Since Street Fighter IV came out I'm sure we've all heard it from someone close to us: "Aren't you playing this game just a little too much?" My excuse is that I'm "working on the website!" and it's worked fairly well so far, but I think my girlfriend is getting a little fed up with the non-stop gaming as well. I just hope she doesn't end up putting me on blazt like the girl in the video below!
I finally had a chance to play King of Fighters XII last night and practice up for the big KOF Tournament next weekend in LA so I thought it would be a good idea to post up my initial impressions of the game. Bear with me in that this was the first time I had played a KOF game since like KOF '98..or maybe that one time I played 2002 in the arcade and got stomped by some 14 yr old kid, but anyway, yeah it's been a long time. Also, outside of SNK's website and a few threads on SRK, information on the actual game play system is fairly sparse so I didn't have much of a reference while playing.
Visually, as most of you know the game looks great. Everything from the backgrounds to the characters to the special effects have a ton of detail and it definitely gave me the sense that I was playing GAROU or SF3: 3s due to the fluid animation and speed. The visuals in KOFXII were quite refreshing since I've been playing Street Fighter 4 and BlazBlue so much over the past couple months. BlazBlue and Street Fighter 4 look great of course, but many of the animations in King of Fighters XII are much more fluid than anything else on the market right now.
The game obviously plays differently than CAPCOM and ARC System Works games and it took me a minute to get used to the controls, button layout and combo system. I found doing combos for certain characters (Kyo, Kim, Ryo) was far easier than combos with some other characters (Leona, Elizabeth, Iori) due to their more straight forward move sets. In previous games Iori has always been one of the characters on my team but they changed him so much that I really had no idea where to start with him. Kyo on the other hand, (another character I like to play in KOF series) was far easier to pick up and grasp since his move set is largely the same as previous games. Overall the majority of the cast was fairly easy to pick up and play, especially the grappler characters like Goro.
Probably the most satisfying aspect of King of Fighters XII is the Critical Counter system which is far easier to pick up than I had originally thought. It is essentially a custom combo system that activates when you land a standing Strong Attack (C) on counter hit and have an active Critical Counter meter (which depletes over time - nice touch to keep things somewhat balanced). Once you land the Strong Attack, you will see a large flash and a pause that indicates that its time to well, serve up a massive beat down to your opponent! You can easily link together any attacks you want and finish off with a super. There are a ton of serious combos you can do, linking multiple special moves and what not, but even if you are new to the game you wont have any problem creating your own sick looking combos.
Tonight Sony is starting a weekly Street Fighter 4 HOME Game launching event where you can gather with other Street Fighter fans in the HOME universe and well, talk smack and try to roast each other! Sounds fun right? Right!
This is a great way to unite all the SF4 players on HOME and it's really just the beginning in that they have plans to bring in special guests down the line! Hmmm.. I wonder who that could be? :)
Big ups to SCEA Community Manager Jared Rea for making this happen! Here are the details of the event, check it out.
WHAT: A weekly Street Fighter IV game launching event
WHERE: The Mall, 1st Floor at the PlayStation Home logo
WHEN: Every Saturday from 8PM to 12AM PST
Keystone III heats up tonight with a lot of heavy hitters in the house and lucky for you they are streaming the entire event starting at 7:30 PST! With some out of towners in NorCal there should be a ton of great matches tonight so be sure to check it out.
Last weekend, there were 3 tournaments (it's like that every weekend in NorCal now!), but the recap will be specifically about the UC Davis MUGA tournament that happened on Saturday. The tournament had a total of 48 entrants, and was full of surprises and upsets. That seems to be the running theme for Street Fighter 4 tournaments these days!
The first name worth mentioning is the up and coming Sagat player, Mark (Tharimrattler). Although he made a name for himself by beasting in Marvel with Colossus, from what I've been told, this cat practices Street Fighter 4 HARDCORE and it's his game of choice now. He also attends weekly tournaments in Suisun, CA and consistently places in the top 3.
All that practice and hardwork paid off in that he placed 1st at the MUGA tournament, sweeping me (Crackfiend) in the finals. This was another reminder that people are very hungry to take the #1 spot in SF4 these days, and playing his Sagat was a humbling experience to say the least.
