Jojo's Bizarre Adventure notes 2

Anti-airs seem to be really strong in Jojo's, which I must say that I like. It forces footsies more to the ground, and forces the opponent to work/bait/trap a jump-in rather than getting it entirely for free. A huge breathe of fresh air from playing games like IaMP, SWR, and MBAC where you actually have to work much harder for your anti-airs than you do for your jumpins, taking risks for even half-decent anti-airs only to be punished for ridiculous damage if you were anticipated.

Unfortunately they aren't always intuitive. I use to think that activating Avdol's stand and doing back+A2 would probably be a guaranteed anti-air, but in practice it's much too slow to anti-air short jumps. It is, however, an incredibly good anti-air when the opponent airtechs into you, or you juggle oddly, or the opponent highjumps/doublejumps/whatever. But it's just much too slow to do on reaction to a shortjump.

Instead, Avdol and Midler can anti-air with their qcf+S moves. Midler's is a bit better IMO. But both work wonders since they can't be airblocked, are super fast, and have enormous hitboxes.

R.Soul and Kakyoin's are complete no-brainers though, since almost everything they have works as anti-air in some way or another. Incidentally though, R.Soul's qcf+A projectile and quite a few other projectiles can be used as anti-air in some cases, which really reminds me of Chun-Li, though it can be airblocked. But even better, Midler's qcb+A cadillac is an awesome prevention tool just like R.Soul's qcf+A projectile. However, I'm pretty sure the cadillac can't be blocked from the air and it has a incredibly gigantic hitbox, perfect for anti-airing on anticipation.

This is really strong for characters like Midler because they have such formidable ground games too. Quite a lot of her ground pokes are simply too good for players to reliably beat out on anticipation, and it's not likely to punish them on reaction due to the free-cancel rules in Jojos. Thus, even if you do anticipate one of her ground pokes and try to jump over it, she can just cancel it mid-animation into her qcf+S for a quick anti-air, and sometimes even as a counter to a ground counter-poke.

Oh, how I love this game.

One of the most amusing anti-airs I've found so far though is Mariah's. If she sets her stand on the ground you pretty much have to get rid of it somehow which potentially leaves you open while you're attacking it. You can't roll through it or she will throw you, and you can't jump over it or she will anti-air you. And even if she can't anti-air you, if you do a jumping attack then she can simply block and then pushblock you into the Stands electrical outlet. Far too beastly, I must say. Of course, empty jumping over the stand doesn't work either because then she can just go back to anti-airing you as normal, or waiting until the last moment to c.A1 you into the outlet. Basically, as soon as she has the outlet out you have to get rid of it or avoid it, there's not much else you can do.

Out of the characters I play, all of the have reliable anti-airs. I probably wouldn't play a character that didn't, though. Hence why I most likely gravitated to R.Soul first and foremost.

Oh anti-airs, how I have missed you so..

Basically, the game really does force you to be patient, tactical, observant, and use reaction more than anticipation, which I find extremely lacking in most of the modern games that I've played lately. I think SS5sp must be the only other game I've played lately that is also really patient and tactical, and that rewards much more for reaction than anticipation.

Of course there's nothing wrong with mindless rushdown and guessing games every now and then. But to me those types of games feel like a cross between a grind and a numbers game, rather than something fluid and strategical.




The concept of fuzzyguard exists in Jojo's. Many characters can use this to their advantage for a quick high/low, exactly like in Meltyblood. Except, in the case of Jojo's, fuzzyguard isn't performed with a doublejump. Instead, you perform a jumping attack, land, and then perform a while-rising jumping attack to hit the opponent high twice in a row. If they block low after the first jumping attack then then second jumping attack will hit them.

And, the reason this hits them is explained in the above linked video.

But I'll just explain it here a bit too. Basically, when you block something, you are forced to remain in that block animation until blockstun ends, or until the next attack connects. So if you block high, you will remain standing, and so you're pretty tall until either blockstun ends or you block/get hit during blockstun.

