EVO fighting game tournament https://www.evo2k.com evo2k.com Tue, 09 May 2017 15:38:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.7 Interview with Alex Valle, Street Fighter Legend https://www.evo2k.com/interview-with-alex-valle-street-fighter-legend/ Tue, 09 May 2017 15:38:25 +0000 https://www.evo2k.com/?p=55 In the weeks leading up to EVO, well be running a series of interviews with the players to watch in the Street Fighter 4 tournament.  In our first interview, frequent Shoryuken.com blogger Adam Keits Heart catches up with Street Fighter legend Alex Valle.

(transcript of audio interview follows)

Adam:   Alright, everybody. Thanks for joining us today. I have here Alex Valle, Street Fighter Legend out of southern California, to talk with us about the Evolution tournament and how he feels hes going to do this year. So, say hi to everyone Alex.

Alex:  Hey, whats going on everyone?

Adam:  OK, coming through loud and clear. So, tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? How old are you? When were you born? Where were you born?

Alex:  My name is Alex Valle. I was born in Lima, Peru. I came down the States when I was about 4 years old. Ive been playing Street Fighter since 1991. Ive been around, man, since arcade live in the 90s really boomed, around Champion Edition. From then on man, the rest is history: playing games, winning tournaments, winning left and right up till now.

Adam:  For anyone whos been around for a while, youre pretty much a household name in the community. Everyone knows who you are by reputation and by name, but I think a lot of these younger guys might not know you. Youre not as what I call YouTube Popular as Daigo or Justin Wong. So tell us a bit about what youve accomplished in the Street Fighter community over the years

Alex:  Well, one of the very first internet gathering based tournaments was called B3: Battle By the Bay, which was organized by the EVO founders Tom and Tony Cannon. They posted on the alt.games.sf2 newsgroups back in the day; I think thats right. I wasnt very internet savvy at that time, though. All that stuff to me was like word of mouth. So you had a tournament that was advertised on the internet, which was unheard of. Usually tournaments were advertised by word of mouth or little flyers or what not.

This was about the time I met Mike Watson: maybe a year and a half before that tournament. He basically bred me, and took me in the right direction in top-level play. Right when I played Watson the very first time, he just destroyed everything that I had. Everything that I thought that I accomplished was like nothing; I just lost.

See the rest of the interview after the jump

Adam:  I think most of us have experienced something like that where we think were hot shit and we meet somebody and its over.

Alex:  Yeah, pretty much. Going back to that one year and half, I just took everything from him and Jeff Schafer, Martian Vega, Thao Duong: from the real OGs from down here. I never got a chance to play Tomo, though. I just missed his generation. My first real tournament was in Las Vegas with John Choi where I got 4th on Street Fighter Alpha, but then when Alpha 2 came out I just started dominating: I was basically undefeated in that game. After that, everyone though I was the guy to beat from 1996 all the way to 2001. In every iteration of the games from X-men vs. Street Fighter all the way to Alpha 3, any tournament that meant anything I got first place in. In Street Fighter Alpha 3, Im not sure if youve heard the story of this, when I first fought Daigo he beat me. That was my first lost. Even though Id lost here and there in a couple of tournaments, that one was a little bit more decisive in skill, because no one has ever played like Daigo.

Another memorable moment for me was when I was a member of the first Team USA to go play in an exhibition against the Japanese for the Bang the Machine documentary about US fighting game culture. Bang the Machine was shot at the tournament after B3: The Battle by Bay, called B4. In that tournament, the overall winners where chosen by on a point system awarded to the winners of the games that were there. So like first place got so and so points, I dont remember. This was a long time ago. Anyway, I placed 1st in like every single tournament there except like two of them. John Choi also qualified. Mike Watson qualified but he couldnt go (ed note: Mike Watson actually did go and compete for Team USA). Eddie Lee was actually like the first New York player that was basically my rival for the newer games. He was representing the generation after me as an up and coming New York player. He didnt qualify, but somehow circumstance, well I dont want to ruin too much of the film, but he ends up being in Japan. Hopefully if EVO ever shows Bang the Machine again youll catch what went down. Anyway, I met Daigo again over there with a massive amount of Japanese players. It was our best players vs. their best players, and I scored the highest out of my team. Again, Bang the Machine shows how well I did and how well a couple of the other Team members did.

