I’ve been playing fighting games for a long time. I started competitive play about 10 years ago playing Tekken Tag. TTT, is considered by a lot, to be the best Tekken. The top players would win consistently, and I don’t mean just them getting in the top 8 everytime. I mean the top player would either win, or get 2nd or 3rd at WORST. The top player would win about 3 to 4 major tournies in a row (at least) until someone dethroned him. The quest to find that someone to beat him was epic among players and the community. MvC2 was another one of these games.
As the years have gone on, I’ve noticed a trend in games. Game designers want to make things easier for people to do so more people can play them on the competitive stage. In Tekken, juggles became more glamorous yet easier to perform, throws easier to break, and the ‘crush’ system was inventing to help lesser players avoid difficult guessing games.
Smash Bros. Melee was a great game…then Brawl came out, and we know the rest there. BlazBlue seemed like an easier Guilty Gear. And SF4 disappointed me with the endless ways to to get out of pressure situations with pure ease (4 ways to get out of a throw when having advantage). Every tourney seemed to have a different winner, it was getting much harder to win consistently.
Was the gap lessening that much between players the larger the community got? Or was something wrong with the games? Were they just made too easy for players to perform at a high level with minimal practice? A question I gave the benefit of the doubt to the ever-growing fighting game community and the talented up and coming players that made it happen.
But as time went on, my opinion began to change. I didn’t feel like I was getting worse at games, but it just felt like it was easier for people to get away with things and it was impossible to tell if a player was just REALLY good or just did something out of a hunch.
But with HDR, it felt different. You KNEW when your playing someone good. You knew you were playing a good player when they never mistimed their meaty against all characters and their get-up timing. You knew you were playing a good player when they got reversals consistently. You knew you were playing a good player when they landed a high execution combo. You knew you were playing a good player when they knew every faucet of the match-up you are playing.
I was still skeptical though. So much that when I went to Evo…I didn’t enter a single tourney. Yea I know, it was lame. When I heard about some of the best players already knocked out of the T6 tourney, my heart sank. Life with fighting games was over. HDR was my last hope.
When I saw the top 8 left in HDR, a glimmer of hope came over me. I knew almost every player as one of the best in either HDR or ST. The top players ACTUALLY made it.
The best players I’ve played are DGV and Snake Eyes. They took it to a whole other level that I didn’t know about playing them. When it came to the grand finals, it was unbelievably epic. They were the last 2 standing. The way it outta be.
“THIS is how the finals of EVERY tourney SHOULD be.” I thought. “The BEST players making it and battling out for the #1 spot.”
The level of play was tremendous. You could watch and genuinely appreciate the skill and mind games that the players were putting on each other and miraculously getting out of them or making them happen. It reminded me of the old days of Tekken Tag. Even if you didn’t do well in the tourney, you had the privilege of seeing the best players duke it out in the most dramatic fashion; The tourney finals…and not in some money match in a hotel room later on that night.
God Bless HDR and may it never die.
Thanks for reading.