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Fighting Games

My first three hours with Street Fighter V were immensely satisfying

Jun 11 // Alessandro Fillari
Street Fighter V (PC, PlayStation 4 [previewed])Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomRelease date: TBA 2016 Once Street Fighter V is released, it'll be looked back on as a point in the series for many firsts. For starters, SFV is the first title in the series that will be available on only one console, but will also feature cross-play with the PC release. This is a big thing, as each platform for the previous installments tended to build its own microcosm of players. Not only will they play against each other, they'll share the same patches and updates, which will keep them together and competing regardless of the platform they choose. Moreover, Capcom is ensuring that online play will smooth and swift as ever with its new proprietary netcode called Kagemusha. Using some sophisticated rollback-based netcode, the developers are invested to ensure that the online play is consistent and hassle free. This is also the first in series to utilize the new and ever-versatile Unreal Engine 4. Though there were some concerns about whether or not Unreal could handle a title as twitch-based as SF, given the past iterations of the engine had difficulties with rendering and maintaining a solid frame rate, thankfully my time with the new fighter has made me a believer in the tech employed here. Not only are the visuals incredibly sharp and full of vibrant colors and details, the performance is rock solid. Simply put, this is the best Street Fighter has ever looked, and these images, nor the trailers, can match having the game played right in front of you. But enough about the fancy visuals; you want to hear how it plays. Of course, with every follow up to a massively popular and well-loved title, there comes the ever important question: what did they change? As you could likely tell from the trailers, Street Fighter V looks very similar to its predecessor, taking advantage of the same mechanics, like EX moves for instance, but also the similar focus on defensive gameplay (SFIV's Revenge Gauge). Street Fighter V definitely maintains those elements, but does them in a way that makes them feel unique to this installment. For instance, the Super Moves have now been upgraded to the new Critical Arts, which still require full EX Meter. While many of the signature moves are the same (Ryu's Shinku Hadoken and Chun-Li's Hoyokusen, for instance), the Critical Arts are more deadly and flashier than the supers of past. What I was surprised most by was that it goes further and features echoes to past SF titles -- even some influences from Street Fighter III and the Alpha series. While I initially thought they were just call-backs relevant to the characters (particularly the appearance of Nash), I found that the developers have essentially incorporated many elements that were successful from past titles, sometimes re-contextualizing them in interesting ways. After playing SFV, it was readily apparent that the previous trailers and footage we've seen haven't done the game justice one bit. Especially when you realize that they've been keeping one of their game-changing mechanics a secret. And it's one of the most interesting, engaging systems the series has seen in a long time. With the new Variable System, fighters can take advantage of multiple tactics and abilities that stem from the V-Gauge, an evolution of the Revenge Meter. As they build up bars of the gauge from taking damage or executing special V-Skills (character-specific support moves activated with MP+MK), they can use moves such as the V-Reversal, a powerful counterattack activated while blocking and pressing all punch or kick buttons (at the cost of one V-Gauge bar). But once you max out the meter, you can activate the special V-Trigger (HP+HK), which brings out the fighter's true potential. Despite some speculation, V-Triggers are not stance changes. The Trigger puts the fighters in a unique state for a short amount of time, where they can take advantage of unique buffs and some modified moves. Each character has their own unique take on the Variable System, which not only adapts to their own style, but does a lot to flesh them out. During my three hours of play, I got the impression that Street Fighter V is planning on enhancing the in-game narrative a bit by reflecting more of personality in the gameplay than ever before. For instance, Ryu's take on the system is influenced by his experience as a world-traveled warrior, and during his time, he's educated himself on different fighting styles, giving him the knowledge on how to best confront whoever he faces. In order to give you a better idea of what the Variable System is like, I'll be giving you an overview of things for the four playable characters we know of so far. Starting with Ryu, his V-Skill, called Mind's Eye, brings the return of the legendary Parry mechanic from Street Fighter III. For the novices out there, Ryu can time his skill at the exact moment of contact to block off enemy hits with no chip-damage -- and yes, it can be used for successive hits. Though in order to keep it balanced, it's unusable in the air. Once his V-Gauge is maxed out, he can activate his V-Trigger Denjin-Renki, imbuing him with a powerful aura for a limited time and grants him