Therefor, even if you can't normally hit a crouching characters with a while-rising jumping attack, you most likely can hit a standing character with that attack. Because of this, what happens when the opponent incorrectly blocks a fuzzyguard is, first they block the jump attack high which locks them in a stand block (tall) animation for a moment, then they push down+back to block low, only to have the second jumping attack hit them in the head while they were attempting to block low. And once they are hit they instantly move into crouching hitstun state.

Characters like Chaka and Joseph can do such things by just jump attacking, landing, then jump attacking again on the way up.

Characters like R.Soul have a much more devious ability. Technically R.Soul's j.S won't hit a crouching Mariah or Iggy, but if they are first forced to block a j.A high then they will be standing tall enough for the j.S to hit regardless if they block it high or low. If they block it high then they again are put back into a standing blockstun state which allows R.Soul to potentially do a while-rising j.A which definitely only hits standing characters.

That let's him basically do two fuzzyguards in a row, kind of like something out of MeltyBlood, except much more effective.

And of course the mixup is that he could do a low instead of either fuzzyguard, such as; j.A1 c.A1 // or j.A1 j.S c.A1

The good news is that the defense for this is to, of course, anti-air them. Which as explained in the first part of this post is really reliable. Though another good defense to this is simply pushblocking, since it puts you out of range to do much else.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure notes 1

I've been playing Jojo's Bizarre Adventure more lately. I use to tinker with it on the DC (which is an arcade-accurate port), and then later with some friends.

But it wasn't until recently that nFBA finally picked up emulation support for it, since it was a CPS3 game. With that came P2P netplaying. And with that came support for 2DF netplay and GGPO netplay.

Course, I don't personally bother with 2DF or GGPO at the moment. I've been playing with a few people who I've met via IRC chats and such, which is enough for me since the competition is up to par.

Anyway, before I talk more about the nitty gritty in Jojo's I feel compelled to link this match on youtube. A fight between young Jojo and Shadow Dio, from the Jojo's Relax tournament in Japan.

That single video was what got me obsessed with the game and the story behind the game in the first place. And when I say obsessed, I mean I even went so crazy fanboyish as to read through the first three sagas of the Jojo's manga (j-comic).

Anyway, if you don't know anything about the game then you'll want to head over to GameFAQs.com and read the FAQ on the DC version. It's written by CJayC so the content is thorough and proper.

But, I'm interested in reviewing the things I've learned from experience with the game, beyond what is in the FAQ. Unfortunately this means that anyone who doesn't play the game probably won't get much out of these posts, and even then it's very likely that these notes are going to be a scattered and jumbled mess.




If you whiff a very laggy normal, like Mariah A3 or R.Soul A2, and the opponent throws you at any time during that normal, you still have the potential to throw-break (tech) out of the throw, even though your move was interrupted.

In other games if you are thrown out of a move you lose your throw break potential.

In Jojo's this applies to normals, specials, stand, and supers though.

So for example, even if you perform Mariah's qcb+AA super and it's blocked, you can still tech a throw if the opponent tries to throw you during the recovery (post block).

I think the only time you're not allowed to tech is during a roll.

But this means you can kara a tech attempt during another move. Such as c.A1~c.A3, provided you were holding down+back.

If you're thrown during the A1 while you're inputting the +A3 then you'll tech, and if you aren't thrown then the A1 will come out.

Also, it seems that throws are instant or 1F. Looks instant to me looking at the frames. And the tech window appears to only be 2F as well. Simultaneous throw attempts result in a throw break, and you are given 1F after the opponent's throw to break the throw (1F after catch frame).

That would probably explain why you guys are having so much trouble teching in netplay (I personally don't have any trouble since I play with people very close to me). It's not really a just-frame but a 2F window is still really really tiny.

More tidbits:

You can be thrown out of jump startup, at least by normal throws. R.Soul's vertical jump startup appears to be 5F, and he can be thrown during any of those 5F, including the last frame where he only has 1 foot near the ground and appears to already be airborne. Oddly, if you attack 1F after inputting the jump you apparently get off the ground faster and can only be thrown during the first 2F, reducing the jump startup by 3F. This suggests that walking backwards or maybe backdashing is much better than trying to jump out of a throw. But of course you're still very vulnerable to combos regardless.

