Fake-out Attacks

What do you think of fakeout attacks? (Both when enemies use them in single plaher action games, or other genre’s, and in multiplayer fighting games)

Enemies using fakeouts in single player games:
I can’t think of a reason to use this off the top of my head. From the player’s perspective, it’s like the enemy randomly attacks or doesn’t. This creates the situation where the enemy uses the fakeout attack, and the player can safely attack them, but randomly sometimes they’ll actually do it, so they’ll trade hits with the player. Beginners might get scared by the fakeout attack, but intermediate will realize it’s basically just an animation where they do nothing important, so they can be attacked.

Maybe it would make sense in a game where enemies attacking requires an action that costs something from the player, and there’s a tell between the real and fakeout attack. Like in Furi, fakeouts would mean you can’t parry the next incoming attack, so if you made a system similar to this you could have the mixup between fakeout or not, then maybe a small reaction period for you to realize you’ve been faked out to let you dodge or something. Similar was used in the Mario and Luigi RPGs, where enemies would sometimes fake you out, so you’d jump over incoming attacks that weren’t coming, setting you up to be hit by the followup.

Oh, one example was the fakeout groundpound that Soul Master does in Hollow Knight. Basically, he’ll teleport to your position and pound the ground, creating a shockwave that needs to be jumped over, but sometimes he’ll teleport, then teleport again. This means you need to be moving to the left or right when he does it to avoid the pound, but also jump early, which means that if he does the fakeout, you gotta react to it, let go of jump, and then jump again and move again to avoid the new ground pound. So this is a rather interesting reaction test.

So in single player games, fakeouts are generally a test between your ability to visually distinguish between two similar animations. This is kind of a softer skill than I generally regard as part of a game, because it doesn’t necessarily correlate with game states as I define them, but it is still a skill.

In multiplayer games, fakeouts tend to be gimmicky, not genuinely very effective. Ken’s almost always had a fakeout on his step kicks, allowing you to step up and then kick or not. Far as I know, these don’t see very much use. Ryu in SF2 HDR can throw a fake hadouken, as can Filia in skullgirls with the same input. These have less recovery time, so they’re in theory useful for baiting certain reactionary responses, but in my personal experience, and from stories I hear, they don’t see much use. There is one shining example of fakeout use from Kusoru in this video at 1:31.

He does a few other fakeouts in this video too, using FRCs on his riot stomp, to do another option instead. This is arguably less of a fakeout and more of a mixup. One of his patented tactics is to riot stomp fullscreen, then FRC into grand viper. Riot Stomp hits high, grand viper hits low. Both are easy to block on their own, but when combined this way, blocking can be tricky.

CS:GO added fake grenades. I don’t know how effective these tend to be because I don’t really play CS:GO.

I think based on the case examples I’m aware of that usually if you’re considering adding a fakeout option to a multiplayer game, it’s better to add a mixup option instead.

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