Thursday, December 30, 2010

Back to (Fight for) the Future

You didn't think that AE's release would make me forget about Third Strike, did you? I couldn't let a month go by without an obligatory Third Strike post. Today I present you with a video featuring a mystery Hugo player going on a serious tear, complete with really sneaky standing 720's. Also, we have this little tidbit (found on SRK) from Capcom's Christian Svensson about Third Strike: Online Edition:

There are places this game is going for fans where no fighting game (not even our big retail fighting games) have gone before.

What does this mean? I'm focused on two specific facets of this statement: 1) There's something that's never been done before. 2) It's "for fans." The "never been done before" part makes me think of stuff like Danisen ranking. (What's Danisen? There's a great intro at iPlaywinner.) This is something that hasn't exactly been built into any fighting game before.

The "for fans" part might support the idea of Danisen being included, as it has been requested by fans; however, the idea of a fan-service feature seems to suggest something less obtuse. Also, are the fans being catered to general/casual fighting game fans or Third Strike fans in particular? If we're talking about general fighting game fans, the additions might include new modes and features akin to Challenge Mode and such. What kind of mode would make for something totally new, though? If we're talking about Third Strike fans, the additions would likely not affect the gameplay as much. If I were to guess what new feature would appease 3S fans, it might have to do with better replay uploading and viewing — perhaps built-in YouTube uploading.

Since the game was announced so early in development, it'll be quite a while before we find out. Sven did promise that we'd be hearing more "in 2011," so we'll just have to be patient for now.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SSF4: Arcade Edition - The First Two Weeks

Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition was released on December 16th, 2010. The game is available throughout Japan and in a few international locations, including NYC's own Chinatown Fair. Shoryuken has a good index of videos of the new game. Also, this TeamSpooky playlist from CF on Christmas Eve is required viewing — not only for the game footage, but also for Chris Hu's beautiful rendition of "Last Christmas." I posted my hands-on impressions of the game, but here I'll talk more "theory fighter" about what I've observed second-hand via players' reports and gameplay I've seen.

NOTE: The changes listed on the Capcom developers' blog are not comprehensive. There are lots of subtle changes that were not mentioned at all.

Yun is definitely a beast in this game. The number one and number two players in Japan are Yun players, Kindevu and Daigo. Yun can link three consecutive MPs into his upkicks. MP xx Jab Shoulder keep the pressure on blocking opponents. When they get too scared to move, Yun can sneak in a Tenshin (flip-grab). I haven't seen Genei Jin put to good use yet, but his EX moves are definitely potent. The EX Shoulder goes through fireballs and leads to juggles. His EX Lunge Punch is fast and completely safe on block. Tests at Chinatown Fair showed that it couldn't be punished by Chun's reversal Super. His LK Upkicks are perfect for anti-air. His Kobokushi (palm-push) is great for charging meter and has a huge hitbox that even hits cross-ups. The fake palm lets him coax opponents into approaching him. People will learn to deal with many of his new tricks, but he'll probably remain one of AE's best characters.

Yang is also a force in AE. He can keep pressuring opponents with Jab x 3, c.MK, Mantis Slashes. The slashes are apparently safe if stopped on the second hit, after which he can FADC forward. From there, he gets a 50/50 mix-up: He can repeat the sequence or go for a Tenshin. He can easily combo into his Ultra after a MK launch, jump cancel, divekick. I haven't seen any good use of his EX Mantis Slashes, though I'm sure they'll become more prevalent as people learn the character. His Seiei Enbu combo is super simple (c.MK, c.MP, dash, repeat) and does tons of damage. I think that having a Yang rushing toward you will be one of the scariest things in AE.

Sakura was probably the most popular character in Chinatown on the day I went there. She seems to have an easier time pressuring opponents. I don't know if her normals improved or she has better recovery on her specials, but she was definitely more able to rush down (which seems to be a trend in this game). I could be wrong, but her jumping MK seems to have a better hitbox, allowing for more ambiguous cross-ups, like Adon has. She also retains the ability to run away with air Tatsu, unlike Ryu and Akuma. I mistakenly thought that she'd be one to watch out for in Super, but will she realize her potential in AE?

Balrog (Boxer) seems a bit less dangerous. His standing jab whiffs on many (all?) crouching characters now. His close MP is better, but that doesn't have a profound impact. His headbutt does noticeably less damage, and his juggle into Ultra 1 does laughable damage. Also, his headbutt has really bad recovery now. I saw him using it to cross up downed opponents, only to get him by them after they stood up. His go-to ultra may now be his Ultra 2, which is great for stopping pressure tactics, like the twins' divekicks.

