Is Virtua Fighter the deepest fighting game?


I hear that the VF series has always been the most technical and deep of fighters (at least the 3d fighters) I was wondering if i could get some objective opinions on this matter. How does it compare to tekken, soul calibur and doa?

I don’t really play 3d fighters that much but here is my view. VF5 has some tricky execution but so does tekken 6/tt2 and soul calibur 5. And whilst VF5 may be complex, soul calibur and tekken are also complex in their own way, and it is impossible to say which is deeper.

I think in terms of complexity and execution DOA must come last. That is an uneducated opinion, based on that i found execution very easy and hearsay that DOA is too much like rock paper scissors.

Anyway, I think all those games are great in their own ways. Its just been bugging me when i read forums or reviews that say VF is soooo technical and complex. What is that founded on? Is it true? How does it compare to the other fighters? Thanks in advance for replies


It depends on opinions and definitions.

“Deep”, “complex”, and “technical”, in relation to fighting games, are all words/concepts people think they understand, but rarely agree about. In the discussions/arguements I’ve seen about these ideas, the people involved have had some drastically different views on what they mean.

If at some point there are accepted criteria for what makes a game deep/complex/technical, maybe then you can get a (reasonably) fair and unbiased answer (or at the least a good discussion). But until then, you stand a better chance of getting people arguing about opinions.


The thing about VF is, the execution requirements are overrated while the reaction aspect of the game is underrated, and this people have the hardest time understanding the game. Execution-wise you have Akira’s 1f Knee, Jacky’s Iaigeri kick, Kage’s SRK air combos, On-Hit moves/combos with various characters and stagger recovery.

The reaction part is what’s lost on a lot of people and that’s HOW to react on defense against P->Mid/Throw and gain back the advantage or even keeping the advantage past the average 1-2 hit exchanges.

Looking at the text book answers on defense against P->Mid/Throw is the easiest way to look at the game, at least for me. J

When you block P you G ~:d:. you don’t have to guess against the Mid/Throw mixup anymore, and you pur the risk back on to the aggressor who has to use a Delayed Throw or low attack to beat the FG.

Same deal when you get hit with P, but now you can’t simply Fuzzy, you have to Crouch Dash Fuzzy Guard. Execution wise this is easy as CDFG is :df::df: G . But reacting fast enough with the crouch dash to avoid the Throw is a lot harder since you probably aren’t expecting to get hit and just about to do something and the then BAM, you got hit with the P->Throw setup, because again you didn’t react with the simple double taps fast enough.

Reacting to the Counter-Hit is a lot easier in my opinion as there is a yellow flash accompanied by water effects and a splash sound. In this state you can’t duck the throw so you must use a Two Choice OS of either TEG (Throw-Escape Guard) or ETE (Evade Throw Escape). Execution requirements of TEG is tap P+G, then let go of P while still holding G as this buffers a Guard inside the Throw Escape. ETE is simply tap :u: or :d: P+G. The downside is you only get 1 TE as opposed to 1-4 TEs in VF5/5R and the 4 series.

From ETE you have more options exauss the opponent waited a beat and delayed the throw or attack and now you are at Failed Evade and need to cover yourself from that. So now you have ETEG which is a combination of ETE and TEG. The command is Up/Down, P+G, release P while stil holding G. This isn’t as powerful due to FS having 1TE option.

So you get into the Evade Dash Cancels which is a big part of the 5 series so you get into stuff like ECDTEG, ECDGTE, EDCFG, EDCTEG, EDCGTE etc erc. The main thing make these hard, isn’t the execution requirements, but recognizing and reacting fast enough to do the inputs so you can cover yourself from the Failed Evade as opposed to getting a Successful Evade and gaining side advantage. Recognizing that difference is the big thing.

Final Showdown has a Yutori Throw-Escape/GTE which eases players into getting used to doing two things at once on defense which is also lost on people. GTE is the reverse of TEG and let’s you play more passive as you are standing there blocking with a TE buffered inside the guard. The notation for this is press and hold and G, then press and hold P while still holding G. This nice and you can even chanc the direction of the TE while still in the block animation, however this get blown up by Guard Breaks, Catch Throws and Lows(if you aren’t fast enough) and can get you in a bad habit of just standing there, which is what you don’t do while playing defensively in VF.

Sorry for the long post. I can over the counters to the above Defensive options and the counters to those options as well, if you’d like.


No…its really not.


In the comparisons to other 3D fighters and 2D fighters as well, is that the game never stops for one player over the other when a hit occurs. The defensive game I mentioned in the previous post, is what keeps the game active for both players, whereas the other games the other player is sitting there airing for his/her turn on an average of 3-4 hits as opposed to the 1-2 hits of other fighters. This is also compounded with true punishment being guaranteed at -12, and a throw not being guaranteed until -10( ignoring throw breaks).

Note: the long acronyms I mentioned like EDCFG can be done at the CD Fuzzy frames, but need to be buffered when the hit connects, so again reaction speeds are what’s important, and that particular defensive technique is the most improetant one to know and be able to do.