Moving on, after that

Adam:  Well, let me interrupt for a second. Let me ask you a question. Now that the community has YouTube and these amazing resources to see other players before you ever play them, can you tell everyone what it was like to play back in the day when you could only see what your locality had? When someone from even another city came over to play you, youd see something new every time, and you werent ready for it. So what was it like to play against players like that at that time, or maybe even the first time you played Japanese players, what were the feelings that you experienced when you saw something just jaw-droppingly brand new in tournaments.

Alex:  Well, honestly, in my youth, pre-Watson era before I got to meet the guy, Id run into new stuff all the time, and that whole falling in love learning Street Fighter phase: that was just so competitive for me. I got used to it. If I see something new, I think back like, ok, wow this is why I keep playing Street Fighter. Theres something to adapt to.

So, going to your question about how YouTube is and looking at all these strats: its one thing to X-Copy strats as your own, but its going to be a lot harder for a new guy to get used to adapting in person. When youre playing in a competitive atmosphere, youre going to be under pressure. Ok? If you havent experienced a lot of new stuff all the time, youre not going to beat new strategies anytime soon, you understand what I mean?

Adam:  Yeah, I do. Do you think online play is helping a lot of players who dont live in as populated an area to overcome their inability to adapt to new players and new situations?

Alex:  OK, online is great for that, but if they only play online Im telling you, you need to playsomebody Because if you dont have that, you cant feel the other player. Im not saying like feel their breathing. I mean, they can be across the room from you, but if youre doing something right, and you can see the expression on their face you dont even need to see it, when you feel that youre doing something right: everything you do works for some reason. It just does. You can feel your opponent slowly losing it, and losing it, and eating that up. And then theyre watching you, like, damn, my game breaking strat that I figured out is falling apart in round 3. You know why? Because the guy out there looking at you like, ok, I see you like to jump back 3 times in a row, so Im going to make you throw 1 fireball and Im going to do a nasty crossup on you. Game. Done. You know, stuff like that. Its something you have to get used to. Its not just beating someone online and saying, yeah, I beat him. No, no, no. You have to beat him in person, because when it counts youre going to second guess yourself the entire 3 rounds, if it gets that far.

If youve seen an online match, theyre so sloppy because nobody cares. You want to land all this crazy stuff, but its so sloppy trying to do it. If you were to take that same sloppiness to a real tournament match, like 50% of your life would be gone attempting to do something technical. Attempting. So once you figure that that out in round 1, in round 2 youre not going to have anything left. Youre not even going to attempt your old strats that you practiced online, because when it counts and youre sitting right next to the person and they know that you cant beat them, they dont work.

So online is a great tool, for starters. You get exposure to a lot of new strategies, but no one cares yet. You get this satisfaction, oh I beat that strategy, check one off for the books, but it didnt really count. Try it in a tournament consistently, and see what happens.

Adam:  Good advice from a sage like Alex Valle. Moving onto a different topic, you are 31 years old, thats correct?

Alex:  That is correct.

Adam:  If you dont mind me asking, whats your home situation like? Do you have family? A job? What have you got going on?

Alex:  I work for a Korean MMO company. I take care of the Spanish translations for our web portal and I QA the web functionality.

Adam:  That sounds demanding.

Alex:  Yeah, its a lot of stuff to do.

Adam:  So how many hours a week are you putting in there?

Alex:  Honestly, it varies. Its a video game job, but Im salaried so Im there until the job is done. That and I have a girlfriend who will soon be moving to Arizona for a year. Its very difficult trying to juggle practice session time in, plus of course playing the last few days before she leaves with her.

Adam:  Well, theres been some trash talk thrown around between some of the young upstarts and some of the middle-aged and older players about what it means to get older. Obviously you carry around more experience than someone whos 18 years old, but you also have these real life burdens. How do you think all these things, all this time that you cant dedicate toward practicing is going to affect you when you go to EVO or you go to Super Battle Opera?

