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!
The biggest fighting game tournament in the world is only a week away. As a hardcore fighting game fan and stream monster, I can’t wait to sit in front of the computer all weekend to watch the scene’s best go at it all weekend long. If you’ve never watched a fighting game stream before, but have any interest in it, EVO 2011 is definitely the place to start.
If you do start here, you should know that this EVO tournament is actually the last tournament in the 2011 EVO season. A lot of drama has taken place between the start of the season and now. Unless you want to sit through hundreds of hours of tournament footage or read through much more comprehensive and better written recaps on the EVO tournament season, I can give you a primer on a few of the story lines surrounding EVO’s biggest games.
One of the most recent developments in DLC is the idea of paying for a set of content up-front and receiving a discount on the set rather than buying the components of the set separately. From a business perspective, this makes a lot of sense, as it’s a lot easier to ask me for $15 now rather than four payments of $5 spread out over 8 months. It also makes sense from the player’s perspective, as we get stuff at a discount.
Case in point, the Mortal Kombat Season Pass. There are four DLC characters scheduled for release at $5.00 each. However, if you buy the Season Pass up-front, you’ll get all four characters for $15, which is a savings of $5.
The new Mortal Kombat in my eyes was a pretty fantastic game with one fatal flaw (no pun intended): crappy online play. It would take forever to get matched up with anyone and if you did get into a match, it was always a laggy mess. At Mortal Kombat’s best, it was as laggy as Super Street Fighter IV’s worst. As much as I wanted to deep dive into the world of Mortal Kombat online play, it was an unplayable mess. Without good online play, I had basically no one to play against.
If you’ve been disappointed in Mortal Kombat’s online play to date, I’ve got good news for you.
It’s been a while since Mortal Kombat was relevant. Say what you will about the series’ consistently good sales, but when the genre fell out of relevance with the mass market, Mortal Kombat did, too. However, when Street Fighter IV single-handedly revived the genre, it was only a matter of time before Mortal Kombat came roaring back. And roar back it did. You, as gaming consumers, made it the number 1 selling game in the US in April, selling over 1 million copies.
Is the latest in the MK series a return to form? Did it sell solely on hype? Or does it take the series to the next level?
It’s usually that time of the month when I’d write about In Third Person’s top 5 posts for the month. I don’t want to do that anymore, because I don’t think it told that interesting of a story. I don’t think it benefits anyone when I write about the same 5 or 6 top posts every month that just so happen to be Google aggregate favourites (I’m looking at you, Gaming’s Definitive Moustaches).
Instead, I thought I’d do something more interesting with the numbers. Let me know if you enjoy this format better!
Historically, fighting games have done a poor job of providing a good single-player experience and a horrible job at telling a story. Even 20 years after the release of Street Fighter II, the majority of fighting games simply boil down to fighting opponent after opponent, until you’ve beaten everyone in your path and receive your character’s ending. This does not make for an interesting one-player experience, or add any context to why you’re fighting opponent after opponent. To be fair, the BlazBlue series has tried to expand its single-player experience with a story mode, but that game’s story is so poorly written and presented that only the hardest of hardcore anime fans would find any redeeming value in it.
With that said, Mortal Kombat’s story mode is a breath of fresh air. It’s presented in a way that makes perfect sense to the mythology of the series and to the player in control. What makes it so great? And what could have been done better?
When you think about Mortal Kombat as a series, you think about blood and fatalities. Do you think about it’s rich and deep fighting game engines? Probably not. Mortal Kombat has traditionally, been a fighting game series built primarily on style over substance. For Midway/Warner Brothers, this lead to consistently good sales throughout the series history among more casual fighting game fans, but the hardcore have pretty much shunned it. Case in point: Super Street Fighter II Turbo is still being played at major fighting game tournaments this year, while the entire Mortal Kombat scene has virtually never had any sort of tournament scene to speak of.
I loved Mortal Kombat I-III, but having grown into a hardcore fighting game player these last few years has really coloured my perspective on those games in hindsight. I can still have a ton of fun playing the Street Fighter II series games of the same era, but those early Mortal Kombat games just don’t have the depth of gameplay to hold my attention nowadays. With that said, Ed Boon, the creator of Mortal Kombat, said this new one was aiming to cater to the hardcore crowd. I’ve only spent a few hours with it playing the story mode, tutorial and some versus matches with my coworkers, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to pass final judgment about the game now. But what I can tell you about are my experiences with the game so far, is that from a gameplay systems perspective, this is probably the deepest Mortal Kombat ever.