SF3 from a beginner perspective: easier to learn than SF4?


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.

Better match-making
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.

Better tutorials
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?


I could kiss you for this! Too many fucking characters in AE!!

There are definitely a lot of aspects of 3s that are easier than AE. I’d say beginner level Ken/Chun is much easier than learning all those fuckin link combo bnb’s.


Playing against someone who’s bad will always be playing someone who is bad in any game. To me, it sounds like you’re playing really bad people, if you’re parrying all their jump-ins. If you’re trying to learn this game that isn’t the best choice as you’ll learn AWFUL habits and expect dumb shit during matches.

But youre right about cast size and online match making for sure

The only reason I think 3s would be any easier to learn is because the game is actually fun. There is times where I play for like 5-10 hours no stopping and I want more which I never get from SSf4. In that game after one hour I’m bored already.


I think playing SF3:3s will make you a better SF4 player. I would get up in everyone’s face in SF4 and they wouldn’t expect it and I’d win. Oh yeah, that and the footsies thing. :stuck_out_tongue:

But yeah, I think you’re better off having 3S as a first game, despite how different it is from SF4, than SF4 itself.


In my opinion, 3s is just simply harder because of how hard it is to master . The game itself isnt complicated, but to be the best you need to master all the little things in the game. Every button, every move, every habit, even time is a factor in 3s. Everyone can do the same moves that the pro players do, but you wont win against them because they MASTERED the game


I don’t like writing walls of text so I’ll just mention a couple things

I don’t think “jump in and parry their anti air” is a great strategy for long term success. they can vary up their timing, which move they use, or can just dash under you. you’re in an even worse situation if you jumped in with a button and they react to it.

if you think FADC Ultra is hard, I don’t see why you would think hit confirming in 3s is easy. Even the easier hit confirms like Chun’s cr mk still are not easy for most people who haven’t sunk a lot of time into the game. if you’re just hitting a button then cancelling into super without hit confirming, that’s a bad idea.

What trials in 3SOE are good? I can only think of a couple you’d actually use. IMO 4’s trials are more useful than OE’s but both have limited utility.

When people say “4 is ez 3s is a man’s game” some of them are just talking. But if there’s any truth to it, I’d say playing defense in 3s is harder. there’s a lot of tools available on the offensive end. there’s no situation in 4 that resembles being stuck in the corner by a good Chun or Ken player. no way anyone is giving up 5 walk up throws in a row in SF4 under any circumstance.


Why would a beginner perspective matter? All it does is allow knowledgeable people to correct you (not me). Everything you say tells us you haven’t played anyone who is somewhat eh. Like jumping in and parrying his anti-airs, what if he constantly jabs? Are you gonna parry all of those? Grabs or does a low attack on your way down. You can easily mash shoryuken or super in between attacks, but it’s just not a good idea for the most part, and anything involving predictability is moot, because it can be used in any fighting game, move or situation (What if he parries).

It’s honestly difficult for people to agree which games are harder from a beginners perspective. Even a veterans perspective might be thrown out the window so you should keep up playing these games, and find a larger surplus of decent or good players. You should really ask who the big cats are, and get beasted to discover more of the game.


As someone who never played 3s until OE came out and mained Gen since vanilla sf4 I would say 3s is much harder to learn. I couldn’t get into the game at all and found parrying very unnatural and the fact that zoning is very discouraged is kind of lame for me personally. A shame really, because the animation, soundtrack (the original!) and characters are all very cool so I really wanted to like it and stick with it…but I keep coming back to Gen.

Also input leniency makes SF4 easier for beginners aswell.


SF3:S (SFA too) may look easier but what makes it more difficult is its speed. It can become incredibly fast, even more than SF4,especially if you count the smaller stages and fewer animation frames (when compared to SF4). Though Vampire Savior is even more difficult in that regard, also due to the lack of energy refill.

When I played SF:3S in Supercade against some good players, if I picked Helena, Ken or Chun-Li, I could put more resistance.

But in Vampire Savior on GGPO, when I played against good or top players there from Dustloop, there was no chance I could compete with them. Game seemed insurmountable and speed and reflexes required for it.

I’d consider Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure the easiest Capcom game. Much more defensive options there and when I played against good players there, at least I was not becoming a punching bag, even if I didnt know more advanced stuff.

Playing SF4 and SF3:S is like driving a truck vs driving a race car. both are difficult to drive but require different methods to master.


If you think JoJo is the easiest Capcom game and didn’t get bodied by good players, they weren’t really good players and you haven’t discovered what you can do in that game.


I personally find 3S easy to play, its just depends on who I’m facing.

every other fighter I’ve played/tried has been harder for me.


Ah, no, that’s a question of reads, really. If they do the same thing every time if you or they jump in, parrying it isn’t hard. That makes it a lot easier to deal with the stuff that otherwise can be really annoying, but more importantly it forces the other player not to be predictable. Parry the same thing from him twice, and you won’t see that again from him.

They ARE easier than FADC ultras, however.

