Dead Or Alive 5: Ultimate Sale [AGAIN!]

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Well, if you missed out on the sale last month, I have news for you.  No, the characters are not back on sale – however, select costumes are!  Yeah, I know… not exciting…

But, also, Kokoro is being offered for free, much like Mila was last month.

For some odd reason, I do not see this being mentioned anywhere on the official Playstation blog.  However, you can take a look at things in the actual store, here. Or, click the banner above to go straight to Kokoro’s page.

Of course, as with every week, there is a sale going each week in the Playstation Store.  Check out the official blog here.

Finally, please be sure to check out my other posts.  There may be something of interest there.

How To Get Your Start In Fighting Games?

Tekken 7 has been announced.  There wasn’t any major details about the game, so I didn’t bother to make a blog on the subject.  Nothing has been confirmed, so just play it safe, and expect Yoshimitsu, Heihachi, Nina, and Paul, since they’re the only four characters to appear in every Tekken game.  Kazuya will no doubt come back too, if the trailer is any indication.

However, I suspect that this will be Heihachi’s last game (Until Tekken Tag Tournament 3), as he’s getting older and the trailer references Tekken 7 as being the last battle.  I assume this isn’t to the series, but to Heihachi and Kazuya’s ongoing feud.

I think Kazuya may throw Heihachi into an active volcano, since they seem to like throwing each other down cliffs and what-not

Anyway, there’s people out there who haven’t played Tekken in a while.  Perhaps not since Tekken 2, or 3.  But, you’re looking to get started?

First thing you want to keep in mind: Lose, Lose, Lose!

No, not your enemy, you.  You should be the one losing.  If you’re playing on settings that are too easy, you’re going to become very frustrated when you play against a human.  Why?

No matter what level you’re playing on, the AI, or, Artificial Intelligence, is designed to lose.  It doesn’t matter if you’re playing on maximum difficulty settings, it is meant to be defeated.

That’s not quite how things go when you play a human opponent.  So, tactics, or strategies that work on AI opponents wont always work on humans.

You know you have to lose.  But, how do you turn yourself into a winner?  Here are five simple steps to show you how to get your start.

1. Know your character.

Go into command training, and learn every attack your character has.  This will be useful.  If someone else is using the same character you are, you will be able to mimic strategies if you can take notice of the attacks being done.

In Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, for example, I’ve learned almost all of Mila’s attacks, so when I see other people using her on youtube, I can go from what I was doing here to this, eventually.

But, if I don’t know what I’m looking at, it wont help me at all.

2. Know your opponent.

Now that you know all of the attacks your character can do, you now have to learn all the other characters attacks too.  Although, the key thing here is that you don’t have to worry about the inputs.  You only have to get used to seeing the attacks.

This will help your defense, because you’ll learn to notice what is coming.

3.  Learn to react

Learn how to react to what is coming.  Each attack has a start-up animation and a recovery animation.  Each attack also has a hittable range.  Learn how to position yourself outside of the range of your enemies, or learn how to defend against the attacks.  How?

4. Basic properties of 3D Fighters.

Some attacks miss crouching enemies.  These attacks are called high attacks.  They only hit standing enemies and can always be crouched. Some attacks hit both crouching and standing opponents.  These are called Medium attacks.  Finally, are low attacks, which also hit crouching and standing.

High attacks can only be guarded against while standing, (but should be crouched under anyway.)

Medium attacks can only be guarded against while standing.  They are not blockable if you are crouching.

Low attacks can only be guarded against while crouching.  They are not blockable if you are standing.

5.  Making sense of those properties.

So, you’re thinking to yourself, high attacks… Bad.  Medium attacks… good…  You’re missing the point.

High attacks, because they can be crouched under, are generally faster than medium attacks.  This is usually in both start-up and recover frames of the animation.  There’s no point in high attacks if they are so slow, you can see them coming 10 minutes ahead of time, unless they have some other trait, such as dealing a lot of damage, or being an unblockable attack.

However, if you manage to hit your enemy with an attack like that, chances are high that they’re confused mentally or don’t know what to do.  That can be used to your advantage in terms of mind games and mental conditioning.  They are at your mercy.