Sagat is back to near-vanilla potency. He gets some damage buffs that make him more competitive. He doesn't get back his cancelable LK or his super-safe Tiger Knee, but he is still a good deal better than in Super.

Guy always gave me trouble in Super, and now he's gotten significantly better. His 3-frame low short allows him to keep the pressure on non-stop. He'll definitely have you afraid to push a button once he gets you pinned down. Landing a low short will lead to landing his full target combo (which now hits crouching opponents), which leads to pain. Then he'll run up and start ticking with low short again. Fighting Guy is going to be like fighting Fuerte, a battle to avoid getting knocked down, then mixed up until you're KO'd.

Makoto looks a lot better, mostly due to strengthened normals and a much better Fukiage (DP). She can now combo LP Fukiage after EX Hayate (dash punch) in the corner on most characters. After that, she can combo Tsurugi (air kick). Her EX Karakusa grab is invincible to throws and attacks. She looks to be a really solid rush-down character. Do I see a trend in AE?

Gouken's got some interesting changes that make him better able to fight from close. His quick jab DP makes for nice combos off of jabs. He can now cancel his jumping MP into a Tatsu for some decent damage. Will we see more Gouken players in AE?

Juri can safely use her fireball store on block, which gives you more (you guessed it) pressure ability. I've heard that her EX pinwheel is worse for anti-cross-up, but I've seen it hit behind her. She's supposedly not great in AE, but I'd say that the Juri is still out on her.

Fei Long is just slightly improved from Super, which should make him one of the game's top characters, but Seth seems to be worse than ever.

Rose doesn't seem as bad as everyone's made her out to be. Aside from her Ultra nerf, she seems basically unchanged. If her Ultra 2 is really so bad, maybe a return to Ultra 1 is in order.

Everybody seems kind of down on Cody, though he has some improvements from Super. Once players get a feel for how to use his new low Short, I think he'll be seen as more of a threat.

Dudley is improved in some slight ways, and I think that his F+MK being faster is more significant than most people realize.

Dhalsim seems to do no damage at all, and his B+LK is much less effective now. It was always hard fight from up close, and this certainly doesn't help him. His new DB+MP doesn't add that much to his game, in my opinion.

The Balrog player at Chinatown Fair also used Cammy for a bit. Cammy lost her low Cannon Strike, but she seems to be doing well in spite of that. She can still do the EX Cannon Strike right off the ground and combo for major damage. She's just as dangerous as before; however, she can't rely on spamming divekicks anymore.

There was a Chun-Li player at Chinatown Fair who seemed perfectly comfortable with her. She doesn't seem to have changed much at all. She may do less stun damage and have trouble anti-airing with DF+LK, but otherwise she's the same old Chun.

There were actually two Vega players in Chinatown during the blizzard. Vega seems almost identical to his Super incarnation. Nobody is really abusing his new low MK yet, though I think it will see a lot of use in the future. Also, his DF+HK is noticeably worse on block; it's certainly not worth spamming as much. Other than that, he's not any different.

Fuerte received a few secret buffs not mentioned in the developers' blog. Fuerte's is able to stop his run much faster, and his close HP supposedly has better range. This makes his Run-Stop-Fierce loop easier to do for more reps. Also, his standing MP has more active frames and a better hitbox. Will these secret buffs make up for his nerfed Guacamole Leg Throw and Propeller Tortilla?

Blanka looks a lot better, but I'm not even sure why. I can't tell if his normals got faster or have better hitboxes, but it's clear that he's got more pressure ability. One thing I am sure of: his slide recovers much faster. He lost the ability to ball away at will, but he seems more able to get on the offensive, which is what AE is all about. It looks like he's gone from being a pest to being a menace.

I've mentioned how the changes to Zangief and Abel would affect them prior to launch, and that all seems to hold true. Guile and Honda do way less damage, maybe even to the point of being useless. As for the rest of the cast (Viper, Dan, Ken, Bison, Ibuki, Adon, Gen), I haven't seen enough of them or don't feel qualified to talk about them just yet.

SSF4 Arcade Edition: My First Impressions

I got some hands-on time with the game at Chinatown Fair, which wasn't nearly as packed as usual, thanks to a raging blizzard. I messed around with a few characters, trying to figure out what new tricks they were packing.