the ability to charge up his fireballs, giving them guard break potential. Also, his fireballs are given lightning properties, and when they connect you'll see brief flashes of the enemy's skeleton. It's a neat visual callback to SFII. Chun-Li's Variable mechanics focus on her maneuverability and dexterity during battles. As one of the more agile and aerial gifted fighters in the game, her Variable moves play on her strengths in a big way. For instance, her V-Trigger ability Ren-Kiko puts her in a powered-up state and gives her special moves extra hits. Her V-Skill, called Ren-Kyaku, is essentially a command jump that allows her to manually jump in any given direction. While this may seem like an odd skill, this command jump causes damage while leaving the ground and gives her ease of movement for some exceptional cross-up potential. The guys from Capcom I played against used Chun-Li quite effectively, and I left in awe of her acrobatics. It even made me want to shout out 'eh, eh, eh!' during her air juggles. Next up, we have the return of Guile's mentor and best friend Charlie. Since his last appearance in Alpha 3, things aren't the same for Charlie, who now goes by Nash. His new look shows that he's a changed man after his experimentation and torture by the hands of Shadaloo, and many of his former abilities have been modified, adopting a focus on swiftness and gap-closing maneuvers. His V-Skill, known as Bullet Clear, allows for him to absorb incoming projectiles and turn them into energy for his V-Gauge. For his V-Trigger, Nash does something a bit different. While many other characters enter a timed state that enhance moves, his trigger allows him to instantly teleport to a desired direction at the cost of his V-Gauge. Though this may seem a bit hefty of a cost for a teleport move, his V-Trigger can open up foes to a world of hurt if timed during a barrage of projectiles, leaving them vulnerable from behind or even in the air. By far, I had the most fun with Nash. He feels totally different from before, as his previous incarnations borrowed from Guile's moveset, and I'm pleased to say that he's truly come into his own for SFV. Lastly, we have M. Bison. As the main villain for much of the series, he's seen a bit of an upgrade since his last appearance. While older and a bit slower than his previous incarnations, he's still got plenty of tricks up his sleeve. With a far more menacing appearance, the leader of Shadaloo uses his Psycho powers to a far deadlier effect. With his V-Skill, called Psycho Reflect, he's able to conjure up a field of energy to bounce back projectiles and force them back at his enemies. As a charge-focused character, also sporting a modified movelist, this comes in handy when dealing with projectile-heavy opponents. With his Psycho Power V-Trigger, his abilities come into full effect, granting him increased speed and damage for special moves, and replacing his standard dash with a short-range teleport. I was impressed with what the Variable system brings to the table. In Street Fighter IV, the Revenge Gauge was only used to build your Ultra Combos, which for a lot of the skilled players often went unused. Thankfully, Street Fighter V makes better use of the mechanic here by making it a more active element during fights. The system added a whole layer of nuance to an already tried and true system, and I was super pleased with how easy it was to pick up. Though you've likely seen the phrase "easy to learn, difficult to master" thrown out a lot for games, I feel SFV lives up to that in a big way. I suspect many of the pros and hardcore fans will have fun analyzing the depths of the Variable System. It should be stated again at how gorgeous this game looks in motion. The frame rate was solid, and the new visuals have given the characters a greater level of detail. Though in some spots, it's clear that the game has still got things to work on. During the London stage, which looks incredible by the way, the background visuals didn't quite match up with what was going on in the foreground. For one, the frame rate was a bit off with the background action, which became a major distraction during battles running at 60 frames per second. But of course, this title is still a ways off, and it'll likely be cleared up before release. I have fond memories of growing up with Street Fighter II back in the day, and although I've kept with the series since, there were only a few titles that really blew me away and actively got me to up my game in order to compete with friends. Now am I saying that SFV matches those moments I had as a kid? Of course not. I only played a few hours of an unfinished build without the complete roster, after all. But what I did play showed a ton of promise, and honestly, I haven't felt this excited about Street Fighter in a long time. It's a great feeling having a new game in the wings, and I'm just itching to get back into the thick of it. Be sure to check back with Destructoid during the week of E3. We'll likely see more exciting titles from Capcom at the show. It's certainly going to be a good lineup this year.
Street Fighter V photo
Kick, Punch, it's all in the mind
After nearly thirty years, the Street Fighter series has still been going strong. With more incarnations than most people can remember, the series is seen by many as the quintessential example of what the fighting game genre ...