That’s all for now.  If you’re looking for further help ahead of Tekken 7, Mortal Kombat X, or whatever else, check out my previous posts.

 

 

What’s So Special About Fighting Anyway?

Yeah, right.  I get it.  Fighting games.  What exactly is so fun about punching the other guy in the face, back & fourth, if that’s all you do?

Well, I thought it would be nice to go into detail about why I enjoy fighters as opposed to other types of games.

It’s not about being locked facing you opponent with no ability to free-roam, nor is it about just mindlessly clobbering your enemy until the next fight begins.

What exactly makes them different?

Just to make it clear, I like all types of games.

[rant ahead]  Except the sports and shooters we get year after year, in the form of Call of Duty, Live, Madden and soon I’ll be adding Assassin’s Creed to the list, since quite frankly, I gave the series TWO chances with Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation on Playstation Vita, and Assassin’s Creed III on PS3.  Both of those games failed me miserably.  I completed ACIII.  DLC included.  Not happy.  Couldn’t be bothered to finish the Vita game.  Both games were so severely buggy that I couldn’t even bare to pay attention to the actual story.  Just follow the yellow dot on the map.  That’s what I did the entire game.   I’m aware the games aren’t made by the same studio each year, but I was just too disappointed to ever try another Assassin’s Creed game again.  I even have pictures showing myself on the opposite side of an impassable wall, which I somehow managed to push myself through, and then I swam into nothingness until my game froze.  Because guess what.  I got so lost, and so bored that I just didn’t care anymore.

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[rant over]

As I was saying, I like all types of games.  Fighting, third person shooters, action/adventure, platforming , role playing games and even puzzle games sometimes.  But, still, fighting games I like most.

Third person shooters, like Uncharted 3, I enjoyed playing online, I’ve always like Megaman games and more-recently, (over a year ago) I enjoyed Resident Evil 2.  Perfect game for my PS Vita.  I say recently, because growing up, that game scared me too much to play for more than 10 minutes at a time.

But again, why are fighting games so different?  Multiplayer, and things I learn in fighting games, are not restricted to my console or my save data.  Unlike RPGs.  No matter what you do, if your data is deleted, your character is at level 1.  It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, you simply can’t pass certain areas unless your character is of a certain level, because you need equips, special attacks, higher ranges of HP and MP and so on…

But, in a fighting game, no matter what, on default settings, no matter if you’re using your save data, or your friends, your HP, or hit points wont change.  Your characters stats in most cases also shouldn’t change.  And, that’s part of the answer.  Fighting games have mostly done away with locking characters, although now, a trend seems to be that you can’t beat arcade mode to unlock character, you have to outright spend additional money to unlock characters, so I guess that statement isn’t exactly true.  “Street Fighter X Tekken” being the number 1 offender of that.  Literally locking away half of the games characters behind a pay wall.  Needless to say, that isn’t a game I remotely like, despite having my number one favorite Tekken and Street Fighter characters.

The next thing is, well…  Numbers, put simply.

Fighting games are very strict with numbers.  They cannot have any sort of lag as it directly effects the gameplay.  This isn’t true with shooters, third person or first.  So, you can have 10-16 players firing at each other in the same map.  They don’t have large movelists and usually have universal animations for shooting, reloading, etc.

Fighting games on the other hand, eat up system resources with their many different animations, attacks, attack properties sound effects, voice, etc.  Then, they also all, except one fighting game, which I do not play, run at 60 frames per second.  Action/adventure, and shooters?  Run at 30.

What this also means is that your console must be able to run the game at a speed far greater than 60 frames per second.  They’re computers, and sometimes, your data load will be heavier at specific times.  But, if the console is able to run the game at 75 frames without problems, and 62 frames when things get hectic, that means it will have no problem running everything at a locked 60 frames per second.

HDTVs.  They lag.  Standard def TVs?  They buzz but they don’t lag.  This particularly is true for older HDTVs.  I’m not quite on the same level as my friends.  I’m only better than perhaps two or three, and all the rest are better than me.  Not leagues and miles ahead, but still better, and they complain about lag during local play, but quite honestly, I don’t notice anything.  Maybe because I’ve been off SD for too long.