Being good at this game requires a ton of system and character knowledge, I would for sure call it “deep” or complex. Also, while people from this scene may tell you that you don’t need to know frames / frame data, you really do.

Damn, reading about VF makes me want to try it again and see if I’m still bad at it.


Here’s the thing to get, at the very least, competent at the game and not over think it.

The core of this game is Tick Throw and Tick Mid(overheads for 2D gamers). In short the guess is, stand to block mid, Duck to avoid throw.

Know the frames of the poke game, meaning P, 2P, Elbow. Block, Hit, Counter-Hit. All three put the person in the receiving end in a different state of text book defensive answers.

Which leads to knowing the frames to know what techniques cuts the guessing game down on defense so you dont have to guess.

Fuzzy Guard: -1 to -3 frames

Crouch-Dash Fuzzy Guard: -4 and -5 frames

ETE/TEG : -6 to -9.

In general terms without knowing frames. Block hit -> Fuzzy, Get Hit -> Crouch-Dash Fuzzy, Get Counter-Hit -> ETE or TEG depending on how you want to deal with the potential mid.

Again this is when dealing with P->Mid/Throw mixup.

Strings such as PPPK aren’t even guaranteed for all 4 hits. At most 3 hits of it are guaranteed if any of the attacks landed as a Counter-Hit. So if the first P lands as a CH the next two Ps are guaranteed, but the K can still be evaded or blocked. If the 2nd P of this string connects then the following P and K are guaranteed to hit.

True Attack punishment doesn’t start until -12 which is The speed of P and 2P.

Throw aren’t guaranteed until -10, but they can still be broken assuming you get the right guess.

Again it’s the speed at which this stuff happens that is the biggest hurdle in the game. People talk about how deep and complex the game is, which it is, without knowing the universal aspects of the game which are there for the beginner to get into. So you get a lot of weird and wordy answers about why the game is deep and complex from people who really don’t understand the game.

EDIT: Mentioned string stuff.


The difficulty is exaggerated.


No it’s not. That’s just what they want you to think so they have more fodder for beat-downs. Look at the wall of things Femto is explaining, and that is just the basics. These concepts are completely alien to newcomers to the genre.

Then with this in mind, you need to learn your character and your character’s match-ups.


All sorts of great stuff from Femto btw. I will reference this next time I play.


VF is by far the deepest game. Looking at my av, you probably say that I’m bias, but at the same time, I’ve played and studied Marvel, Soul Calibur 4 and 5, and DOA among a few others, and I’ve also tried to learn Tekken to a certain extent.

Now ‘deep’ is kind of an ambiguous term. Deep, IMO, has to do with the number and level of strategies you can employ in your gameplay. Having a big list of combos that you can pull off doesnt really make a game ‘deep’ if it doesn’t take much brain power to get that first hit to begin with (like Vanilla Marvel Phoenix or 3s Chun). Now, as much as I dislike SF4, I love watching streams of it with high-lvl play; in comparison with other games, SF (sans 3) characters don’t have many offensive or defensive options to choose from, but what makes it exciting for me to watch is that high level players take even the smallest details of seemingly routine abilities, such as walking and jumping etc, that can be easily overlooked by lower-level players and casuals (walk speed, jump arcs, max range of each attack for footsies, manipulating hitbox ranges for unblockables, etc)

VF has all that, and way more options available at a given moment than any other fighting game. So when considering your strategies to beat your opponent, there are way more scenarios to consider at any given moment. And because of that, VF becomes less about solely exploiting your character’s given abilities to force a win out of them (the part I dislike about SF4 and Marvel), and more about manipulating your opponent into logical traps.

Now for example, take okizeme. You can blast me if I’m wrong (definitely no SF expert), but in SF4, when attempting oki, you have to consider whether the knocked-down opponent will quick-rise or not and whether or not they will reversal you (if they even have a reversal). In VF5FS, when attempting oki, the first thing to consider is whether or not your opponent will tech. And if they do tech, what direction will they tech (teching in place (i.e. quickrise) will force them to stand up, which is weak to throws, and side tech forces them to get up crouching, which can be blown up by launching mids)? If your opponent DOESNT tech, they now have access to back roll. They also have access to wake-up kicks, which are univeral oki reversals, and are also 50-50s (mid or low). They are -6(safe) on block, unless they risk doing a backroll wakeup kick for added space, which is -15 (>kick-class punishable). They are very viable reversals, but they also can be blown up in a variety of ways (some characters also have better options to specifically blow up wakeup kick than others). But then again, your opponent can also NOT tech and NOT use wake up kicks, so that’s another thing to think about.