Dragon Ball Z photo
Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden rated in AU, western release likely


From Arc System Works
Jun 09
// Chris Carter
Arc System Works has been busy crafting Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Botuden, a new 2D fighting game that looks pretty kickass. There wasn't a whole lot of information that led us to believe there would be a western release anytime...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Doujin fighter Yatagarasu finally arrives July 7


At long last!
Jun 08
// Kyle MacGregor
It's taken two years, but the wait is nearly over. Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm, the new fighting game from a small team of former King of Fighters developers, is hitting Steam July 7 for $14.99. Originally planned for a Fe...
Super Smash Bros. photo
Super Smash Bros.

Sakurai will host a Super Smash Bros. presentation on June 14


7:40 a.m. PT
Jun 08
// Chris Carter
Nintendo has just sent us word that there will be a special Super Smash Bros. presentation on June 14, at the oddly specific time of 7:40AM PST (11:40AM EST). That's this Sunday, set directly before Bethesda's first E3 confer...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Tekken 7 will require a DualShock 4 at EVO 2015


Even though it's an arcade build
Jun 05
// Chris Carter
If you're heading to EVO this year to participate in the Tekken 7 tournament, you may want to add an extra checkbox to your packing list. According to Mad Catz community manager Mark Julio, you will need a DualShock 4 to...
BlazBlue photo
BlazBlue

BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend is coming this month


Aksys Games localizing
Jun 05
// Chris Carter
Want to get your hands on BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend? It's getting localized this month actually, set for a June 30 release date on PS3, PS4, Vita, and Xbox One, compliments of Aksys Games. Extend is an updat...
Lucas photo
Mark your calendars
Nintendo of Europe appears to be the gatekeeper of all Super Smash Bros. info, as it tends to announce everything first. Today, it has revealed that Lucas will make his way into Smash as 3DS and Wii U DLC on June 14...

íMas Butoden!  photo
íMas Butoden!

Another trailer for the new 2D Dragon Ball Z fighter


Mas Butoden!
Jun 05
// Steven Hansen
Gosh, it was so hard to get more than a boring Goku on Vegeta still out of the new Arc System Works 3DS fighter for months. Then there was the meaty 8 minutes and cheese head lady. And now here's another commercial. Makes sense. It comes out next week in Japan. And remember, the fan-made Dragon Ball Z fighter still looks amazing.
Guilty Gear photo
Guilty Gear

Guilty Gear's newest fighter Jack O will debut in Xrd Revelator


She looks awesome
Jun 03
// Chris Carter
Arc System Works is developing a follow-up to Guilty Gear Xrd called Revelator, which will add fan favorite Johnny to the cast. But there's also an additional special mystery character on the way, which is now confirmed as "J...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Tanya in Mortal Kombat X has my favorite Fatality yet


And there's a lot of competition
Jun 01
// Brett Makedonski
When Tanya joins the Mortal Kombat X cast tomorrow, I think she'll bring with her my favorite Fatality I've seen so far. It's simple, elegant in a way. You know, as elegant as you can be while creating a person-sized ca...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct's Shadow AI mechanic is insanely detailed


Amazing
Jun 01
// Chris Carter
I feel like I'm always gushing about Killer Instinct on Xbox One, but that's partially because it defied expectations and carved a very nice niche for itself inside the FGC. Ever since launch its co-development team has...
Capcom UK photo
Capcom UK

