DBFZ Impressions

What’s your opinion on FighterZ so far?

Alright, I checked out the DBFZ beta while it was up. I played some ranked, and honestly got my ass scraped. Had like, a 50% win ratio exactly. Feel like I gotta count my losses too.

Felt like I had no idea what the hell I was doing or how anything fit together, but then I watched a vid that explained the universal moves and the basic combo mechanics and it made a lot more sense. Once I actually got the game, I started winning a lot more, and overall the pieces fit into place a lot more, it can just be a bit rough starting out.

I’m gonna use anime numpad notation, so look that up if you don’t know it. 2M and 6M are a universal low, and a universal overhead respectively. 6M is a lot like the 3rd strike UOH, but it can’t be hit meaty, and doesn’t chain or cancel into anything, so unless you call an assist before using it, you can’t combo off it. 2M is a sweep that usually moves forward a bit.

Dragon rush is this game’s equivalent of throw, but it has a startup period before rushing forward to grab. It has low priority, so anything with range will knock you out of it. It sometimes loses to normals, always loses to beams, it’s a pretty crappy throw. It also serves as your snapback, letting you force the opponent’s character out if you land it. Since it has a startup, tick throwing in this game is basically absent. You’re only gonna get tick dragon rush off maybe an assist block pressure, or a reset really. Otherwise, you need to make them scared enough to continue to hold block long enough for the dragonrush to start up, and that’s probably reactable. This means that if you want to fuck up someone who is blocking, you need to mix them up, high and low.

Also, you can cancel ground pressure into superdash, vanish, or S (Ki Blast) to extend it. Ki blast can be canceled into projectile specials, then super, which sometimes can serve as a weak confirm, however your real damage comes from either confirming into H, or getting a combo off 2M.

So that’s the next deal, there’s an interesting progression in the combo system that has all these parts that are really easy to tack on to add up to bigger and bigger combos. First you have the L and M autocombos, which do like 2 normal hits, then a unique attack, then for the L combo, it leads into a launcher, then hard knockdown, and for the M combo, it does the 3 hits, then cancels into special, then super. There doesn’t appear to be any scaling on these, so they get decent damage, like a quarter to third of someone’s health. If you hold back, you can get the unique 3rd hit, without getting the rest of the autocombo. So you can confirm off random hits in neutral, then autocombo your way to victory as an introduction, then you can ramp up to doing L > M > H, which the tutorial shows you how to do. 5H and 2H are your launchers. 5H will launch horizontally and wallbounce, and is usually a big poking move, 2H launches vertically, and is invincible to air attacks, which is important. Then you can do an air combo like L > M > H for a hard knockdown, and then super when you land.

Once you’ve gotten those basics down, you can get a bit more mileage in a couple different ways. First, you can do 2M to sweep, then 5M to launch from the sweep and jump cancel the 5M to follow into the air. Then in the air, instead of doing L > M > H, you can do L > M and jump cancel into another L > M, then cancel to special, then to super. Or, instead of the special into super, you could do 2H, which launches them even higher, and lets you follow up into L > M > special > super. You could also vanish instead of super, letting you combo the wallbounce from vanish into dragon rush for a snapback. You can integrate these combo extensions at pretty much any point for a little extra damage, and far as I know, they’re universal across the cast. Even if you don’t do 2M > 5M, you can still integrate jumping L > M double jump L > M from the H launchers.

Oh, and the chain system is weird, you can chain any button into any other version of that button, but you can’t have the same move in a chain twice, so you can chain 2M > 5M or 5M > 2M, but not 5M > 2M > 5M, which is what would lead to a launch, if possible. This also means you can chain 2M > 6M, the low into the overhead, but 6M cannot chain, so the overhead only combos with an assist.

Beyond that, there’s advanced character-specific combos, which involve comboing off specials or using assists or other business to extend, but still, there’s a basic template that lets you get a good combo, which you can steadily ramp up through and improve at without adding too much complexity at any given point. It also means you can pick up a new character and figure out how to do basic-bitch combos with them fairly quickly by following this template.