Why do they comeplain?  All attacks in fighting games are timed based around frames from their start up to their recovery.  A frame is a single still on your TV, and your TV flashes 60 frames at you each second to stimulate movement.  So, keeping in mind the game is running at 60 FPS (frames per second) if you have an attack that has a 10 frame start-up, it means that attack takes 1/6th of a second before it’s actively able to hit an opponent.  What this means is that if you are hit within those 10 start-up frames, your attack will be countered.

But, c’mon.  Lets be reasonable.  You cannot see and react to something coming at you at 10 frames, and then, even if you could, say react by the 3rd frame, which is impossible, mind you, your character must attack with a move that has at least a six frame start up, which in almost all cases,  will not have anything faster than eight or nine, depending on the game. If it has a seven frame start up, and you try to use that, you two will end up trading hits with each other because the attacks becomes active at the same time, unless one attack has a higher priority than the other, in which,  that attack will always win and there will be no trade.

And, this is where it gets fun.  No, you can’t see it coming, but, you can react to it.  How?  Predicting your enemy, or putting them in a situation to where they think it’s a good idea.

With a move-list, for example of 80 different attacks, how exactly do you predict what your enemy is going to do?

First, keep in mind, that some attacks are so slow, and have such a long start up, it make no logical sense to do them up close, unless your enemy is doing an attack with long start-up themselves.  But, if they’re being that foolish, you’ll have better options anyway.

Also, you want to keep in mind too that some attacks can only be done while crouching, or some attacks can only be done mid-air (2D games mostly) and some can only be done while rising from a crouch (Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Soul Calibur) while other attacks can only be done while side-stepping (3D games only).

So, by keeping in mind that each attack has it’s use, and using an attack improperly will set you up for failure, you don’t actually have to worry about the entire move-list of your enemy.  Just the attacks he or she is most probably going to do.

What you then do is, while you’re fighting, study your enemy and keep in mind, they are studying you.

Me and my friends, we play Tekken Tag 2.  Four players.  Now, there’s only two fighters actively fighting for a majority of the match.  That means one enemy I’m fighting, and the other is watching and waiting to come in.  So, because I know I’m being watched, I will use two different strategies.  If for example, I’m trying to mix things up, and using a specific pattern, if the pattern has a punch that can be side-stepped, I’m going to use that on the person that doesn’t side-step, and for the person that does, I will instead trade out that punch for a kick that tracks side-stepping enemies.

And, for some strange reason, it works every time.  Eventually, one would think, “Yeah, he’s doing that now, but when he tries it on me, he’s going to kick.”  Hasn’t happened yet, so I keep doing it.

Some strategies work on beginners, others work on good players or not.  And anyone Adept in fighting games will tell you to throw out any tactics that only work on beginners.  They’re useless and can lead to bad habit and will leave you confused.  Some strategies only work on the computer controlled enemies, while never working on even beginners too, just something to keep in mind.

Just what the hell am I talking about anyway?  I’m all over the place.

To sum things up.

1. Attacks in fighting games are based around frames, and individual properties.  Some attacks could be completely invincible on start up, which means they cannot be interrupted until they become active.  They may do double damage depending on your characters current action, and so on.

2. you have to study your enemy while you are fighting, unless you’re playing the same person over and over.  Now, this may or may not be a good thing.  If you’re playing against someone that is particularly bad, and tries to use bad strategies, you’re going to feel like that character you’re fighting against has somehow become a different, much better character than you’re used to, because someone who knows how to use them properly wont use any bad strategies.

I use Feng Wei as one of my four characters I use in Tekken.  Not my most favorite character, but he’s my best.  My friends and I play against one another frequently, and one of them went to a tournament two weeks ago.  And, in this tournament, he fought Feng Wei.  My friend is used to fighting against Feng Wei, and the one he fought in the tournament used some of the exact same strategies I did.