Alex:  The only thing thats going to affect me is my execution. For many of the standard photographic situations that are coming at me, its the conditioning and the execution part that Ill probably be struggling in. As far as strategies and overcoming all the obstacles, that will never leave me. Age really doesnt matter. You still have Street Fighter II Super Turbo players who are pushing 40 and still dominating, and that game requires a lot of fast-paced execution. There are no short cuts in Super Turbo: if you missed an uppercut, its because you really missed an uppercut.

I actually do feel I have somewhat of an advantage over these new guys because being really good at all games, Im already prepared for it. They have to put in the work and the time to adjust to any hardships.

Adam:  Well, what would you say back when someone like Justin Wong called you an old timer or someone like Arturo Sanchez calls you 1998 Power. What are you doing to make sure you show them up? Obviously, not to answer this my self, you just qualified for SBO (Super Battle Opera). Congratulations, sir.

Alex:  Thank you.

Adam:  But, I mean, what are you going to do at EVO to show these guys that your reign of terror is not over.

Alex:  A friendly reminder: Ive been to just about every EVO, and even if I havent won, Ive always been a threat. Trash talking and all that stuff: its like gibberish to me. Honestly, theyre trying to make a name for themselves. Im already a name (laughing). Theyre the ones that want to get their names out. All power to them: they can try to talk all the way to the bank if they can get that withdrawal, but Im always going to be there making it hard for them. For instance, Mike Watson entered SBO qualfiers last year for Super Turbo. He dominated the tournament, but he didnt go. He had no intentions of going. He entered to make sure that the team which would be representing the United States was strong enough to even go. You know? Thats our job. Honestly, its so pathetic watching our top players that we call top players who are so god like, but when push comes to shove and theyre playing someone whos really good, and they just get humiliated. What does that say about us? All this trash talk that theyre bringing up, Ive seen the majority of the players on the East Coast are the most inconsistent playres, minus Justin Wong. Justin Wong is the only exception. Everybody else thats why I work. They have a lot of up and coming people. Theyre grinding. Theyre trying their best, but they need to realize that it doesnt start and end now. Youve got years ahead of you. Youve got so many years to prove that you are the best. If you win this year, all power to you, but that doesnt really mean anything. Because you only played somewhat of the world. Youve got to play everybody. Ive played just about everybody

Adam:  So youve gotta be Ryu

Alex:  Yeah, pretty much.

Adam:  Youve got to travel the world with a gi in your bag and no change of clothes and fight everyone you can.

Alex:  (laughing) Yeah, pretty much. A lot of people here still dont get credit, but theyre not out there putting themselves out there. I mean look at Combofiend: hes the most humble mother dude. Hell talk shit during his beatdown.Thats where he feels his propers. He doesnt care what anybody says When I was selecting the team for the 5-on-5 Street Fighter 4 tournament, nobody was talking about him, and I knew he was one of the best players on the team. That guy and Ed Ma, I already knew they were better than me at the time. When they were beginning to grind at the game, I knew that these guys were the guys to beat, but theyre not going trash talking. They let their game speak for itself.

Adam:  Yeah, let the fists do the talking, right?

Alex:  Yeah. Going back to everyone calling me 1998-Power and old timer and stuff it is what it is, but were in 2009 and my name is still out there. Where are you at?

Adam:  Well said, well said. So, what made you decide to come back out of what they call pseudo-retirement for Street Fighter 4? Was it the numbers? They hype? What was it?

Alex:  What brings be back to Street Fighter is the competition. Of these last couple of EVOs, 2006 was when I practiced the most out of retirement, honestly. In 2007, I just did enough maybe play a month before the event, because there were no new games. In 2008, I was just brushing up on some of the games.

Adam:  Do you think you were just bored because it was the same old faces and the same old games?

