How to Beat the Scrub Out of You

Every fighting game match has the same outcome – someone wins and their opponent is the loser. By and large this is how things go, and very rarely will there ever be a draw. This is objectively true, but for every new fighting game people flock to, a staggering percentage of the player base has historically had trouble with understanding this fact. If you’ve been fervently playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3 like I have, your inbox that’s probably full of hate mail can verify that you’ve also come across this special type of player; perhaps you’re one of them yourself. I’m talking about the Scrub.

What is this Scrub you speak of?

For those of you who don’t know what a Scrub is, it’s the type of player (although not limited to fighting games, but this is where they flock to) that feels the need to take things a step further with their opponent after they’ve lost a match. Whatever tactic that was used to win will immediately be scrutinized; it was “cheap”, they used too many projectiles, they didn’t “fight like a real player,” they too chickenshit to get up close, their team was just so much better than the loser’s; the list of complaints go on and on. The sad thing is that each and every point of argument is so steeped in stupidity and rage that it cannot be taken seriously.

Because of the reasons I stated above, I venture to say that the only type of match a scrub would really enjoy would be one that doesn’t suffer from those “flaws.” Further, I imagine this fight would be perfectly balanced, so to speak. Perhaps it’ll go something like this: He does a number of tricks and really injures you, and you return the favor with your own arsenal of moves, while explosions are going off in the background and both of your fan clubs are hopelessly cheering you two on. But in the end, he wins, because he’s supposed to. If he doesn’t, then there’s something wrong. The perfectly scripted encounter is supposed to go his way because nothing else matters as long as the scrub wins. No matter how ridiculous a match goes, a scrub will never ever complain if they win in the end. If they lost, then they’ll suddenly feel violated, and the verbal insults fly in every direction. The truth is, anything goes. There is no code of honor when it comes to a fighting game. There’s no perfect way a fight is supposed to go, and that’s never going to change. You deal with it, and you focus on getting better. If you can’t do that, it’s best to stop playing for your own sake.

“If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough…”

I know what it’s like. Over my years of playing fighting games I too have suffered so many losses that I’ve had no other reaction than blind rage. I would let my anger cloud my better judgment, leading me to make more mistakes. As a result, I was also more susceptible to falling for the same traps and the same attacks over and over. For example in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, whenever you get blasted by Doctor Doom’s beam attack your character falls to the floor. If you’re not immediately blocking, you’ll roll up, only to get blasted again. If I don’t wise up, why should my opponent do anything different?

It takes a certain type of mindset to play fighting games. Have you heard of the phrase “when you get knocked down, you gotta’ get back up?” well, I’ve never seen that idea apply more to anything than a fighting game. If you don’t start playing with the frame of mind that losing is an occupational hazard that will happen more than you’d like, you’re going to destroy yourself. The one thing that divides a scrub and a regular player (not even professionals) is that when a regular player loses a match, he or she doesn’t dive right into playing the blame game. Regardless of how the loss happened, a player that can rise above is taking notes. They are watching and analyzing how they are losing, and will promptly GO BACK TO PRACTICE MODE to iron out those kinks.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is unfortunately synonymous with a lot of scrubby debates, but I can definitely sympathize with them. I’ve gotten spanked by Sentinel more times than I can count. In fact, on the second day of playing online, I got so depressed from losing that I didn’t want to cover this game anymore. Every character has the potential to defeat every other character; it just takes a lot of effort and experimentation to find out what combination works for you. When all else fails, you just might have a bad matchup. In that case, take note of it, and move on.

But I’m so lost don’t know where to begin…

If you decide to play a game like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, you have to consider the fact that you’re going to lose. You’re going to lose often. The best way to deal with this is to pay a lot of attention to how the match is going. What strategies is your opponent using? Are you able to overcome them with your own style? If you’re losing a lot to a general playing style like ‘keepaway,’ where the opponent does everything in his or her power to keep you pinned with projectiles and other attacks to force you in the corner, use characters who excel at ‘rushdown’, who can bring a lot of pain when their right in the oppositions face. This is pretty rudimentary, but still effective, especially if you haven’t considered this. By really learning your characters and the characters that you’re facing online, you should start to develop strategies to beat them. Of course, it may be hard to think of all of this on your own, but remember, this is the internet! Go to message boards, watch technique videos, read a strategy guide! There’s a mountain of resources out there made for people trying to get better. Use them!

If you ever feel like you’re not getting where you want to be, go back into the lab. Keep experimenting, and come up with new strategies. Perfect your team and work on any weaknesses you have, or are learning about based on how you’re losing. The time you put into practicing will reflect on your overall skill. While spending ten or more hours a day like professionals do when they’re preparing to compete in tournaments may not suit you, find out what works best for your situation, And watch as you start to rack in some wins.

Here’s a couple links that can get you started if you feel like you want to improve your game:

http://wiki.shoryuken.com/Marvel_vs_Capcom_3

–          Shoryuken.com’s comprehensive “hyper guide” details EVERYTHING you need to know about Marvel vs. Capcom 3. While there’s a lot of material to sort out here, so my advice is to read a couple pages, and practice what you’ve learned. Once you feel like you’ve gotten a few things down, go back and read more. The front page also has video walkthroughs explaining each character’s strengths so you can start putting together your dream team.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/995376-marvel-vs-capcom-3-fate-of-two-worlds

–          I’ve always made it a point to visit GameFAQ’s forums for every game I cover as a second resource. While this community is not strictly composed of fighting game enthusiasts like Shoryuken, I’ve found a couple of good discussions here as well.

http://shoryuken.com/f340/

–          If you wanted a more focused discussion about an individual character, this is the place to go. I usually go here when I want more information about a character that catches my interest after watching the introductory videos found on the first link above.

