Over the past decade, I’ve overcome so much in the world of fighting games. Coming into Street Fighter IV as a lapsed fan of the genre with barely any skills to begin with, my knowledge and skills have developed to a point where I’m proficient in numerous fighters. However, there’s at least one entire sub-genre that I suck at: 3D fighting games.
Since the advent of Virtua Fighter in the mid 90s, there are two fundamental factors of 3D fighting game design that I haven’t been able to overcome.
From the moment I played Street Fighter II in the arcades as a kid, it was hardwired into my brain that up meant jump and down was crouch. 3D movement fundamentally changes that dynamic, as jumping and crouching are generally replaced with side-stepping. In my head, it feels really unorthodox to move in this manner, as this simply isn’t an option readily available in the 2D games I’m used to. On paper, being able to sidestep any attack literally adds a new dimension to combat, but I simply can’t come to grips with moving around the environment in this manner.
Special Move Commands
Most 2D fighting games rely on a handful of special move commands for each character’s flashier techniques. Most 3D games are different in this regard, as characters oftentimes have hundreds of different moves that are performed in non-standardized input sequences. I can wrap my head around six normal attacks and three special moves, but I’m immediately overwhelmed when I take control of a character and have no idea where to start. I guess I could put in the time to learn one move at a time, but that would take an inordinate amount of time and even more losing to push through.
On top of that, I simply have a terrible memory. I struggle to memorize long combos in games like Dragon Ball FighterZ. Even trying to memorize the dozen or so combo strings in the Mortal Kombat and Injustice games is tough. Trying to recall dozens, if not hundreds, of unique commands in the heat of the moment, is simply too much for me to grasp.
A For Effort
And it’s not for a lack of trying. Sure, I haven’t poured in hundreds of hours into any of them, but I sure did buy and play Tekken 6, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Virtua Fighter V, Dead or Alive 5, and every Soulcalibur game except for III. I quite enjoyed Dead or Alive 5 and I’m really excited to play Soulcalibur VI someday, but unless I’m able to overcome my mental barriers with 3D fighters, they’ll never be more than quick flings. It may never pan out for me, but I think I’ll keep trying in hopes that I can crack that nut someday.