The properties of being thrown on landing is even more bizarre. There appears to be a mysterious 5F gap where you can't be thrown, but you can be thrown for 1F before the gap. To elaborate, while you're landing, just before touching the ground there is exactly 1F where you can be thrown, then the next 5F you can't be thrown, then any time after those 5 you can be thrown. And these frames seem to persist as such regardless if you attack with a normal attack or not. Even if it happens to be a ground normal, you can't be thrown during those frames. Meaning you couldn't be thrown of of a just-frame c.A1 on landing because c.A1 is fast enough to come out before the throw inv. ends. Unless you were caught during that exact 1F before you even land.

Very strange.

You can't throw a stand that is "disconnected" to the owner. Such as qcf+S with Avdol or Kakyoin. But certainly the stand can throw the opponent. If the opponent techs that kind of throw then your stand gets deactivated. An amusing, though maybe useless, kara that you can do with this is when your stand is disconnected, go for a throw and then kara into qcb+S, if the throw works you'll throw and if it whiffs you'll go into tandem.

Characters with neutral stand attacks like Mariah, S.Dio, and R.Soul can do an additional option select kara with theirs. They can input a throw attempt and then immediately cancel it into a stand attack. Such as back+A3~S, if the throw succeeds they'll throw, and if it whiffs they'll do the stand move instead. While that's not particularly useful to Mariah I think S.Dio and R.Soul can get some use out of it. This is the same principal as special canceling a whiff normal attempt, but it's made easier by the fact that you can kara into the stand attack with these characters.

It seems when you land you can't throw the opponent for about 2F. That's still reasonable considering you have that 5F throw invulnerability on landing, so it just requires some timing to do jump-in throws (which I've personally noticed anyway).

You can be thrown out of backdashes.

After a roll you can't throw or roll again for about 11F (I think it's 11F). Which means roll->throw sucks.

You can't normal throw during a dash, but you can instead quick cancel your dash with a neutral stand activation and then throw, such as Avdol forward dash into stand activation into throw. But there seems to be a 2F window between the activation and when you're allowed to throw. But 2F is pretty fast anyway.

Characters that throw by using their stand are unable to throw if the stand is currently performing a move that disconnects them from the user. Like R.Soul and Midler are unable to throw while their stands are out doing an attack, such as R.Soul's projectile move or any of Midler's special or super moves.

This gives Mariah an interesting 1-up by comparison to the others, since her projectiles don't require her actual stand to do anything, and I don't think her throw even needs her stand anyway even if it did, so therefor she is able to spam the screen with lots of projectiles and chip away at the opponent, if they roll she can throw them out of the roll, and if they do not roll she gets block advantage and can do whatever she wants. It's really no wonder she's able to compete with the top tiers in the game even though she lacks a lot of the bullshit tools the rest of the cast has.

It makes me a bit curious who else can set up traps like these. I presume Y.Jojo, Hol Horse, and Avdol can, but I'm not sure about the rest of the cast.




You can't reversal roll through a meaty, and reversal throws lose to meaties as well.

There's such a mechanic in Jojo's that's referred to as crouch canceling. Which, really is exactly what the mechanic is. Some characters are able to cancel their light attacks much sooner than they should normally be able to by inputting a crouch some time during the recovery of the light attack.

Crouch cancels can also work in "reverse" and they also apply to many characters.

Mariah for example can do c.A1 A1 c.A2

or A1 A1 cc A2

or c.A1 A1 cc A2

You get the idea. Normally you can't go from c.A1 to c.A2 or A1 to A2, but cc's make it possible. But it feels more like a natural chain going from a standing to crouching move or visa versa but the trick is still that this is only possible due to crouch cancel rules.

Perhaps in the same vein as this, there's also kara techniques with stands. Two kinds, actually.

First kind is simply something that active Stand users can do, which is to press the S button to activate the stand at the exact same time as pressing an attack input, resulting in a seamless transition from unactivated neutral to activated attack.