The superdash is a big deal, it’s kind of like a street fighter jump, in that it lets you get in, it’s safe on block, and combos on hit, but if they’re paying enough attention to AA you, there’s not a damn thing you can do, and they’ll get pretty decent damage off it to boot. 2H is completely air invincible, so if properly timed, it will beat superdashes clean. Superdashes can come out quickly however, and are tough to react to at close range. They deal a hit as they come in, which can be combo’d off. If blocked, then the attacker is not punishable, and they can get out an attack before hitting the ground, making it kind of a mixup scenario on block, which I’d guess is weighted slightly in the defender’s favor. The attacker can also double jump on block to make it almost completely safe. Unlike normal aerials, superdash can be blocked low or high, and you can cancel into superdash from L, M, and H, extending pressure. This move is gonna be the noob killer, because of how difficult it is to react to and shut down and how high priority it is. It goes through small ki blasts, but can’t go through beams and larger projectiles, so you can use those as a less guaranteed and lower reward anti-air, albeit with less harsh timing requirements than 2H. Superdash also has reasonably high priority vs normals.

I’m a bit disappointed by the tutorials and combo trials. The tutorials explain the bare basics, but don’t explain how to play the standard game, or that 2H is invincible. And it’s lacking Guilty Gear Revelator’s more advanced mission modes that fill in that type of information. The combo trials are also fairly simple, and don’t really go through the ramp up in complexity that I mentioned, at least, not nearly as far as Guilty Gear Revelator’s. So a lot of people are gonna have to go online to learn more information about the game, which is disappointing, and might detract from the image of the game, as people get stymied by simple tactics.

The game has a ton of hidden features, both character-wise and system-wise, so it’s shaping up to be an excellent game overall. My notes file on the game is huge. I like the game a lot so far, but I haven’t dedicated much time to improving in it.

6 thoughts on “DBFZ Impressions

  1. WHODUNNIT May 6, 2019 / 5:30 pm

    Since you’re not using ask.fm anymore…

    Came across the following comments:

    “Training mode is a blessing and a curse. To put it simply, with fighting games it’s understandable that people would want a mode to practice/acclimate in. The “curse” comes when the games further become designed around these modes to the extent that players expect a training mode that sets up every possible situation for them, defeating the purpose of the emergent aspect of the game.

    On one hand you want to win, but I think the Playing to Win book really misunderstood the core motivation behind lots of people preventing themselves from being winners/fanatics in the David Sirlin sense. It’s the company of others that I value most in games, so I take special awareness to the fact that not everyone will be as invested as I am. And sometimes for good reason. But now fighting games presume maximum investment.

    Modes like these, in that sense, are wonderful because I do want to practice inputs or doing things I want within the scope of performing actions. However, the degree to which that has accelerated means that people want to practice EVERYTHING. Not just your execution, but your ability to know things before ever having to play someone. There’s a difference between doing a combo on a stationary opponent and the fuzzy rift between a safe jump set up and then just outright having the CPU perform a set of actions statically.

    I’ve won like 2 tournaments in my life in Street Fighter Zero 2 vs people who absolutely would see this opinion as “scrubby.” I say this not to be like “I’m good and you’re not”, but rather to say that winning at a game isn’t necessarily incompatible with the preceding opinions. I know what I had to do to win, but I also think people really underestimate what those modes have progressed to and I think understandably it requires some explanation. Because, why wouldn’t you want to practice? The question becomes then what do we mean by practice and now we have the modern training mode. Which is more a symptom of current design.”

    “It’s more that those games are designed around having those modes. Why do you think the concept of the frame trap and the weakened special move emerged?

    Tekken is designed purely around frame data, moves that LOOK safe often aren’t and there’s modes in Tekken training mode that make your character change colors based on whether they can perform actions. How do you think people learned to punish moves in that sense?

    If you play SF2 it is immediately obvious whether a move is or is not safe. Now which game has the training mode? You can assert this idea it doesn’t affect things, but I’m saying there is a true expectation that to “get the most out of the game” that you not simply play it, but you devote yourself to it.

    There’s not as many ways to just make a game your own because fighting games now presume very particular types of investment.”

    And on DBFZ’s “fizzling out”:

    “The game just doesn’t scaffold to the particularly intuitive concepts that the game it’s supposedly based on, MVC2, for all its imagined or actual problems ACTUALLY did deal in. Which are strategies or planning that players with relatively weak grasp of overall fighting game knowledge could at least get something out of without being patronized.

    (Assist) Deck and Team composition in MVC2 has a ton of visual clarity because, say you’re zoning, having an assist that runs in and COVERS part of the screen to cover your zoning is extremely obvious to intuit. And players often just picked moves like that that, while some aren’t even necessarily winners, it made going into training mode fun and meaningful for all levels. Because of much of the way you’d have to apply those didn’t hinge on whether you understood how to make someone block something that is barely related to the idea you’re trying to express. In DBFZ, it is absolutely more important you know how to use your point characters than it will be to just call an assist.