Now,  my friend analyzes the flaws in our strategies after we’ve all left.  This is why playing against beginners is so much different than playing skilled players.  You think one thing is coming, but a skilled player pulls out something different that stops your counter strategy dead in it’s tracks.

However, that isn’t what happened.  The guy at the tournament used the same strategy I did.  My friend was ready for it and punished him for it.  Sometimes, you only get one or two chances to try specific strategies in fighting games.  It’s a really bad feeling when someone puts up an iron wall over one of your strategies.  You have to do something different.  Something Smart.  Something effective.  And, if all you had was that one strategy for that particular situation, and you know it’s not going to work…  You’re going to freeze up.  You can try something anyway, pray it works, and improvise if you’re skilled enough too.

Freezing up, however is a bad thing.  It’s showing your enemy you don’t know what you should be doing.  So, then, your enemy can more-easily condition you to do what he wants you to do.  That gets really bad because now, you’ll start getting baited.  You take the bait, and throw out your 10 frame punch, which your enemy wanted you to do.

It’s going to go down hill from there….

But, just keep in mind, you don’t have to be still and confused for someone to try to bait you.   Most of the time, it’s to get a feel for how you play, and see how you react in relation to their actions.

I’ve lost every tournament I’ve ever entered, personally.  I’ve switched from characters I was winning with to characters I had no idea how to use, because they were new (Can’t in a million years tell you why I did that.)  Completely forgo strategies because I don’t know how they would specifically work on the enemy, and so on.

You have to be used to tournament situations, and that, I am not… I do stupid stuff that I normally wouldn’t.

But, hopefully, this has left some understanding.

Fighting games are about numbers, building a strategy based around your attacks, which each have specific, proper uses, and doing it in such a way that bests your opposition through the use of mind games, and deceiving their perception and expectation.

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (A Very Late Review)

Opening:

Me and my friends, we like fighting games.  Generally, during the weekends which we’re free, we get together and battle.  We all have our general game or games which we’re significantly more experienced than the others.  For me, that is limited to Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 & 2.  Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 left a very bad impression on me.

Anyway, for us, when we fight, it’s not a mindless button mash, or continually trying to set up that single combo we know that does the most damage.   Anyone who plays fighting games know that after trying the same set-up, continuously, is only going to hurt your offense and make you mind-numbingly repetitive.

When we fight, we’re trying to condition each other to do what we want.  Making your opponent guess and react incorrectly is the only way to win, unless you’re using a character with seriously unfair advantages.  Though, thankfully, most fighting games don’t have single characters that can annihilate anyone with no real effort.

As I said before, friends and I, we play fighters.  We enjoy them for the most part and even if we don’t we still participate most of the time.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate is my first Dead or Alive game I’ve ever owned, or played and it turned out to be a fantastic game, and I promise it’s because of the gameplay and not the certain visuals the game provides on its female cast of characters.

Controls:

The game features simple controls.  Punch, Kick, and Hold (Guard) much like Virtua Fighter.  There is also a throw button, but pressing punch and hold simultaneously registers as a throw, so it’s not required.

You may also, if you choose, hold back to block.

It, like any other 3D fighter is played using mostly close ranged combat with almost every character having a different fighting style.  3D fighters don’t have the vast array of lasers and projectiles and fireballs etc. that 2D games have.  So, your goal isn’t to control space or attack from long range, but to stay in your opponent’s face (generally) and keep them guessing.

Defensive Playstyle:

The unique thing with Dead or Alive, that makes it different from Virtua Fighter is that every character has universal counters (universal as in the command for the basic counters are the same from character to character).  So, if you’re predictable, you -will- get countered.

I honestly have bad habits.  When I fall on the ground, the first thing I do when I get up is kick.  I get countered for it, so what do I do next?  Sweep kick.  If one kick doesn’t work, do a different one, right?  Not if the other person predicts that’s what you’re going to do.

Counters in the game work like this:  You tap a direction and the guard button at the same time.  Forward for kicks.  Backward for punches.  Moreover, you press down-back for low punches, and down-forward for low-kicks and up-back for high jabs.

