Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm number one

I know these numbers are completely meaningless, but I can't help myself. It's probably the first and only time I'll ever be ranked first on a 360 game :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I played a marathon all night session last night with the local seattle players to celebrate the arrival of ST:HDR, slept till 2, then promptly woke up and played again. It's fun to be excited about a video game again, I haven't felt this way since college!

I'm going to run down my impressions of the game. I'm sure that anything I post about balance will be wrong in the long run, but it's fun to speculate anyways!

Best new stage: Fei Long. His stage went from the most annoying stage music ever to one of the best. I love it!

Unranked matches: When I play unranked, I play a few games with my opponent and then a bunch of other players end up in the lobby. When I lose, I have to wait several games before it's my turn again. Why is it set up this way? I'm not particularly interested in watching two players I don't know play it out until it's my turn. Why can't I just keep playing against my opponent, GGPO style?

I found a wierd bug in the unranked matches. At one point stage music completely turned off, only to turn on again intermittently. Also, I was playing Blanka, and electrified Fei Long. He stayed with a crackling aura the entire game, it even lasted through the next round!

Ranked matches: I really wish your rank was tied to the character you select. Since the character selection is a double blind process, and you only play one game anyways, there's no meta game for the character selection process the way there is in standard tournaments. If I'm playing Chun Li, I'd like to have my ranking kept seperate from my ranking as M. Bison. This may be something that was out of Capcom's control, but it's still annoying.

I was really afraid that the gameplay would be dreamcast like. I don't know why, but I've always had a really hard time pulling off combos on the DC. I can do them fine on arcade, but there's some subtle timing difference or something that makes the DC combos much harder for me. I was afraid the same would carry over on the xbox. Nope, not at all! I don't know if it's because the "randomness" was removed or what, but I can do my favorite Bison combos! Yay!

Chun Li: I picked Chun Li with a sense of dread, thinking she'd been hit hard with the nerf bat. Reduced super damage, no big upkicks combo afterwards, and nerfed neckbreaker. She's be a shadow of her former self.
What I found is that she's a shadow of her former self if you are Nuki, NKI, Akishima, or some other excellent Chun Li player. If you're a good, but not great Chun Li like me, then she's got this incredible new move called lightning legs.

In classic ST, I've never been able to pull off combos like Standing Fierce -> Lightning Legs. I even have a really hard time with low forward -> legs. So now that the number of mashes have been reduced (an excellent idea), I can pull them off consistently. I can now poke with walking up low foward, lightning legs. It's a huge, huge difference for me. So top players that could already do all of this are probably sad at the state of the new Chun. But for me, I feel like I've been given a boost and can now do the things I could always see them do, but I could never do. I love her.

M. Bison:
M. Bison is my nomination for most well designed all around character. I cannot stop gushing about how great his changes are. One tiny, tiny change was all that was needed, and it was the perfect tiny change. He has kept his powerful offense, and has been given one "get out of jail" card to improve his atrocious defense. The new devil's reverse, with invulnerability, gives him an option out of corner fireball and SPD traps that he never had before. The reason I think this change is so great is that it's not a guaranteed way out, it's just an option. If I'm in the corner and my opponent does a move that would trap the old Bison (last minute FB, or low jab-> SPD), I can now devils reverse to fly out safely. But if my opponent knows I will do this, he can simply delay his attack and nail me with almost any move. So Bison is still at a great disadvantage in the corner, but just not a game losing nothing-you-can-do disadvantage. Perfectly done.

Blanka is my prediction for new monster, and I'm going to try to learn him. All of his old Komoda blanka nastiness, which was already deadly, and an overall improved set of moves. I think he will end up being very, very good.

Cammy: I can't seem to get the right "flow" of Cammy, but Jason Cole was destroying everyone last night with her without even breaking a sweat. She seems to have all the offensive power of Bison, Blanka, and Balrog, but without even having to think about charging moves. I guess we'll have to see what happens with her.

Balrog: Felt pretty much the same, honestly.