Virtua Fighter 5 turned 10 last month

Wow. 10 years. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface yet with this fighter and I have played it a lot. I still ALWAYS have my Xbox 360 connected to a TV in the house for this game alone (and a few others). Granted, right when this came out I had my second kid crawling around, so there hasn’t been much time for serious fighting game play or practice.

I first played Virtua Fighter 2 in the arcade at the University of Florida (and later at the arcade in Madison, WI) and waited EAGERLY for it to come out on consoles. I could never get anyone to really play it with me a ton, and in the later 90’s we had TOBAL 2 which eclipsed everything. While I followed the series, I didn’t get into it again until VF4, which is amazing. The Kumite mode in that game really pushed it over the edge, where you go to different arcades and compete in different tournaments and the AI of the players follows the styles of various real people!

To put it in the most basic terms: VF5 is the greatest fighting game ever made.

  • It’s very easy for new people to pick up (it only has three buttons!!!) and at the same time it is by far the deepest fighter I’ve ever played. Please see this essay on closed and open stances if you disagree.
  • It’s not combo heavy. Like King of Fighters / Samurai Shodown, it’s got combos, but they are difficult to pull off and don’t dominate play.
  • Every character is like a new world of gameplay. The difference in playing even Brad Burns vs Jacky, which in many other games would be almost palette swaps, is like the depth of the ocean. Let alone exceedingly different characters like Aoi and Wolf.
  • It’s not a defensive, footsy game. Tekken and Street Fighter are footsy games. They are good games, but the footsy is really an annoying part of the game to me, especially in Tekken where you can full screen combo off a low kick.
  • There are no tiers. Certainly there are character tiers at high level play, but you, my friend, will never notice them. If you get good with a character, you will be able to fight vs every other character. The last tournament I watched had a Jeffry (low tier) vs Akira (highest tier) IN THE FINAL.
  • It has not been eclipsed by any other 3D fighting game. DOA and Tekken, while of course more popular at this time, are SHADOWS compared to Sega’s masterpiece. I like DOA 5 and 6, I think they are way more fun than Tekken, but I did the TASTE TEST with my kids and some neighbor kids and VF won out 100%. The only game that came close, for me (and notable others) was, of course, Tobal 2.
  • It’s fast and it’s high damage. Rounds can last awhile or be over quick. This isn’t due to people being caught in endless combos like the Anime fighters, but due to general high damage of all the characters. Again, like King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown.
  • Creative play. The core thing about Tobal and VF compared to a lot of fighters is their ability for players to play a single character in many different ways. Watch a mirror match up in VF and you won’t see the same play-styles or even the same moves. It’s insane and very different from a lot of the 2D fighters where you have your bread and butter comboes that you see constantly (and supermoves)
  • NO meters, no super moves. Only one character has a meter-equivalent and that’s Shun, who gets drunk. All a character’s moves are available to use at all times otherwise. VF proves you don’t need that shit (though it is fun in 2d fighters) to have the best fighting game ever.
  • Counter Picking – this is a big thing in King of Fighters and Street Fighter. Ryu beats Ken, Ken beats down everyone else. This is also a big part of Tekken. This has no part in VF, again, because VF effectively has no tiers.
  • It has only three buttons

People still play, there are tournaments going on even now. This is from just the other day.

Watch in high level play in VF that the players keep their characters right near each other at all times. Look at ANY other fighting game and there’s a lot of long/medium play and when characters get close in it usually means someone is instantly full screen comboe’d. This is because the players are testing their Yomi vs what the other players will do with the whole guard, attack, throw rock paper scissors.

Platforms. VF5 has not been officially ported to the PS4 or XBONE. You can play it on PS Now (yuck) or buy it on the XBONE as a backwards compatible game. I believe most competitive play is on the PS3 still. So like Tobal 2 (the subject of another post) this is a game you have to work at getting to play.

So get your PS3, Xbox 360 or Yakuza on the PS4 and play some Virtua Fighter!

Great article by Virtua Kazama

Superhero BEATINGS

We had a tournament with all 22 characters from My Hero One’s Justice last weekend. We only had three players, so we had to switch off and play different characters and even sometimes play each other’s mains when two of a player’s characters got into the same bracket.