    Because, to further your point not necessarily diminish it, I have no love for games that only benefit the people who will be the ones who get to sit in training mode and map out the most esoteric concepts of fighting action, like “block strings/Frame Advantage” while complaining about things that actually accomplish what explicitly named mechanics don’t. IE: This eSports approach to fighting games has furthered a certain type of understanding about the genre, but a lot of those outcomes aren’t particularly good or true or insightful.

    DBFZ felt like playing SF4 with Marvel Vs style movements or mechanics that are gutted so you absolutely cannot immediately get a sense of why your team composition works unless you admit that it’s about primarily upclose fighting. I can’t fault them for being on a certain type of terms, but the frame data is absolutely air tight in some instances and there just aren’t particularly favorable outcomes for most players unless they study the game in a way that is only obsessive.

    So yes, targeting minor to mid levels is that, but people are gonna read that and go “Oh we gave you like uh this dumb comeback mechanic that doesn’t actually do anything for beginners anyway.” The real comeback mechanics of fighters aren’t really called “X-Factor” in terms of universally applying to everyone. They’d be things like “Negative Frame mix ups” where you hit an opponent with a move that has a much more abstract wager.

    Netherrealm wanted to do this with wagers but it’s garish and honestly pretty lame since games can do this without going “LOOK AT THIS WAGER THAT IS GUTTED/DEFINED/DIVORCED FROM THE FLOW OF BATTLE.””

    An incredibly annoying writing style, a lot of unsubstantiated claims, and some scrubbery in there, but the main grievance seems to be that modern fighting games require too much knowledge of ‘esoteric’ details like framedata and block strings and what have you, while raw fundamentals don’t matter all that much.

    I think that’s partly a scrub complaint, because, well, no one’s going to be winning any skill-based game relying solely on “fundamentals” — not Mario Kart, certainly not any FG — but the finer point, that this is due to some modern design sensibility (which may or may not have to do with eSports or training modes) is what interests me.

    Do you feel that modern FGs are more about figuring out the nitty gritty rather than understanding the basic concepts? That person criticized T7 for the same reason. What do you think of that game in comparison to its predecessors?


    • Chris Wagar May 6, 2019 / 5:51 pm

      Jesus, this makes me glad I stopped using Ask.fm, because you never could have sent a question this long and meandering there.

      Who are you quoting?

      Yes, Tekken 7 has an annoying amount of memorizing framedata and moves don’t clearly telegraph how plus/minus they are.

      Nitty Gritty gets emphasized more in modern games than older ones, but only because they’re more competitive. SF2 is filled with crazy amounts of esoterica, even if memorizing frame data is way more essential in T7.

      Apart from that, I don’t get what the point of this overly long comment is.


      • NOT WHODUNNIT May 9, 2019 / 3:19 am

        Come on. That’s not an overly long comment. It’s just a quote, of someone who is overly long. I even mention how overly long it is. My final paragraph was pretty succinct in comparison. Now yes, maybe if I were making a YouTube video, I’d make something long and meandering, but come on. That’s a YouTube script. Not a comment.

        If this were in a video that featured a text quote I’m sure it wouldn’t take too long. Unfortunately that was the best example I could find, it’s on 4chan or something else awful like that. I really hope I’m convincing you as I’m definitely not the one who wrote that awfully long quote there.

        I thought it was necessary to give you an example of someone who does not want to be named because that was all the necessary context. I even gave you two examples. Sure, maybe I didn’t give many questions but surely at least now you have all the right context and info.

        I was hoping that this long of a comment would convince you to make an equally long and detailed response. Sadly it didn’t happen. In fact it actually perfectly encapsulates the point of the idea that fighting games have too much ‘nitty gritty’, also known as hidden mechanics. It would likely require a very long and detailed manual to learn all of it. Most players will have to read (or watch) enough content to really understand the game. I wish I knew what the best way was to unfold all of it to make it more accessible and gamified to players.

        Not all modern FG’s require such a large tome of rules, of course. A good example here is Kickdive, a dual one-button fighting game I’m not sure you’ve heard of before. This game is incredibly deep because it only uses a dual one-button setup and therefore doesn’t require a lot of rules to play. Modern design sensibility might refer to this as an FGH, for “Fighting Game Holistics”, which would describe the amount of thought or effort a player needs to consider when playing the game. Kickdive would therefore have 2 of these units, called 2 FGHI (Fighting Game Holistics (Intrinsic)). However, because there are different permutations and ways to hold buttons down, as well as trigger events such that pressing, holding, and releasing one of the dual one-button controllers would have a different result. This would count as 729 FGHIJ (Fighting Game Holistics (Integral Juxtapositions)) by taking 3^3^2 because there are 3 events and 2 buttons. This would be the total debt of the system.