What this means is that there isn’t a single, simple option for countering attacks.  You have to actually know if there’s a punch or kick coming and rather or not it’s a high or low.  Countering incorrectly does leave you vulnerable, and if you are grabbed why in a counter animation, you will lose more health than normals.

It’s a very useful feature that forces you to play smart.  If you don’t know what’s coming, your best option is to guard.  However, like any fighting game, 99% of the time, you cannot guard against grabs or throws.

Another big difference from Virtua Fighter, (Keep in mind, I haven’t played Final Showdown for several months) I think you’re able to break grabs while you’re guarding.

However, in Dead or Alive 5, you cannot break a grab at all if your finger is on the guard button.  And, furthermore, unlike Tekken, you cannot use side-stepping to evade guards.  Your options are either to break the grab, or crouch under them.  Or, remain standing if it’s a crouch grab.

Of course, with me being late to DoA5, I’m going to have a rough time getting wins.  Over the weekend, me and a friend play around 35 matched, in which I only won a single three-round match.

But, it isn’t all about winning.  I like how intricate the game’s defensive options are.  It makes you think and if you mess up, you’re going to lose.

Offensive Play:

Moving over onto the offensive play style, it’s more or less like any 3D fighter, although timings on certain things like tapping grab at the same time your attack connects is a lot less strict than virtua fighter.  In fact, virtua fighter is not lenient at all when it comes to pressing things at the same time.  If you have to press grab at the same time of your kick lands, you have to do it at what seems to be the exact same time. So, if your kick has a 12 frame-start up, that’s all the time you have to press the throw button.

For me, I just avoid moves like that.  It takes around 20 tries for me to get it right, and there is no way I’m going to have perfect timing while having to consider everything else that’s going on in a match

However, DoA being more lenient, there’s nothing so strict that I cannot feasibly do in a an actual match.  Being able to do something in practice mode isn’t the same as finding the appropriate time to use it in an active match, with your enemy being active and defensive.

Continuing on with offensiveness, the combo system is closer to that of Tekken, and not virtual fighter.  There are weight classes like in Virtua Fighter, but you can get launched 20 feet into the air too, just like Tekken.  With me being so new to DoA, I’m not sure if there are any other delicate things about the combo system, other than how fast you fall, depending on your weight class, which means lighter characters can me much more easily comboed.  Tekken, in particular pushes back the attacked enemy with each hit in a combo.  So, doing too many hits in a combo is a bad thing.

Dead or Alive also has things like stagger escaping.  What this means is that you can recover quickly from certain moves that leave you stunned.  An opponent that fails to stagger escape can be hit with extended combos that shouldn’t normally work against someone who’s adept at the game.

There’s also attacks that resemble super attacks, which can only be done at half health, which can lead to the opponent being further damaged by stage hazards.

But, to put things simply, there’s a lot this game has to offer in both offensive and offensive play.  I’m simply not going to be able to get too detailed with each feature the game has or else I’d never finish this review.

Features:

One of my biggest gripes about the game is the fact that you cannot lock your commands on screen.  Tekken, for example, allows you to lock any particular move from the command list on the screen so you can see it while trying to perform it correctly.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 allows you to scroll through the movelist while having it locked on screen, showing one item listed at a time, so you can scroll at your leasure.  The only way to see the attack on screen in DoA5U is to go to command training.  But, as soon as you perform the move, it automatically scrolls to the next move in the list.

It makes things much more tedious to learn.

However, it, unlike Tekken provides full attack details.  For every fighting game, 2D and 3D, each attack has special attributes.  Information about their start-up, recovery, etc needs to be known to be effective.

For example.  If your jab is 11 frames, and the person you’re fighting against has 9 frame jabs, you cannot jab faster than your enemy.  It is numerically impossible.  What this means is that you have to do something else.  Either a counter the jab, block it, or move out of the way.  Or, if it’s a high punch as most jabs are in 3D games, you can crouch under it.

The game also features neat little options such as saving replay data and has a story mode.  But, honestly, the story was so dull and forgettable, I’m not going to bother making that into it’s own section.

