Kotaku recently reported SFIV national champion Justin Wong's thoughts on Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. A recent tweet says he considers that "Mvc3 has to be the easiest and cheapest fighting game that was ever made....," Not without merit, just cheap and easy.
What the hell does that mean? I get to the root of the issue after the jump.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Is "Cheap" and "Easy" [via Kotaku]
My friend plays Smash Bros. Melee competitively every weekend. He is a wizard at the game, trashing me every time. I can't get a smash in edgewise. There is a level of technique I will never grasp, but that's okay because I enjoy playing fighting games a ton.
There are a lot of things to consider when playing a fighting game: Inputs, specials, cancels, health, position, lag, and the game's idiosyncrasies. That's a lot. That's more than most driving games, action games or sports games (Madden included, Madden's pace is just to slow to compare). The fighting games we play today are impressive machines, driving calculations our ancestors were stuck to. Faster by light years, with more characters and trippy visuals that you can shake a fight stick at. At what cost, this godhood?
"Cheap and Easy."
The sentiment comes from a seasoned fighting tournament veteran and legend Justin Wong. Found a nifty wiki with some information on him, and this amazing video.
...where he bites it hard. Still, one of the most widely recognized and respected players of the game, in the game had that scathing criticism for the hot-of-the-presses Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. Sounds like some harsh words, so why the hate? Breaking it down, I'm starting from the bottom:
Easy: I agree that the game is easy. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom opened a floodgate of "Simple" into the fighting game world. Simpler inputs for the same results means the game is more accessible to players who haven't trained the timing and movements of the longer, more complex combos. Street Fighter IV is nigh on unplayable for me, I don't know every character's unique special moves, nor any of the combos. Argue that I could learn it, and I'll argue I'd just rather play other games instead. Makes sense. Other games that had it easy? Capcom Vs. SNK 2 EO (GameCube), King Of Fighters '95 (PSX) to name my favorite two. But there's nothing wrong with easy, so it's not much of an insult. I'll explain later.
Cheap: Cheap in video games has many meanings at times. Using the same move over and over again, a move that is impossible to counter, a weapon with too much power or too much accuracy or a mix of both. An exploit of a glitch in the game's programming...or worse, an exploit of a basic feature. One thing is for sure: a cheap game allows players of any skill to win with little effort. Because of the way things like launcher combos, damage and special activation works in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 the came can be considered flawed to the point of cheapness. Is Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 cheap? No, not really.
I personally disagree with the "cheap" side of Mr. Wong's statements. To his credit, he followed up the thought by admitting the game was fun. Latch onto that for a second. Fun and Cheap can sometimes go hand in hand. We step back for a second...and don't we always love cheap moments in games? Slowing down time in Max Payne, Bayonetta, air juggling in Soul Calibur, Ninja and Nukes in Modern Warfare 2.
"But Joe! That's no excuse! This is a competition. Cheapness ruins the experience of tournament play when the playing field isn't even!"
Sure sure, but that's not what I'm getting at. The game has changed, sure, and changes are rocky but this change has made the game more fun for more people. And there are always exceptions to cheap strategies. The best thing about simple inputs, big damage and easy aerials is that it gives us all access to looking cool on day one. We want the experience of super battles, on super human levels...that's why we're playing the game. We distill the tournament experience from that and create competitive playing fields of all sizes...but the best of the best look great doing it and that's what I want. I won't speak for everyone, but I want to feel like a boss when I play a fighting game, not a n00b.
Part Two: Smash Bros.
This read is pretty incredible. Let's get some perspective: Brawl came out 2.5 years ago. This thread is a year old. So after a year and a half of tournament play...the sour milk showed it's face...
The story behind the creation of Brawl, and the vision of it's designer Masahiro Sakurai is pretty amazing. But the attitude of the tournament community towards Brawl is clear: Do Not Want. Subtle changes in Brawl ruined the experience of playing Melee. Things like where the player's model detects the ground, how many times you can air dodge and worst of all...a character so powerful he has his own "tier" of strength compared to other characters, "S-Tier". I prefer Melee as well, for it's almost "cowboy" feeling compared to the more vanilla Brawl. But it's deeper than that, I'm constantly reminded. It's numbers. It's razors edge. There is no way Melee could have been planned for, it's said. And as such, the game is revered as a high standard for tournament fighting play...among it's players.
I do not share the same idea that Brawl should be written of for its flaws so soon. I played hour upon hour of brawl with friends, and have never once had the issue of someone choosing Meta Knight too much, or playing cheaply. Not once. Is it because we "don't know any better?" Would you suggest that I am not smart enough to see what I must do?Probably not. It's just how I and my friends play the game. And indeed...the game was changed to reflect a less competitive experience. Items, and even features like tripping add chance to the mix, taking away a deep reliance on numbers. But did I, or any of my closest friends notice? Well...not the ones that don't play Smash tournaments weekly.
Where am I going with this? To a question that may very well lead to another article: What is the cocktail we'd need to have a truly great, tournament viable fighting game? What could please the crowds that want the razor's edge experience...and allow me and my friends the ability to enjoy it on a casual level? I know some exist...but we have to be careful about writing off games like Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 so soon. This is the new way of things, and the marriage of simple inputs with complex systems will only get better from here on out.