From the above example in VF5FS, just from a knockdown you are now presented with nearly a dozen options to think about, and you have less than a second to respond (high lvl VF is as fast as Marvel btw). The ways that you can respond are even more numerous, and all have different levels of risks/rewards. In order to respond correctly, you have to deduce your opponent’s habits (dat VF yomi), and as fast as VF is, your observation skills have to be on point to be able to respond correctly on multiple occasions in one game. And to win, you have to manipulate your opponent by cutting off certain options of theirs into a predictable set that you can exploit (example: attacking aggressively on a defensive opponent to make them susceptible to a throw, which is what guard is weak to in VF.). The number and level of options available to a player at a given moment is largely determined by frame adv/disadv, which is why frames are so important in VF

As far as other 3d games, Soul Calibur and Tekken have very little in common with VF. Namco games are very defensive in nature IMO, the best players are the ones with the best blocking skills and movement - they are games based alot on footsies and poking. Also, throws are less effective, as in SC, they are nearly always 50-50s, and in Tekken they are seeable and you can break them (nearly?) everytime if you can react to the specific animation fast enough. This makes blocking really strong. Punishment is way more important in namco games, unlike VF, where the vast majority of moves are safe on block. I’d say the difference between SC and Tekken is that Tekken has a bigger emphasis on mixups and SC focuses more on spacing.

DOA is more like VF, but with alot less options to choose between and deal with. I hear people call it VF lite. DOA also has a stronger emphasis on mid/low/throw mixups and strings than VF


VF is super cool punching time and all, but let’s not fall into the logical hole of equating the total number of options with “depth.”


From my experiences, I’ve had an easier time explaining this gam to people who don’t play fighters, whereas people that do play fighters are already lost at the block button. I taught a friend if mine the basics of this game within 5 minutes and after a couple more she was doing High/Low/Mid mixups, Fuzzy’d a couple tick throw attempts and even box-stepped and stair-stepped a couple reps.

The stuff I posted looks daunting when reading about it, but once you see it in action, you’ll be like “That’s it?”. That’s why this game is grossly misunderstood in the West, is that people already have a conception of what a fighting game is supposed to be like (mostly Capcom and Namco centric), so this game is either seen as “Scrub shit” or This game is too deep and complex".

The stuff I posted shouldn’t take more than a week to understand, and since it’s Universal and applies to everyone it makes character switching a lot easier than in SF. I’ll say there is more to I know in SF due to the deliberateness of the game and how the hit boxes work, than the character specifics of VF.

The way VF uses the Guard Button is pretty intuitive as it takes beginner tendencies of pressing buttons and moving the stick even when getting hit, but tells them “That’s ok, BUT press the buttons and move the stick this way.”


Umm… More options are depth, unless I’m missing something. The depth in this game is the all the situations you can be put in, yet you have multiple answers to get out of them, with no one answer being absolute. The complexity in this game comes from cutting down your opponents options even they they have so many to turn the tide.


I didn’t equate merely the options available as depth, but the sheer amount of strategies available and at a player’s disposal at any given moment.

But then again, if you’re going to put up a comment to refute what you interpreted out of my comment, you should put up a reason to back it up, otherwise your comment doesnt amount to anything.


Concerning BlackStar’s post: I and quite a few people I now feel like that Namco fighters play more like 2D games due to the space and whiff punishing. The cool thing about SC, is that there is actual 2D style zoning due to the length of weapons, where as Tekken and DOA are more about spacing and whiff punishing. I could be wrong, but that’s how I look at it.


I agree with Femto. SC and especially Tekken feel very 2D’ish to me, but less because of spacing-focused gameplay and more because the sidestep options in both games are terrible when compared with DOA and VF IMO


Two words: false choice

You may have a cornucopia of options at a given moment, but not all of them may be worth pursuing. VF as a whole does a fairly good job of mitigating false choice compared to other fighting games though.


Whether they are worth pursuing is up to the player. Turning weak options into strong ones, isnt something exclusive to VF, but it does reap greater rewards and makes you less predictable. Doesn’t matter if it’s going for neutral throw instead of the high damage forward throw, or giving up advantage through an Offensive Evade Cancel to net a higher damage attack can be worth pursuing.


Its hard to say

just because because of the difference when you talk about going from 2d to 3d and the natural mitigating circumstances when you get into each game just because of the plane of play you are talking about.

of course a 3d game okisume is going to be much more highly favored over a 2d game and considering your options based on the length of the stage.
tekkens okisume is probably the most complex out of all the 3d fighters.
based on the options where mids beat directly standing up and rolls.
you also have counter hits beating wakeup kicks and resets to relaunch based on rolling back or forward.
rolling to the side can be stuffed by jumping over to set up back grabs or side turned hits which equal full combos.
also you have to take the corner into account.

also because every 3d fighting game plays different and there are only a few that are noteworthy
there arent any outliers.
no way to properly equate a “traditional” sense of a 3d fighter.
vf excels in fuzzy guard setups as in the posts mentioned above.

Soul calibur has the best sidestep options out of any of the 3d fighters.
because of the eight way run system you have a higher multitude of moves that you can use at vary angles of step
this game also nets counter hits based on if you stepped or not including back step

i also dont think its exactly right to call the namco games more 2d in the sense of whiff punishing
that applies to every fighter period
if anything its more emphasized in 3d games to to the plain and varying stage selection you encounter.

the crush system is interesting to look at for these games too those in tekken obviously it garners the most reward because you get launched if you get crushed