Overall:

Before I close, I know I’m leaving out a lot of things, but, there’s only so much I can cover. The game features a hefty amount of characters, and four of which are guest stars from Sega’s Virtua Fighter.  From what I can tell, their commands have been left the same, so it’s not too much trouble to adapt from Virtua Fighter to DoA if you use one of those four characters.

The game also features nice looking stages.  There isn’t a single one of them that struck me as being so boring.  Some even have stage hazards which includes being punched or kicked through walls and floors and continuing the fight in a different area.  There are no ring outs in this game, however.

Voice acting, from what I could tell, was in most cases pretty bad.  Virtua Fighter’s low quality voice recordings are obvious in this game, which makes me wonder why those characters didn’t just get new voice dubs for this game.

But, rather the voices are set to English, or Japanese, they are equally as bad.  Some worse in Japanese, while others worse in English.  It’s a mixed bag and unlike Street Fighter IV, or Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, you cannot mix and match.  All characters will either speak English, or Japanese, except the Virtua Fighter characters in the game, who will speak their usual tongue.

The game does also feature an online mode, however, I’ve not yet been able to take the game online as of yet and will not be reviewing that part of the game.

At the end of the day, the game looks and plays great.  It’s easy to pick up and play, and features controls that are pretty simple.  As a whole, the game is complicated to master, but that is expected.

As great as it is, the major problems I have with it are the ridiculous amounts of Paid Downloadable Content featured in the game.  Costumes, costumes, and more costumes.  Much of the female characters (well, all of them) feature several sets of bikinis, some of them covering more skin than others and it is a bit much to charge 2 dollars for one costume, of 15 for a set.  There’s no point in paying for some of these items.  They don’t effect the game play, and to me, it’s foolish to pay so much for the sake of having multiple different sets.

This is the reason i waited for this game to go on sale before I touched it.

Based on this, and the other negative aspects of the game, it’s final score:

8.0/10

Definitely worth the price, as long as you don’t go to crazy with the DLCs at various prices.   Even at $40.00.  However, you can pick the bare game up right now in PSN, during a limited time sale for about 23 bucks, as featured in a previous blog post.

I’ll leave you with a gameplay from the weekend that was uploaded today specifically for this review.  It’s honestly nothing special.  I tried to avoid combos since I don’t know any and relied solely on mind games and mixing up limbs and high and lows to keep myself from being countered.

 

Mortal Kombat X: Discussing Guarding in 2D Games

The plan was to do a post about the necessity of a block button in Mortal Kombat, and why it’s important.   And why some games, like Street Fighter, do not need and shouldn’t have a block button. (This post is going to get extremely detailed, so if you’re not into fighting games, you might not want to read this, unless you want to perhaps become better at them).  I was going to discuss the actual Mortal Kombat X game too, but, the post just got way too big for that.

But, there’s a camp of fighting game fans that wants to see a block button removed, in favor of the usual hold back to block.  And, it’s enough people for me to make a blog about it.

Let’s first look at why these people want a block button.

Cross-ups.  That’s the only reason.  Check this out.  Back is an ambiguous term.  It can mean press left, or press right to block.  A cross-up attack is an attack that hits from the same side you’re blocking.

What that means is, if your back is facing left, you press left to block, however, the attack you are trying to block is also coming from the left, which means you should be pressing right.  Cross-ups are supposed to be ambiguous.  They attack from behind with little time to react.

Here is an example of a cross up attack, which leads into a combo.

Here’s something.   A fighting game I don’t play.  However, it shows in detail of what I need.  A cross up.  Now, as Kyo is jumping over his training dummy clone, The hits are hitting him from the opposite side.  If the dummy is on the left, he should press backwards to block. However, a cross-up hits from the opposite side, which means you should block in the direction you appear to be facing.  So, press forward to block, not backwards, like you’re supposed to.

That is only true for cross-up attacks, and if you press the usual back to block during a cross-up attack you will be hit.   And, the reason I needed the video was to show how fast paced cross ups can be.  Different characters across different games may even be faster.  Some come out so fast that the only way to know it’s coming is if you were in the exact same situation before and got hit by the cross-up.  They can be so fast that you cannot react to them, and you wont know they’re coming unless the person you’re playing already succeeded in hitting you with it.  And, you just have to  predict it.

