Boiling down fighting games


I’ve been trying to understand different fighting games and how they each get their unique feel. A friend once told me to think of tekken as a punishment game, and I feel like that concept really helped my tekken game. You can correct me if that’s wrong but it just got me thinking of how you might describe a fg if you sum up the gameplay and why. Is injustice really a zoning heavy game? Is it because projectiles don’t collide? What games are more offensive or defensive? I understand that I’m oversimplifying these games and their mechanics but I think it could help people appreciate them better.

How would you boil down games like blazblue, kof, soul calibur and virtua fighter, or any fighter and what mechanics factor into that?


Hmm… this is interesting. I’ll take a stab at it with games I play.

UMVC3: Mixup into TOD combo game.
Arcana Heart 3: Flying game.
Blazblue: Offensive spacing game.
Phantom Breaker Extra: Mixup game.
Persona 4 Arena: Mostly rushdown game.


SG is very offense oriented right now. Rewards pressure, mixups, and resets

SC5 is about poking, movement and position in relation to the stage.


As someone once mentioned, 2D fighting games are about controlling space while 3D fighting games are about controlling time. That’s probably as “boiled down” that you can get. Differences between specific games will most likely just draw from there.


eh…gotta help me out with this. Do you mean mix up like High and lows, and throws? Would that be the same as rock paper scissors? Because I was leaning more towards more of meter and resource management. The game does seem to have …conditioning aspect but not sure that actually plays along side with mix up.


In fairness I could be totally wrong, the only people I have played the game with more than once aren’t very good at fighting games and the two guys that are decent-ish in other games I have only played once each.

The chains having mids, highs and lows in them seems good for mixing people up, plus the ability to dash cancel, sometimes into craziness suggests mixup to me. Like I said, could be completely wrong. You are right about the meter management though, I kind of forgot about how important that is in PBE (Overdrive mode says “oh hey!”).

I’ll add another:

Nurarihyon no Mago: Hyakki Ryouran Taisen - Eyebleeding simulator.

(y’all should try it, game is awesome)



tekken=space control, frame knowledge (maybe not to the exact number all the time, but at least whats punishable by lp strings, hop kicks, ewgf), punishing whiffs and unsafe moves, space control. lol. movement in tekken is above all else the most important imo. you get your movement down in tekken, the rest of the shit is easy to learn imo. people over state the difficulty of tekken all the time, and most peoples problems they encounter early on in learning tekken is they cannot really move around well (so they just end up eating counter hits and shit all day), so instead they start throwing out moves, and it may work for a bit vs other scrubby friends, until you start getting side walked by good players and punished. for new tekken players i say, spend a lot of time working on your movement, dont apply pressure with lp strings all the time (they will get ducked and punished), always find out what your good mids are, and dont be afraid to let people kill themselves by whiffing shit right in front of you. thats what great movement is all about, just staying at that right range for someone to panic hop kick, panic whatever, and you just go nope, df+2 launch bitch, or side walk, or whatever. there is a lot more to tekken then listed, but just going with the basics. obviously throw breaking is essential too, along with being able to block slow lows on reaction.

xvsf= footsies, frame traps, and typical marvel type rushdown. you do get to play footsies a lot more in xvsf then in any Vs game ever created. so if storm and magneto arent your thing, play ryu/juggernaut and maul your opponent. ryu is in his best form ever in xvsf because of the footsies, mixups, and frame traps he has in that game. sabretooth has a mean rushdown game, but when you are really good with him, you learn to control the space totally so your opponent fears more then just uf fp, fk rushdown, but has to watch for the empty jump into throw or low.

umvc3=just do whatever. lol. i look at umvc3 as just more of a rushdown, be stupid smart kind of game. solid play wins a shit ton, but there are stupid smart players that will just maul you over too. its a shitty game, but its fun. as we see the players get better and better, even though i see some of the worst decisions ever in top 8 still, i see plink dashing progressively taking players to new heights of spacing and controlling umvc3’s nonsense better. or in fullschedules case, making the nonsense even harder to deal with.

