Thursday, April 29, 2010

Episode 3: A Certain SSF4 Experience


Which will probably be one of my shorter entries I'm just going to talk about my experience with Super Street Fighter 4. Now I won't go onto the history of SF since it goes without saying, but I will go over my opinion on the game.

First of all I will say that I did get on the hype train when SF4 was coming out and I thought it would be a SF game I could enjoy with the rest of the community....boy was I wrong. All SF4 showed me was that the standard SF engine just doesn't cut it for me. I could get past all the dumb shit everyone bitched about (lack of blockstun, mashable jabs, FADC Ultra, Sagat, DP trade ultra, Sagat, character design, Sagat,slow paced, Sagat, overall scrubiness, and Sagat.) in SF4 because lets face it...every fighter has dumb shit. I honestly didn't have any fun outside of playing Viper and she was too hard for me to have fun in a game I honestly didn't care about. I also found it to be pointless to try to get into a game I didn't have fun with for the sake of it being popular...which is funny because just about everyone in my scene hated SF4 in the grand scheme of things. Now with that said....most of them are back on the hype train for Super Street Fighter 4. Now with that you think I got on the hype train and leave MB in the back burner? Nope, MBAA is still my main game and I'm still 100% focused on that.

Now onto SSF4. To tell you the truth I really didn't give this game the time of day. With SF4 leaving a very bad taste in my mouth and MBAA already out I really didn't have a reason to play this game...until Ibuki was announced. At that point I decided to follow her and see how she turned out. Well when it turned out she was shaping up to be good I actually though "Hmm ok...I guess I could give it another shot. I mean I enjoyed Ibuki in 3rd Strike and she seems to be so good. She could possibly make a ultimately boring game...exciting? huzah!?" As the days got closer and as more info came out I was actually getting ready to board the hype train. Everyone and their mothers were getting excited, checking out new info on the was as if the hate for SF4 went away. I got skeptical when multiple people were saying "If you didn't enjoy SF4 then you will not enjoy SSF4." Well a couple of days ago I was actually CONSIDERING BUYING SSF4 based on the hype it was getting from friends and wel...everyone else was playing it so why not? Well I also considered that if I didn't have fun with the game it was ultimately pointless to try and force myself to like it like 75% of the SF4/SSF4 community so I was going to hold out until I played it. Well Tuesday I got went to a session at Frank's place and he was having SSF4 there. Well I figured...what the hell, may as well give it a shot now before I chuck $40 down the drain. Well I'm GRATEFUL that I went to his place and played it before I decided to buy it because I was NOT having any fun and every time I played a set I just thought "why am I not playing MB?"

One of my biggest problems I have with the game is the speed. EVERYONE says that the game is undoubtedly faster. Well when I was watching match vids and watching people play in person, and even PLAYING the game it didn't seem faster at all. To me the game speed was EXACTLY the same and my character Ibuki just seemed like she was walking in mud. I know it's SSF4 and not 3S, but I expected her to be agile like she was in 3rd. Like she has all the HJCs and momentum shifts with Kunai (sans EX version), but it just restricted. Like I'm told Ibuki and Guy are some of the faster, if not fastest characters in the game, but they just seem to be turtles in a pack of snails. Yeah they MAY move faster than the rest of the cast, but it doesn't say much. My biggest problems with it me, it just seem like SF4 with more characters and ultras. I know people are going to find dumber shit that'll just replace the dumb shit in SF4 and all that good stuff, but none of the stuff they "fixed" seemed to make the game funner for me. I dunno, I guess the standard SF engine (games like CvS2, ST, and 3S sans Ibuki) just don't really interests me or suit me. Yes, I can respect high level games for A3, CvS2, ST, 3rd, even SF4 for what they are...but none of those games just really aren't my cup of tea and I can not bring myself to force myself to like or enjoy a fighter just because it's whats popular. Just like what 75% of what the community has done and what they're doing now with (S)SF4.

Anyways, just a litte rant. Will probably write up my thoughts on something like the MB scene or something since I'm not going to ECT2 and saving up for SBO qualifiers at ArcadeUFO. No I don't plan on entering BBCS (SBO qualifier), but I want to support Fubarduck and his arcade by entering Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Episode 2: A *Certain* Final Round Experience!


Ok, it's been what...2 weeks since I made a new entry? Yup, long over due for another one. Well with that said, I should *FINALLY* get to my experience at Final Round XIII.

