Tag Archives: fighting games

The Life Of Street Fighter

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Street Fighter V is out now, but I also let the 25th anniversary of Street Fighter II slip by me. There’s not really much I can talk about concerning SFII though other than my own first experiences with the game (and fighting games in general). Continue reading

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I Wish More Publishers Let You Buy DRM-Free ROMs.

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This week SNK Playmore just launched what some might consider the greatest Humble Bundle of all time: around 20 DRM-free NeoGeo games, but what’s underneath that nearly touches on a kind of digital distribution I’ve wanted to see someone attempt for a while. I think we’re a long way from actually seeing a publisher deliberately do it, but there are places where we can already effectively make it happen. Continue reading

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What Is Happening To Portable Fighting Games

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The current fighting game climate and a sale have me trying to do something I thought I’d never do: play fighting games on a mobile device.

It’s just about over as of this writing, but SNK is having a pretty good sale for its iOS games so I decided to grab a couple: The King of Fighters-i 2012 so I could maybe have a good mobile practice tool for King of Fighters XIII, and Garou: Mark of the Wolves because for some reason the mobile version is the only port that exists in the west outside the Dreamcast and Xbox 360. People keep telling me how accurate the mobile ports of so many of these old console and arcade games are, including Soul Calibur, but I still can’t understand people speaking so highly of touchscreen controls. Continue reading

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Fighting Game Season 2015 And The Path For Newbies

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The Evolution tournament this year seems to have turned late July every year into that period when more people than usual start talking about fighting games. It’s kind of like soccer for Americans whenever the world cup comes around. I imagine it’s also the season when a lot of people start talking about how they want to start playing fighting games before giving up a month later.

Capcom even seems to be helping some people along by putting Ultra Street Fighter IV on a free weekend on Steam along with a $10 sale. Sony’s having a fighting game sale on PSN too. If you are one of those people who might get caught up in the net this year I think I can lay out what I’ve found to be a nice path to fighting game literacy. Maybe not competitive-level playing, but just literacy. Continue reading

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Plausible HD Remasters and PC Ports I’d Want From Namco

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A little under a month ago I covered a list of PC ports I’d like to see from Capcom that I thought actually had a chance of happening. I might end up just going down through all the major Japanese publishers on this subject. Right now it’s Namco’s turn.

With Namco however I won’t just talk about PC ports. Namco’s actually released a few games on Steam already. What we haven’t seen much of from Namco are HD remasters of any sort. They’ve released the first couple Soul Calibur games and Tekken Tag Tournament in HD on PS3 and 360, and that’s it, along with a PS3 version of Tales of Symphonia (oh, and Tales of Graces f if you count that). I don’t know if Tales is any indication of Namco moving forward with these plans — Namco did indicate HD releases of the Xenosaga games are possible, but there’s still a lot from them that I’d love to play in updated forms. Continue reading

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Are Fighting Game Singleplayer Modes Evolving?

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One thing I’m starting to observe change in fighting games with the genre’s renaissance since 2008 is the way they handle singleplayer content. It’s always been a secondary thing for fighters but I’m glad to see more exploring what they can do with it. Continue reading

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Fighting Game Season

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Last year was the first time I actually watched the Evolution fighting game tournament stream live. This weekend will be my first time after having acquired hardware that can easily run twitch on my television (Microsoft’s recent Xbox Live policy changes notwithstanding). For that and other reasons I’m taking this opportunity to dip back into fighting games for a bit.

For a while now I’ve kind of wrestled with the time commitment fighters, like other competitive games, require. I can be pretty decent at Soul Calibur depending on how much practice I’ve had. I can understand what goes on in Street Fighter because that game has been part of my lexicon since I was seven years old. With everything else at tournaments though, I’m probably dozens or hundreds of gameplay hours away from really being able to play. It’s not quite as steep as the DOTA 2 learning curve but it feels similar.

It’s really a testament to the sheer saturation of competitive games in today’s market when even one genre has an overwhelming amount of games to take in. The oversaturation of online shooters is common knowledge, people are starting to talk about how the MOBA bandwagon has filled up, and I’ve definitely written here before about how there are too many fighting games today. Out of all those, fighters feel the most personal to me, and the surprising part is the genre just keeps growing.

I would’ve spent more of this past week finally getting around to trying Ultra Street Fighter IV before Evo, but ArmA III put a serious hole in those plans. I also find myself drawn to King of Fighters XIII even though I have the barest minimum of experience with SNK fighting games. Perhaps it’s how straightforward the game feels combined with its appealing character designs, but having to skillfully use three characters in any given fight is a deterrent for me. I gave up on Marvel vs Capcom pretty early. That game just feels way too hectic. I choose not to mess with competitive Smash Bros. The only game at the indie showcase I’m really interested in this year is Yatagarasu.

