Thursday, June 7, 2012

You must unlearn what you have learned

Ah, that new fighting game smell.

Well, at least new to me, and not exactly new. I had a cup of coffee with Virtua Fighter 4 on the PS2 years ago, enjoyed Kumite mode, the usual deal. Since then I had not touched it, but my hands remember just enough Sarah to...

Who am I kidding, I won two matches in ranked last night out of twenty or so. The difference between this and, say, Mahvel, is that I know exactly why I lost. While playing Street Fighter my default position is down back, both because I play charge characters and because it is relatively safe. Most characters don't have fast overheads, and if they do most of them don't combo into anything. It is a relatively safe defensive position (for my ability) that keeps all my offensive options open. In Virtua Fighter down back is not safe. Yes, it avoids throws, but since there really aren't overheads, just mid attacks that need to be blocked standing that everyone has several of, sitting there waiting is just sitting there waiting to lose. Not to mention holding back to block is superfluous and just my hands playing the wrong game.

It is also very difficult to see what is safe and what is not safe, both for my character and my opponent. Over and over again last night I found myself lashing out at something that looked unsafe only to either whiff or have my attack blocked, followed by eating a punish for the trouble. I don't need match up knowledge, I just need to understand the game engine first. This will take time.

It's a good thing that, in spite of the copious ass kickings, I had fun. I played a series of player matches against a few PA people who had slightly (read, a lot) more experience than I who coached me through what to improve. Crouching jab is the go to 'oh shit, get them off of me' move, something that I can file under 'crouch teching' in my brain as a move to use but not abuse. If I am going to continue to use Sarah, and I am, I need to learn more of her kick mix ups and not rely on her juggles and elbow - knee attacks for damage. She has an interesting feint that I think is good, I just do not know how to use it yet. Characters in Virtua Fighter have a paralyzing number of moves to choose from. I went through all her attacks in the tutorial and forgot most of them by the time I got online. Just have to do it again tomorrow.

Tonight it is back to the Game of Thrones. Somehow a three button fighting game did a number on my hands that will require an extra day to recover from.