Alex:  Look, Im not the only one: but there are only a handful of people who can still do this. Im one of them, John Chois one of them, Justin Wong can do it. These guys dont really have to go to all these tournaments to prove anything. They have this set in stone in their minds: its like riding a bike, being good at Street Fighter. You can like practice two weeks before a tournament, a national tournament, and still place like top 10, top 8, whatever. That what happens after many years of grinding at this game. We will never suck, and I rode this for the past couple of years. After not practicing, Im still placing top 8 at EVO, but now in Street Fighter 4, Ive never seen as much hype and hunger for a game that it takes me back to the 90s. It really does. Im stepping over my life boundaries between taking my girlfriend out or holding RTSD sessions for these players. Or like going to Watsons pad and leveling up with them, or doing what Ive got to do to really be dominant in this game. Im doing what everybody that really enjoys something does.

Adam:  I think a lot of people really admire you and some of the more prominent members of the community for that: you do it cause you love it, not because youre going to go home with a big fat check. Its because of the thrill. Its what youre there fore.

Alex:  Right.

Adam:  So we were talking a little bit earlier off interview about what it feels like to watch a live Street Fighter event as a spectator. On a tangent, fighting games are a pretty interesting spectator sport. Its a very obvious event to someone who doesnt know exactly whats going on. Each character is trying to hit each other to deplete the life bar, and once the life bar is gone the characters knocked out. Pretty standard concept, but you watch a lot of matches on YouTube and the excitements just not there. Last weekend watching that SBO qualifier live, I felt like I was
there: the excitement was real.

Alex:  Let me give you my analogy for this. (clears throat). Youve got tennis, where you can watch any Open live, and then youve got an MMA fight, right? So if someone hits a serve and someone hits it back, no ones saying anything in tennis until someone finally scores a point and then everybody claps because theyre allowed to. In MMA, youve got people cheering all the way down to the ring. Youve got the announcements, the hype, and whatever happens before to piss those to guys off to put them where they are up to the very first swing. Thats what you have with Street Fighter right now. An RTS game is like tennis: you cant really see anything. Theres just boring, theres no hype. Its crap. You dont even feel intensity. Even if those guys were shit-talking before, you dont know that. You dont care. You just want to see how fast they have a zerg rush. Who cares. When youre watching these guys at SBO on the live stream, you know Slasher and Gootecks did a really good job just trying to talk about whats going on. Some people like it, some people didnt like it, but it was really hype. Ive never seen anything like this before.

Adam:  Being able to feel the excitement at home reminded me of what it feels like to actually be in the room, and its just a call out to all of the younger players who might not feel ready to compete, its like EVO is our super-bowl, and itcosts nothing to go and watch it. You should be there.

Alex:  Yeah, absolutely. In my interview with Kotaku before they asked me, why do you go to EVO? You know, I went to EVO when it was called the b-series: B3, B4, B5, and then it turned into Evolution. I have a long history with these guys, and I know that they really know what theyre doing. They cater to the community 100%. They take into consideration what players think, you know? They dont just override every rule, they take into consideration what the community thinks as much as possible, and they always deliver. And you have the best competition. Youre not just secluded to one region. All the regions come to this; all the top players who are known come to this.

Adam:  Thats part of the beauty of EVO, that its an open tournament that anyone can enter.

Alex:  That too, that too. Youve got a great staff: theyre Street Fighter players, theyre friends in the community, not just some business CEO saying, Get off me, I can only talk to this time of the year. Theyre hella cool.

Adam:  Thats another thing too, if youre a fan of the top players you can show up to EVO, find them on the floor, shake their hand, and say, Hi, Im a big fan. You can get an autograph. You cant do that at the superbowl. You cant just walk up to one of the players and be like, Hey, Im a big fan.

Alex:  No. Youve got to give it to these guys, because theyre the ones that started the whole internet, wide-spread advertising of tournaments. Probably to this day, people are taking notes figuring out how to run a proper tournament at EVO, because theyre the premier tournament in the world.

Adam:  Definitely my recommendation to everyone out there is to get a plane ticket to Vegas. Get a hotel room. Sardine with some people, it doesnt cost anything, and at least come to Sunday at EVO and watch the finals. Its going to be the most insane thing the community has ever seen, I promise you that.