Most of the 1st character tutorials, and a lot of the 2nd ones, seem to actually make sense. Correct me if I’m wrong, it could just be that it’s just me and the other low-levelers finding them useful, but I’ve both used and seen a lot of those simple combos used in-game.

No argument there. However, that kind of stuff isn’t really relevant before you get past the beginner stage. =)

Because it’s not a question about which game is harder(3S certainly is harder than AE once you get into it), it’s a question about which game it’s easiest to get into on a very basic level. There will always be some hurdles, but I certainly had fewer hurdles in 3S than AE. Of course, I’m still a downright bad player in both games, but the really, really horrible ones(the ones mentioned earlier who’re just jumpingkicking, sweeping and DPing) stopped being annoying in 3S while they’re still annoying in AE(although I still usually beat them there). A more experienced player wouldn’t ever have that annoyance, but I know people who didn’t bother trying to learn AE simply because of the aforementioned hurdles.

Ah, no, my sparring partners are all above that level, otherwise I wouldn’t learn anything. The point was rather that stuff like that actually was a problem for me (and, as mentioned, others) in AE, while in 3S, the guys who played like that are free wins.

I have played someone who’s decent, and of course I got bodied every time. However, I don’t learn anything from being double-perfected within 25 second of the match start. If I lose a somewhat even game and can look back at it and tell myself why I lost, that’s when you learn and improve. Or if I win, but still manage to notice things I should’ve done better.
Or, at least, that’s how it worked when I tried to learn RTSes. If I got steamrolled, I almost never learned anything useful unless I specifically asked them for help(and they bothered answering, which they often won’t). If I steamrolled someone, I learned absolutely nothing, obviously. If I played somewhat close games, there was knowledge to be gained from that.


I would if they had used their main players but we played mostly casually. Once you realize that the opponent doesnt know to apply the advanced stuff and combos, you dont go full force. Who was the US player on GGPO that won a tourney with Hol Horse? Some months ago we played a few matches where he was showing me the strengths and weaknesses of each character as I was choosing and learning the game. Eg Iggy’s infinite grab and Maria’s loop. really one of the most helpful encounters I played. So in that respect I beat him a few times.

But when he chose Hol Horse and showed me the character’s true potential, almost perfecting me, then I realized there was no chance. though he hated when I picked Iggy since this was Hol’s worst nightmare. Due to the fewer number of players on GGPO and Supercade, not all opponents a tournament level player will face are tournament level too, so you’ll make a few concessions.
Unfortunately in SF4 due to the bigger number of players, this does not happen as you can find opponents of your caliber easier. It would help a beginner very much if he played online against a tournament player and he gave him advice.


Overheads are a big deal in this. Every char has one, and given specific spacing, most chars can land super off one. That’s huge. You can be hit with big damage from grabs, low or overhead hits, cross-ups, juggles, even unblockables from behind!
Just keep moving round, building meter, and looking to land super. Mix up throws to open up turtles. Safer to block it out though (unless being chipped to death) than trying multi-part parries, unless you’ve really practised all the different timings on them, and have a top tier controller and no network lag.

I still see loads of obviously new and curious players on this in Ranked, so you’re lucky as a SFIV defector that there’s plenty of basic level comp you can fight and practice stuff on in real time, instead of just getting smashed in seconds every match (welcome to GGPO ST). You’ve obviously sat down and read and watched how 3s works, which is more than some of these crossover guys do, so fair play and good luck with it.


Well this thread has resulted in my trying to pick up this game again, first match was an Oro mirror match and he did the big ass energy ball superart, and I parried it all when I had no life + his sweep follow up. I lost, but nontheless I haven’t felt this excited about a fighter in months.

My main problem has been to find an actual main. I really like Oro but he seems to rely on chicken loops too much.


He has a good poke, cross-up and combo~grab game? Fairly unique char in this, with the double jump, good dash, massive juggles, and combination of charge and directional moves. Parry > launcher > huge combo will soon see you rise up the charts.


when I think of Oro I first think of loops and then I think of standing roundhouse OMG


I haven’t got the patience to learn link combos and stuff, so for me 3s has always been alot easier execution wise. Honestly though, 3s is only difficult in terms of the metagame. There’s so many different things you can do in any one situation, it can be very
difficult at times to know precisly what you should do without being too predictable.


This is also why I struggle at 3s and get frustrated. I literally have some kind of brainfreeze when I play sometimes where I just have no idea what to do without becoming predictable. As someone who is fairly good at linking big ass combos the fact 3s doesn’t really have any makes it hard for me to focus on what I should really do.

Too bad there are barely any Euro 3s players on here to help me out.


I think third strike’s comboes are as hard or maybe even harder than SF4 link comboes because they require more strict timing in everything and not only timing a button press. Stuff like Urien 100 tackles or some GJ comboes.

If you’re getting read and you notice yourself that you’re getting predictable, sometimes it’s just good to go random. Seriously, just do some stupid shit, it just might work and throw your opponent off balance. Other than that, mix that shit up.

Also I live in Yurop, but I’m not touching 3SOE over the net unless you live in the same country, which you don’t.