Check out the match below! (More videos of the tournament at thnxyoutoo's YouTube channel)
Another name worth mentioning is Ryu player KOREA who eliminated me from the winners bracket with straight up GIMMICKS! He definitely got the best of me in the match with his unorthodox style of play and here is is an example: he does an uppercut to knock me down, whiffs a throw twice, and does it a third time to throw me! WHAT!? I was a sitting duck for gimmicks and could not figure out what was going on inside his mind! Oh well, good job KOREA!
The highlight of the day had to be Coopa vs Mark, in one of the closest finals I've seen so far in Street Fighter 4. It's one of those matches I just can't describe in words, you've got to see it for yourself!
Street Fighter 4
1. Tharimrattler (Sagat)
2. Crackfiend (Barlog)
3. Coopa (Zangief)
Want to play King of Fighters XII before its available in stores? Here's your chance!
iPlayWinner.com is offering two slots for the invite only 128 man King of Fighters XII tournament being held in Los Angeles, California hosted by Ignition Entertainment and SCEA on May 30th! If chosen, you will go up against the other competitors to win KOF merchandise and even an import only King of Fighters XII arcade cabinet!
Entering is very simple - post up in the comments section your full name, email, state that you live in and what makes you the KING (or Queen!) OF FIGHTERS! We're leaving it pretty wide open so you can submit stories of your most epic win in KOF, a video of your best KOF match - whatever! Just make it interesting!
We are also accepting submissions via email so if you're not comfortable posting your full name online you can email your entries to email@example.com. The deadline for entry is May 21st, 9pm PST and keep in mind you must cover all travelling costs to this event so make sure you have all of that squared away before entering! Good luck!
Gaming site JEUXACTU posted over 200 new King of Fighters XII images from the XBOX360 version of the game showcasing much of the cast mid-special move. Lots of great screen shots over there but if seeing the game in motion is more your thing then check out the video below. This was posted in #capcom not too long ago and is one of the more impressive videos I've seen so far. The last Kyo combo is...well.. see for yourself!
Well not quite, but I found this one Ultra Crazy video on NeoGAF not too long ago that shows the similarities between move sets of both C. Viper and CapCom. I've been trying to learn Team Scrub in Marvel lately and not once did the similarities catch my eye, but they are hard to deny after seeing this!
Yes, we've seen the Nintendo Power scans and I guess the cat is out of the bag: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is coming to the States! We heard about this recently with other juicy details regarding the release but those will just have to wait until E3 - sorry!
Until then watch these videos for clues!
Still in need of an arcade stick for your PlayStation 3? Well, if you can wait until July, EXAR is releasing two new sticks for the King of Fighters XII and they are both up for pre-order via Play-Asia.com.
There are two versions: one is based on their other sticks like the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom stick with a CAPCOM style 6 button layout, and the other is based on the old school Neo Geo arcade stick with a traditional 4 button SNK layout.
It obviously makes a bit more sense to go with the one with the 6 button layout if you play a lot of fighters, but I'm sure it's safe to say the NeoGeo Stick 2 will be very hard to find as time goes on so you may want to pick one of those babies up for the resale value alone.
I've recently started playing BlazBlue and I have to say it's really addicting once you get the hang of it. So far Ragna the Bloodedge is my main and using him has really helped me grasp BlazBlue's gameplay mechanics. A lot of people who I talk to seem a little intimidated by all the bars and gauges but it's really a lot easier to understand than it looks (so far anyway!).
I'm posting a video of Hima playing Arakune (who I understand to be like S+ tier in this game) and Kaqn, who is a top Street Fighter 4 C. Viper player playing Ragna. Even with my limited knowledge of the game, some of the rounds are really entertaining to watch. (check out more BlazBlue videos on GatlingSmash's channel)
To give those of you who know nothing about BlazBlue a better idea of what all the meters mean, I'll break it down real quick. There are character specific meters (see under Arakune's profile picture) as well but we wont get into those this time and of course if you're an expert feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!
Lifebar: You lose this, you die! Yeah thats right!
Barrier: This meter located below the life bar depletes as you use your Barrier Guard which is BlazBlue's "push block" system that will help you get some breathing room between you and your opponent. It will regenerate over time, but if you use a Barrier Burst (c-c-c-combo breaker!) you will lose it for the rest of that round.
