I finally gave in and played SFxTekken this Sunday at SNL.
I have been deliberately not playing this game even though I got it on Tuesday night last week. (Shoutouts to Chris Ho.)
While everybody was going crazy into the game, and I could see people swamping the Melbourne FG Facebook page with posts, I didn’t open the game until Thursday night. And I only spent a quick forty minutes in training mode, with the tutorial mode with Dan taking up most of my time.
Why am I being so reluctant about the game? Well, for one I was busy with Xian’s transcript, and I will be busy with Tom’s transcript in the near future. But the reason why I did not want to start playing the game is because of oversaturation.
I am currently playing AE every day at the arcades at lunchtime. I am only now starting to really enjoy and get competent in Marvel. I have been playing it a lot at every event I go to. I have also been putting a lot of time in training mode for the game, and even though I’m still shit I have seen a little bit of an improvement here and there.
For example, at SNL I was playing Gab and I snagged him with a forward throw with Doom to start the round. I got a full combo off that, and it surprised him a bit, even though he’s a former Doom player himself. It’s not very easy to combo off the forward throw, it’s not like the back throw, you have to do immediate forward dash cancel into tri-dash into a very fast OTG M, S. I can do it because it’s something I’ve been specifically practicing. And I have been practicing various specific things and situations for my Ammy and Spencer as well.
Marvel still feels new to me. My team is definitely new and I still feel I have a long way to go before I consider myself decent with my characters.
Not only that, I also picked up Soul Calibur V.
I picked up the game at first because I want to play it with Spoony and give him and the scene some support. And also to play with guys like Syntax, who’s focusing more on Soul Calibur at the moment. I have never played a 3D fighter properly, so I thought I might start with SC.
Spoony explained to me that SC is not necessarily a game where you have to spend hours and hours in training mode grinding out your combos. It’s a game more about mindgames, reading your opponent, footsies and hit confirming off counterhits. That appealed to me because I have less and less time to practice each game now, so the less lab time I need to spend on it, the better.
I played it a bit and I really enjoyed it. Like Spoony said, it’s not really a combo game. I like the simplicity of it, and how you win by making smart reads. I had a blast playing with Syntax at CCH, and despite everyone telling me not to play her, I decided to main Ivy.
(The reason why I picked Ivy is pretty simple. It’s a process of elimination. In SC4 I have Ivy, Taki, Sophitia, Setsuka etc.
Sophitia would’ve been my clear first choice. Relatively straightforward and linear character…and more importantly, busty. But she got downgraded into the more flat-chested Pyrrha in SCV. And the same for Taki as well! In SC4 I had a bevy of choices. But in SCV I pretty much only have one choice! I was not expecting to have this problem in Soul Calibur of all games.)
So I’ve started playing in tournament and practicing Ivy. Getting that pesky 6B8 juggle motion down. Learning how to abuse that 1B BE. Discovering to my dismay that most of Ivy’s best combos only work on counterhit.
I’ve really enjoyed it. The feeling of a new game always gets my brain going, and I enjoy the feeling of endless possibilities.
And then SFxT came out. I really don’t have time to learn another game. And I already have three games that I enjoy and require training room time.
So this Friday at CCH we had eleven, twelve setups, and maybe seven or more SFxT setups? (Thanks to everybody who brought setups.) Everyone was busy playing the game, and only a few guys like me and JKwang were off playing AE on the side. I did not play a single game of SFxT the whole time I was there; I mainly played AE and SCV.
The guys were even playing scramble mode all night long. Lame asses like THK would sit in the opposite corner constantly throwing red fireballs with Akuma with his teammate valiantly fighting in front and being his meatshield. Every time I walked past the setup he would chortle with insane glee.
Even that Friday I had already decided I was gonna play Team Beartrap. Poison and Kuma.
Why those two characters?
With Poison I don’t really have to explain myself, just look at her!
And I wanted to play Kuma because I want to play at least one Tekken character. And I’ve always wanted to play Kuma and kick some ass animal-style.
So I was reading the Poison and Kuma sections of the guide there at CCH and everyone kept coming up to me and saying; “Hey man. Why aren’t you playing Ryu? He’s the best character in the game!’
I had a good reason for that. In my forty minutes with the game, I did quickly try out Ryu. He immediately felt very powerful, but at the same time too similar as well.
All the links are the same, except you can’t do the FHP links anymore. I had decided not to play Ryu because the timing in the game while pretty similar, still felt a little off to me when compared to AE. If I play Ryu in this game, I probably would have to drop Ryu in AE. And I still have unfinished business with that character.
So I decided on Poison instead.
And at SNL on Sunday, I finally got coerced into playing the game. Andrew was sitting down, and he got me to play some 2v2 action. Him with Asuka and Pyro with Vega/Rufus on one end, and me with Poison and ironically Rossco with Ryu on the other.