T. Hawk, my (pathetic) SSF4 main, is much better in AE. His normals seem tweaked to give him a better ground game, and his EX Condor Dive is excellent. I was able to constantly fake my opponent out by jumping back, then EX diving on reaction to just about any button press. It was also great air-to-air against Vega. It may have some startup invincibility, but I'm not exactly sure. I beat LI Joe's Yun and his Balrog-playing friend and even got a 3-win streak at one point. Speaking of streaks, Kouji KOG (a Vanilla SF4 Zangief player) took T. Hawk on a 103-game streak in Japan, which should tell you something about the character's potential in AE.

The only other character I got a 3-win streak with was Hakan. The oily Turk is VASTLY improved. His normals — which were nothing to sneeze at in Super — are amazing now. His FP is great anti-air, now reaching above and behind his head, his jab canceling into Oil Slide is awesome, and he's able to oil up much more quickly. Staying oily throughout the match isn't all that difficult, which means he can stay consistently armed with ridiculous normals and long-range command throws. He can charge meter quickly by canceling Oil Dive into Guard Position. This is all on top of his existing tricks, like a guaranteed Oil Dive on a rising opponent (which surprised a CF player so much that he approached me to ask how I did it). While he might not have the raw power of a T. Hawk or a Zangief, Hakan is going to be a versatile and useful character in AE.

I tried Dee Jay only once, against LI Joe's Yun. He feels so much better, mainly due to his faster fireballs. His standing MK, LK Upkick, and slide were useful in keeping Yun off of me. I ended up losing due to poorly-timed fireballs which LI Joe passed through with Sourai Rengeki. Though improved, his fireball recovery is not quite as fast as Guile's. I think we'll see a lot more Dee Jay players in AE.

By the time I got around to trying the twins, LI Joe had switched to a down-to-business Sagat. In my very first game as Yun, I got a near-perfect round on him, including a dizzy. This was without any of his MP links, due to not knowing the timing at all. I wasn't sure of the command for his Ultra, and the rest of the match didn't last very long. However, shutting out LI Joe's Sagat on the first round I ever played as Yun convinced me that he is most likely an overpowered character in AE.

I really screwed up playing as Yang. I was intent on seeing how his teleport worked, but kept getting his Senkyutai instead. I kept rolling across the screen into a blocking Sagat, then eating Tiger Uppercuts. When I did finally get some offense going, I didn't know Yang's links. I landed a Tenshin (flip-grab) only to attempt to immediately Ultra 2, which totally doesn't combo. He seems really good, but only if you know what you're doing. Yun is apparently more noob-friendly.

That's all I can say about my direct experience with the game. I'll follow up with impressions from what I've seen of other characters in another post.

Japan is Serious About MvC3

Daigo and now Tokido have both announced that they plan to play MvC3 competitively. Traditionally, Marvel games have been dominated by American players. Will the Japanese be able to overcome the zealous dedication of American Marvel players?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

More MvC3 Leaks: Green Goblin is In?

According to Rileyknows on Twitter (as reported by SRK), there are two characters in the game that haven't been mentioned elsewhere. The Green Goblin, he claims, has a command throw and bladed bombs that function something like Marrow's bonerang. Ershin (pictured above), a robot from Breath of Fire, has charge moves, a counter, and a rocket punch. The leaks also suggest that DLC characters may include Phoenix Wright, Chuck Greene, and Megaman EXE.

Various other minor details revealed:

  • Characters have several colors by default, but separate outfits/models will be DLC.
  • Capcom characters' alt. models will be designed by Marvel (e.g. Ryu's resembles Iron Fist).
  • Magneto's alternate is "much better" than his default outfit.
  • Nemesis, as seen in the RE stage, was originally a playable character.
  • Seth insisted that Iron Man play like in MvC2, not like the movie version.
  • Frank West was supposed to be revealed as the helicopter pilot in the Episode 2 trailer.

Friday, December 17, 2010

AE Update Inundation

Check UltraDavid's Twitter for a ton of info as he gets hands-on with AE. So far, he's really liking Hakan, but thinks Zangief got heavily nerfed.