Alex:  Absolutely, everybody is really cool in there. Youve got the bring-your-own-console area, you have any game there from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the fighting game to any random iteration of Samarui Shodown. I mean, youve got fanatics up in there.

Adam:  Yeah, you can find competition in anything. People are even playing puzzle games in there, Super Puzzle Fighter and Magical Drop.

Alex:  Yeah, and to top all of this off, its in Las Vegas. Its not in like college campuses where you cant do anything, no restaurants in sight. Youre in the crazy ass town.

Adam:  Definitely. Let me drag us back on topic before we finish up. One of the EVO special events this year was originally announced as a 5-on-5 for Super Street Fighter II HD Remix, but it seems like Street Fighter 4 killed everything, so they changed it over to a 5-on-5 for Street Fighter. Talk to me about your region, and how you feel like youre going to handle the other regions. Are you scared of anybody? Did you learn anything from anybody?

Alex:  Well, Im the captain of the Southern California regions team, and I was the only one with the balls and with the sense to pick out my team without running a qualifying tournament, because I know what Im doing. There was some controversy over that even in my home town, because I wasnt playing and nobody knew what was going on. Up to today, if you look at the results of all these players, they have been winning top 3 in tournaments every time they enter. I feel with this team that we are unstoppable.

Adam:  It sounds to me like you are banking on consistency, which goes back to what you said about East Coast players. Theyre good, but theyre not as consistent
as you.

Alex:  Yeah. Theyre not as consistent. I mean, Arturo and Joe came down here and they beat me in the team tournament. I respect them more now than before the trash talking, because I got to see it live. You know, I dont respect anyone who can just talk, talk, talk and then not show whats up, but they did. They came down here and they showed whats up. They beat me, but they couldnt beat Combofiend (Peter Rosas). We have some time before EVO, and those guys didnt play the other 3 members of the team. Ed Ma is on the team and they got 2nd at SBO quals. Basically everyone on the team has a job and has a duty, and Ive put them on blast at the beginning to let them know theyre on the team and they have an obligation to not let people down. So theyre practicing their ass of. I dont want to run a tournament because I dont want a random player to come in there with no chemistry with the team and not be able to perform on a consistent level. They could just be hot for that month. I know to a certain degree how the levels of skill go, and with the team that Ive selected, I dont think anyone can overpass them until after EVO. After EVO, if I were to select a team again I wouldnt be able to. Id have to run a tournament, if that makes sense.

Adam:  I think I follow.

Alex:  Yeah exactly, because I already know how, in my region, the players Ive seen play, and I know where they will end up in the rankings. They wont be able to catch up to any of the players on my team until, probably, after EVO. I dont see any team beating us. The East Coast team might be the only team. That doesnt mean were sleeping on any team. Were grinding just like they are. Were getting better as I speak. Were getting way better as a team. We hope to see great match ups with all the other regions.

Adam:  Its going to be a great exhibition, Im sure.

Alex:  Yeah, the respect will be given when we play. Win or loss, the respect will be there.

Adam:  Getting away from the exhibition to the actual Street Fighter 4 tournament. Im sure you havent seen many over the years, but to you expect any surprises this year? Once in a while someone no ones ever heard of cracks top 16 or top 8. Do you expect anything like that with such a huge pool of players?

Alex:  Honestly, I expect that. There are too many people right now playing. It can be anyones game up to top 32, top 16. Top 8, we kind of have a better feel of whos going to place in maybe 4 of those spots, but not the rest. The game is still new. Anything can happen. Theres been so many upsets in so many tournaments. People who shouldnt be placing, but they are. The Arcade Infinity Ranbats (ed note: short for Ranking Battles) are inconsistent, because people are still leveling up. Youve got the top 3 kind of circling around, but 4th, 5th, and 6th are not too far behind.

People are leveling up and I expect to see great things from new people, and I want them to continue. Continue the consistency, adapt to all the craziness, and you know what? Theyre going to be a household name, too.

Adam:  Definitely, definitely. I mean, you cant get better advice than from this man, Alex Valle. Hell tell it like it is, but hell also help you get to where you want to be. Definitely one of the greats.

