3D Fighters

Why do people play them? I don't really know. I can only assume certain things based on my own experiences.

I've played a number of 3D fighters against players of different skill levels, ranging from the average scrub to tournament placers and a bunch of players that fall somewhere in between. Yet somehow I still feel my experience with 3D fighters is extremely limited and I'm fairly in the dark as to why people play them or think they are fun or interesting. I don't feel I actually learned much of anything while playing them, which is probably why I don't like them at all.

Most of the 3D fighting games that I've played unfortunately boil down to extremely linear gameplay, mostly both players try to get point blank and perform moves with wonky hitboxes at wonky intervals or attempt to pin the opponents actions with high speed moves. Totally an attempt to "beat" out the player's attacks on anticipation, because apparently no one can reaction block to the high/low shenanigans or reaction counter to very fast light attacks or capitalize on footsies in general.

It certainly isn't mashing, no. But, to me it seems like a yomi game that's hard boiled and simplified. It's basically a constant barrage of Rock Paper Scissors. I mean really, I don't remember the last time I saw players actually utilizing mid-range gameplay in a 3D fighter. No baiting, no trapping, no zoning, no stagger/suki mixups off block, rarely any feinting. It really does seem like all anyone does is try to use the right hitbox at the right time -- a game of risk/reward.

Mixups aside, I don't think actual mindgames (not mixups) exist in any 3D fighters, but to be fair I haven't exactly explored them all to really know for sure.

Though I've said it before; I believe anyone can genuinely enjoy just about any game given the right circumstances regardless of how poor it is. While anything from RPS to chess might not be fun to play against a machine in, I think even something as base as just RPS can be enjoyed among friends. Especially when other circumstances are added in and things get hype. And I know we all have some friends that would much rather sit around and mash out some RPS than play a game of chess, right?

So, why am I posting this? Well, I often hear the counter-argument that 3D games "must be" more than "just-RPS" because players can do consistently well/poorly against one another so there must be more to it than random guessing. Well, that's right, but same with actual literal RPS. There's tournaments for RPS after all, and those players can be consistent too. So I'm afraid that counter-argument just doesn't sit with me. There is such a thing as being very good and consistent with educated guesses and reads. However, that doesn't mean there's any more depth to it than simply that, when you consider the rules of RPS.

So, I would personally like to hear about and see some examples of an ideal/good 3D fighter with more gameplay than "just that".

1 comment:

Crow Winters said...

Well I /only/ play mid/long range characters in SC, and I've placed tops at some really really big events, so I hope I'm qualified to talk about this. :D

I actually play a shoto in SC4, believe it or not, but that's pretty unique in 3D fighters in general so let's use something else instead. How about Rock! Rock is considered garbage tier but I still placed 7th out of 50+ in Chicago during SC3 regionals.

With Rock (and Berserker in SC2) I had a move- PT- that had a multiple number of spins, with the last hit giving me a knockdown/ringout. I could control how many spins I do (up to 4 in 2, 3 in 3) where I slide during the spins, and in 2, I could cancel the first spin at any point, up until it actually connects, into a grab. Rock bullied you around the ring, controlling and eating up space with this move and others. It didn't necessarily matter whether it hit or was blocked, what mattered was the momentum it carried and the space it ate up. Because I had other moves that had significant push out on block (although not so important in SC2, since the advance/retreat guard system mechanic altered pushout in that game) I had "traps" with the move, not in the sense of frame traps, but with baiting/zoning.

Which was pretty useful, because Rock (not so much Berserker, but I got too late into SC2 to really show off what he could do in that game) COULD NOT fight anyone up close.

There's a pretty intricate shakeable stun system in the SC series, always has been. Stuns put you in a crouching/counterhit state, but shaking a stun opens you up for standing grabs.

There's also a tech trap system in SC4 buuut I don't really like it. I think it has promise but it's pretty clear Namco never actually tested anything with it.

SC is def. a LOT more then rock paper scissors, especially since for most characters, lows are very, very weak. RPS can occur in any game, I think you're just kind of generalizing it because you never got into them. There's a completely different set of footsies you need in 3D games. Spaceing/Stepping is EVERYTHING in SC. Footsies trumps all. Everyone has different side step, run, and backdash speeds. Everyone has certain moves that cover to one side and not the other, etc. There's a lot going on in the footsies department that is certainly not "linear". As someone that plays a character that pretty much ONLY was capable of winning because of footsies, I can vouch for that.