We seeded them based on this tier ranking, which I now feel is pretty out of date and maybe is only for what my kids would call ‘try hard’ players and not for dirty, dirty casuls like us, actually, reading other stuff online, it’s just out of date, by a LOT.

A S S

A brief description of the game: MHOJ is an arena fighter like Naruto Ultimate Storm, and some of the DBZ games but with strange hyper-Japanese superheroes rather than ninja or… uhhh whatever the DBZ guys are. Basically, you can run all over the fighting area, which is usually inside a big cube or rectangle that looks like a city street or a park or a classroom (!). There are standard attacks, counter attacks and unblockables (most are grabs, but many are something else). Counter attacks give you super armor (like Hulk in MVC2) so you cannot be hit out of your attack animation, but you still take damage. All characters have two ‘quirk’ attacks that are specials unique to just them and are part of the normal move set (as in, you can constantly do them). All characters also have a meter that increases during the matches like most other fighters of any type. When full the characters can pull off Ultra attacks which go into a cinematic if it connects. Usually I hate these cinematic moves due to one of Budokan 3 on the PS2, which constantly had these super looonnnggg cinematic attacks where you could get up and take a piss during. Luckily, the MHOJ’s Ultras are short (for the most part) and rarely occur as meter takes a long time to build up.

You also get to pick two team mates from the roster that you can call to help you either break or extend combos a bit like KOF 2013 and again like MVC2. I thought it was a 3v3 fighter at first, and was like huh.. I can’t play as all these guys? But with play, I really enjoy the team assists.

There is normal movement on the map which seems to make the game slow as shit, but the game has dashing which makes you pretty vulnerable but speeds the game up crazy. Basic cancelling is typically done with the dash button mid combo, leading obviously to some crazy combos like every other game with a specific move for a cancel rather than cancelling normals into supers and stuff like that (which you can also do).

Because it’s a superhero game, you can knock people across the maps, and even knock them into the walls so they get stuck and you get a free attack (which usually leads into the truly huge combos). The game is remorseless about characters with ranged attacks–firing off constant fireballs is not a punishable offense and can be done with the press of a single button. The first time you play against one of the ranged characters (like Todoroki or Dabi), you will be like WTF sort of game is this?! as they seem uber over-powered. Most of the ranged/zone characters are weak close in, so there is some balance. However, a few are good at range and close up, which makes it very difficult to win against them at any time.

Even as n00bs with very few matches under our belts, the tournament was quite a bit of fun and there were some intense match ups, and some matches that people just sloughed off in apathy around the characters. Since he’s brutal at range and close up, everyone expected Shoto Todoroki to dominate, and he was logically placed at the highest seed. Yet, in a chilling upset in the semi finals, he was taken down –not by my well-practiced Momo (practiced for a couple hours that is) –but by a button mashing MUSCULAR who went on to win the final vs All Might.

Here are the winners and the runners up:

  1. Muscular
  2. All Might
  3. Todoroki
  4. Jiro

Semi finals (in no particular order)

  • Momo
  • Deku Shoot Style
  • Shigenaki
  • Kaminari Deki

In the final 8, we have three hardcore zone characters (read as ‘fucking annoying’) with Todoroki, Jiro and Deki and all the rest are either close-in combo characters or weird AoE types (Momo and Shigenaki). It was very annoying to go up against Dabi, Endevour and Ihasa the wind dude, but in the end, all the zone characters had their tickets punched by the large fists of Muscular and All Might.

All that said, I really, really like the fighting engine in this game and I’m very surprised by this. My first ‘arena’ fighter was Ehrgiez and the last one I really liked was Urban Reign by Namco. I played a couple of the Dragonballs games but the characters are just not my cup of tea at all. What I like most is that the dash cancels (and therefore combos) are easy to figure out and timing is relatively easy (we play on Manual mode). With the support characters, there’s just a ton of shit going on in the game yet it’s all very tactical, despite the fact that a few of the characters can beat you down with the press of a couple buttons if you don’t know what you are doing. All of the 22 characters feel very different from each other and some have radically different quirks including one that can become the other character they are fighting during the match, and one that can use his powers so much that he stuns himself and leaves himself open for a massive beating.

