Before this article goes anywhere, I want to begin by saying I absolutely love Daisuke Ishiwatari, who is the reason I want a division of my studio making fighting games, and Toshimichi Mori’s work on Blazblue is pretty darn boss as well.
So, I was wrong. The Vita Guilty Gear X2 Accent Core Plus R…did I get that right? That’s a lot of suffixes. Anyways, the vita version does not support 16:9 widescreen or full screen viewing modes. The game is locked to 4:3, a design decision made by Takeshi Yamanaka (who is the Project Director) and company. Yamanaka-san stated that after trying multiple resolutions they found that the “essence of Guilty Gear” which is to “knock you opponent down and go for an okizeme (the act of knocking someone down and then mixing up quick combos to keep them from being able to get back on their feet again, thus ensuring victory) was lost in the transition.”
I had to stop and stare for a little while on this one. The essence of Guilty Gear, as in the whole point of the gameplay engine is to knock people down and not let them get back up until you win? I’m going to be candid here and say I freaking hate people who do that to people in fighting games. I think it’s a really cheap way of winning personally. If you’re good you know how to…what’s the word…I’m sick right now so it’s not coming to me. You can basically do a “rescue” and flip to your feet as you hit the ground. From there you can parry, block at all the right angles, try to get in a quick hit or grab, etcetera. But, ya know, if you don’t memorize what combo everyone is going to use for every character in the game then you get knocked on your butt and then you put down your controller and go make a sandwich Killer Instinct style.
When I play Guilty Gear, I like to dash into a combo, then knock you away and leap into a combo that starts in the air and continues on the ground, and then launch you and follow you up into the air with a combo, and then slam you back down with a meteor smash and dive after you. If I’m feeling particularly mean I’ll follow up with a pop-up combo from there. Now granted, none of my friends play fighting games and so I adapted my style to feel more fair in that if you don’t know what you’re doing you have a lot of openings for defense. Of course if I really badly want to win, this style can be quite tenacious if you vary how quickly you move from phase to phase.
I win a lot online, and I’m decent on the tournament circuit. I don’t really have the time to practice like I used to, but I win more than I lose. But, wait, does this mean that I’m playing wrong?
I was under the impression that if I’m playing, I’m doing okay and I’m having fun, that I’m playing the game right. For instance, Tekken now punishes you for not mastering tag combos, tag assaults and juggles. Juggles have always been a big part of Tekken’s play style, but the game is a lot less free form than it used to be. Street Fighter wants you to rely on specific tactics also, but I like playing an aerial game more than I do just focusing on specials. Virtua Fighter…well…I broke up with Virtua Fighter after 4.
I feel like over the years as fighting games have struggled to set themselves apart from each other in more dynamic ways, they’ve become so much less about having fun, and more about punishing you if you don’t play by a certain elitest manner. Even Dead or Alive, which used to be a fighting game that everyone could enjoy, has taken to punishing players who don’t play it a certain way. Is it wrong to have a unique engine with a strong emphasis? No, not at all. But, I could pull out Tekken 3 for instance and any of my non-fighting game friends could play it. Marvel vs Capcom 2? Anyone can pay that. Dead or Alive? I feel like it started becoming less newbie friendly after DoA2: Hardcore, but not as bad as it is in 5. Also, I…I have no recollection of 3 and 4. I feel like there was DoA2: Hardcore, and then DoA5 happened. Seriously, when was there a Dead or Alive 4? I have 3…I think…but…when did 4 happen?
Street Fighter for all of its new tactics is pretty much the same as it ever was, as SF4 was designed to be SF2, but in 3D, but many gamers much preferred SF3: 3rd Strike over the other ones. And, 3rd Strike was the only Street Fighter with a stronger emphasis on doing combos over spamming specials (although the SF: EX series did a decent job of that), and as such was almost more friendly for new players used to things like Tekken and Soul Calibur.
What it boils down to for me is, I like my games 16:9 or fullscreen. And, I don’t like okizeme style of play, just as I can’t stand that it’s now considered “skill” in games like Marvel vs Capcom 3 if you launch you opponent and then do the same special move in the air as fast as you can making it impossible for the opponent to win. In my day, playing like this was considered cheap and frowned upon, but the whole “I’ve got you in the air/on the ground and you can’t do anything now” movement seems to be sweeping the industry. Even juggle and combo heavy games like DoA and Tekken used to feel a lot more fair about it, but now?
I find it interesting that I go back to Melty Blood time and again, and that I can’t put Injustice down. Both are examples of fighting games that have a way you should play them, but encourage you to find your own style within the broad engine rather than zero-ing in on one specific style and then punishing you for not using it.
And, as I don’t like playing 4:3, and I don’t like playing the way I’m supposed to, I guess that means the new Guilty Gear isn’t for me despite being a fan ever since finding Guilty Gear for the PS1 on a demo disc at a garage sale when I was in elementary school? That is certainly not what I believe Mr. Yamanaka-san meant by his words and design decision, but, that’s certainly how I feel. I bought the $15 game despite being locked at 4:3 and having no online play (even though the PSP version works on the Vita, looks gorgeous, supports 16:9 and full screen, and does have online play…so…I mean…why would you buy the Vita version aside from saving fifteen bones…) because I love Daisuke, I love Guilty Gear, and I love supporting import games that aren’t creepy (when I say creepy I mean Hyper Dimension Neptunia or Ar Tonelico Quoga creepy) when they make it overseas.
But, as much as I love Guilty Gear, I probably will never play it more than the five minutes that I did yesterday, and will probably delete it as soon as something else comes out and I need the space on my card. Why? Because I don’t like to play the way I’m apparently supposed to, so I don’t get to have an experience tailored to my style the same as the okizeme players do.