Monday, February 1, 2016

Lessons learned

I learned a little but about myself while playing online during the final Street Fighter V beta on Friday and Saturday. It was not entirely pleasant.

The game was fine, if a bit frustrating due to there not being a character that I am really drawn to. Charge moves are being phased out so I no longer have a default action to fall back on when I don't know what is going on.

Chamberlain's brain: What the hell was that!? What the fuck is happening?!

Chamberlain's hands: Down back, bitch! DOWN BACK!

Necalli has been and will remain my go to for the time being. He is essentially Honda with better normals, minus the hundred hand slap. He has fat hit confirm combos off of crush counters, some of which I can do and most of which I can't yet, but even his bread and butter standing HP, MK stomp, crouching MP, LP charge does pretty good damage and has a hard knock down. Street Fighter V, as a rule, places less stress on execution, and that goes double for Necalli.

The problem, my problem, is that the game is now all about imposing your will on the opponent whilst in his face, getting him to press a button at the wrong time, fishing for the crush counter with frame traps. While the execution barrier has been lowered the importance of each individual button and when they are pressed has not. It is a much more tense experience as consequences are steeper and come more quickly.

Translation: you need to play with confidence. You need to abuse the opponent's wake up with meaty normals until you are given a reason not to. So much of winning now is training your opponent to expect one thing and then doing another. For example, after a hard knock down I would throw out a meaty sweep, training them to block low. Once that pattern is set Necalli's mediocre overhead comes into play. When they started blocking high I would go back to low MK into LK stomp.

It worked because I made it work. At any point a wake up DP or critical art would have ruined my day but that never happened because the other player was scared or confused. On Friday I rattled off nine wins a row. Then I lost a close one. Then I got blown up. Then I didn't win again for the rest of the night.

This speaks well for the game, not so well for me. I could not fall back on shenanigans or auto piloted sonic boom lock down. My will was shot and I lost. Simple as that.

Street Fighter V, for now, is about force of will, not force of muscle memory. If you can intimidate an opponent sitting on a couch an undetermined number of miles away you will get more wins than someone who spends the round hoping to get that one opening to land that one combo that he can do in the practice room.

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