        Let me know if this doesn’t make sense to you, but I think this value is great for quantifying a game’s debt. Most people like to use depth but actually, this is debt in the sense that it is taking away from a game’s total complexity. There are many types of debt, including design debt, feature creep debt, and tech debt. This is clearly a design debt issue, of course. The guy I quoted suggested a “Kickdive Count” to determine interesting intersections of this, so this would be measured in FGHIJK (Fighting Game Holistics Involving Juxtaposed Kickdives). Anyway, this debt is also congratulatory for a game – there’s a Japanese phrase for this, “omedebto” – as the rules become immersive, and there isn’t such a need to learn so much in a nitty gritty fighting game.

        I think new games don’t optimize their FGHIJK and they believe the only way to stay competitive is to add more mechanics, but I wanted to get your input. Maybe a good way to do it would be to tie it in with game lore. A character is 5.7 inches? Nice, that’s also the length of their Bone-R attack, and so on. This would be a matter of not gamification, but videowarifiaction, and is also similar to WarioWare, ware people really chere about who made a game in the fiction.

        Even in games with simple rules like Tic-Tac-Toe there is an immense amount of culpability. The culpability is the representation of all the player’s choices. But many of these choices are losing – the losing culpability is referred to as debt. Debt is culpability, filtered through the states of retirement and retroactivity.

        The point, again, was to hopefully get a more detailed response and article. I hope this short response satisfied you. The length was absolutely necessary to give you many good examples of debt and culpability in a fighting game. It’s true that maybe none of this was necessary, and I could have cut everything but the last two sentences involving the questions. But ignore that – I’m sure this is good enough to start a discussion somewhere.


        • Chris Wagar May 9, 2019 / 10:51 pm

          This too is an overly long comment (please leave the next one as a new comment chain so we don’t end up with the thread getting thinner and thinner).

          I’d prefer if you got to the point directly instead of rambling and repeating yourself. It takes you until the 4th paragraph here to actually make a point about fighting games. Even then, you’re kind of rambling aimlessly on a topic instead of making your point directly. Are you coining crazy terms like, “dual one-button fighting game”, and FGHIJ (Fighting Game Holistics (Integral Juxtapositions)) as a joke or what?

          I don’t think we need terms like Debt and Culpability. You can’t simplify how much a player needs to consider with a game into just the number of button combinations possible, in part because you’re ignoring time. Divekick produces different states depending on what timing you press dive and kick relative to each other. Not to mention you’re not factoring in the results of actions, which is what framedata is. It doesn’t matter how simple the inputs are, you’re not going to get rid of framedata. Divekick avoids the issue by ending the round in 1 hit, but not every game can do that.

          The actual term I use instead of Debt is typically Skill Floor, which represents how difficult it is to play a game and feel like you’re making purposeful decisions. This is abstract, because it relies on framing. Smash has a bunch of moves, but it simplifies itself by framing them all as direction + button. It also does this by making the framedata rules more clear

          Okay, “as the rules become immersive” “videowarifiaction” “ware people really chere” “Debt is culpability, filtered through the states of retirement and retroactivity.”
          That’s cute. Good shit. You got me.

          In case you actually want some info on how I think fighting games can be more approachable and understandable, this is a work in progress article I have on it with a laundry list of ideas: https://www.evernote.com/l/AMzL7ieS179Kv73zEpCzBUFSR8JmjyFtnYc/


          • main_gi May 11, 2019 / 3:53 am

            On a serious note, I think framing is more useful for reducing a game’s perceived complexity and decreasing learning time, and isn’t just a skill-floor thing. I’m sure this was what was meant by the rules becoming immersive :Kappa:


  2. WHODUNNIT May 14, 2019 / 3:45 pm

    Hi, I was the one who posted the original comment, not sure why the other dude is pretending to be me, even though his name is literally “NOT ME”.

    Anyway, the comments were from a couple articles on a news site, I can link them if you want, but they aren’t really relevant. I just wanted to get your take on the points raised in them. I disagree with them personally and feel there are a lot of logical missteps made within, but some points I found interesting from a design perspective, so yeah. I actually replied to one and tried to get the guy to elaborate, but got nothing (telling, perhaps). Nonetheless, thanks for the reply.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s