Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Psychic Force 2012 - Difficult to Go Back To


I just seem to be finding all the games that are just hard to go back to. I have a hard time coming back to old games I played in the past anyway. I have an even harder time sticking to the new ones.

Anyway Psychic Force 2012. 3D Arena Fighting Game. Very few I know of it's kind. Even fewer I know by name or even seen. An old friend of mine says it's like Dragonball Z. Well...he's very imaginative. But it's different. Probably one of the most balanced fighting games I've played. Although what balance is in fighting games is by definition is has not been made clear.  It's just plain fun. Except it has fallen to time. And is overshadowed by everyone's favorite fighting games. You know the ones.

Story

Well I shouldn't even bother explaining this. But this was when I like fighting game story modes. It has a nice process to it that respects your time, and let's you take a guess at what happens instead of debunking any theories you come up with. Here are the steps as to what I like in a GOOD fighting game story.


  1. Instruction Manual Explains just enough to understand.
  2. pick a character
  3. witty banter between 2 characters
  4. fight
  5. witty banter after you win
  6. next stage or ending
  7. Repeat steps 3 - 6 until you reach the end.
  8. See the ending and wonder what happens in the next game.
Why can't more fighting games do this? Actually why did fighting games stop doing this? Now they just do things that annoy me in terms of explaining the game's story. To the point that I just don't care. And at that point I don't even want to play the game. Things like:
  • Forced to play as characters
  • Incredibly long story telling that doesn't respect your time
  • Only 1 ending (maybe 2)
  • It's more of a cinematic movie than actually playing a game.
These days we're lucky to even have an arcade mode. So I guess I should take what I get right? Well...it really turns me off from the game entirely when I don't have much of a reason to get interested in the characters. And the way fighting games do stories now. I feel like I'm wasting my time trying to play.

The Actual Game's Story

Phew that was a rant. Anyway. This game takes place 2 years after the first Psychic Force game. But before I go into that. I have to give you a gist of what's going on in this universe. 

It's the future and now there are people awakening to new powers called ESP. However only a select few people can even use this power. These psychics were dubbed the name Psychiccers. Humans fear them cause they have all this power and could possibly take over or destroy the world. Psychiccers fear or really hate humans cause of all the discrimination they take. So a group of Psychiccers got together and formed a group named Noah. In hopes of making a Utopia of there own where only Psychiccers exist. Well the Army isn't gonna stand for that and decided to utilize Psychiccers to build better armies. Well Burn the main character doesn't like either side and wants his friend Keith (who happens to be the leader of Noah) to stop his madness.

A different outcome on the same story. If you play as Wendy. I like this style of fighting game storylines. 

This is all starting to sound like X-Men. Cause it pretty much is. Just with Psychics instead of mutants. 

Well Psychic Force 1 despite the many character endings that all added up ends with an epic battle of Burn vs Keith, but it ends prematurely due to an explosion that would try to claim there lives.  Okay I gave you a generally vague explanation of the first game. Now for the 2nd game.

So 2 years later. Noah which was thought to be disbanded reforms to be called Neo-Noah. The Psychic Army is stronger than ever cause it's led by a Psychiccer named Richard Wong. Who betrayed Noah and tried to kill Burn and Keith. Wong is well on his way towards world domination and Keith sits in solitude. While there are a few others that roam around freely. In fact the story pays attention to a new protagonist, named Might. Might has no memory of his past. Just that his mission is to kill all Psychiccers. He doesn't know why. But he was rescued by a girl named Patty who found him badly wounded. Might's mission is to kill all Psychiccers but why he doesn't know. He just does it. So his fights turn crazy especially when it comes to killing Patty.  Might finds out that he's a soldier that Wong created in the future and sent him back to the past to help out his army. Except Might's mission is to kill all Psychiccers. So guess what Wong. That includes you.

I think Might didn't make it to the wrong movie.

That's but one of the character stories. There's plenty other characters. And every ending leaves you on that note of wondering which ending happened. I like this cause you get to know every character in the game. Not just a few characters. You get to decide who's the good guy and bad guy. And should the sequel get released you get to go, "Ohhhhhh so that's what happened." 

Character Cliche

Burn's Hair style. You can't copy that. Well you can but...

The characters and the elements they use are rather cliche. I might be lenient and say they're more than likely totally cliche. Keith who uses ice gives virtually everyone the cold shoulder. Emelio uses Light but has issues with his dark/evil side. Wong controls time and throws out swords as his attack. Not only that but comes off as having all the time in the world to come up with plans and destroy his opposition. Setsuna uses darkness but his power hungry. Genshin uses Magic and comes off as a wise old man.  Patty uses sound and sings. Then heal people. 

See the cliche's here. It's very trope, anime, videogame cliche's going on here. The character's attitude matches there powers. 

