This is really a thread I’ve been wanting to make for some time, and now that my exams are coming up, it’s important that I do it now as a means of procrastination. You see, it took me a long time to pick up SF3, a delay I regret considering how much fun I’m having with it. The reason? I’ve seen too many “omfg sf4 noob real mans play 3rd strike which is HARD and SF4 is so ezmoad anyone can play it”-posts on this forum, and being almost completely new to fighting games – my experience in the genre consisting of SFA3 on a PSOne when I was ten years old, plus Soul Calibur and Super Smash Brothers-games – meant that I thought that I should stick with SF4 if I wanted to learn the genre. To my surprise, when I picked up SF3:OE, I actually found it a lot easier to get into than it was to get into SF4, quite contrary what the internet always said.
Thus, I’m really making this thread for two reasons: to make the “you need BALLS AND SKILLZ TO PLAY SF3 derp”-elitists quiet down a bit, and in a hope that at least one person who’s on the fence due to how hard this game is supposed to be, will pick it up regardless. Because it really is an amazing game.
Again, this is the perspective of someone almost completely new to the genre. I can semi-reliably make characters do what I want them to do, and I’m capable of understanding spacing, anti-airs. I can pull off simple combos, and I can pull off a parry from time to time. I’m just throwing this out there so that the thread doesn’t come off as a complete bunch of flame bait.
So, exactly what can I think of that made 3S easier to get into at low level than AE?
Supers are easier to use than Ultras
Probably the most important point. In 3S you have one bar, which fills up at least once per round for most characters. The setups aren’t really that hard for a lot of characters, they can be canceled into, and don’t require a triple button to be pressed. Compared to AE, where it only fills up if I take enough damage, missing the combo means I throw out an EX-move and probably waste meter, and the setups are pretty damn hard for most characters, unless you land a lucky focus attack.
“But omg you can just FADC into ultras its ez lol noob” is what I’ll probably hear now. And that probably makes sense for someone who’s played fighters for some time. However, for us beginners, FADCs are actually extremely fucking hard to pull off, not to mention timing the ultra after that. Especially compared to doing two QCFs while mashing crouching LKs as Ken in 3S.
You can’t reliably mash out shoryukens
Yeah, this is one of those nooby things that’s far more effective than it should be. Because everybody does it. I do it as well. And it’s incredibly infuriating to play against. It doesn’t make you better at the game either. As a result you don’t feel like trying to do semi-fancy combos are worth it as much, because if you fail, Ken will set you on fire. You can’t do this as reliably in 3S, and even then it can be parried if you’re predictable. Which brings me up to…
3S’ air game
Again, beginner’s perspective here: in AE, you see shotos using jumping HK -> sweep constantly, and then shoryukening you whenever you try to jump. I know that’s, in theory, easy to beat, but things never go how I want them to, even if I predict it. I’m probably doing something wrong, but it’s still frustrating to play against. In 3S, you can parry that shit easily if you predict it. And yes, I know parries are supposed to be hard and make you a badass, but against someone who does the same thing over and over again, they’re really pretty easy. And incredibly satisfying to use.
In fact, parries make the air game really interesting, because while jumping in in AE was pretty random in whether or not it worked, in 3S you can jump in, parry their anti-air and let them eat a super when you land. Parry the aforementioned j.HK -> sweep once or twice, and suddenly your opponent won’t even try to do it again. Parry their SRK and they’ll think about anti-airing you again. It’s so much more interesting than “X beats Y if spaced right”. This is noticable even at my crappy level of play.
Fewer match-ups to learn
This one’s fairly self-explainatory, and also one of the reasons I don’t think more characters always is a good thing.
You press a button and face an opponent. I semi-reliably get someone at my level. This was NOT the case in AE, where the system was clunky as all fuck and caused more mismatches than 3S. It could be improved(instant rematch please), but it’s very much a functional system.
Why does this matter? Because the better the matchmaking is, the easier it is to find a reliable sparring partner. The best way to improve is to play against someone who’s at your level, preferrably one who’s slightly better than you. Those guys come pretty easily for me in 3S, not so much in AE.
The trials in SSF4 were, at best, a bit dubious. You learned the motions for the attacks, but that’s it. No useful combos or setups for anything. In SF3:OE, the trials generally teach you simple bread 'n butter-combos. You know, the kind of stuff you’ll actually realistically use in a match. The parry trials are also really cool, simply because it shows you how the parry mechanic works. And, in all honesty, the first time you parry Ryu’s SA1 in the trials, you feel like a fucking badass, which is always a good thing if you want people to play your game.
Yay wall of text hits you for a lot of damage. I just wanted to get that out, so that I could put off that exam reading for a few more minutes
Bottom line is, if you’re new to fighting games, I actually think 3S is a better introduction to the genre than AE is. Any other thoughts regarding this, from someone both more or less experienced?