Learn all about M. Bison in Capcom UK's World Warriors series


17 straight minutes of Bison
May 29
// Chris Carter
Capcom UK has a series called "The World Warriors," where they discuss the background of a Street Fighter character, and delve into some pretty neat info. You'll find out where M. Bison came from design-wise, and little...
Kazumi Mishima photo
Kazumi Mishima

Kazumi Mishima is heading to Tekken 7, and she has a freaking tiger


She looks awesome
May 29
// Chris Carter
Kazumi Mishima will be playable in Tekken 7, Bandai Namco has announced, and man does she look formidable. In addition to sporting a pretty awesome fighting style she also can call upon a freaking tiger to do her bidding. Pr...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct closes out Season 2 with Aria


A successful season, I'd say
May 28
// Chris Carter
I'm glad that Killer Instinct was able to rise above the monumental bad press it obtained pre-launch. It really stands on its own as a fighting game, and I'm excited to see it played at tournies across the country, incl...
Guilty Gear XX Steam photo
Guilty Gear XX Steam

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R's netcode is passable on PC


It works at least
May 27
// Chris Carter
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Guilty Gear Xrd photo
Guilty Gear Xrd

Guilty Gear Xrd is getting a follow-up called Revelator


Here's Johnny
May 27
// Chris Carter
I really enjoyed Guilty Gear Xrd on PS4. It was smooth, it looked beautiful, and mechanically, it was sound. But people really took issue with the limited cast, and wanted more. Arc System Works is partially addressing t...

Yep, Ultra Street Fighter IV on PS4 sure looks great

May 26 // Chris Carter
[embed]292798:58682:0[/embed] At this point there are 44 characters in all, and you can select a fighting style from every different iteration of the game. It's pretty comprehensive, but again, most people aren't going to dig into all of the configurations for every fighter. In other words, if you already have a previous version of Ultra, especially on the PC, you'll probably just want to stick with that, as it's proven to work well at this point. 1080p60 on a console is nice, and only the most trained veterans will be able to notice the minor input lag from the previous generation to the PS4 -- since it's going to be the new de facto build for tournies, you can only assume this will be patched soon, but nothing has been confirmed yet from Capcom. The menus are a bit slower compared to other versions, which seems like a bug -- still, it's not a dealbreaker unless you compete at a high level. In terms of my netcode testing, all of the matches I've played have been very smooth. My main issue has been finding games, which you can likely chalk up to a launch-day "wait and see" crowd. I can't predict the future in terms of the adoption rate on PS4, but so far I don't have any major issues to report. We'll update you if that changes. Oh, and as community member Beelz points out, PS4 USFIV is the standard for this year's EVO. Ultra Street Figher IV [PSN]
Ultra Street Fighter IV photo
But there's a few bugs to squash
[Update: Players have been reporting various bugs with the PS4 version across the net. While I didn't encounter any of these in my roughly 20 hours of testing outside of the ones mentioned here, it's important to be aware of ...