Good luck, and remember not to get discouraged if you lose.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 First Impressions

After over a decade of rocking the arcades, home consoles and never missing a step with newer fighting games, the most popular crossover fighter Marvel vs. Capcom explodes onto the scene with its third game. After clearing the arcade mode and playing online for a little bit, I can’t be any more excited about this game. I’m still getting my bearings in the arena, but here’s a few things I’ve noticed –

While marveling at the cast of fighters this time around, it’s hard not to miss the characters that have gone missing. Fan-favorites like Strider, Cable and Captain Commando have been left out this time around, but Capcom’s rationale for this is definitely fair in my opinion. It goes without saying that a lot of resources are required to bring a character into this game; the graphics are on par with Street Fighter IV, if not better. Because of this, it’s important to have each fighter bring something new to the table. This is evident in the presence of Super-Skrull, who combines all four of the powers of each member of the Fantastic Four. While he may be a great example of consolidation, I’m having trouble with looking at She-Hulk next to her well established male counterpart, or both Dante and Trish who appear to play similarly. Perhaps they’re not so similar, but we’ll have to see about that. A cast of 36 characters on disk with at least two more on the way via DLC is significantly less than the 56 who flooded the select screen in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

I started off with a team consisting of Zero, Wolverine, and Dante. While Megaman will also be greatly missed, I think Zero was a better fit for my play style. The frantic nature of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 looks like it favors fast damage dealers, rather than slow bruisers like Thor. Once I hit training mode and got the very basics down, I went out and beat arcade mode relatively quickly. The unlockable characters which included Akuma and Sentinel, were also unlocked effortlessly as well.

Playing online was pretty nice as well, but I’ll go more in depth in my review. Capcom’s great netcode ensured that I had no bad connections; I was pretty surprised at that.

I also came upon a very helpful page for beginners and veterans of Marvel vs. Capcom. From the good people at Shoryuken.com, check out this comprehensive guide to understanding everything you need to know in order to master Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

http://wiki.shoryuken.com/Marvel_vs_Capcom_3/System_Guide

As always, I’ve only scratched the surface of the game.  Stay tuned for the review, coming soon.

Why I Missed the Party: Mass Effect

I really miss Baldur’s Gate.

Sometimes I can remember the nights I would play it. I was always in the middle of a journey, adventuring with a ragtag group of heroes from all walks of life. In every event, their unique perspectives would often mix in with mine, with pretty interesting results. If I were to meddle in the affairs of two warring estates to settle the dispute peacefully, my meaner teammate would be the first to ask me why I was such a nice guy. Conversely, my “good” party members would question my intentions as I went into dealings with a criminal syndicate. Extreme actions were often met with brow beatings or threats to leave me high and dry, so I always had to make decisions with those potential responses of my party in mind. I won’t give you all too many examples, but the point is this; Baldur’s Gate, in addition to Western Role Playing Games in general represented a much more active approach to storytelling, and to this day is one of my favorite games of all time.

Before the days of Neverwinter Nights, Jade Empire or Dragon Age: Origins, I was introduced to Western RPG’s with the Baldur’s Gate series. This was a time where Squaresoft was the supreme ruler of the RPG genre; a time where the average gamer would only be aware of classics like Final Fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, the games I’ve reviewed thus far are a clear beacon: Japanese RPG’s have been very good to me. However, I feel as if I’ve hit some sort of limit with them.

Like I said in a previous post, the Mass Effect series had gone right over my head. It was a combination of bad timing on my part, and an infatuation of a number of other games, and regrettably, little bit of bias.

I had put a lot of stock in Bioware’s RPG, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, when it was preparing to release. The Star Wars universe was trying its hand at being an RPG, after many years of existing as an avenue for action/adventure games. This was new, and it was big. Playing as a unique character who realizes the potential to wield the force made out to be an excellent idea on paper, but for me, it fell flat. Combat left something to be desired and from there, I continued to find more things wrong with the game. Perhaps it just didn’t work well for me, since this was a top selling role playing game, and did very well to put Bioware into more homes than the average Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast. Personally, I think that Bioware’s brand of RPG was in a transition phase: At the release of KOTOR, it hadn’t reached a stable point that I could enjoy, compared to what Baldur’s Gate had already accomplished.

Since I didn’t like it, I swore off Bioware games completely, since 2003.

However, it’s been seven (almost eight) years since that then. Western RPGs have steadily been on the rise in terms of innovation and mass appeal. At the forefront of this is Bioware, touting a number of games like the ones I listed earlier.

2010 is coming to a close, and unfortunately this is the time where most of us sign off and burrow into our caves to rest every inch of our minds and bodies for the duration of Winter Break. I’ve reviewed everything I wanted to cover for a while, and since I have about two months or so before the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, I want to put my reviews on pause for the time being. During this break, I’ll be getting reacquainted with Bioware, and observing how far they’ve come by playing through both Mass Effect games consecutively. I played the demo of Mass Effect 2 recently, and have been completely enthralled with the game play. Perhaps after so many months of having to fight monsters with keyblades and photon weapons while dialogue and plot spoon fed to me, It feels pretty damn satisfying to shoot stuff, and carve my own path (where it’s possible) by choosing what I want to say next.

I just got Mass Effect 1 in the mail late this week and have already gotten my Commander Shepard to become a Spectre, so I’m already knee deep into this great game.

When I look back on certain games, I hate to say that the reason I’m not playing them is because of a bias that was rooted in a previous game. I used to think that Bioware wouldn’t get back on track after finishing Baldur’s Gate. Even though I’m a couple years behind, Mass Effect is clearly proving to be just what I needed to restore my faith in Western RPGs.

Here’s one of many epic moments that made me glad I’m playing this –