Practical application of this is Midler's BNB combo, where you first perform an unactivated c.A1 then kara into activated c.A1 by pushing down+S+A1. The result is that she links her unactivated low kick into an activated Stand punch, allowing her to continue the combo with a stand chain-attack.

The second kind is just based on the rule that any normal move can at any point be canceled into a special or super at any point in the move, except during block/hit-stop. So from anywhere from first to last frame any move can be immediately canceled into special/super. With a few exceptions anyway (R.Soul seems to be able to cancel during hitstop and so probably blockstop too). That means you can intentionally whiff a normal move only to cancel it into something else. Practical applications of this are things like whiffing R.Soul A2 which is a very laggy move, only to cancel it into his catch-counter special move or b+S stand move or projectile move. Mariah and Hol Horse can also create projectiles with their normal moves, and the projectiles will persist as soon as the projectile itself becomes an object. So Mariah can do things like b+A2 to toss a knife then immediately cancel into a special or stand. Likewise Hol Horse can do b+A3 then cancel into a special or stand right as the bullet leaves the gun.




You can cancel your backdash into attacks, just like your forward dash. Seems backdashes contain no special properties at all, no invulnerability what-so-ever, they are literally just backwards-moving dashes. But anyway, this includes the crouching dash attacks, so like Young Joseph can do backdash c.A3 and get his slide instead of hopkick, or just backdash A3 and get a backwards-moving hopkick. Helps with anti-air spacing or roll punishment. Not many characters get full use out of it, but it's incredibly useful in certain other situations.

You can "cut" Mariah's dp telephone wire if you hit the cord. Also there's a difference between jump back into instant air j.S as apposed to shorthop backwards into j.S with her, the jump arc is significantly lower with shorthop. Your j.S can turn you around in the air, so you can like crossup and then j.S on the way down, or shortjump j.A2 then j.S on the way down and it will turn you toward the enemy on crossup/no-cross.

This is actually way more useful for Rubber Soul though. Mainly because it will also turn him physically around, and for a single frame his attack will persist before the stand move actually does anything. So for example you can jump over the opponents head and perform a j.A1 followed by a j.S, then as soon as you push the j.A you are turned around and his j.A1 will be turned around and active for exactly one frame, then the j.S comes out. If this hits it can combo.

However, there's another little quirk with this, in that you can perform a ground Stand attack even though your body is still in the air, provided you do it at the right time. That means he can instead do j.A1 followed by c.S right before touching the ground, and this will result in him turning around and performing the j.A1 for a high hit for one frame, followed immediately by the stand doing the c.S hitting low.

So, it gives R.Soul yet another crazy high/low mixup among his already beefy high/low and left/right arsenal.




Air guarding in this game causes to to be unable to perform any other action on the way down. This gives characters with multi-hitting moves or inactive stand users some interesting tools.

S.Dio, for example, can perform a j.A followed by j.S in the air, and if the opponent blocks the j.A then the j.S will force them to block for a bit longer in the air while S.Dio lands. S.Dio is then able to freely break the opponents guard with a ground-based anti-air. Since the opponent is unable to act and S.Dio lands first it's practically guaranteed, provided the opponent blocks the j.A in the first place.

This also allows characters to perform some interesting tech traps.

One of R.Soul's primary combos will launch the opponent into the air, and then the opponent is forced to make a decision. If they do not tech they will be taking additional damage and will most likely end up closer to the corner and will have lost momentum. The added risk here is that they may fall into a throw trap if they are not careful or be forced to deal with R.Soul's mixups anyway.

If they choose to air tech instead they are at the mercy of R.Soul anyway, who has gigantic Dhalsim-like attacks when using his Stand. Thus, even if they tech away from you/out of the corner you are able to dash and perform o.S which will reach them and anti-air them on the way down.

Of course, this becomes even more of a tricky dynamic when the character teching has a way of modifying their descent. For example, inactive stand users like R.Soul and Mariah can use their j.S to slow their descent. And some active stand users like Midler and Avdol have dive-kick type moves that modify their trajectory. I'm not sure, but I think some active stand users may also be able to doublejump, or in Kakyoin's case may be able to airdash in these situations.