Perhaps next year I’ll start watching all the tournaments leading up to Evo, but I’m not at the point yet where I actually start following major players.

Another reason I start practicing fighting games in late summer is Otakon usually happens near Evo, and though it’s an anime convention it hosts a fighting game area every year. I don’t ever expect to do extremely well, but I at least like to be in practice when I show up. That probably means some Soul Calibur V practice is in order since that’s the one game in which I’ve done relatively well at gatherings.

The hard part I guess is sticking with fighting games year-round when I’m trying to play so many other games. I like to think I have a more eclectic mix of video game preferences compared to most people (I’m talking about tactical shooters one post and fighting games the next) and that it allots me less time for more games. That wasn’t a problem when I was younger and had access to fewer games — Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Soul Calibur used to be staples of my free time. Maybe if the Soul Calibur scene was more visible I’d still play that game more. Maybe the scene is there and I should actually follow it. In any case, this is just one genre in the massive pool of multiplayer games I seem to dart between. I did after all just spend two posts trying to convince people to try out an online shooter.

BULLETS:

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15 Years Of 3rd Strike

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If you’ve been keeping up with the 2014 gaming anniversaries list I posted in January, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike just turned 15 counting from the original Japanese arcade release (the console release wasn’t until a year later). 15 years later it’s still arguably the best 2D fighting game on the market.

Even in the midst of our modern fighting game rebirth with new games BlazBlue, King of Fighters XIII, Persona 4 Arena, and quite a few PC games, when 3rd Strike Online came out I went straight back to it over Street Fighter IV and all the aforementioned games. It’s almost like the Counter-Strike of 2D fighters — a bunch of people still prefer it despite everything else that’s come out in the genre over the last 15 years.

I think the most telling sign for me of the lasting quality in 3S is that I’m actually not very good at it and I still enjoy it more than any other 2D fighter.

Despite the fact that I’ve never even tried to play 3S competitively (except against my brother, usually losing to his Ken) and have never pulled off a deliberate parry — one of the game’s defining mechanics, I still find 3S’s controls, characters, moves, and presentation the best in the series to engage. It’s one of those games that just feels good to play.

Even though I’m not the best Yun player in the world, he’s still my main because his move set is the most enjoyable to me. I could probably do much better with Ryu or Elena, but with Yun I feel like I have to try harder which just draws me deeper into 3S’s mechanics. I say this as even the game’s CPU is a handful for me most of the time.

Part of the reason 3S (and by extension the SFIII series) retains its position is probably because Capcom retreated from the direction it took with that game since it didn’t reach casual SF players. SFIV is one big reminder of Street Fighter II (adding characters from III over time), and other fighters have gone in their own directions. That’s how 3S managed to stand out when re-released on PS3 and Xbox 360. The only modern fighter I think even remotely resembles 3S is Yatagarasu.

I’d talk about 3S’s presentation, but I feel like enough has already been said elsewhere about Hideki Okugawa’s score, Infinite’s lyrics, and Kinu Nishimura’s character designs. They all give SFIII a flavor that remains unique in the franchise and probably the genre too.

To still be regularly played after 15 years, 3S strikes me as the kind of game a lot of people will still be playing years and years into the future.

BULLETS:

  • Get well soon Mooney. http://t.co/tcLCBoUReC
  • “How To Win Dynasty Warriors on Steam.” http://t.co/zUVPR5SFTN It’s really not a lot more complicated than that.
  • More stuff just keeps pullin’ me back into ArmA II. http://t.co/W7VOh2w2IW
  • I saw My Neighbor Totoro for the first time. I was surprised at how small the story is. Like Ponyo there’s not a great deal of conflict. It’s mostly everyday life and gradual character development with cinematography most Americans would say is too good for a children’s movie.
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How The Smash Bros. Release Dates Illustrate Nintendo’s Current Problems

Overall the Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct this week brought a lot of hype, but the big takeaway for most people was likely the heavily staggered release dates of the 3DS and Wii U versions. Once again the 3DS seems like it’s possibly cannibalizing the Wii U.

In my opinion, if Nintendo really can get the 3DS version out before September then I’d really like to have my portable Smash as soon as possible. Nintendo and Namco are probably trying like hell to get the Wii U version out this year but I guess it can’t be helped. It’s just another sign of how difficult HD console development has been for Nintendo.

For people watching the market the big fear is that people won’t see the need for the Wii U version when it finally comes out, having been playing the 3DS version for months. I guess that depends on how much unique content the Wii U version has, but back when we believed they’d be launching simultaneously I was already considering just getting the 3DS version. The Wii U really needs unique software to sell it, and almost all Nintendo’s serving up right now is sequels or enhanced versions of 3DS games.

