Returning to BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

For the past year or so, I’ve carried a bit of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle guilt. When it first came out, I was enamored by its measured approach to anime-style tag-team combat. The mechanics give players a lot of room for creativity while also being more accessible than your average anime fighter. In an alternate reality, this game wouldn’t have fallen out of my rotation and I would have competed in a few tournaments by now.

That’s not what happened.

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My Fighting Game Scouting Report


When it comes to fighting games, it’s easy to pour all of our energy and thoughts on our competition. We put so much thought on ways of overcoming the challenge they oppose, but rarely take a step back to think about the person in the mirror. In reality, the journey towards fighting game enlightenment has nothing to do with whomever is controlling the opposing character, but everything to do with the person in the mirror.

In this post, I go through the self-indulgent process of creating a scouting report for myself as a fighting game player. It might just be a platform to brag about my past exploits, but I’m really hoping to dig up some truth bombs about my weaknesses in order to address them in the future. Without further ado, let’s go!

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I Need to Pay More Attention to Granblue Fantasy Versus

For the past few weeks, I’ve seen the name Granblue Fantasy Versus floating around the fighting game community websites I frequent. However, I didn’t really bother investigating until recently, as there’s a beta for the game happing right now. And oh my goodness, I should have had this game on my radar sooner.

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Early Impressions of Mortal Kombat 11

[NOTE: I’ve sampled a little bit of everything that the game has to offer, but I’m not gonna be able to spend enough time with some of the game’s more involved single-player content to provide a thorough judgment on the game. As such, I’m keeping the scope of this piece just to the parts I’ve played so far.]

Ever since the release of Mortal Kombat 9, NetherRealm Studios has set the gold standard for what a complete fighting game should be. Sharp visuals, tons of single player content, and combat – er, kombat – that’s appealing to casual and competitive players. They’ve never rested on their laurels either, as the Mortal Kombat and Injustice games have introduced a number of innovations to the genre, from a Variation system where different versions of the same character will have altered move set and costumes, to the ability to leverage background objects as weapons or jumping-off points in battle.

Based on NetherRealm’s glowing track record, Mortal Kombat 11 should have been as close to a guaranteed home run as one could get in the genre. Based on what I’ve played, it reaches or exceeds those lofty expectations.

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Mortal Kombat 11 and the Evolution of Scorpion’s Spear

“Come here!”

One of the genre’s most iconic special moves, Scorpion launches a spearhead attached to a chain directly at his opponents. If it successfully makes contact, he yells out one of his two signature catchphrases as he reels in his now-stunned opponent. From there, his opponent is left standing in a dizzy state, primed for Scorpion to smack them any way he so chooses. In the old games, my go-to follow-up was the classic uppercut.

In most Mortal Kombat games, this is how the spear works. It’s not quite so in Mortal Kombat 11.

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Exploring Combo Systems in Fighting Games

Earlier this year, I was enjoying the indie fighting game Blade Strangers. Despite having put a number of hours into it, I hadn’t been playing it in the traditional sense ever since I wrapped up the review. The online community is virtually dead, making it extremely difficult to play with another human. I haven’t even been fighting against the computer much.

Instead, my primary focus was to explore the game’s combo system through training mode. One by one, I’ve been training with each character as a means of understanding the game’s combo mechanics. Will be the first to admit that this is an odd way to consume a fighting game, but let me explain. Continue reading

Mortal Kombat 11 – Story Mode Chapters 1-3

Due to some time manipulation tomfoolery, everything old is new again in the world of Mortal Kombat 11! I play through the first three chapters and get a sense of how everything got weird!

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Games That Expanded My Horizons

With money and time as an finite resource, it’s very easy to stay in a comfort zone with the video games you play. But sometimes, you get rewarded for escaping your imaginary box. Despite my previous negative response to art games like Journey and The Unfinished Swan, trying out Gris on the strength of a recommendation from Kris and Rachel from Double Jump proved to be a worthwhile endeavour.

Here are a few more games that I’ve played that expanded my horizons in ways I wasn’t expecting.

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How Mortal Kombat’s Dial-a-Combo System Impacts the Initial Learning Curve

Starting with Mortal Kombat 3, the franchise has used a dial-a-combo system for multi-hitting strikes. Quickly dial in the predetermined sequence of moves into your controller and watch your character rattle off each move in succession. Can’t speak to how the games between Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat 9 handled it, but all of the modern games in the series use the dial-a-combo system as its foundation.

While this is a dramatic departure from most fighting games, where combos are usually created through links and cancels, the benefits of this system are clear. For one, players don’t have to worry about spending weeks in the lab trying to get the feel for that one-frame link that allows you to connect a standing medium punch from a standing light punch. The system is loose enough so that as long as you hit the buttons in quick succession, the combo will complete itself. Two, it allows characters to perform more unique moves without having to add extra buttons to your controller.

Even within such a rigid system, there’s a lot of room for creativity. Between the modern Mortal Kombat and Injustice games, I can easily spend hours in training mode, stringing together combos that seemingly juggle forever. As fun as it can be, the dial-a-combo system is not without weakness.

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Join Me at 8pm EST for Mortal Kombat 11!

Come here! With the Toronto Raptors winning their series in 5, I’ve got time today to stream some Mortal Kombat 11! Let’s dabble in the story mode and maybe play a few matches online?

Make sure to never miss a stream by following my channel and turning your notifications on! You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram for stream updates and other cool stuff posted daily!


Buy Mortal Kombat 11 Now From Amazon.com

[Purchasing through this Amazon affiliate link gives me a small commission without adding any extra cost or effort to you. Thanks for your support!]