Of course, predictable actions can be baited and punished when they are truely predictable, so it's rarely just a matter of a simple formality.

Also, it seems some active stand users break certain rules when their stand is currently active. Such as sweeps from R.Soul and Midler (AFAIK) will launch the opponent instead of knock them to the floor. They will be grounded as normal if their stand isn't activated, but launched if they have it activated.

This is particularly problematic for a character like Mariah who so heavily relies on her knockdown chain for okizeme potential.




As far as tier go, I've been assessing it for quite some time. I'm pretty certain of who the top tiers are. I would say:
- A: Devo, Kakyoin, Hol Horse
- B: Dio, Jotaro, Old Joseph, Vanilla Ice

After that I find that characters are all so close in general strength that they probably all fit into one bit C tier, with only one or two characters in a D tier if at all.

Honestly it's pretty hard putting just about anyone in a D tier though because even the crappy characters have quite good tools that allow them to compete. Pretty impressive when considering the cast is 21 characters. I say 21 because PetShop is generally banned, being a fairly broken character that would be S+++ tier on pretty much anyones list.

The problem is, like many unbalanced Capcom games, is having to deal with the extreme bullshit in the top A tier. I would say the tiers really closely resemble Garou:Mark of the Wolves. There's a pretty heavy gap between the A tier and the B tier, but not so much that even the C tier wouldn't be able to compete. It's just such a huge uphill battle full of agony and irritation.

Well, at least in my case I'm fortunate to have found some gaming partners that don't use any of the characters in the top A tier. I myself only play characters in the C tier as well, so we all have plenty of fun.

Overall I like the flow of this game. Pushblocking, guard reversals, low jumps, super jumps, dash momentum jumps, air techs, air blocking, guard breaks, guard crush, rolls, and how the stand system works is all pretty cool. I'm just really glad there's no such thing as rollcancels in this game.




It's pretty exciting, I'm currently interested in about 6 characters in the game and I may be able to take a liking to another character in the future. I suppose in order of preference: R.Soul, Mariah, Midler, Y.Jojo, S.Dio, and Hol Horse.

I very rarely play Hol Hourse because he's such a boring a cheesey bastard. I could see myself maybe picking up A.Polnareff or maybe Avdol. But it's hard to say if I ever will.




Midler's a dirty ho.

Chaining

It seems I always get hit with the really hard questions when questions arrive. The subjecting of cancelling normal attacks into other normal attacks was posed. Unfortunately, this is a really sticky subject. There's lots of ways this can be handled and each way has a really significant effect on how gameflow works.

For example, there's games like MeltyBlood that allow you to cancel any normal attack into any other normal attack. The rules that apply are basically that if the strength of the attack is lower than the previous then you get a damage penalty via timed proration.

Then there's games like GuiltyGear and the Capcom X-Men/Marvel series which allow you to cancel normals within specific rules. Generally you can cancel lower strength attacks into higher strength, or from punch to kick or visaversa.

And there's also games like Akatsuki or Jojo's Bizzare Adventure and various other games that allow you to either cancel or link light/weak attacks into medium attacks.

Then there's Vampire Savior. I put Vampire in the spotlight because the game uses special rules that I feel are rather interesting, though problematic for other reasons. First of all, the game allows you to do a "magic chain" like the Capcom X-Men/Marvel games where you go from punch to kick and from light to medium to heavy. Except that, if you cancel a normal into another normal, you are unable to cancel the second attack or any following attack into a special or super, except for very specific exceptions. Now, I know there aren't many people who read this blog, and those that do probably have quite a bit of gaming experience. But please bare with me.

The reason this is such a big deal is basically hit confirmation. But it's a good deal more than that, depending on the game and the characters, and several other factors. I don't think I can even begin to really portray the implications of hitconfirmation, unless you have experience in both the performing and receiving ends. But, I'll try.

To use a very extreme example, we can say that a game with totally free cancelability would/could result in some very tragic gameplay. Reason being, any hit that is blocked results in no punishment at all, and any hit that connects leads to several more hits which give the player more than enough time to realize that they are successfully hitting the opponent, which allows them to decide to cancel a hitting attack into a super (or special) for massively more damage.