Fighting games and roguelikes are my personal school of hard knocks

May 26 // Nic Rowen
Titles like The Binding of Isaac, FTL, Nuclear Throne and (my latest obsession) Darkest Dungeon make it their business to stymie and frustrate your futile attempts to get to the credits screen. They delight in throwing a wrench into the works, tearing apart promising looking runs or dungeon crawls with a few merciless rolls of the RNG. They move around the win conditions and goalposts from the traditional idea of “I gotta get to the end and dunk on the last boss!” to “oh God, please just let me survive a little longer this time.” Victory isn't just marked by, well, victory, but by discovery and learning. Seeing a new enemy, figuring out a new trick or strategy, and learning to avoid whatever awful thing killed you last time. Those small successes are what dubs a run a win. It's tough to turn that switch that demands progression off in your brain. It has been dutifully conditioned by years of games where victory is the expected outcome. But it's those wild unfair swings in a roguelike that completely mess you up that makes them so satisfying. The emotional roller-coaster of suddenly losing a beloved party member, or picking up an item that completely gimps your current build, or getting screwed by a few unlucky rolls that leave you facing almost certain doom. These factors that push you out of your comfort zone and force you to come up with new strategies broaden your horizons, you have to think about the game and really consider all of your options rather than relying on one or two recipes for success. Those runs that truly are hopeless? Well, they just let you appreciate the good ones a little more. It took me a long time to realize it, but fighting games are much the same when you get right down to it. While you always want to win a fight, just adding more notches to your W/L ratio isn't, and shouldn't be, the goal. What you really should be aiming for is learning. When Street Fighter IV came out, I was very hot-to-trot for some online play. I remembered dominating at SFII in grade school, all the hours I sunk into collecting every ending in Alpha 3 on the PS1, the times I used to rush through Marvel Super Heroes on one quarter in the arcade. I thought I was good at fighting games, and was looking forward to a chance to prove it. I swagged online like I was O'Hara from Enter the Dragon, obnoxiously breaking boards in front of Bruce Lee like it meant something. My fights ended up going about as well as his did -- Boards, and CPU opponents, don't hit back like the real deal. [embed]292757:58670:0[/embed] I'll be completely honest, I almost quit playing fighting games at that point. Nobody likes to lose, especially when you're losing at something that used to be a point of pride for yourself. Thankfully, despite its rough and tumble exterior, the fighting game community actually has a great attitude about these things. EVERYBODY loses. It's what you take away from those losses and how you come back from them that defines you as a player. Shortly after SFIV came out, I was introduced to David Sirlin's Playing to Win, a book that is all about the philosophy of fighting games and is as close to a bible for the fighting game community that exists. I remember when I first read it I distinctly thought “this guy is an asshole.” Playing to Win can be a very abrasive read if you come from a background of playing fighting games for fun. If you ever thought your next door neighbor was cheap for constantly sweeping in Mortal Kombat 2, or angrily called someone a “spammer” for repeatedly tossing out fireballs from across the screen, or think there is such as thing as too many throws in one round (a philosophy I can no longer recognize except in direct reverse), Sirlin's opinions will probably rub you the wrong way. These self-imposed rules and ideas about how the game should be played are the foundation for what he considers a “scrub mentality,” a mental framework that will always limit how far you can go in fighting games, and ultimately, how much joy you can derive from them. Embarrassingly, I saw a lot of that “scrub mentality” in myself. The way I'd get angry at “coward” Guile players for tossing endless sonic booms, or frustrated with people constantly choosing the blatantly over-powered emperor of Muay Thai, Sagat, for easy wins. But when you stop looking at what other players are doing as “cheap,” and start looking at your losses as learning experiences rather than straight out defeats, a lot of that frustration evaporates. It takes real effort and time, but when you internalize that outlook, fighting games become less stressful, more enjoyable, and infinitely more beautiful. Of course people are going to throw sonic booms as Guile, he's a machine made by the Air Force to do exactly that. It may be true that Sagat (or whatever character) is over-powered and easier to win with and disproportionally popular as a result, but how can you blame people for making a choice that will tip the odds in their favor? You have that choice and opportunity too, and if you decide to stick with a different character you'll just have to make peace with the fact that you'll run into tough matches and try and develop a strategy to deal with them. You can either get frustrated, stomp around, and quit/uninstall the game forever, or you can thicken your skin. Learn how to roll with the punches, and take something away from the mistake. Either figure out ways to avoid it in the future, or come to peace with the idea that sometimes things are out of your control. These are not new concepts, ideally we should always be trying to find the positive side to a set-back or learn from a mistake. But to me, at least, nothing else crystallizes the idea of learning from a loss into a rock hard truth than pitiless rougelikes and fighting games. And after spending so many years immersed in both genres, I like to think that I've been able to take those lessons and apply them to other areas of my life. It's not always easy, and I won't claim to be some kind of Zen master who never gets frustrated, but I know I'm definitely a more patient person now than I was five years ago.
Learning from failure photo
Learning from my (many) failures
The last few years of games for me have been all about defeat. Constant, unending, expected defeat. I think I'm better for it. It wasn't always like that. In fact, for most of my life, games have been all about completion, vi...

