Monday, April 28, 2014

How to pass the time

Not much gaming wise to talk about. Deception IV finished up over the weekend. It has a difficult time conjuring up a final boss that did not break its own system. Instead it threw out on magician who was immune to almost everything and called it a game. There are four different endings and around one hundred 'missions' which are just single encounters with impossible conditions. I have had my fill and it was fun while lasted. These games only come around once every few years, which is probably a good thing.

This left me with a lot of extra time to fill. I played about six different XBLA demos, none of which ended up being worth purchasing. The new Trials game came the closest but I predict that it would drive me crazy much too quickly to be worth $20. I tried to play more Mercenary Kings. It is a game that I want to like, but it just isn't going to happen. Every moment the game is on it makes me want to play Metal Slug 3.

So it was Killer Instinct followed by more Killer Instinct. Interest in the game has remained high which equals lots of different people to play against. Some of them good, some of the terrible, most of the hovering right around the same level as me. The ranking system actually does a very good job of matching you up with people of like ability. I hover between 9 and 11 (out of 40, I am not very good) and anyone I play in that range provides a good match. Too much below and I crush them and too much above and I am the one who is crushed.

Skill tiers have always been a thing in fighting games. As Killer Instinct has aged they have become more and more pronounced as there is technology known to but a few that renders everything before them obsolete. Beginners stick with opener - auto double - ender, never break, counter break at the wrong time, and in general are just flailing around. The mediocre, which would be be, are smart enough to vary their auto doubles but still don't use many manuals, know which enders to use, break sometimes and successfully counter break about half the time.

The truly skillful don't use auto doubles until the opponent is locked out, break everything, counter all your shit and then drink your goddamn milk shake. This makes skill gap games ugly. Really ugly. I got hit with a perfect last night. It was, to put it lightly, demoralizing. I fought a rank 30ish Sadira and no idea what the hell was going on. That bastard was never on the ground long enough for me to land a hit.

I do have one super secret weapon that was on display in the video I posted last week (correction: it was not, I will try to find an example). Thunder's throw shadow ender puts opponents into a juggle state. From there I can tag on three or four more hits for minimal damage. These hits can be broken, but this also means they can be counter broken. He is how it works: I always go for the extra hits the first time I land that specific ender, even if it after the end of a round and the hits do nothing more than give the other guy meter. If he bites and breaks it, which they do about 50% of the time, it's on.

The next time I land that combo I will drop a counter breaker in after the first juggle hit. When it works, and it usually does, the resulting combo tops out around seventy five to eighty percent damage.

It. Is. Delicious.

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