Thus, we are back to the fighting game, where the players are attempting to hit the opponent as best they can without being hit in the process. The problem here is that the risk/reward ratio is incredibly unbalanced. But also, the ease at which you can take full advantage off success is also really unbalanced. What this results in is players using light attacks as much as possible with little to no risk, but with the reward of a full combo on successful hit, without any need to really pay attention to whats happening in order to recognize the situation where it's okay to super.

That might be rationalized by arguing about the subject of the first step. A better player will hit the opponent first, and therefor the better player rightfully reaps the rewards. But the bigger problem is that it doesn't end there. If you're able to combo off of anything and are able to combo into anything, then you are most likely able to get a knockdown which leads to mixups.

Again, in a most extreme situation we could say that a game would allow players to combo off any hit into any other hit, leading to a knockdown. And this leads to hitting in 4 different directions or throwing, which is a 5-way mixup. Either hitting from the upper left, upper right, lower left, or lower right, or throwing. Any of these hits, when successful, loop back into the same combo and knockdown and mixup.

This is how a lot of momentum-based games like GuiltyGear and often MeltyBlood pan out. Players fish for random attacks either in the air or on the ground. On successful strike/block they gain initiative/momentum which leads to them performing a series of attacks that can result in the opponent being hit, which results in a combo into knockdown, which results in a 5-way mixup and back into itself. Then add rever-safe meaties and you have a massively momentum-based game.

This isn't just limited to the newer games though. Games like SF3:3s have this as well. Such as Ken knocking the opponent down and going for a 5-way into super and back into another 5-way. But then, I've always said 3S was a highly momentum based game in the first place, even without normal-chains it's still possible.

But to put it into perspective, who really needs a 5-way mixup and normal chains when you have Chun-Li who has throw/low medium, where throw loops back into the same mixup and low medium is confirmable into super. A simple 2-way mixup rules that game simply because she can hitconfirm one of her options for about half your lifebar, and her other option resets the situation (so does landing a super, actually).

But, back to Vampire Savior. That game isn't without its flaws, but it also has a lot of really good mechanics as well. In this case, if you chain a normal you can only continue to chain it, but if you only use one normal then singular normals can be special/super canceled. That means hitconfirmation isn't brain-dead simple. You could confirm off a mixup, assuming the first successful hit was the jump-in high, and then you confirm that hit and combo into a ground normal and super. But if the hit was a low then you don't really have time to confirm it, so you have to chain.

But, outside the mixup situation we have the defender of the mixup and footsies. During both, the reward for mashing out low light attacks isn't as good as using a medium or heavy attack which are potentially confirmable into specials/supers. This is a good thing because the defender shouldn't be rewarded as much for just option-selecting a defense.

Here's the kicker though. A lot of players actually like/enjoy the mechanic when it's unrestricted. But eventually it gets to the point where it's not so fun anymore, since no one's having fun playing the game. For example, we could take a look at some 3D fighters that allow you to chain jabs, which confirms into a rekka, and the super cancel the rekka for super damage + knockdown. Given the choice, most players would prefer a character that could that as apposed to one that can't, but if the game is full of characters like that the game becomes really stupidly boring really fast.

So what about Akatsuki and Jojo's? Well, the answer should be clear. What you're able to combo off from a medium attack determines if the mechanic is good or not. It's like saying, what if we give Chun-Li the ability to chain c.LK into c.MK. Likewise, Mycale from Akatsuki and Devo/Kakyoin/O.Joseph from Jojo's get the ability to confirm light attacks into mediums, then super cancel for massive damage. But, other characters in both games have the ability to chain/link lights to mediums and aren't rewarded nearly as much for it (Mariah/Kanae).

But in my opinion this is just character balance trying to compensate for an unbalanced mechanic, causing huge rifts in tiers. Eventually time shows that the characters with the better cancels end up as top tier characters. But why would anyone want to play a hugely gimped character unless you find a very interesting/reasonable way to make that large of a compensation.

In closing, I'm rambling. So I stop now.