Guard Libra: This is the meter right under the timer that acts as a "guard crush" meter so pay attention to this one when on the defensive. When you are blocking if it fills up completely with your opponents color (red or blue) you will experience a Barrier Crush and be unable to guard. If you aren't paying attention, the orbs next to the timer will light up when you are close to a Barrier Crush.
Heat Gauge: This is more or less your "Super Meter" in BlazBlue. Anytime you have two stocks (50%) you can perform either a Distortion Drive (Super) or Rapid Cancel (more or less what a Roman Cancel is in Guilty Gear or what an EX Focus Attack Dash Cancel is in Street Fighter 4.) You lose it all after the round is up so no need to feel guilty (no pun intended) about burning meter in this game!
The month of May is going to a busy month. Here's the current schedule of events that I know of so far in my calendar:
May 15th - Keystone III Ranbat (Ranking Battle)
Formerly known as the Cannery Dojo, Joshua (Owner of Cannery Dojo) and Albert (Owner of Keystone II) have teamed up to create Keystone III, and are now holding weekly Ranbats for the community.
May 16th - UC Davis Muga Street Fighter 4 Tournament
Way out in UC Davis holds a monthly tournament featuring upcoming players such as Matt (Pieguy) and Sean H. (Coopa) who are hungry to take the throne and mark themselves as one of the top competitors in NorCal.
Kotaku has a featured article on old school SF player Alex Valle and the differences between playing online and playing in an arcade. It's an interesting read, and you should definitely check it out if you don't know who Alex Valle is.
I personally found this one quote from Alex Valle the most interesting out of the whole article:
"The experience from crushing my opponents on a 2-player, side by side arcade cabinet far outweighs online gaming." According to Valle, the younger generation will take time to overcome that type of pressure from playing someone up close and personal. "Sometimes the best chance of winning is the presence of confidence rather than the skill at hand."
For those of you who are new to going to tournaments or thinking about entering, there is a lot of truth in that quote - I know this from experience! Many times showing up with the attitude that you are #1 and will win goes much farther than any sort of cross-up gimmick you learned in training mode.
Need proof? Check this out:
"Play for tiles, and you're skillful; play for belt-buckles, and you lose confidence; play for gold, and you're flustered. Your skill is the same as ever, but if you are attaching importance to something you are giving weight to what is outside you, and whoever gives weight to what is outside him is inwardly clumsy" (Chuang-tzu, Chapter 19).
Sometimes you find answers in the weirdest places, and to me, that was twenty minutes before my midterm. I've been going to a couple of Street Fighter 4 tournaments now, and if I've picked up anything, it's that mindsets matter. To illustrate their importance, take this example:
You’re facing Daigo, and you know it’s Daigo. In fact, you’d recognize that face anywhere: that poker face, that charming frown. It’s Daigo all right. And he’s Asian—so he must be a genius. You are nervous because you’re facing a big name, and as result, you play less than your normal worth.
In this scenario, you’ve already lost before you played because you gave one half of the game away. The interesting thing about fighters is that they come in twos. King of Fighters, Guilty Gear, and Street Fighter all come in packages. You buy one and you get the other: the mental game. Thus you should play it for what it’s worth, not give it away. Here’s yet another scenario:
You’ve played this guy before and he’s scrub in every sense of the word. He waits for you to pick as he scrolls the character select screen as he “contemplates”. After you choose, he skips to Ken. Oh, great. It’s another one. I guess it’s time to take another win home, but how about being fancy here and there? Hell, you know you’re going to kick this guy’s ass... but for some reason, not today.
How come? You were too overconfident in your skills and didn’t apply your knowledge. You let your ego get in the way.
With a glimpse of each side, we can now encompass and analyze other mindsets that might appeal to you and improve your game. Remember, it’s not what works for another person, but what works for you. If a poker face makes you play better, then by all means, do.
So, let’s begin; I interviewed three key players that I thought might contribute towards this goal: Crackfiend, Norcal’s best Balrog, PieGuy, Norcal’s best Honda, and Allen Chang, Norcal’s only Cammy. I asked each of these individual’s three questions, and here are their replies.
1) How do you prepare your mindset for a tournament?
