Lasombra Files Episode 32: Duel of Fates
Welcome to season 3 of the Lasombra Files, PSU’s weekly hit program. Follow the story of Lasombra and V as they try to solve an inter-dimensional murder mystery of ostentatious proportions, while at the same time shining the spotlight on gamers around the world and in our community.
A hard right hand crushes my cheek bone, as V`s shadow strikes at me with that famed Soviet fury. I thought I would have been prepared for this fight but it is the real V I am fighting, not Captain Li. For some reason we are fighting our real bodies instead of our new hosts, making this beg the question who, or what, is going on in this world. Another right hand, followed by a spin kick, puts me on the defensive as she lunges at me. Despite her size her grip is like steel, squeezing the life out of me. Each passing second makes it harder to breath, harder to focus, leaving only a desperate, movie like action I could take. A swift bob of the head forward connects solidly onto her nose, her grip loosening and allowing me to roll away, as she recovers from the audible and sickening crack of bone. Blood ran down her face as it was clear that I broke her nose in episode 32: Duel of Fates. She wiped the blood off her face and rubbed it down her neck, her eyes and face looking happy as if blood were some masochistic aphrodisiac. I grab a loose pipe, flipping it up in the air with my foot, readying myself for her next attack as shadow or not, a love tap like that won`t put her down.
Name: Tristam Archer
Occupation: Undergraduate studying economics with the goal of becoming chief economic analyst at one of the ratings agencies.
Country: (of birth?): Fiji (of residence?) New Zealand (Citizenship?) United Kingdom
Disclaimer: This interview is reproduced as written by the interviewee. Pictures copyright of their artist/photographer/owner. All likenesses used are for parody and/or satirical purposes.
Lasombra: How long have you been gaming?
Fiji: I’ve been around consoles for most of my life. I started playing with a NES that my cousin owned which is where I played all those really old classics; Duck Hunt, Contra, Excitebike etc (I wasn’t very good). I myself started when I got a PlayStation toward the end of the 90s.
Lasombra: How did you find PSU?
Fiji: That is a difficult one. I found PSU through an article, I forget which, but I didn’t actually pay attention to the site at the time. It wasn’t until I found PS3Forums and noticed it was linked to PSU that I decided to keep coming back.
Lasombra: Are you solely a Sony gamer this generation or do you split your time between multiple systems?
Fiji: I have owned and played both “next-gen” consoles. However, my PS3 is the one I play now due to it being the only one I still own. I sent my 360 to Fiji as it wasn’t being used.
That said, I do play on the PC from time to time. Fallout is a favourite but I usually play RTSs. The Total War series is a big favourite with me, so too is Company of Heroes.
Lasombra: What do you like about the community at PSU that keeps bringing you back for more?
Fiji: Everyone has their own perspective; everyone is different. There is a diversity here that is missing elsewhere on the web. Members routinely disagree yet they still get along. The forums vast scope of topics, I think, attributes to that.
Lasombra: In your opinion, what needs to be done to help the community to grow bigger and better?
Fiji: Ah, I won’t give my own feelings on the matter, but content is what is truly needed. The influx of users for the PS4 reveal shows it. Yes, articles are good, but when you have the likes of IGN and Gamespot, which offer content up to the eyeballs, the site kind of falls a bit short.
Lasombra: Do you have any gaming goals for this year?
Fiji: As a member and director of PSU’s Official Dust 514 Corporation my goals for the year are to see that particular arm of PSU become as diverse and unique as the site itself.
In that respect, I`m waiting for the Uprising build before trying to attract more of the PSU regulars onto Dust. The current build isn’t up to standard and that seems to be its biggest deterrent.
Lasombra: Are you a Trophy hunter, and what do you think about Trophies overall?
Fiji: I wouldn’t call myself a “Trophy Hunter” per se, especially with my humble PSN rank of 9, but there are a few select games that I endeavor to finish to the upmost.
Uncharted is one I particularly enjoyed. If a game has online Trophies though I tend to shy away as I feel they detract from the experience when you start pushing for no real gain. Why anguish for a trivial acknowledgement when you can just enjoy the game?
Lasombra: The PS2 dominated a console war like no other system. What tricks does Sony need to pull out of their hat to create the same magic with the PS4.
Fiji: I think they’ve done all they can do. From what I’ve seen, the console is remarkably well done. You can look to the Ipod to see where Sony was influenced.
People want things quick, and people want things to be responsive, and people want to be connected. The tone thus far sounds like just that.
I have a sore spot for game prices, though I tend to shy away from the subject, even on the forums.
Lasombra: Do you have a favourite era of gaming? The SNES/Genesis war? The reign of the Playstation Reich? Hail to the NES?
Fiji: PlayStation 1! There is no contest. That being said, the current gen has been absolutely spectacular. All three generations from Sony have been amazing in fact.
