There are no games that require nearly as much practice to master than a fighting game. There are always several characters to use that possess countless move combinations, and deep systems that will take countless hours to master. On the one hand, I get endless hours of enjoyment watching people play these games: watching people who have mastered these games throw down is awesome. But on the other hand, I absolutely suck at them. However, at the same time I can’t get enough. Here’s my story of my attempts at mastering fighting games, and also what I’ve learned from each failure.
Dead or Alive 4
It all started with Dead or Alive 4. My friend and I would play it on his 360, though it mainly consisted of me watching him play. Dead or Alive is a fairly technical game with grappling and blocking being a fairly complicated affair. Besides that, the best combos are difficult to pull off, and take a whole lot of practice; especially if you want to be able to execute them in an actual fight. My friend had been playing the game for a couple years, and it showed. I, on the other hand, couldn’t do anything. I would throw a kick or two, but then get mercilessly beaten into the dirt while I failed at my attempts at blocking. What did I learn from playing Dead or Alive 4? Lots and lots of practice is key. I must have spent a couple dozen hours executing my favorite characters’ moves over and over trying to memorize them. Did it help when I went up against my friend? Not at all. I may have known the moves, but I couldn’t pull them off when in an intense situation.
Soul Caliber 4
My next true effort in a fighting game was with Soul Caliber 4. The first thing I learned was that most skills don’t transfer to other fighting games. Sure, I had gotten a lot more experienced at spinning joysticks and pressing the buttons quickly, but Soul Caliber is a very different game: the three-dimensional movement being the most significant of them. Not only that, but it also has significantly different systems. What did I learn from playing Soul Caliber? Every franchise is different. Even if you’ve mastered Mortal Kombat, you can’t just pick up Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and expect to be just as good. Out of all the fighting games I’ve played, I was by far worst at Soul Caliber 4.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
This was the first fighting game that I actual did well in. I think a large part of it was that I could play as some of my favorite comic book characters. This kept my interest as I practiced as each character, which in turn helped prepare me to react and counter their attacks. While this practice certainly helped, nothing helped more than getting my hands dirty and jumping into some real fights. While it’s great to learn moves in practice mode, it’s an absolute must to practice those moves in an actual fight. If you can’t use the moves you learned in an intense fight, you may as well have never learned them. That’s the greatest thing I learned from Injustice by far. That’s also why Injustice is my favorite fighting game. That, and because I can wreck everyone as Batman.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
I’m a Spider-man fanatic, and any game that allows me to play as him is one I will enjoy. I wasn’t terribly good at this one, but it’s a ton of fun regardless. The ridiculously intense and flashy fights make for some fantastic matches. This great aspect of MvC3 was also what made it incredibly difficult for me to master. This game is so fast that I couldn’t keep up. I also had a hard time getting moves down, which didn’t help at all. I can’t say I learned much from MvC3 except that you shouldn’t buy a game just because it has great characters in it. That, and that I’m terrible at inputting controls in a fight. Instead of spinning the joystick in a circle, I’ll end up clacking a triangle and ruining the move.
So that’s my mostly negative experience with fighting games. I still love them, but I suck at them all the same. I will persevere, however, and keep practicing. Are you great at fighting games, or agree with some of the things I said? Feel free to leave me some advice or comments in the comments section below. We at IM PLAYIN appreciate all the feedback you give us!