat: Deception

The MK series has been around for a while now. Deception is actually MK6. One would think that for a game to have that many sequals it would be a pretty solid experience...but thats not what i found out with this recent installment. Yes, it looks like a nice package at first glance. But when you start digging into it, you see that there isnt much in it besides a nice presentation and a decent puzzle game.

Once again you are shown a pretty interesting FMV at the beggining of the game. Surely its not has heart warming has the one on MK: DA (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. aka MK5) where Liu Kang was thankfully put out of his misery. But it was pretty interesting nevertheless.
Menus are pretty slick and the graphics overall are above average. Nothing high level though. The returning classic arenas are an added plus, but they arent has good has the originals in these 3D translations of themselves. Characters still look like a mix of detailed and blocky. I guess the detailed part would be the outfits and the blocky part the rest. Also those faces are bad looking enough to earn a good smashing. Each character has an alternate outfit, and in most of the cases its a very different and interest outfit. In this field the game was rather pleasing. Worthy of particular notice is Mileena's alternate outfit. It set a new precedent in female character nudity. You can actually tell she shaved...and more i wont say. Maybe they tried the good looking/scary looking (face) odd aproach here. What i know is that it was extreme...

You can tell there was an effort made in the sound department. Midway was so happy about it that they even added the music has unlockable extras. Yet, i think they jumped the gun here. It wasnt a mediocre score, but it certainly wasnt worthy of notice. All the tunes are whitin the MK style so, theres nothing really new to it. I guess no one would have many hopes on this field though, but whatever. I miss Soul Calibur...

The cast of characters was interesting this time around, even if it featured the unwelcome return of the one we hoped dead and never again rebirthed Liu Kang. Nevertheless, its a healthy mix of returning and new characters. Of course the new characters couldnt compare to the returning ones in terms of popularity, but thats where the Konquest mode came in. The konquest mode gave you some insight in some of the new characters stories and personalities besides giving you a look at the MK universe. What is the Konquest mode? To answer that ill now aproach the various combat modes available in deception.

There are basicly 5 combat modes in MK: Deception. Arcade, chess combat, puzzle combat, Konquest and online. I bought the PS2 version so its a given that i didnt bother exploring the online option. It doesnt change a thing though has ill explain further. Arcade, chess and puzzle also include versus modes to have fun with a friend - short fun mind you.

Konquest was apparantly the cherry in the cake. In konquest you engage in a 3rd person adventure mode following the story of "shujinko" (one of the new characters available in Deception). This mode looks like great fun at first. You're led to believe you're going to follow an epic jorney, but you end up in a boredom trip. Yes, its fun to explore the surroundings and have little tidbits of story here and there, but this quickly turns into unecessary repetetiveness process. Your obligated to explore these huge six worlds to find every interesting unlockable (stages, playable characters, alternate outfits), only to find out a few since they are so hard to find when you have time windows to get them. Yes, Konquest simulates a real life clock system with days, months and years. Unlocking something that only shows up at the first day of every month from 12-1pm in a certain place sounds a little extreme without cheating. Thankfully you can speed up time. But, that only helps if you already know where and when to look for things. The story in Konquest mode goes from interesting to stupid somewhere in the middle of the quest. Of course the story is predictable since the start, but your character seems to be the only one that ages. If story events were to be taken seriously, Kenshi and Nightwolf would be has old has "shujinko" and that isnt the case at all. Can you say "plot holes"? Of course you can. Ermac and Ashrah engage in a firce battle swearing death to each other. But, decades later they are both alive and kicking in deception and you dont know how that happened. Yes, that mightve been a good ideia in a solely fighting game, but in an adventure mini-game it equals to mediocracy. Well, at least you get to know that the MK Universe is composed of 6 realms and you get a good look at them. Also can you say glitch/bug? Woohoo, Konquest has those to sell and give. Flying people in Edenia that you can still ram, quest sounds that come before their supposed to, unstopable time speed-up, infinite loadings (not due to the drive of course. I have a good knowlage of drive sounds after having two break down, and that wasnt it), when in the main combat the music falters for half a second between rounds. Lots of fun there.
Its obvious this game needed more development time and bug-squashing, but these are the laws of the market for christmas releases. Turns out the cherry in the cake was sour.

Chess combat is boring from the start to end. Its chess. One would think so. But, somehow when the pieces touch you get into combat to determine who wins. But, wait doesnt that remove every ounce of strategy from a chess game? Yes, it does. There's also one or two spells you can make in game, but nothing that removes this from the extremely boring category.

The Arcade features the return of the MK: DA combat system. When MK: DA came out, it was indeed an original ideia even if it lacked depth. But guess what? MK: Deception features that same battle system virtually inaltered. It gets worse. The fighting styles and even special moves were recycled from the MK: DA characters into the new and returning characters on Deception. Worse, they didnt add the much needed layer of depth. And since, this isnt a "new" combat system its just MK: DA rehashed. Really, no one should of said MK: DA had finally revived the series since that was just a first step in the right direction. Midway are convinced they already got it right. Wrong. Not only is this the same has MK: DA, it still needs a good amount of memorizing VF4 style, but without the tightness and flow that make the former a great game. The new counter move is just something to try and "counter" an already fast dying combat system. Its a drag to play MK: Deception. The game proves that its nothing more than a MK: DA facelift. And its through here that the rest of the game gets even worse. But wait, something survived this disaster. What is it? Puzzle combat.

Puzzle combat is a Baku-Baku (Saturn) like puzzle game that doesnt involve the games main combat engine. Just like Baku-Baku, you have an animal (here its a MK symbol of a few different colors) and you must feed him the right food (here its the normal squares of the same color has the MK symbols). Of course, in MK you have a special move gauge that fills up with time and allows you to use a funny special move to help you win. A fun little mini-game inside a mediocre game.

The series story seems to be heading to an even darker setting. Its actually hard to point the truly good guys in the game. Midway wanted to taint every character, even the returning Liu Kang. I dont even know what to think anymore, since the series is losing all its charm with every passing installment. Yet, i guess it was somewhat interesting.
Fatalities and Hara-Kiri (suicide) are present in the title and are funny to do once. After that, all you're left with is the mediocre battle system.
Good thing i bought this game on half-price. I'll look into reselling it has soon has possible. More than a disappointment, a mediocre product that cant be saved by a puzzle mini-game (thats also why it doesnt get a worse rating). Stay the hell away from it i say!

Rating 2/10
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