I could not do anything but low forward fireball and uppercut, so most of the time I would try to deplete some Andrew’s lifebar and just tag in Rossco who would do most of the heavy lifting.
Even though I couldn’t even do Poison’s basic BnB, I admit I had a lot of fun.
Fuck. I knew this would happen. The moment I sat down and played an actual match, I would enjoy it. And the itch to go back and practice and get better at it would infect me.
But let me tell you, plinking low forward with Poison really annoys the hell out of me. After three years of playing Ryu, my low forward plink is automatic- part of my muscle memory. At SNL I would continuously get backflip when trying to link into low forward.
Afterwards, Toxy sat down and showed me some Kuma basic stuff. Damn, that bear can dole out some damage. And his various anti-projectile moves were quite interesting too.
Apparently he had picked Team Beartrap initially as well, but his thinking was more like “which two characters can I pick that will really soil/troll people?” whereas I actually want to main Team Beartrap heh.
So I finally sat down with the game today and actually tried to learn my characters.
After trying both characters I can conclude:
Poison’s okay. Solid but not great. Her uppercut seems quite reliable, and her zoning game is pretty good. Her damage is really shit though.
Her lack of a good groundbounce/wallbounce (her EX rekka groundbounce scales the combo too badly, because it is four hits) really hurts her, and it seems that the best way to do damage is to use her EX fireball. The problem is that it is a one frame link into low forward afterwards, and not an easy mode wall bounce juggle like most other characters.
That’s fine. I practiced plinking low forward with jab instead of short like I usually do, and I could get some consistency after a while. But the problem is that if you hit confirm into low forward mid screen, say off low short low jab, you get pushed back too far to combo off EX fireball. So you either have to do a single normal into EX fireball midscreen, or do it in the corner. So something like cLK cLP cMK EX fireball cMK HKdp does likes 284 damage. And her meterless BnB cLK cLP cMK Rekka does like 206 damage.
But after watching Andrew do 40% to me every time he touched me with Asuka, that definitely seems pretty shit by comparison.
Something like csHP EX fb csHP HKdp does 360 damage, but that’s not hit confirmable, and is corner only.
Her low damage really got highlighted when I started learning Kuma. The bear does shit tons of damage. I can consistently get well over 300 damage with him. Even something really basic like sHP Megaton Claw groundbounce cHP Blanka Ball does almost 400 damage meterless.
But the problem I feel is that other than damage, the bear kind of sucks. After watching Zangief whose great SF4 footsies have carried over to this game and now has a safe on block green hand to boot, and other grapplers that seem really good in this game like Abel, Hugo and Marduk…the bear seems pretty lacklustre in comparison.
He has slow walkspeed and bad footsies. He has good range on some of his normals but they’re slow. He does not have many safe pokes or attacks. His command grabs do not set up good oki. And one of the command grabs even whiffs on crouching opponents. What am I, playing Hakan again?
So I’m not sure. Why play the bear when you can play Zangief?
I guess I’ll stick with Team Beartrap for a while, I’ll try to make it work. I can sort of see a gameplan with Poison…but the bear is going to take a lot of work.
And also, I finally went to try out some more Ryu.
Man, Ryu is so broken in this game.
It seems that all his strengths in SF4 got really amplified in this game.
His ABC123 Lego building blocks links are really freaking powerful in this game. I looked at his frame data and all his attacks do even more hit stun, making previous one frame links like low strong into low forward much, much easier.
Compared to a character like Poison who has to use a lot of lights in her combos, the fact that Ryu can do medium medium medium anything when hit confirming really kicks up his damage.
The fact that donkey kick doesn’t whiff on crouching opponents and is relatively safe…why would you use tatsu in a combo anymore?
The fact that you can charge dash cancel his fireball. And his dragon punch is back to 160 damage, is a really strong anti-air (well, the MP version is at least) and gets the full damage off a juggle to boot!
The fact that you can do meterless combos off crossover tatsu now.
Damn he is so much better than Poison. And I can already do all his combos in my sleep; I wouldn’t even have to practice much if I mained Ryu.
Low strong low strong low forward is kind of my pet combo in SF4, and now it is basically the SFxT BnB. Within ten seconds in training mode I could do the one meter 400 damage combos that everyone else was doing at SNL.
Urgh. Maybe I should quit pussyfooting around and just play Ryu. That would make me the most boring asshole on the planet but it would be so much easier.
…But the team name Beartrap is still too awesome to ignore. I’ll try to stick it out for a bit.
For me, the hardest decision is still to come. When/if I get into the full swing of SFxTekken, I definitely have to drop at least one of my other games. I’ll think about it but I’m not looking forward to that decision.
If only there was more time in a day.