Fancy a little Fighting Game?

Yeah, I’m not likely to be playing any of these in person any time soon, so want to stick with something that I can get a full, satisfying experience playing online only.

The small roster makes this interesting. It almost seems like it might occupy a similar space to Fantasy Strike.

I picked up Fantasy Strike on sale last year, and while I appreciate what it was doing, I just couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for it.

I couldn’t summon up much enthusiasm for it either despite being the only person I know who heard of much less enjoyed Yomi, although I can’t summon up any enthusiasm for My Little Pony: Fatalities are Magic, either.

I’ve got a ton of enthusiasm for Fantasy Strike! It’s the only fighting game I can get pretty much all of my friends to regularly play with me. I feel like it gets to the fun part of mind games in fighting games incredibly quickly. It’s really nice to be able to pick up and play with someone who’s never played a fighting game before. I play it with my board game groups fairly regularly when we have downtime. It’s the only fighting game my wife has picked up and enjoyed, and the only fighting game I’ve played for 4 hours with friends since SF4.

That said, it’s focus on mind games does make it really not fun to play vs the AI. I’m also not that interested in playing with randoms online because one-off matches don’t feel like they actually get at what’s good about the game. In a normal fighting game, I can work on my character execution and various character matchups in random online fights even if a one-off isn’t enough to generate interesting mind-game play. But since Fantasy Strike is all about no execution barrier, all you have left to learn is matchups and there aren’t that many characters to learn. So it’s only really fun playing against a known player. Which, honestly, has pretty much killed it for me since coronavirus.

Shame I have a preference for 3D Fighters because I would be interested in a game that stripped back on unnecessary execution to emphasise the mind games. Locking stuff behind execution barriers is how we got Akuma being one of the best characters in Tekken 7 at the highest tiers of the competitive scene, possibly to the point of being a little overpowered. There’s no pleasing some people though, sections of community complain if movement options gets nerfed but then other sections would complain if essential advanced movement options like Korean Backdash became easier to execute instead.

Unfortunately, just do not find myself getting into 2D or 2.5D Fighters as much as Tekken, Virtua Fighter or others. I hear Fantasy Strike has some pretty decent netcode though, so that would be a plus.

Combos are actually the easiest execution part of Tekken. It’s moving that is hard. SC is the easier one, and well it’s an imbalanced mess in S2 (then again SC is usually an imbalanced mess, late S1 was an exception)

FS uses GGPO, so 5/5 netcode. Problem is, playerbase is about 5. The only GGPO game with a great playerbase on all platforms is MK. KI has a decent-sized one, though XB1-centric (Steam crossplay is only for non-ranked). SG/TFH will temporarily have a few players due to EVO.

For the most part in Tekken, yeah. It’s the movement options, specifically the Korean Backdash for many, that a lot of people are going to need to learn and practice execution of if they want to dig deeper. Though, character choice can help alleviate that a bit since characters like Lei either have their own unique movement tech or movement isn’t as much of a focus (Kuma\Panda say hello). Lei’ Wulong’s “Haha Step” is on the easier side, then you just have to learn Lei himself as compensation, haha.

Can totally get far in Tekken doing the more reliable, less execution-heavy combos. In some cases the optimal combo is only a point or three more damage anyway. Tekken 7 Akuma is bit of a special case due to his Street Fighter heritage, you can really squeeze a lot of juice out of Akuma at the highest levels with high execution thanks to his list of various cancels and other non-combo related tech.

Unrelated, been digging into Lei Wulong recently for a bit of fun. Sometimes the mix-up options are so strong I mix myself up thanks to the number of stances.

The Samurai Shodown Neo-Geo collection is out and free on Epic this week. Never played them the first time around, so can’t speak to the quality of the ports. Online mode was disastrous for me though – in an hour or so of trying, matches popped up quick enough, but all but one “lost connection to opponent” immediately after being matched, and the one completed match was a stuttery mess.

Xbox users don’t need Xbox Gold to get this, it’s still free for us either way.

The way folks are playing it online is taking the roms out of the game, then playing them on Fightcade right now.