MHOJ is also surprisingly good since Superhero fighting games usually suck. You have Marvel vs Capcom 2, which is incredible, but since then: what is there? Many tries, but not much that’s good. The new Marvel vs Capcom games are lackluster at best, especially without the Xmen: I mean, why bother? Injustice is a SNOOZE fest, especially for a superhero game. MVC2 pulled it off because it was completely insane and the Marvel universe does not have a Superman/Supreme/Saitama/Marvelman (Miracleman) to defy the canon by placing them in a fighter where they would normally destroy all foes easily. When I see Superman standing there punching batman in a 2-d fighter, it just seems very stupid. Granted, these types of games are very difficult to make in the first place. You have crazy ass powers, some of which only tangentially work in a fight, and certainly any characters that can fly or really jump high are ridiculous to try to model. MVC2 pulled it off, and MHOJ has also.

While we wait for the Kill la Kill game, and the One-Punch Man game has just been announced, there are more ‘super’ arena fighters right around the corner. Meanwhile, My Hero One’s Justice is excellent fun, even for plebian filth casuls. With it’s stupid name and severely unbalanced roster, so far, MHOJ seems like the best super hero fighting game that I’ve played outside of MVC2.

Arc System works creating Kill la Kill arena Fighter!

“Fear is freedom! Subjugation is liberation! Contradiction is truth! Those are the facts of this world. And you will all surrender to them, you pigs in human clothing!

ITEM! Arc System Works (Guilty Gear, DBZ, Blazblue) has released a teaser trailer for their new game, which is Kill la Kill!

If you have never seen t he show, it is about… an orphan girl who goes to a new school to find information on her father’s murderer. She carries around a very large half-scissor and gets into a lot of fights. The show is what I would call a HYPER Japanese anime, with shockingly fast pacing, tons of barely comprehensible cultural references and quite a bit of near-nudity. Closest I can describe it is a modern version of Those Obnoxious Aliens. If you want a short single-episode intro to the series, I HIGHLY recommend Episode 4: “Dawn of a Miserable Morning” which is both totally insane and more of a ‘single serving’ story that only has a bit to do with the overall plot of the show (which is also insane).

Anyway, this is something to watch! Arc System Works has made many of the best 2D fighters ever, and this should not disappoint.

Firepro Wrestling World coming to steam!

One of my favorite games for the Sega Saturn was Fire Pro Six Man Scramble.  I bought six controllers for the console just to force people that came to the kung fu house (usually not to play video games, but to get loaded and go out and have a place to crash within walking distance of various drinking and dance establishments) to play it over and over.  Firepro was made by a video game school in Japan originally and has continued on from there.

While 2D and cartoonish, the game is extremely technical to play with vary harsh timing on the grabs and throws.  In addition to the wrestling, you can not only create wrestlers, leagues, tournaments and stuff but you can program wrestlers AI as well. The depth of the customization is simply madness. This has screamed to be a PC game for a LOOONG time now, and here it is (in early access).

Also, this version has EIGHT-man battle royales, so dude, yeah.

Saints Row how I missed you

SR4 last year suddenly stopped working on PC (my PC anyway) after a patch and after looking up stuff on the interweb tubes, there was no fix forthcoming so I uninstalled WITHOUT finishing the game.  This is sacrilege of the highest order.  After uninstalling both Total War Attila and Planetary Annihilation (review forthcumming), I have space on my SSD for SR4 again, and am back on that motherfucker for real this time.  The number of costume packs for about 2$ has exploded and the full-size expansion GAT OUT OF HELL which likely reveals the return of Johnny Gat who died in SR2, is waiting pedestrian abuse.

If you have this and want to go MULTI, let me know you mraakers.

sr4yeah

 

Guilty Gear XRD

From E3. This is not hand drawn. These are 3d Models. We have entered an era where the 3D 2D fighters look as good as the hand drawn ones. Just look at these guys! Some chick disgorged from the bowel of some monster and a kid that fights from a hospital bed robot. All I can say is holy shit.


Millia Rage Vs Ky.