Universal Fighting Game Guide: Understanding Combo Systems Part 1 – The Elements

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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!

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The Canada Cup Begins Today

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.

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Review – BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

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?

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Game Design Talk – BlazBlue: Continuum Shift’s Tutorial Mode

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.
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To Buy or Not To Buy – BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

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.
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