Alex:  Thank you.

Adam:  Thank you. It was very nice talking to you, anything youd like to add before we finish up?

Alex:  Actually, I do. Keep playing. Everybody out there, if you cant make it to EVO, you might make it next year. Its not like mandatory you have to go to these things. Just keep in mind that the community is strong, and were always going to help you, but also keep in mind that its a very competitive scene. Dont take it the wrong way if someone wants to win really bad. Thats just them. Either you can suck it up or challenge it, or just get better man. Get better at home. Do what youve got to do to get better at Street Fighter, and the scene will take over.

Adam:  Awesome. Thanks again for getting together with me to do this, and I will see you at EVO.

Alex:  Alright man. Thanks Keits.

Adam:  Take it easy Alex.

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Keits Interview with John Choi https://www.evo2k.com/keits-interview-with-john-choi/ Tue, 09 May 2017 15:36:49 +0000 https://evo2k.com/?p=52 Last week, Shoryuken.com man on the street Adam Keits Heart caught up with once and future Street Fighter legend John Choi to ask him about all things Street Fighter

Adam: Today I have with me Mr. John Choi.  I believe you are the only man to ever win two Evolution tournaments in the same year.  Is that true?

John: Thats actually not true. Daigo actually won two games one year, but it wasnt two Street Fighters.  It was one Street Fighter and I believe Guilty Gear.  I guess if you consider two Street Fighter tournaments, Id be the only one.

Adam: So why dont you tell everybody a little about yourself?

John: Well, I come from San Jose, California; its in the San Francisco bay area.  I work in the software industry as an operations manager for Synopsys.  Ive been in the software industry for over 10 years since I live in the valley.  Im also a full-time grad student.  My final semester will be finishing up in October.   Pretty much Street Fighter has been my hobby for many, many years and Im still at it.

Adam: Do you have any real life obligations like family or kids to pull any time away from your hobby?

John: Theres definitely life obligations.  I dont have any kids or a wife, but full time work and school takes up most of my time.  I pretty much go to work from 9-5 and my class is from 6-10 PM a couple of week nights, then Saturday from 9-1.  So I pretty much work all day and go to school all evenings and then theres homework, so it takes up a lot of time.

Continue reading after the jump

Adam: I think the community is pretty impressed with how quickly youve become a competitor at Street Fighter 4.  Could you tell us why youve decided to join the bandwagon of the game, who got you up to shape, and all that sort of stuff?

John: I wanted to play it, but I was in a very difficult semester at school.  Also, I had some family problems.  Im pretty sure some of you have heard about my Dads condition (ed note: Johns father is recovering from cancer).  Hes doing much better now.

Adam: Thats good to hear.

John: Yeah, theyve run some tests and it looks like hes recovering nicely.  Also at the same time I was looking forward to a tournament in France where they paid my ticket to face off against BAS in Capcom vs. SNK 2.  They paid for BAS to come and me, so I was kind of obligated to keep up my skills in CvS2 even though nobody else was playing.  So pretty much up to the France tournament in May I was concentrating on CvS2 and my semester at school.  I also moved and took care of a lot of family stuff.   So I pretty much didnt have a lot of time and didnt want to dive into a brand new game and dilute my skills.  I also played a little bit of Super Street Fighter II HD Remix at the time because I was interested in entering that at France, but HDRs like 90% Super Turbo so I didnt have to practice much.

So Id decided to concentrate on CvS2 and HDR and worry about Street Fighter IV later, and thats exactly what I did.  I went to France and played in the tournament, and pretty much had about 2 months before Evolution to get ready for Street Fighter IV hard core.  I didnt know anything about the game, so I was thinking about how to practice and put the time in to see everything.  I actually did a lot of online play.  Its pretty frustrating because the Playstation Network unreliable and things are really slow, but it was either that or just playing against one or two players at my house.  Unfortunately Nor Cal arcades are pretty much dead.  They only arcade left, Sunnyvale Golfland, decided not to get Street Fighter IV, so it was pretty much inaccessible to me until the console version came out.

Adam: Yeah, thats how it was for most of the nation.