A Very Niitsuma Xmas

This is how MvC3 Producer Ryota Niitsuma celebrates the holidays.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MvC3 Leaks Flow Like Wine

According to SRK, a Twitter account has been leaking a bunch of MvC3 info. Click here to read in its entirety. The Twitter account has since been suspended. Highlights include:

  • Phoenix and Hsien-Ko to be unveiled at Jump Festa this weekend.
  • Phoenix plays like a fire-based Trish.
  • Phoenix resurrects as Dark Phoenix if KO'd with 5 bars.
  • A huge phoenix appears on-screen when she rises.
  • Human Torch was completed, but his constant flaming caused slowdown.
  • Phoenix essentially replaced Human Torch.
  • Frank West was completed but got cut due to slowdown issues involving zombies.
  • A Marvel character had to be pulled to even out the roster: Shuma got yanked.
  • Shuma is complete. Jill is not.
  • Yet to be revealed: Sentinel, Taskmaster, Akuma, Haggar
  • Last stage to be revealed (for 8 total): Metro City
  • Galactus is the final boss.
  • M.Bison was considered as a Capcom villain, but Akuma won out.
  • Akuma has some interesting graphical touches.
  • There will be DLC stages and outfits, in addition to characters.
  • Juggernaut was canned in favor of Sentinel.
  • "I Wanna Take You for a Ride" plays during the end credits.
  • Mega Man was rejected early on. "Offers nothing unique."
  • S-Kill fought to have Storm and Sentinel included.
  • Elektra was nearly in the game.
  • Taskmaster has "borrowed moves" [ala Seth?] and a bow and arrow.
  • Haggar is very Gief-like, but has Final Fight touches, like weapons.
  • DLC will be coming throughout 2011.
  • Who the DLC characters will be is a well-guarded secret at this time.
  • Tests of online play were "equally smooth" from San Mateo to Japan as within San Mateo.
  • Capcom wanted Cyclops, but Marvel didn't.

Friday, December 10, 2010


8*(@31^ }{&4$ ^7&#% -1

Wikileaks: Q's Identity Revealed

"I wouldn't wish to reveal too much, but I can say that I have concluded that it would be difficult to find any useful evidence regarding this being's true identity at the present time, even with our agency's resources."

-- 1999 Report from Richard Bergman, Investigator for the C.I.A.

This was the last that was heard from anyone about the mysterious entity known only as "Q". I was digging through some government files over at Wikileaks and have at last uncovered Q's true identity. All the information can be found here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fire, Ice, and Lightning

Storm and C. Viper have been announced for MvC3. The most interesting things I noticed were:

  • Viper's Seismo feint works just like SF4.
  • Viper's TK feint moves her forward a bit. It looks slower than in SF4 but more convincing as a fake.
  • Seismos can OTG, even from full-screen.
  • Storm can float down slowly from a jump, as in MvC2.
  • Storm can still do her air combo ending in 2x Lighting Attack xx Super.
  • Storm can now charge her vertical Typhoon attack.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

SF4 AE @ Chinatown Fair

Henry "Golden" Cen, operator of Chinatown Fair, just laid out some details about Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition on Team Spooky's NEC stream. CTF will have the game "before Christmas," and there are "at least two" time-release characters. It is unknown if the two characters are Shin Akuma and Evil Ryu or if there will be additional characters. I'll be sure to hit up the arcade as soon as they have the game to get some impressions.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get Yo' A*s Whoop in MvC3, B*e-yotch!

Most readers have probably already seen the ESRB entry for Marvel vs Capcom at Regardless, I found it too funny not to repost here and comment on.
This is an arcade-style fighting game in which players can engage in three-on-three battles with characters from the Marvel Comics and Capcom universes. Players punch, kick, and use over-the-top attacks (e.g., laser blasts, fireballs, lightning strikes) to deplete opponents' life meters. Some characters also use pistols, swords, throwing knives, or explosives to knock characters across the screen or to the ground. A handful of female characters wear revealing outfits that expose large amounts of cleavage and buttocks (e.g., one character's costume covers her breasts with thin strips of cloth). The dialogue sometimes references suggestive material (e.g., "Ya got any naked pictures of your mom? Want some?"), and one still-frame cutscene depicts a female pole dancer under a sign that reads, "Sexual Embrace." Language such as "a*s, "hell," and "b*e-yotch" appear in dialogue.
First, I'd like to comment on the censorship within the entry itself. Why are the words "ass" and "bee-yotch" censored? They're not exactly vulgar. Also, if a parent wanted to understand the content of the game before making a purchasing decision for a child, wouldn't it be more beneficial to actually spell the words out? Words like "bee-yotch" don't exactly have official spellings, and removing letters from them surely does not make them any more comprehensible or less offensive.

With that out of the way, we begin the guessing game as to which characters are implied in the description. The revealing outfit referred to is obviously Felicia's. The line about naked pictures is most likely a character known for carrying a camera, like Spiderman or Frank West. The still-frame cutscene is probably from Morrigan's ending, as her air throw is called Sexual Embrace. The Vs. game endings are known for having cameo appearances by other characters, so Morrigan herself may not be the one pole dancing. Basically, the description, though hilarious, reveals nothing new.