For a long time, I perceived fighting games by Arc System Works as being too complex for me. Initially drawn to their work by how amazing the BlazBlue games looked, my mind melted when I struggled to grasp the game’s intricacies. Guilty Gear games up to Xrd might as well have been rocket science. Love watching the pros play these games, but I have no clue where to being learning how to play.
Their penchant for designing characters that function wildly different from one another while layering on tons of system-level mechanics for fighters that were inpenetrable to me. Even now, after a decade of serious fighting game experience, it would take me a ton of work to just feel competent at any of legacy Guilty Gear or BlazBlue games.
In recent times, Arc System Works have gone a long way towards finding a better balance while also pushing the limits of anime-style graphics. Between their tireless efforts to improve (and Capcom’s well-documented struggles), I think that Arc System Works is the king of fighting game publishers right now.
In virtually every fighting game, certain characters will have inherent advantages against others. More often than not, this is just the end result of character design factors that end up dictating how easy or difficult it will be for character A to defeat character B. In some cases, you may have to put in some elbow grease as the weaker character in order to win. Other times, trying to overcome a bad match-up can feel almost impossible.
Is it ever really impossible though? Let’s talk about what bad match-ups are, why they happen and things you can do to beat the odds.
Poor Ken Masters. As a character, his capabilities are fairly standard issue. However, the sight of Ken is enough to induce a groan from even the most casual Street Fighter fans. It has nothing to do with the character himself, but rather the player using him. There’s a good reason why the term “Flowchart Ken” exists.
If you’ve ever had any sort of interest in fighting games, you’ve probably stumbled across a combo video or two. They’re very cool to watch, and you may have even taken it upon yourself to be as good as the person in the video by going to a guide and learning how to read an execute something like this from BlazBlue:
214D -> B (FC), 623D, dash, 3C xx 236236B, 214D -> C, 5C 2C 4D -> D, [j.C x n] [dj.C x n] xx j.214B – 50% Heat
While you may be tempted to learn the big fancy combos the moment you start playing a new fighting game, it’s not the best way to level yourself up. Mastering the physical execution of big combos is nice, but learning the big combos without knowing the context behind them first is like trying to run without learning how to walk. This is post 1 in a two-part mini-series about understanding combo systems. Part 1 will deal with the elements that make up most combo systems, while part 2 will discuss how to put context to those elements to shape your offensive capabilities. Let’s get moving with part 1!
These last few weeks have been awesome for followers and players in the pro fighting game scene. We had Season’s Beatings a few weeks ago, SoCal Regionals and South Florida Challenge just last week and NorCal Regionals coming up next week. All of these events have (and will) feature the best fighting game talent from around the world, which has led to some amazing matches (and antics) for us to see.
Happening any minute now is the Canada Cup, which as far as I know, is the first major Canadian fighting game tournament. This one should be as big and entertaining as everything else the fighting game community has been spoiled with of late.
Ever since I wrote the Top 5 All-Time Most Viewed In Third Person Posts post, I’ve been kind of a metrics junkie. I’ll frequently log in with the sole intention of viewing the numbers and picking out the trends. I don’t envision a day where I’ll ever give away all my numbers to you, but I think it could be a neat exercise to talk about how you, the readers, use In Third Person. I’ve already covered the Top 5 Most Viewed In Third Person Posts of All-Time and now, I want to talk about the three topics that In Third Person readers can’t get enough of within the last month or so.
If it weren’t for news of a thorough tutorial mode being included in the sequel to BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, I wouldn’t have picked up Continuum Shift. As much as this may look like a Street Fighter style game, it plays completely different and I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
A year later, it’s back with a few new characters, new stages, balance tweaks and a great tutorial mode, which I’ve already written about in great detail. However, is there enough here for new players and seasoned BlazBlue veterans alike to continue the fight?
Over the weekend, I thought a bit more about whether or not to buy BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. After more deliberation and talking about it with my brother, I totally caved and picked it up. I did get it at way less than retail price though. I gathered up a bunch of the free games I got during my Blockbuster raids that I had no intention of playing and traded those in. On top of that, my brother agreed to pay for half of the remaining cost. Sweet!
Unlike 99% of the games we’ve ever played, we started out our experience by jumping into tutorial mode. Knowing the difficulties we had with the first game and hearing that Continuum Shift supposedly has an awesome tutorial mode, it made sense to start at ground level rather than button mash and wonder why this game doesn’t play more like Street Fighter. If you’ve had any reservations about learning BlazBlue, then I have (mostly) good news for you.
I really wanted to like BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, and based on what I knew of the game going in, I thought I would eat it up. Instead, it sat on my shelf because I couldn’t grasp the gameplay. The pacing was a bit slower than I expected. I had a hard time understanding the game’s mechanics. It also didn’t help that every character played completely differently from each other, which meant there wasn’t much in the way of transferable skills. Some of this wasn’t the fault of the game; part of it was a fault in the user. I realized that my Street Fighter knowledge wasn’t as applicable with this game, and that the amount of investment it would take for me to be good at BlazBlue I would rather dedicate to Street Fighter IV instead.
This week, BlazBlue hit store shelves. I have a lot of reasons for just leaving it there. However, a couple of things are tugging at my heart strings (and wallet) to give the series one more shot.