So, you see, it’s all about mind games.

But, a cross up is anything that happens so quickly, you, as a defensive player, don’t know which way to block.  As long as an attack hits you before you can figure out which direction is forward and backward, you have been crossed up.

There’s some characters fast enough to fly over your head, land, crouch and hit you with a low attack which must be blocked from a crouching position.  Furthermore, have the option of hitting you before they land, and attacks from the air must be blocked from a standing position.  Of course, I’m talking about Storm.  Here’s an example I conveniently found:

Now, it may be hard to tell, but, before the video starts, if you look at storm, and ignore her legs to avoid confusion, her torso is behind Cable.  Which means Cable is standing on the left, and Storm is on the right, they just aren’t facing each other.

But, at first glimpse, you’ll assume, if you’re Cable, press Right to block.  Well, you’ve just been hit by that meaty combo that took more than half your health.  Keep in mind attacks have push-back, so cable was on the Left, but after he got hit by that first punch, he was properly aligned with his attacker again.

And, of course, if Storm was a little more to the left, due to the jump being off distance, Cable would have been able to block by simply pressing Right like he’s obviously supposed to.  And, she could have just landed behind him and attacked low.

All this is to simply explain why cross-ups are effective, and how they work.  They can be fast enough to make people quit games entirely because of the difficulty of knowing rather to push LEFT, RIGHT, Down-Left, or Down-Right.  That’s four directions of which to block and you have extremely short notice to read whats going on.  Even if you see it with your eyes, you hand still has to go to the position and some people just cannot react that accurately while keeping their cool.

The thing about Mortal Kombat?  It completely eliminates that style of gameplay.  There is no such thing as a cross-up in Mortal Kombat.  It doesn’t matter where an attack hits (forward or behind), or how fast it is.  If you start pressing that block button, and hold it down, you are good, as long as you aren’t grabbed, and are properly blocking a high for a mid attack, and low for low. attack. (Crouch high attacks, don’t wast time blocking them, they go over your head if you’re crouching.)

All you have to worry about in Mortal Kombat is high and Low.   The following video shows why a back to block is bad for Mortal Kombat.  Scorpion was recently in Injustice: Gods Among Us, as a guest character which features only characters from the DC Universe.

His teleport, initially wasn’t changed from Mortal Kombat 9.  There was no way you could know which way to properly defend yourself (Injustice has back to block.)

Obviously, there’s no way to react to all that.    Even if you see it coming, you wouldn’t always be able to react to it.

Here’s why.  You cannot block without your directional pad coming from a neutral position.  Neutral being not left, up, down, nor right.  If you are attempting to block pressing right, and need to shift to left, you have to slide your thumb from the right position, and to the right, and during that short instance, which is a fraction of a second, the pad has shifted from Right, gone back to the the neutral position, and now at Left, the direction you are holding.

Eventhough it can easily be done three times in a second, fighting games are sensitive, and based on numbers.  Sometimes, seeing it, and reacting to it, you have 1/5th of a second to get your guard correct during a cross up, and you just have to know it’s coming.

But, people say “so what?”, “get better,” “learn how to read your opponents,” and “cross ups help break down your enemy’s defenses.”  That’s what fighting games are about.  It’s a mental battle more than anything, in which your objective is to set your enemy’s health to 0, and you have to out-whit them in the process, using your characters tools and abilities….  Not just press any old thing until you win.  I hate fighting against people that have no concept of how fighting games work, so resort to just attacking air and are just pressing random buttons.  It’s like swinging a stick at someone to keep them at distance.  That wont work against someone that knows how to shift you off your balance by using your thrust against you.  You’ll be on your back waiting to get stepped on.

Anyway, I know exactly what a cross-up is, and why they are important to some games, but, they don’t belong in Mortal Kombat.  I’ve covered what a cross-up is, how to block it, and why it’s effective.  Now it’s time to explain why they don’t belong in Mortal Kombat.

