The Efficacy of Strategy Guides

I’ve never really taken official strategy guides for fighting games seriously, especially since within weeks of a game’s release the internet will have extended character discussions, strategies, and even the frame data. Now though I wonder if I should be in the market for one, distinctively SFxT.

How much information do these guides usually contain, and how viable are their strategy discussions? Most importantly however, I want to start getting into frame data, since I’m huge on theory (if not execution yet) and I feel that as I’m learning the concepts of safe/unsafe, punish/meaty etc, it’d be nice to have a physical guide that gives me all the information I need.

How worth the money are these guides and how quickly will it take for frame data to appear on the internet for the game’s worst characters? Think of the money used to buy the guide as going towards an arcade stick if I decide to skip it.

When you by a fighting game guide typically what you get for your money is frame data, combos, general strategy, and pictures, not to mention convenience.

Frame data: I find this useful in guides because they provide a clear and easy way to read frames w/ no computers or spreadsheets. I like how guides lay the spreadsheets out for you. Seems easier for my mind to digest. However once a game is updated they can potentially become useless.

Combos: Most guides have good starter combos for learning characters. Once you learn a character though you will be ready for better combos from the net or of your own creation. The SFxT guide has good combos but many improved ones can be found by now.

Strategy: This is where guides differ some have great in-depth strategy like the Umvc3 guide (best guide ever) or more of a general overview. I guess some don’t have any or bad strategy too but i don’t own one of those. As far as the SFxT guide goes the strategies are good but don’t expect the game to be laid out in front of you. Remember these mechanics are fairly new.

Pictures: Guides have many pictures and can help link the frames for moves as well as their range. The SFxT guide has pictures for every move as well as pictures demonstrating more advanced techniques so you can follow along. The guide also includes bonus art if that is your thing.

Convenience: When you buy a guide your generally buying convenience. In this day and age the internet has all of the answers However there is a lot of internet to go through sometime just for an easy answer. I always find a fighting game guide good whenever something randomly pops in my head and I think “How or will that work?”. Then I can easily just look and compare some data and voila!

Opinion: Personally I like guides mainly because if I have a question or need specific info I don’t need to search and compare. All the info you need is all in one convenient spot. I do find all the strategy information worth something even if I already came to the same conclusions as the authors. Pictures helps me recognize moves in conjunction with frames. Combos are good but will be basic in the long run, helps me learn to fight early and I can always build on them. Frame data is great even if it will be outdated eventually.

The SFxT guide is about $13. Not a bad price for the info in my opinion.

imo the only useful thing about strategy guides is having a physical frame data reference. you’ll never need a reference for things like combos or strategy after the first couple of months of playing (few ever really need one).

I’d still discourage buying them though since these days games change often enough that the frame data from a strategy guide will be outdated within 6 months. you can have a physical frame data reference as long as you have a printer since frame data inevitably will be posted somewhere online for free.

there’s so much free content being pushed out on a weekly basis to help you improve your game that I could never encourage anyone to pay for that kind of content.

Guide help you to understand a character without the need to play him. You don’t like Kazuya but you want to beat him. Ok you can read the 8 pages provide in the bradygames and start thinking of a plan to escape his tools.

Guide have also those little informations who are really useful but that players never mention online. I spoke about obvious information not so obvious in reality.

But don’t expect to take advantage of guide quickly. It’s not something that you finish to read in one week and you never ever open later. A guide follow you everyday until you are ok and it will take time

They make for awesome bathroom reading, bro.

Well I’m always looking for new things to read on the can.

Can anyone who has the guide tell me if they have the frame data for exclusive characters like Cole? That’s kind of the main reason I am getting it, because I dunno if anyone would bother posting stuff for characters banned in tournaments.

Also the obsolete thing worries me, but $13 is insignificant in the long run, investing in this game and extra controllers as I already have.

No cole, no cats and no dlc characters. I bet they make another one!