Ah, cool, good to know. I haven’t tried Fightcade, but can check that out. It’s a shame that it’s necessary for a new release though.

Anyway, I did wind up rebuying MK11 on Xbox, and it’s been a much more solid experience than the PC version was. Still not a fan of the aesthetics, and would like the game a lot better if the various in-fight cutscenes could be skipped or turned off, but I’m willing to put up with them for the sizable player base and good netcode.

It’s taken a fair amount of time in practice mode and around 50 online matches, but I’m finally feeling reasonably competent and intentional with the character I decided to focus on. It’s definitely been interesting to finally build up the level of skill and intentionality to actually understand what my various options are in a given situation and make an informed choice between them. Not sure about the emphasis on specific unique combo strings for each character, as now I’ve finally developed the muscle memory for one character, it seems like it will make it harder to switch between characters.

In most fighting games it takes time to switch between characters. They usually play pretty different, depending on game.

KOF it tends to matter the least, 3D and anime fighters it tends to matter the most.

Yeah, I could be off base in how much of a difference this is between games. And of course, I want the characters to play very differently from one another for the sake of variety.

But my impression was that some games had a bit more in the way of shared fundamentals. Them’s Fightin’ Herds and Guilty Gear Xrd both made a point in their tutorials about all characters being able to combo light into medium into heavy into launch, though there will be differences in reach, startup time, damage, etc., as well as character-specific quirks and special moves. KI has a pretty flexible system where you alternate between any auto-double attack and any linker special move, until you do a heavy special move as the finisher. Switching characters requires learning various nuances about which moves to use in what circumstances, but the basics carry over.

But MK11 has 15-ish hardcoded valid combo strings per character with completely different inputs from one another. It feels a bit more prescriptive to me about which buttons are allowed to follow one another in a string. At this point, I’ve practiced and developed the muscle memory to do F2+4+3 for an advancing attack that ends with a low sweep to catch people stand-guarding, using Kotal Kahn, but trying the same thing on another character, they’ll just do their F2 attack and then stand there because 4 isn’t a prescribed follow-up to it.

In a way, it’s closer to 3D fighters in that regard ,though 3D fighters tend to have universal types of attacks as well. MK seems to have no rhyme or reason in its strings, and on top of that, the game has very tight windows for strings so it’s really hard to hit-confirm, especially if you’re not mega practiced, so you tend to have to commit to the whole thing.

I really don’t like NRS games. They tend to have a ton of gimmicky mechanics, awkward inputs, and often radical changes between versions that lead to flavor-of-the-week picking.

There’s a sweet spot between having your game get stale due to lack of changes (Soul Calibur goes through this), and having it so often that folks hide stuff just to avoid getting it nerfed before big events.

I started my latest foray into Street Fighter V and I came up with a theory I want to try. In character action games, I usually do the same repetitive attacks during the first 10-15 hours of the game because my brain is too overloaded and focused on defense. Then around that time I naturally – without thinking about it – start mixing in other attacks because the game slows down and seems easier.

I’m wondering if the same thing happens in fighting games after a long break. I plan to practice in the training mode, but mostly I’m playing ranked matches without trying to do too much. I’m letting my brain absorb all the input.

I’ve been continuing my dive into fighting games, trying to sample and absorb as much of a gestalt as I can while I have some momentum and enthusiasm. It’s been fun to try and build proficiency while seeing some of the different twists they put on the same core structure. Unfortunately, still struggling to find that magic mixture of game, netcode, and community all in the same place.

Them’s Fightin’ Herds: Cool game, and enjoyed the single-player, but doesn’t seem to have as much legs as I had hoped. Multiplayer lobbies have been mostly deserted, and there’s no automatic matchmaking.

Guilty Gear Xrd: I’m on board with the gonzo style and soundtrack. Online is completely dead, as expected, but it worked as a nice ad for Strive, especially if they’re revisiting some of the mechanics which seemed a bit overwhelming in the tutorial.