kof13=most of the shit you do with your characters is safe, or can be made safe (ex kyos sweep into qcf+lp) so you can be fairly confident in your rushdown game, but dont get too happy, because unlike many other games, you get a shit ton of offensive/defensive options to punish mindless rushdown, or simply blow it away from you. its a game where execution matters, but most shit is easier then you think it is, and fundamentals can take you really far, even if you havent mastered the latest hd kill combo. kof 13 is a game that is typical in its rushdown, but you can also play a good spacing and footsie game too. it has everything imo. so if a player is like, sf4 is boring but i like footsies, i hate having to eat damage some times, i want more defensive options, the cast is ugly as shit, why do we always have to play on 1 of 5 stages, the character design is dated as shit, my execution isnt worth a shit because of all the scaling, then kof 13 is their game. lol

id do guilty gear, but eh. thats it for now


While it is true for potential daunting mix up is strong expecially with mix up heavy character like Shizuka and Itsuki. but considering the fact their alot of defensive option that leviate burden of dealing with them. on consistent level (NA, GC, Counter burst). Then you have strong zoner who keep mix up people at bay so, heck I ranked Kurisu Top tier due to her strong keep away and fin second for her versatile zoning.

But Mix up do have their place but as the developer director said. PB series is mainly meter management as all type play can benefit from meter. (extended cancels and damage for aggressive players, and for the conservative player they can reinforce their defense and create safe guards from mistakes)


What is “controlling time”?

Also SC5 atleast, makes space control just as important as other games, so I dont think that this distinction always applies.


Controlling time (thanks seth btw for the quote) is about using quick jabs to stop slow launchers or using quick movement options to counter these slower things.

Of course spacing is still a thing but with sidesteps and a lot of other things 3D games these days really are about timing with some spacing, just as timing is also important in 2D fighters.

Fighting games aren’t just one aspect, but they are weighted with some things being more important than other things.


In that case i think the value of one or the other is probably more about the techniques available in the game then it is about 2D vs 3D


Fighting games boiled down?

Street Fighter Games: Push buttons. Whiff attacks.
Guilty Gear/Blazblue: Push buttons. Don’t whiff attacks. Airdash.
King Of Fighters: Push Buttons. Don’t whiff attacks. Hyper-hop.
Tekken: Don’t push buttons. NEVER whiff attacks.
Marvel Games: Don’t push buttons. NEVER whiff attacks. Do combos.

I think this is accurate.


No, no, no. As Seth has pointed out. 3D games tend to break down at full distance because there is usually nothing to do but get back in. Compare to 2D games where the neutral foes not die down at full screen thanks to projectiles and other true screen filling moves. 3D excels more at close range and learning frame data is more important vs 2D where most of the time, simply knowing what’s safe will suffice. Conversely, 2D puts more emphasis on knowing the hitboxes and how much space on screen is controlled by your moves.


Wouldn’t that be because the characters aren’t designed to fight from range, not just because the game is in 3D? If a 2D fighting game lacked ranged moves and projectiles wouldn’t start to be more about “controlling time” as well?

Anyway to be more on topic, I think SC is more about spacing than just close range timing and punishment.

Edited this post because I was getting far off topic.


3D movement along weakens any sort of long range spacing game, the fact alone that you can step out of the way means that moves in general don’t threaten and control the same amount of space as in 2D games.

As for SC, as I stated “differences between games just draw from there”, meaning it tends to have more emphasis on space control due to weapon ranges than other 3D fighters (just like games like 3S and A3 emphasize it less), but it’s still along that line.


Ugh I wish I was pro at all the fighting games i played from 2001 to 2007



But I wouldn’t say they break down, I mean I don’t see that as a flaw. Not saying that’s what was implied but I feel that break in the action is part of the gameplay. Looking a games as art I feel like it builds tension for the next exchange and helps build the narrative of the match.


Ok ok my turn.

AE: Play your game until you get ultra, then your opponent has to respect you. That’s when you go in.
Injustice: footsies and hit-confirm taken out in favor of strings and interactables. Unless you’re Flash or Batman, you shouldn’t be walking.
MVC3. Need Doom, Vergil, or Zero on your team, or you’re done…This doesn’t apply if you’re Jwong.
KOFXIII: They don’t call it a grasshopper game for nothing. At worse you’ll trade.
SCV: It’s really not a 2D fighter.
SFXT: We got links but who cares when you got CHAINZ!!! TIME OVER!!!
DOA5U: Invented the Combo/Counter breaker metagame.
KI: It’s really not SF.
TTT2: First person to press a button loses.