Crackfiend: I usually allow myself a lot of rest prior to the tournament. Usually, I'd do mental prep work three days before the tournament, thinking about matchups, strategies, and image training of scenarios I like or dislike the most. The day after would be a complete mental break from games, so I would read, listen to music, or get involved in other hobbies. I find that most effective because when I come into the tournament, I come in fresh without an overindulgence of SF4 and I come in hungry.
Allen: I usually tell myself that I am going to take top 3.Going to a tourney with a winning attitude is probably the best approach. It gives you confidence. The last thing you want to do is to doubt yourself and not play your own style.
PieGuy: Since SF4 is new, I like to go into a tournament thinking that everybody is on equal ground. You never know when a newcomer like YoungLegend is going to be your next match.
So it looks like SNK pulled a fast one on all of us with the K' and Mai art now that a new Famitsu scan has surfaced confirming Elizabeth and Mature are the new additions to the console version of King of Fighters XII (click image to the left for larger version). IGN reported that there could be "over" 22 new characters in the console version so maybe more are on the way, via DLC perhaps?
Details on the console version are far and few between at this point, but its scheduled to release in July so I'm sure we'll have a lot more information on the final version fairly soon.
MicVlad from NeoGAF sent over a message earlier today about a Street Fighter 4 replay I uploaded online telling me to check out the inputs from the other player. At first I was a bit confused since there wasn't anything too special about the match, but when things got a little rough for the Ken player I could see him taking out the frustration on his joystick via the input display! Maybe he had 3K and 3P mapped to one button? Who knows but its pretty funny anyway, check it out!
You think that was a lot of mashing? That was nothin'! Check out LordBBH's YouTube channel where you can see mashing on a whole new level!
Versus City is back again with a new Top 20 SF4 Power Players in Japan. The biggest change this time around is Mago losing his top spot to Ojisanboy. Daigo it still chillin at #3 but with a 30k BP difference between Ojisanboy will he ever be back to the #1 spot?
Here is the top 10 and check out the full list over at VersusCity where they also include the top Chun, Ken and 'Sim players!
1. Ojisanboi (Sagat) - 227,111 (+1)
2. Mago (Sagat) - 222,715 (-1)
3. Umehara (Ryu) - 195,301
4. RF (Sagat) - 185,990
5. Nemo (Chun) - 137,132
6. Shiro (Abel) - 125,181 (+1)
7. Tokidokinukinkusu (Chun) - 121,308 (-1)
8. Radiowave (Sagat) - 120,474
9. Uryo (C.Viper) - 109,230
10. Maakun (Sagat) - 104,713 (+1)
Also, since Sagat is the best I decided to include a video that was sent over to me by A_Rival just the other day. These are two of the best EC Sagats going head to head battling it out for a spot on the SF4 5v5 EC Team for Evo.
IGN posted some details they received from an unnamed Japanese retailer about the home release of King of Fighters XII. Most of the details have been rumored for quite some time or just simply assumed to be included in the game anyway.
Here are the most relevant points:
- 22 Total characters, two which are hidden (Probably Mai and K')
- Network play to include lobbies and spectating!
I'm very happy to hear about the lobbies aspect of KOFXII in that it should help in learning a bit more about the game by watching other players play their matches. Now we just have to see if their netcode is comparable to GGPOs.
Also, Arcade Infinity posted some HD KOFXII videos to their YouTube channel showcasing some solid combos and the critical counter system.
Thanks to CYBERFANATIX.com for the heads up on this one.
First off, there is the new Street Fighter 4 tier list from Arcadia which is probably the most reputable tier list in Japan at this point. You will see a lot of tier lists floating around but most of them are composed from random Japanese wikis and what not while this comes straight from the players. This is for the arcade version of the game, so no console characters.
A: Ryu, Akuma, Zangief
B: M.Bison, Rufus, Balrog, C.Viper, E.Honda
C: Abel, El Fuerte, Dhalsim, Chun-li, Blanka
D: Guile, Ken
Personally I find it interesting to see Bison higher than 'Rog and Viper, although Bison is a real hard match up for Viper. Also, why is Chun-Li and Dhalsim rated so low? Not that it matters (except for maybe Guile and Vega), considering that most of us have seen first hand if you master your character in SF4 you can give anyone serious problems.