Granblue Fantasy Versus: Grabbed this when it went on sale, but it may have been a mistake. It looks great and plays great, with a very manageable level of move complexity that still allows for characters to feel very distinct. I had no trouble getting matches the first couple nights I tried it (and contrary to netcode concerns, the connection seemed pretty solid and I didn’t notice significant lag issues). So I felt good about keeping the game, and put some more time into the story and training modes over the course of a few days. But now that I’m past the refund window, the online appears to have died, as I was sitting in the ranked queue for 15 minutes before getting a match. Those populated first couple days may have just been a temporary spike due to the sale. And the story mode is underwhelming so far – very easy, and with lots of braindead filler fights against generic enemies.

Power Rangers Battle for the Grid: Seemed to play fine and have good netcode, and it was helpful to try out a game with a team system, but felt kind of generic and bare-bones, took a long time to find matches, and I have no affinity for the license.

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite: Managed to get a few matches in thanks to a GamePass quest to get ranked wins. Probably the worst I’ve played in terms of lag and the community seems to be dead without the quest prodding them to play.

Mortal Kombat 11: Continued to put the most time into this, playing around 150 ranked matches and getting to the fourth (out of nine) tiers in the league season that just ended. Definitely seeing some gratifying improvement from practice and training. I went from around a 10% win rate the first few days of the season to around 65% the last couple days, and more importantly, I can feel that that improvement is coming from a better grasp of the mechanics and tools available to me and making the right choices to counter what I expect the opponent to do. While I’ve been enjoying the experience overall, though, it rankles that it’s mainly down to the netcode and player base and in spite of the mechanics (several of the games I’ve tried seem more appealing than the emphasis on prescribed combo strings with strict input windows here) and aesthetics (pretty much every game is more appealing on this front).

Soulcalibur VI: Picked up the Xbox version in the recent 75% off sale, and it’s been a better experience than it was on PC in every regard – quicker matchmaking, less lag, and more available intermediate-level opponents. The netcode is still noticeably worse than KI or MK when I have a bad connection to the opponent, but the majority of my matches have been smooth. And it’s very appreciated that you can indefinitely rematch when you get matched with an opponent with a good connection. Still really enjoy the mechanics, and goddamn is it a huge breath of fresh air to have bouts on a windswept mountaintop that end in “show respect to the fallen warrior, who fought so bravely” after a month of torture dungeons and “relish every second of this lovingly-rendered disembowelment.”

Thinking I might focus on that for a while – especially as it’s just been added to Gamepass and should hopefully have a surge of activity. But I’m also tempted to check out Street Fighter V, which is in the current Steam sale. I know the netcode is an issue, but it seems to have a lot of activity, so hopefully it won’t be an issue with enough players in my local area. And of course it’s the prototypical fighting game series, so it feels weird to explore the genre without even trying it.

The netcode in SFV isn’t at the top of the heap, but it’s better than the input delay games.

If KI is 10/10, I’d put SFV at around 7/10. I’d give it a try if fear of netcode is holding you back.

As for Calibur, if you want help with that game and you have it on PC, it is probably the game I’m strongest at, even if I’m not really much of a tourney contender.

and damn the FGC just blew up hard with #metoo scandal worse than even what pro wrestling got last week.

Head of EVO, Creator of Skullgirls, several others accused of sexual misconduct/pedophile stuff.

Cool, I think I’ll go ahead and give it a shot. I know there was some issue with people quitting a tournament because they had a bad connection to the opponent, but if they’re able to hold tournaments in the first place, it can’t be too horrible.

Thanks! That would be great. You suggested posting some replays earlier, so I saved a couple from last night (this is two matches, but they’re split in half because the Xbox stops recording at 2 minutes).

Ok , Mina is probably the easiest character in the game to do offense with.

Learn how to use her 44 (double tap back) A and the lethal hit with that, and her options off 236 (quarter-circle forward). These are ridiculously strong, and can lead to easy ring outs (used to be easier, but she got nerfed way too slightly)

Also, don’t finish strings all the time and learn to mix them up more. At this stage, don’t be afraid to explore the movelist a bit.

There’s also a Sueng Mina discord;

My personal favorite right now is Cassandra. She’s awesome, though you must be really careful with blocking since guard break is a greater risk than with other characters.