Gameplay


I know you weren't here to read about my thoughts on fighting game storylines. If you never played an Arena fighting game before. You might be in for some trouble getting used to the controls.  There isn't really a facing left or right side of the screen when it comes to command inputs. You input your moves based on where you want to launch whatever attack. But if you're not confident in doing that. Then you can turn on Beginner mode and all attacks will be aimed at your opponent.  

Problem is. That this game is more about landing trick shots on your opponent. Playing mind games with them. Forcing them to move where you want so you can inflict a lot of damage. You have a hard time doing that with just beginner mode. 

As for balancing. I would say this game is pretty well balanced. I have a hard time saying that one character is overpowered. Cause once I say that I find that another character can easily beat that character. I think it would be incredibly hard to tier list this game. Although I bet people would do so. And then try to ban the boss/hidden characters. 

While I did put this to a meme. This is an example of trapping your opponent in a setup. 

My issue is. I used to be great at this game. Now come 15+ years later I'm just mediocre. Age does bad things. Not only that but this is one of those games that will probably never see the light of day again. It's overshadowed by games like Street Fighter. And the company that owns this game is Taito. Who used to make tons of arcade games. I looked up the game to see if I could find images of the characters and found out Taito still exist and still own the rights to this game. But they're not doing anything with it. Sad cause this is one of the games I would love to come out on a modern system and play online. But it has a niche audience so finding players would be scarce. Especially when places like Youtube and Twitch are among the main sources of having a game gain any fame. Sad times for fighting games to be honest.

There's also the fact of little replay value. Since today everything's played online. Unless you somehow got this game to run on an emulator and online play. You have Story Mode and Arcade Mode. Both are pretty much the same. Then you have Vs CPU. And Training. Watch Mode. Not much else to do.  Unless you have friends interested this game as much as you are.

Graphics



PS2's Psychic Force 2 Opening

Well first off this game is the version US got on Dreamcast. There's a version of this game on the PS2 called Psychic Force 2. Psychic Force 2 has characters from the first game included on this one. But at the cost of graphics. 2012 has far better Graphics in comparison and better frame rate too.

The character's looks are pretty memorable. As memorable of your typical anime. You won't really see people dress like these guys. They're totally anime cliche. You have the guy that never opens his eyes unless he's about to kill you. The guy with a really weird haircut. A guy that looks like a girl and even sounds like a girl. Short skirt girls. You know the anime tropes. It's just missing a loli.
Setsuna looks like he belongs in Gundam or some other Super Robot Anime.
While the gameplay is in 3D. There are some cutscenes particularly endings that use anime screenshots. You know like in older fighting games. You don't really see this done often anymore. I think Guilty Gear and Blazblue are the only ones that still use that method for stories today. These days it's about 3D graphics cause it's somehow cheaper to render a 3D model than drawing it out. Whatever.
The graphics look good. But it's cliche. I will admit though summoning a giant ice dragon or a phoenix to catch my opponent and explode them is pretty bad ass. And Gudeath's grab is just awesome watch. I don't see fighting game grapplers these days that grab there opponent by the face then drag them across the wall.

Gudeath: We goin for a ride boy!

Music


I enjoy listening to the music on this game. Very much fits a fighting game and there's no song in this game that makes me say, "why is this here?" You can even change the option to listen to the arcade version of the character theme. Although I'm not too fond of the arcade version and prefer the arranged BGMs. 

I don't want to talk about the voice acting too much. It's all Japanese voice acting. My problem with this isn't how it sounds, but in how it's glorified as the best voice acting ever. I always find people saying just watch the Subbed version as it sounds better and that English sucks. I hate subs. I pretty much have to watch whatever episode multiple times cause I'm too busy reading instead of seeing the animation on screen. You might say well just learn Japanese. Well I'm 30 and I don't want to learn another language that I won't make much use of. I rather have my game or anime I'm watching in a language I understand.  And the rare cases of bad voice acting are few and very far between. 

That was another tangent. The issue with the Japanese voice acting for me is that if I ask someone what the character is saying. Or someone else see's the game's story mode. The obvious complaint will turn up saying that someone did a horrible translation. I know this cause I read through the manual and noticed there's a few grammar errors throughout it. Also a few quotes don't sound too right to me. I hear it on other games it translates to something else. So I can't be too sure. 

Overall


Would I want this game to come back and be playable on modern systems? Yes and No. Yes because this is a fighting game series I like. But no cause if there was a remake or a sequel. I feel like the changes made would be to try an attract an audience rather than being a good game.  

Like they would add Goku as a character or put in some crazy mechanic that the game never even needed. Not only that but this game was one of those that appeal to a niche audience. That means there won't be too many people playing. Unless it somehow gained the popularity of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken. This game wouldn't be played much outside of Japan.

I still like this game to this day. I think it should be recognized more. Maybe someone could point out it's flaws a lot easier. But for me it's how a fighting game should be. For the most part.