Saturday, February 21, 2009

Let Me Clear My Throat [SFIV Impressions]

I like it. Lego hates it. No air recover. Let's break this bitch down.

Ultra Combo/Revenge Meter

In addition to the defacto Super meter that charges up as you perform attacks and allows EX Attacks and Super Combos, there is now a Revenge Meter. A green, two-tiered guage that increases as you take damage. I would say roughly 45% of your health bar will fill it to half, allowing the Ultra to be used. This attack is Super Motion (qcf,qcf or charge db,df,db,uf, e.g.) and three punches (or kicks). The more your Revenge is filled, the more damage this combo will do. Most of these have similar priority to Supers, and the guage will not carry over between rounds, unlike the Super Meter.

It's kind of fucking cheap. It's a lot of damage if it connects. If it whiffs, then, yeah, you'll probably eat a reversal of some kind, but these Ultras do far more damage than they should, especially in contrast to Supers that, in my experience, take longer to prime. Perhaps at a higher level of play, more strategic defense is employed, increasing the frequency of Supers. Regardless, you can throw out an Ultra pretty regularly. It alone is not enough with which to win, but it usually is the nail in the coffin. I would like to see an option to disable Revenge Meters.

Air Block/Air Recovery

They're not in. Sorry. As I've mentioned, Lego and I have been playing a significant amount of Alpha 3 on the cabinet, and we have grown very accustomed to using both of these techniques. They are very notably absent. Alpha 3 and Third Strike both had Air Blocking, though no flipping out in the latter. This is quite sorely missed, but I do understand the desire to return to the Super Turbo formula, or something resembling it. Without Air Blocking, you lose the paper-rock-scissors system of Anti-Air attacks, Air Throws (which seem to be pretty scarce in IV), and Air Blocking. This makes jump ins much less viable, also making your only real chance leaping over projectiles. Not impossible, but pretty predictable. I very much would have liked to see both of these abilities in the game, and to see every character get an air throw.

Focus Attacks/Saving (JPN)

The new component to the system. Saving in Japan, or Focus Attacks here in the US. I don't completely have a handle on it yet, in regards to when it can be broken, how long the different potencies must be charged, and which attacks have the Armor Breaker characteristic. Let me just say it's like Parrying mixed with Alpha Counters. More on this when I can make more sense of it. Right now, it seems really strong. Nothing like countering a wakeup Shoryuken with a Save.

Load Times

Pretty bad. Hey, check it out, there's an Install choice on the Options menu. Do it. Huge difference.

Conclusion (for now)

More info to come. Just thought I'd give you guys the early impressions. Will have to check out some high level play and see of what I'm not taking advantage. In the meantime, if you get bullied into a match of SFIV, pick Sagat... And spam the Tiger Knee until further notice.

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