Final Round XIII took place in Atlanta, GA during Mar. 12th-14th. This was my first major in a bit over a year and it was my first MBAA major since the game came out. Due to reasons beyond my control I was -unfortunately- missing out on Northeast Championships X. Well anyways...after a long 6 1/2 hour drive from Raleigh and getting stopped by police for speeding (don't ask :P) I finally made it to the hotel that was housing Final Round. Well the first thing I did was setup my two hotel rooms for MBAA. Yes, I really needed to buy 2 rooms for this weekend because so many people decided not to reserve a room and/or the people who were reserving a room ended up not showing up for one reason or another. Well after setting my rooms up I called over Silent Shinobi and told him to tell everyone I was at the hotel and if people wanted to play some games just stop by. started out small at first with only a handful of people stopping by (Choco, Doren2K, and Shinobi to name a few) and we only had one setup at the time so rotation was taking a while.

Remember my last post where I was talking about performance anxiety, yeah? Well it hit me HARD. I was feeling so anxious that I really was afraid of playing against people that REALLY wanted to play my F-Ciel. Like, I sort of had this feeling that the people who were entering the tournament had this super high expectation of me. Whether that may or may not have been true...I don't know. Well anyways, after my casual matches with Shinobi, Choco, Doren, and the other 8 people in there I was feeling a bit better about myself...although not 100%. Which was bad for me considering I had a team tournament the next day.

Well after a afternoon of casuals it was the team tournament. I ended up teaming with Cajunstrike and P-Soul (C-Mech player I talked about in my last post). I was sort of glad that they had me playing anchor position because I was feeling anxious all over again now that the tournament pressure was on. It was me trying to get back into the groove of things since I was just getting back into the tournament scene...although it didn't happen till much later. Well after a couple of sets where I didn't have to play, I decided to step up and play out my first match. I forget who's team we were playing against and granted I ended up winning, it was not a pretty site. My movement was all sorts of janky, my blocking was weak, dropped a couple of combos I shouldn't have dropped, and overall...I just felt so flustered. Granted to say I was NOT going to live that down so for our next match I decided to play first. I can't really explain it, but at this point it sort of just came back to me. I felt as though my movement was as it should've been, I was hitting all my combos, blocked what I knew what was coming, and just felt relaxed. At this point we were playing team 'Bama (Solidplay, Silent Shinobi, and Doren2K). I ended up beating Solidplay pretty convincingly with overwhelming my Ciel pressure. I was barely able to scrape out a win against Silent Shinobi's H-Arc. We kept going back and forth to the final round and I managed to pull the win. Started getting into trouble with Doren2K and F-Miyako. I don't know what it was about it, but I just couldn't get a good read on it. Like when we played last night during casuals I was able to break his defenses and start my rushdown, but this time I could hardly hit him and if I did it wasn't a hit I was able to capitalize on. So instead I ended up losing that match and eventually out team got reverse OCV'd into losers.

IIRC at that point we had to play team "Live to Win" which consisted of B.Z.B, Frank the Tank, and Pacstrife. I decided to go first again fighting Pacstrife first. At this point I was just in the zone. Everything was clicking with my mind and what I was doing on the screen. He was using H-Tohno which took me by surprise considering I've never seen his H-Tohno before that moment. It really didn't matter because I was able to pull out the win. My match after that was against Frank the Tank's C-Warc. Now I won't lie...if I thought I was going to lose at this point it was to this guy. See when I got back I played him before the Lucky's tournament in February and it was pretty bad. I really had no idea how to fight his C-Warc and he was steamrolling me badly. Well it was different this tournament. I actually beat his C-Warc 2-0 by just staying patient and trying to stay away from the corner and blood rings. It also helped that I didn't try and challenge his J.B since that pretty much beats whatever F-Ciel is doing in the air for free...and I shielded him...a lot. After that match I had to go up against B.Z.B's H-Roa. Now this match I KNEW I was going to lose. I still wasn't able to exactly read his H-Roa, even after playing him countless times before this tournament. It also didn't help that this character is just lame. Great pressure strings, air control, ground control with lightning and SOKU DAROU! ETC. He's also one of those characters that forces you to block EVERYTHING until you can just see a opening in his if the H-Roa is solid that isn't going to come around anytime soon and by the time you realize it you're about ready to be guard crashed so you're stuck with making a risky decision that could possibly cost you.

Now onto the actually went closer than I expected. Granted I still lost...I didn't get *completely* scraped. I ended up losing the match 1-2 with it being pretty close from what I remember. We still ended up winning the round with Cajunstrike taking him out and ultimately eliminating Live to Win. Our next and ultimately final match would be battle for Grand Finals. We had to play against team 'Bama again. I decided to go first again and I had to play Solidplay again. This time the match was MUCH closer. It went 2-1 with me almost losing. My next match against Silent Shinobi however did a complete 180. I ended up getting outplayed and losing the match. Although P-Soul was able to keep us alive by beating him Doren2K sent us out of the tournament by beating both P-Soul and Cajunstrike. So...with all that said...we finished 3rd out of 11 teams. Not too bad, although I wished we could've at least got 2nd and played on stage <_<.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand if you think that's all...boy you couldn't be anymore wrong. That was only day 1! We still haven't gotten to day 2.....SINGLES!