What do you do with directional pads?  You move around with them.  They are primarily for movement.  What is movement?  Movement is positioning yourself.  You might be effective away from your enemy.  Perhaps close?  Maybe mid-screen.  It depends on the character you’re playing as.  But, you want to stay at YOUR optimal distance.

What else is a directional pad used for in fighting games?  Attacking.  Press X is one attack, Press Forward + X is another attack.  Single-tap forward then tap X is another attack.  HOLD forward and press X is another attack.  Yeah, it’s excessive, I know, but that’s how Tekken manages to fit 100+ attacks into the command list for a single character.

And, there is finally one last thing the directional pad is used for…. BLOCKING.

So, yes, you are expected to move around, attack, and guard yourself from attacks while using the directional pad.  That is a lot to take in.  Let’s think about this for a moment.  You have to see a cross-up coming, stop whatever you are doing, and react to an attack that is potentially a cross-up, depending on the attack being used, and where it’s going to hit?

Mortal Kombat has multiple characters with attacks that hit behind.  Some attacks connect twice, hitting from both sides and you cannot react even if you know what is about to happen.

So, you say slow down the teleports?  I say no.  Why?  Because the entire argument here is holding back to block.  And now, the discussion is being changed to not only hold back to block, but also slow down attacks?  What’s next?

It’s a trade off.  The block button is not being disabled by movement.  If you press block in Mortal Kombat, your character stops moving.  That’s the important thing.  It’s not being tied up in the directional pad.  It’s its own separate thing, off the d-pad, and that makes all the difference.

The attacks can stay as fast as they are.  You don’t have to worry about sliding your thumb from one position to another.  Just press the block button, and as long as you aren’t in an attack animation, and have your feet planted on the ground, you are good to go. (Assuming you are using a standing guard for high and mid attacks, and crouching for lows.)  High attacks should be ducked under, with no guard at all, because it’s going to go over your head anyway, which means you should immediately be attacking from a crouching, or a while rising position (which only applies to 3D fighting games) , or standing if it’s an option.

Mortal Kombat is not a difficult game to pick up.  It has easy commands for all of its attacks.  It doesn’t require any full 360 degree spins on the directional pad, and just has easier controls overall than Street Fighter.  If you use Hugo or Zangief in Street Fighter, you know you have to anchor yourself, or buffer the 360 while in mid-air to grab.  It’s extremely hard to do a 360 degree spin for a grab which can only be done with your feet planted on the ground when in order to do a 360, you have to press up-back, up, up-forward, which are all jump commands.  In fact, unless you are allowed to cancel the start-up jump animation (before your feet actually leave the ground) you can’t even do a 360 grab solely from standing.  No matter what.

Again, Mortal Kombat doesn’t have difficult commands.  It’s just press Down, forward, X.  And there goes your ice ball.  Fatalities aren’t even like they were in the original, in which you had to input the commands lightning fast and were difficult to remember, for the sake of making them uncommon in arcades, because no one had the internet then to look stuff up, so when you saw it, it was a rare occasion and excitement always ensued.

But, this isn’t the arcade days anymore.  Fatalities are easy to do, and easy enough to remember.   Now.  What is the point in having offensive options so easy in the game, while having defensive options like blocking so difficult?  There is no reason at all.

You couldn’t just change the block button.  You would have to change so much more about the game to the point of it not even being Mortal Kombat anymore.  You may as well come up with a new fighting game entirely.  But, wait…  They DID…  It’s called Injustice: Gods Among Us.  There you go.  Go play that.  Scorpion is even a guest character.  And, he’s been slowed down (nerfed) since that video above, but, I needed him while he was still broken to make my point.

Hope I’ve explained in full detail why a block button is needed for MK.  It’s meant to have easier controls.  You still have to use your brain to beat your enemy.

But, if you love cross ups so much, still, there is another option.  Holding block doesn’t reset the direction you’re facing.  To fix that, all you would have to do is press the button again, and your character blocks the other side.  But, that opens up the possibility of you being hit in the middle of you releasing the button to press it that second time, which could make for some potentially unblockable set-ups.

There’s so many options.

If you’ve  liked this post, please feel free to check out my other posts.  You’ll be glad you did.