Lasombra: Is there a lot of gaming culture in your area of the world? Unique stores, conventions, etc?
Fiji: Nope, long story short! There may be some somewhere but they would be a bit too underground for my interests. There are only two 'main' video game stores but they can be found in just about any mall.
Lasombra: Have you ever been burnt out from a gaming session?
Fiji: Yes, definitely. Killzone 2. Rico. Elite difficulty....is that enough of a description?
Lasombra: What have you liked about DUST514 so far over other FPSs? What makes the game unique for those who know nothing about it?
Fiji: Its shear depth. This is a game where you create an avatar which is persistent. You decide how it should be trained. It’s not like other FPSs where you are given an apparent clone with a rigid class structure and told to fight until you die. Your avatar uses your equipment, you fund your own endeavors, you decide what role it should play on the battlefield, and you have a stake in its existence.
Its ties to EVE make it all the more greater, orbital strikes launched from ships in EVE space by PC players, and one day Dust Mercs firing at, and destroying, EVE ships. A PC vs. PS cross, between two different genres, a marriage of the two systems’ strengths.
But the most important feature is that of a persistent world. Dust 514, my Merc, his gear, his experience, and his stats, will carry over onto the PS4 and continue there. No other PS3 FPS can stake that claim.
Lasombra: What are those select few games you choose to platinum?
Fiji: Uncharted 1 and 2, both were incredibly thrilling and finishing it to that extent was simply sublime. I literally couldn’t stop playing uncharted 2. Collecting all the Trophies for Among Thieves seemed more like an obligation given its inherent quality! I believe I got Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising to platinum too, but that was one of the easy ones.
Lasombra: Which of the Total War series is your favourite? Shogun? Rome?
Fiji: Rome Total War. This game more than the others felt the most engaging! When on the battle map there were little things that made the game that little bit more impressive. If you were by the coast, your ships would be visible floating in the ocean. Monuments and far off cities were also visible on the battle map. The scale of the battles was also mind-blowing. It was the first game I ever played that required you to think ahead of time, lay traps, ambush, weigh up strengths and weaknesses. When you triumphed in a match where the odds were stacked against you the sense of accomplishment could not be described.
Naturally, I also liked the Expansions for Medieval 2. The inclusion of the Welsh army went down very well with me.
Lasombra: What were the games on the PS1 that made it your golden console?
Fiji: Oh where to stop. Crash, Spyro, Speed Freaks, Croc, I could list all day long. Though a personal favourite of mine, and a game I still play to this day, is Grandia. I’ve always maintained that the JRPG battle system in the series is second to none. The story lasts 50+ hours, there is a huge cast of characters who will join your team as well as a large cast who oppose you. Their stories move in parallel until the final crescendo and there are twists that you’d never have seen coming. I remember playing it off PSN after 6 or so years and the story still blows me away. It’s an endearing game with a cast of characters that are charming and likeable. Guido and Gadwin are two favourites who I could never forget.
Lasombra: Did Killzone 1 or 3 give you as much rage? Is the new one for the PS4 making your mouth water with excitement?
Fiji: Killzone 4, yes most definitely! I`m excited to see what they’re doing. Killzone has always had a fantastic art style. It will be interesting to see how the hardware is put to use realizing the artist`s visions. I didn’t pay much attention to Killzone 1 to be honest; a friend of mine in Fiji owned it and it really didn’t tickle my fancy. Killzone 3 on the other hand was a fantastic game. But after 2, I didn’t attempt anything beyond ‘just playing’ the game.
Lasombra: What was it about the Wii U that made you skip it?
Fiji: It's not a Wii. The Wii was/is a fantastic console to just have fun with. Slip in Mario Kart and watch the cheating begin. It's also a console in limbo. A little bit more power in a period where games are being pushed just that little bit further. Yet, the dawn of the next gen consoles, which will see a significant step forward (compared to the WiiU), is just around the corner.
One of our more prolific forum members jokingly said that the WiiU is a tremendous save on money by virtue of all the games you’d be buying for it.
For what seems like forever we do a twisted tango of attack and counter-attack, neither of us being able to hit the other. As I am pre-occupied with Shadow V I'm curious how the real V is handling me, assuming she is facing my real shadow. Dodging quickly her hand narrowly misses my chin but instead breaks a pipe attached to the wall. Swiftly swinging the pipe at her knee it connects, making her drop down to the floor in agony. The next swing was not as lucky, as despite being kneecapped she grabbed the pipe from me and used the momentum to toss me through the wall in episode 33: Who Am I? Dazed and dizzy, wood flakes caking my body, I slowly get up only to have my face kicked in by myself. It looks like we are switching dancing partners, shrugging off the pain to stand guard. You don't know who you really are, and what your true potential is until you face yourself. A flurry of punches assault my arms as I can do nothing but block the near-warp speed strikes. So long the punching bag, now the puncher as my new body tries to cope with a painful lesson.
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