Differences Between 2-D and 3-D Gameplay


I am trying to transition from 3-D fighters to 2-D fighters, and I thought a thread like this might help clarify some of the major differences between them. I am, of course, referring to gameplay along a 2-D vs. 3-D axis, not to the way character models are rendered.

My main issue is the differences between 2-D vs. 3-D high/mid/low mechanics. In 3-D fighters the majority of moves hit either mid or high; therefore, most of the time you block standing. Low moves tend to be risky: they are either slow or have bad recovery, not to mention low moves typically do not lead to high damage without high risk. Crouch blocking in 3-D games blocks low attacks and goes under high attacks/throws, but it leaves you open to many mid attacks. It is again more common to block standing than crouching.

I was wondering how the high/low/mid game differs in 2-D fighters. Are low attacks much faster, less riskier, and do they more commonly lead to high damage? Do you spend most of the time crouch blocking? Does blocking low go under throws (does it go under anything for that matter)? I was also wondering about the frequency of high/mid/low moves. For instance, what exactly is an “overhead” and are they less common than mid attacks in 3-D fighters?

Finally, how does jumping affect the high/mid/low game in 2-D fighters? My understanding is that jump attacks can only be blocked standing, and so in that respect they seem similar to mid attacks in 3-D games. In fact, how does jumping affect gameplay in general? It is very uncommon to jump in 3-D fighters.


Blocking standards are fairly reversed between 3D and 2D games. Blocking low and watching for overheads is the standard blocking tactic, as low attacks are typically fast and safe, and mid attacks can be blocked high or low (most attacks tend to be mid attacks in general). Overhead attacks are typically less common and slower/risky/obvious, but may lead to higher damage (quick lows generally lead to less damage). If the opponent jumps you generally block high since most jumping attacks hit overhead. You also have the option of jumping and then instead of attacking high you can land and go for a low attack, generally this is called an empty jump mixup.

You cannot duck under throws. The most common ways to avoid throws are to jump, tech the throw, or perform an invincible move (reversal). Other methods can include backdashing, jabbing them out of throw startup with a fast normal, or performing an attack that is throw invulnerable or puts you in an airborne state, but these are more game dependent and not universal rules for every game.

The basic mixup in a 2D fighter is hit/throw (or low/throw). The idea being that when an opponent is blocking low (the “default” defensive posture) you can either hit them with an attack (often a low attack like a crouching kick or something) or you can grab them. If they think you are going to grab them and try to jump but you chose to attack, your attack will hit them during their jump startup frames. If they try to tech the grab (usually by pressing the grab input) but you attacked, your attack will hit them out of grab startup or the startup of whatever move might come out when you miss a grab attempt (this can vary by game). If they choose to block and you chose to grab, you will throw them.

Of course there are plenty of other mixup tactics like overheads, crossups, unblockable attacks, etc., but the strike/throw mixup is the most basic tool that every character always has

edit: to discuss more on jumping, its usefulness varies by game. In a game like street fighter where most characters have minimal options for either defense or mobility in the air, jumping is risky and much less common for most characters. In other games there may be a variety of options for defense and mobility during a jump, in which case it may be more desirable to do so. As a general rule, jumping makes you vulnerable to attacks from the ground that specifically target the vertical space (anti-air attacks). The main benefit of jumping is usually that it puts you up in the air, and a forward jump often covers more distance faster than walking or running might.

Consider this situation: you and the opponent have some distance between you. You believe he is about to throw a projectile that travels horizontally. If you jump forward, you will jump over the projectile and may be able to hit the opponent on the way down as they are still recovering from the projectile-throwing animation. However, If they did not throw the projectile, they may be able to easily hit you out of the air with an upward-striking attack while you are vulnerable. This is a very basic example, but jumping can be a very important aspect of movement in 2D fighters.


Obligatory Dom 101 post:


Some other tidbits:

The typical thing jumping does is open the high portion of the high/low/throw mixup. It enables you to do plays like:
Jump attack=>low
Jump attack=>tic throw (=throw the opponent as soon as they become throwable)
Empty jump =>low (empty jump = don’t press anything in the air)
Empty jump => throw
Jump attack => overhead

You can also mess with people by mixing light and heavy jump attacks which can make it hard for them to guess the proper throw tech timing.

Secondly, 2d games work differently from 3d in that 3d tends to be about time control - stuff is almost always negative on block which gives the games a turn-based feel where you try to play your turns the best you can by the book or steal yourself new ones with shenanigans like sidesteps.

2d games are less like that. The salient feature of 2d games is that they allow really strong space control. You usually cannot circumvent a hitbox that is on the screen, and that hitbox causes you to flinch, so putting hitboxes out there is issuing concrete claims to space. Consequently, what space your character can control around themselves is one of the key questions you have to ask when on defense, and what angles around the opponent you can attack from is a key question as an aggressor. You have to find ways to claim space around your character to defend yourself, figure out which spaces you have a difficulty controlling and then space yourself so that the opponent has trouble attacking you from that dead angle. This kind of thinking is core to basically all 2d fighting games from slow ones like Street Fighter and Samurai Showdown V Special to fast games with high freedom of movement like King of Fighters, Guilty Gear, BlazBlue to the downright insanity and chaos of Marvel vs. Capcom.