Right now though the 3DS doesn’t have an extremely robust lineup for 2014 either. Getting Smash out in the summer is sure to bolster it, but between now and then the system has maybe five notable games coming out. That’s a stark contrast from last year’s avalanche, but at E3 Nintendo will likely continue its policy of announcing games for it that’ll be out before the end of the year. Let’s just hope they can manage the same for Wii U.

The situation with Smash is actually a bit ironic for me. I’ve wanted a handheld Smash game for a long time, but now that we’re getting one in a few months I’ve started to ask myself “Do I need the console version in this case?” Nintendo’s robust handheld software libraries have never posed a threat to its console lineup till now because this is the first time the two platforms have been able to run roughly the same kinds of games. Maybe the issue is Nintendo hasn’t been making enough games with gameplay only possible on powerful hardware. Maybe we’re reaching a point where handheld and console need to converge.

This is likely the reasoning behind Nintendo’s merging its handheld and console hardware divisions in early 2012. Two future platforms with similar architecture would be a great way for Nintendo to solve this problem.

BULLETS:

  • Original DS games hold up surprisingly well at high resolutions. http://t.co/cI1moCKHjr
  • Stunned at Ultimate Warrior’s passing. RIP.
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Is Capcom Becoming Conservative With Fighting Games Again?

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Capcom’s recent comments on when we can expect the next major upgrade in Street Fighter have led me to start thinking the company might be crawling back into its shell in regards to fighting games. If that’s true (I’m really only basing this on feelings), then I wonder what it spells for fighting games going into next gen. Could we see a repeat of the PS2 era?

“It took six years to go from Street Fighter II to Street Fighter III, and nine years to go from Street Fighter III to Street Fighter IV. Purely based on that it would probably take us until the year 2018 before Street Fighter V comes out,” said producer Tomoaki Ayano. The reason it took almost a decade for another Street Fighter to come out though is because Capcom had basically given up on the franchise.

We’ve had a bit of an explosion of fighting games this past console generation, but we also need to remember that the genre on consoles was shrinking during the PS2 era in terms of popularity. It got to the point where at the beginning of this console generation games like Virtua Fighter had little hope of success outside of Japanese arcades. According to a profile Eurogamer did last year on SFIV producer Yoshinori Ono, Capcom didn’t believe another Street Fighter would garner a good return of investment in this climate.

Ono apparently had to lobby Capcom for years to get SFIV greenlit. “The company kept telling me: ‘It’s a dead franchise. It doesn’t make any money,’” he said. Is it possible he might have to do that again after Ultra Street Fighter IV?

It’s possible that the market for fighting games on PS3 and Xbox 360 actually got oversaturated. I know I probably have too many fighters on my PS3 to devote adequate time to — I’ve had an unplayed copy of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown sitting on my hard drive for weeks. Capcom did well to release new Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom games, but Street Fighter x Tekken fell short of Capcom’s projections, and they’ve blamed it on market cannibalism. Then you’ve got all the digital re-releases of older fighting games, culminating in the disappointing sales of the Darkstalkers re-release. I wouldn’t be surprised if Capcom decided to ease up on fighters for a while. It’ll be a problem though if this blunts the popularity of that genre going into next-gen.

Capcom is more or less the center of the Fighting Game Community — by that I mean the community that encircles events like Evo or places like Shoryuken.com. Sure a bunch of other games from other companies were at Evo 2013, but Marvel and SFIV were far and away the main events. The recent fighter renaissance arguably started with SFIV’s release in 2008.

As niche as fighters seemed during the PS2 era, pretty much every major fighter developer released multiple new games back then… except Capcom. You had new games from Namco, Sega, SNK, Midway, and Arc System Works, but basically nothing original from Capcom (unless you wanna count Street Fighter EX 3). During the preceding PSX and Dremacast days Capcom liberally released console ports of their latest arcade games like Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel vs Capcom, and Capcom vs SNK. During the PS2 era all they put out were re-releases of older fighters.

Is it a stretch to say Capcom’s investment in fighting games has an effect on the popularity of the genre as a whole?

I think it’s reasonable to expect the other developers to release new entries in their franchises on PS4 and Xbox One. Of course you’ve got Killer Instinct right out of the gate, and I think someone involved with Mortal Kombat let slip plans for a new game. We don’t know what platforms Guilty Gear Xrd is coming out on.

Now I’m not expecting SFV next year or anything like that. It’d be nice though if I could be confident Capcom was already making plans for the game on next-gen hardware. 2015 or 2016 would be nice in my opinion, but 2018 to me sounds like Capcom’s thinking of taking a rest on fighters — one of the company’s main strengths.

BULLETS:

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