EVO encapsulates everything I love about fighting games: the competition. The Mano-a-Mano. The mind game. The feints, the attacks, the tricks, the gutsy plays. EVO shows fightings games being played in the way we always imagine them to be.
It’s perfect because if someone ever asks me “Why do you love fighting games so much?” – it’s straight to YouTube. You see the way this chap does this to make him think he’s going to do that, only to pull out and punish him? Fighting games at their best are like a round of Fencing, only someone has belched colour and explosions over the whole display and made it exciting. Plus, there are fireballs. Actually, if anyone asks me “Why do you love fighting games?” – then that’s what I’ll say, they’re fencing with fireballs
They are competition really, pure and simple. Human sport realised with 1s and 0s, featuring women with oversized thighs.
That’s what this column is going to be about. No, not oversized thighs, that’s for another website. No, this column is all about me, myself and fighting games. It’s an attempt for me to herd my feelings for these games into a pen while trying to examine the genre, its titles, community, and future along the way. Some weeks I’ll just want to rant, some weeks I’ll want to gush, but for now this is an hello. My name is James, I’ve got a bit of a thing for camomile tea, and – as I’m sure you can ascertain from the above – I love fighting games.
Am I any good at them? That’s up for debate, and I’ll be trying to include some gameplay of various titles each week for you to judge, but I hope that my adoration for the genre will come across all the same. I’ll try and avoid jargon filled paragraphs, because those aren’t good for anybody, and I’ll desperately try not to mention that Street Fighter III match every week. I failed this week, but I consider one mention is a given, so I’m taking that one at no cost.
All I hope is that this column helps both me and you understand and appreciate the genre that little bit more than we did yesterday, as the genre continues to meander betwix mainstream acceptance and daunting saturation.
I’ve heard quite a few people getting down on the upcoming Ultra update for Street Fighter IV, and I’ve got to ask: why?
One thing I’ve heard is “why 360 and PS3?'” Well, because players, that’s why. A fighting game lives and dies by its community, and the Street Fighter community – not to mention the fighting game community in general – own these consoles. That’s probably around 100 million people worldwide with potential access to your game, why ditch that for the systems that’ll barely have 3 mill by Christmas?
Point two: Why another Street Fighter IV update?
This one I do understand, but argue against. Street Fighter IV is four years old now, and Ultra will be expansion number four, but that doesn’t mean the game is redundant. Sure, in the face of the likes of Call of Duty then Capcom’s dedication to a single title might seem alien, but I’m glad the tent is still pitched in this camp. Street Fighter IV is still a grand game. Are you hankering after a Chess patch? No, you’re not. The best games live far longer than a year.
Is the update lazy in some ways? Sure. The four characters that have been announced – Poison, Elena, Rolento and Hugo – are just ripped from Street Fighter X Tekken, but then it’s nice to see that work appearing in a game that people actually play. What’s more, Capcom’s approach to balancing is smart in that they’re just buffing the underused and weak faces, not really trying to weaken the strong ones.
What’s the alternative to this sort of explosive mega patch? Well, one only need look at Injustice. At last week’s EVO Netherrealm announced that Martian Manhunter would be launched as part one of DLC season two, presumably adding another four faces to the cast over its duration.
Injustice was released in April, four months ago, and already we’re onto DLC chap number 5. Going on current trend there will be eight DLC characters for that game by October, meaning you’ll have paid in excess of £20 during the first eight months to keep up with the DC fighter. Yikes. Every character is like a mini patch in themselves and I don’t know about you, but I prefer the Capcom method of causing a calamitous earthquake all at once after about a year over Netherrealm coming in every month and shifting the furniture around because another guest has arrived, late for the party. That said, Netherrealm never split their community through different versions…
Street Fighter V will come. Give it a year and we’ll likely see Street Fighter V being teased for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and it will look lovely and it will feature Alex and it will restore the parry (please). But for now I welcome Ultra Street Fighter IV with open arms, as I love me some Street Fighter IV and a big balance change will only encourage more interest in the title from the dedicated chaps still playing it. Anyone that watched the Daigo vs. Infiltration, or Infiltration vs. PR Balrog matches at EVO 2013 will attest that Street Fighter IV’s reign is far from over.
Besides, Ultra Street Fighter IV will only cost me £10 ish – a next gen Street Fighter would set me back closer to £550 – and I’m a cheap sod, so yay.
Every week I’ll upload a video of myself playing some ranked games in a fighting game to the best of my (in)ability. This week it’s Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition 2012.