In the tender bits

So you think you can tell heaven from hell?

Friday, January 6, 2006 | 04:09 PM | by
This has been a particularly busy week for me. I'm taking a vacation next week, my girlfriend and I are going skiing in New Hampshire. Anyone who has frequented this website for a time knows that I never go away without making sure you will be delivered your regular doses of Ctrl+Alt+Del comicness.

So not only have I been working on this week's comics, I've been doing all of next week's as well. Eight comics at once, to be exact. I should be wrapping them all up today so I can go on my vacation without feeling guilty and you can rest assured that the comic won't skip a beat.

I've still managed to sneak in some gaming here and there though. Some new titles, and even dipping my foot in the waters of some old favorites.

Dead or Alive 4 has been very entertaining. While the single-player story mode can be ridiculously frustrating (particularly that cheap Liquid Kasume end boss), jumping online has been the star of the game for me.

I've always loved Dead or Alive, and I really got into the franchise on the first Xbox. I enjoy Soul Calibur and Virtua Fighter as well, but they've always struck me as too simple. I know some people love them, but I find the button-mashing, same-old-circular- ring-out-arena format to be a little boring. I was especially disappointed with the latest Soul Calibur installment.

Dead or Alive, for me, represents a quality fighting game. With interactive arenas, a challenging combo system, and the counter-holds, it's truly a game of skill. Being able to time and counter-attack your opponent is a large part of the gameplay, and is certainly not for those who don't know what they're doing in a fighting game. Luckily they've included a very rich sparring mode in which you can practice your timing and combos.

And let's not forgot that DOA4 is easily one of the most gorgeous games on the 360.

Online is where the game really shines. You can jump into matches against other players ranked around your skill level. "King of the Hill" type gameplay seems to be one of the most popular. The online game features an interesting lobby system, whereby you can join a "server" and sit in a cartoony lobby and watch the fight taking place on a large movie screen, or interact with other people waiting in the lobby. So far it's been very enjoyable.

I've also done a lot of dabbling this week. I installed America's Army again to play here and there. Jumped into Planetside despite reports of dwindling server populations just to give it a whirl. Even tried out a free MMO called Face of Mankind.

I'll make one last post tomorrow before I leave on vacation. I'm bringing my laptop, so if the ski resort we're staying at has internet (and I really hope it doesn't) I'll be able to touch base during the week. Otherwise, Pierre will be in charge of the website while I'm gone.