Well at this point I was *completely* feeling it. I knew I could at least make top 3 and no one was going to stand in my way. Now...I could be productive and talk about EVERY match I played in singles, but I really don't feel like typing that much and I really doubt you guys feel like reading all that much longer so instead I'm going to talk about my two biggest matches...Winners and Losers Finals.

First up...Winners!

I had to play Doren2K in Winners Finals and man I was a bit upset, because I KNEW I was going to lose this match. After what happened in the teams tournament I sort of convinced myself that I wasn't beating Doren2K and that's exactly what happened...I didn't beat him.

Now what took me off guard was that he didn't use F-Miyako against me...instead he used Crescent. I played a little bit of his C-Miyako Friday before teams and I'd like to say I did alright considering I've never played it before. Now in that video...well let's just say he was able to keep me off of him EVERYTIME I tried to get in on him. Also her mixup game is much more dangerous in C as opposed to F so that also took me getting used to. I was almost able to take him a couple of rounds, but as you can see I just got outplayed.

Now onto my next and *spoiler SHOCK!!!* final match. LordKnight vs. Myself in Loser Finals.

Now oddly enough...this match I had a feeling that I could win. Like I could honestly say I wasn't afraid of LK's H-Kohaku. Not saying it was bad, because his H-Kohaku is great, but IMO playing that made me realize just how *not* threatening her offense is outside of her command grab and even then it's not really that because after all the Reverse Beats and proration the damage she gets off of it is pretty weak...although what's threatening is the mixup she gets afterwards. The only other thing that's a threat is her overhead sword swipe that looks like a low :| . Outside of those two things whenever he got on the offense I just held down-back and just waited it out...except there were times I waited for TOO long and ate a command grab. Now even though I still lost, I would say my lost was more so due to me missing out on punishes I *knew* I had, but for some reason or another just dropped them as opposed to just outright getting beat. Now what really annoyed me in this match was the fact that if LK had 100% meter he would CONSTANTLY bunker out instead of just waiting it out. Although it's very well a viable tactic and he was smart for doing that instead of just taking the pressure and taking the risk of getting hit...doesn't change the fact it was a bitch to deal with. Also, another I have to note on is his habits. Now not to say he's a bad player or anything like that because he isn't...that couldn't be anymore wrong, but I did talk to Kensou and Kidviper about this (Two US SBO qualifiers for Blazblue CS). While he's very damn good on his offense and his neutral game is also very seems like he plays the game in the air a lot using the most safest air normal that character has (H-Kohaku...J.B. Litchi...J.C (staff) ). Also the fact that his defense is probably his weakest area. Now again...not talking down on him...especially about BBCS because I have yet to see him play BBCS, but if he's placing 2nd at SBO quals then he isn't obviously with that said, the reason why I brought up Kensou and Kidviper was because...he plays the EXACT same way in both BBCS and MB. Now speaking in terms of MB...I was able to see that going back and watching our matches. Whenever he didn't have meter to bunker out I was pretty much getting some type of BNB or throw to open his defense and he would most likely stay in the air using J.B as his air to air as expected considering that's H-Kohaku's strongest air to air normal. I can't exactly knock him for it because it obviously works for him and his character, but if I ever had to play him again in a future I would definitely say I would be able to take it to the last game (like I should've IF I didn't miss the final punish in game 4 <_< ) and *possibly* beat him.


Now with all that said...I think it would be best to say that me placing 3rd at FR reminded the MB community that I still played MB and knew how to play. I know that after a year + some months I sort of fell off the radar without going to tourneys ( thanks to real life) and it was honestly great meeting up with new faces and faces I haven't seen in 2 years. The ride to Gladys and Ron's was nothing but epic moments there and back, me sporting the pac-man hat was hype and just the overall tournament experience reminded me why I love playing Melty Blood and why I love travelling out to these tournaments. Even though I didn't get 1st or even 2nd I was satisfied with myself knowing that I can still hang with some of the top players and even with a lot of the new up and comers in this game.

Well...that's it. I hope you enjoyed it. I'll do another write-up sometime this week. Although I don't know if it'll be anime or the upcoming East Coast Throwdown 2 tournament next month.

See ya!