SFV photo
SFV

Street Fighter V will be playable for the first time next month


At CEO
May 25
// Chris Carter
CEO (Community Effort Orlando) is an annual fighting game tournament held in Orlando Florida, and this year, they have quite a bit announcement in store for fans -- Street Fighter V will be playable for the first t...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Tanya will make it to Mortal Kombat X in 'early June'


Or his name ain't 'Boon'
May 25
// Chris Carter
Way before the game released (because that's how WB rolls), we knew the contents of the $30 Mortal Kombat X Kombat Pack. Jason Vorhees has already been released, but Tanya, who made an appearance in the game's story mode...
Ultra Street Fighter photo
Ultra Street Fighter

Ultra Street Fighter IV PS4 supports PS3 fight sticks


1080p, 60fps
May 22
// Steven Hansen
If you thought that the announcement of Street Fighter V meant that, finally, Capcom couldn't squeeze out another Street Fighter IV release, you were wrong. Ultra Street Fighter IV is coming to PS4 May 26 packed in with all t...
Eurovision photo
Eurovision

Six months later, Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign comes to Europe


Eurovision
May 22
// Steven Hansen
Things are going your way right now, Europe. That whole Eurovision thing is going on and you're finally getting Guilty Gear Xrd: Sign, which Chris totally loved when it came out in the US back in December.  Plus, you hav...
2D will ride again! photo
2D will ride again!

More footage from the new 2D Dragon Ball Z fighter


2D will ride again!
May 22
// Steven Hansen
Last month we finally got a look (in video form) at the new 2D Dragon Ball Z fighter from BlazBlue developer Arc System Works. One month ahead of its Japanese release date, Bandai Namco has released another decent length loo...
Guilty Gear XX Accent photo
Guilty Gear XX Accent

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R comes to Steam on May 26


Heaven or Hell port?
May 21
// Chris Carter
Guilty Gear fan? You'll get a chance to check out another iteration on Steam come May 26. Arc System Works has confirmed to Destructoid that Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R will make its way to Steam next week. I...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X just got two hotfixes, another is on the way


Ermac, Kenshi, and Cassie Cage fixed
May 21
// Chris Carter
Netherealms is chugging along at 200 miles an hour, bullet train style, with both DLC and hotfixes for all three current versions of Mortal Kombat X. After scrambling to fix the PC edition of the game, they're also moving on ...
Smash Bros. photo
Smash Bros.

Smash Bros. player is being bounty hunted


Kick his ass for cash
May 21
// Laura Kate Dale
If you're a competitive Super Smash Bros. player, chances in in the last year you may have started hearing a lot about Gonzalo "Zero" Barrios. Appearing somewhat out of nowhere, he has come first in every single one-on-one Sm...
Scummy Warner Bros. photo
Scummy Warner Bros.

The false advertising of Mortal Kombat's Kombat Pack


Leave it to the kings of DLC
May 20
// Jed Whitaker
Warner Bros. is notorious for its preorder, DLC, and season pass bullshit, and Mortal Kombat X's Kombat Pack is no exception. Nicolas Jones sent us a tip about how he asked WB Games Support why the Kombat Pack didn't include all the DLC for the current season, as there have been various costume packs released that aren't included. WB's response:
KFC game photo
KFC game

KFC takes us through the life of Colonel Sanders in a game


Double Down Browntown
May 20
// Darren Nakamura
Colonel Sanders lived an interesting life. In an attempt to bring him back into the public eye, fast food chain KFC wants to tell the story of his life, though it seems like it might be embellished a bit in the free minigame ...
Marvel-ous photo
Marvel-ous

Dead or Alive 5 gets superhero costume set


Marvel-ous
May 19
// Steven Hansen
Not as on the nose as the Senran Kagura cross over and a bit more creative than the many "as few clothes as possible" packs, Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (the fourth, final iteration of Dead or Alive 5) debuted its super hero ...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X is nearly as popular as Ultra Street Fighter IV at Combo Breaker


A very small difference at the moment
May 19
// Chris Carter
The hyped has worked out for Mortal Kombat X it seems. It's done well both critically and commercially, and the fighting game community has taken a liking to it professionally as well. According to lead organizer Rick Th...

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