Four Terrible Fighting Game Mechanics
Fighting games have enjoyed a period of spectacular growth after being a nearly nonexistent genre for so many years prior. Because of this sudden growth, we're seeing a lot of companies taking different approaches to the traditional fighting game formula that has stood since Street Fighter II first came onto the scene.
Unfortunately, a lot of these experiments don't pan out as the companies would hope, and in a developer's attempts to make something unique, they add a few elements that don't quite fit into the formula they come up with. That's where we get some pretty bad fighting game mechanics from.
That's not to say that the games offering these mechanics are terrible. Quite the contrary, some of them are spectacular fighters. They just have some questionable things that either don't make any sense or just felt out of place in that particular game's style. So, what kind of mechanics do we have that fall into this category? That's what we're going to discuss here today:.
King of Fighters XII – Critical Counter
I'm sure very few of you want to remember the disaster that was the console release of KoFXII, but unfortunately, we're going to have to dig into some repressed memories for this. A part of what made the game such a mess (besides the lack of well, everything that would warrant a $60 purchase) was the awkward Critical Counter system. Partially intended as a counterpart to Street Fighter IV's Ultra system, the Critical Counter was the game's primary gimmick. Once a special meter filled up, you had a limited amount of time to land a counter hit on your opponent. Once you did, you were free to perform a type of custom combo that would often lead to big damage.
An interesting concept on paper, but in practice, it wasn't nearly as effective. Many cases, when a player had his CC meter filled, he would try to stay back and let the opponent come to him, fishing for a counter hit. If both players had meter at the same time (a common occurrence), then both players would likely end up staying at opposite ends of the stage fishing for counter hits until either of their meters ran out. For a game that normally encourages aggressive play, the Critical Counter system was very counter-intuitive to the KoF formula, and often slowed matches to a crawl whenever they popped up.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl – Tripping
We can argue about whether Smash Bros. can be considered a fighting game or a party game until the Pikmin come home. At the end of the day, it's still a fun game to play with friends. The competitive scene, however, is much more vocal about getting people to play the game how they want, rather than understanding Nintendo's wishes for the games to not be competitive at all. So vocal in fact that when Super Smash Bros. Brawl came out, they threw so much of a tantrum at Nintendo that they made their own hack of the game, completely changing the rules around to suit their needs.
That's not to say that there aren't legitimate criticisms regarding Brawl, and some of the tactics Nintendo used to spite the competitive scene. One of these is the implementation of tripping to character movement. When a character runs, they have a small chance of slipping and falling flat on their ass, similar to stepping over a banana peel item. The first time you experience tripping, it can be worth a laugh, especially when you're playing a serious and imposing character like Ganondorf. The subsequent times it occurred to me, however, would end up being an annoyance, and more often than not ruined whatever rushdown option you had going at the time, as well as making you vulnerable for attack.
Needless to say, it's one gameplay element that both competitive and casual scenes could live without, and it will hopefully be removed when the next Smash Bros. game comes around.
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