John: Yeah, a few hot spots like New York, LA and Texas kind of lucked out and got the arcade version early, but us up here were pretty much in the same boat as the rest of the country.   So I kind of dove into it.  I played hardcore online for about a month straight, and finally went to Keystone to try out my skills (ed note: Keystone is a Street Fighter jam session of Nor Cal players named after the now defunct Keystone arcade).  Ricky Ortiz was there, and I got to the finals in a tournament against him but he pretty much beat me down.   Now I try to do weekly practice sessions and try to get up to speed.

Originally I wasnt planning on going to Devastation, but when I heard everyone was going I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out my skills, and it would also be a fun event.  Mainly I went because Tom Cannon was like, I got a hotel room, just get your plane ticket and you can stay for free.   So I got my ticket a couple of days before and just decided to go.  I did not expect to place I, I just wanted to see what everyone had and get a feel for the game.  I think I got a bit lucky placing so well, because my only experience is against shoto type characters.  I know how to fight boxer (Balrog US) and Rufus only because Ricky Ortiz plays those characters.

Adam: I was going to ask, do you think Ricky being a Rufus player helped you against Justins Rufus or was it a whole different ballgame?

John: Oh, of course it helps.  I fought Ricky twice in the tournament, and I fought Ken Is Rufus once and Justins Rufus twice, so practice against Ricky definitely helped a lot.  When I first played against Ricky I didnt have a clue what was going on, and he just beat my ass left and right.  Eventually I got use to him and now Im pretty competitive in that match up.  The same thing about boxer.  Rickys boxer is actually pretty good, and in the tournament I faced a couple of boxers.   So I kind of lucked out: I have no experience against Abel, so Justin did the smartest thing he could do when he counter-picked Abel to win.  We were actually talking about this the night before and predicted he would pick Abel or Viper because I have no experience against them.  He would basically kill me for free and thats pretty much exactly what he did.

Adam: Well, lets switch topics a little bit here.  Youre pretty much the United States ambassador to the Super Battle Opera tournament, right?

John: Yes.

Adam: Thats a pretty interesting thing, because theres a lot of people who are new to our community who know only that EVO is the US finals and SBO is the Japanese finals, but there are massive differences between the two.  Can you elaborate on what its like to play in Japan vs. what its like to play in the United States at the championships?

John: Well, the main difference is that Evolution is an open tournament.  Its not by invitation, and pretty much anyone can show up, pay the entrance fee, and join the tournament (ed note: Evolution 2009 sign ups end July 12th!).  SBO has qualification rounds. Most of these are reserved for Japanese players and the spots are filled via qualification tournaments they have all around Japan, and some slots are reserved for international competition.  So its pretty much a Japanese dominated event, whereas at Evolution youll see a lot more international players.

Its also very different because their standard format is single game, single elimination, whereas the US format has been double elimination and usually 2-out-of-3 games a match.  So its pretty different.  There you lose once and youre out.  You get no second chances.

Adam: So you screw up once and its over.

John: Yeah, not to mention going to Japan takes a lot of resources.  Youve got to get the time.  Youve got to get the money.  Then you fly all the way over there and BOOM: one game and you could be done.

Adam: Yeah, and you have to deal with jet-lag too, Im sure.

John: Yeah, so its pretty scary, but Japans still a very fun place to visit, especially if youre into games.  Ive gone there multiple times throughout the years and Id definitely go back.  Im actually thinking of going back next year.  I couldnt go this year because Im finishing up school, but next year I definitely plan on going.  Even if Im not playing in the tournament, Id like to go and just hang out.

Adam: So youre pretty much the reason why we have a US qualifying spot at SBO, right?

John: Uh, I wouldnt say that Im the only reason.  They decided to add the international stuff, and just by some random string of events I happened to be in touch with their former CEO and Director.  We had a good relationship, so that got me started on handling US affairs for them, and it just stuck with me through out the years.

Adam: Excellent.  Shifting topics again, at EVO this year there was the 5-on-5 event scheduled for HD Remix, which Im sure you were going to knock out of the park.  Now that thats shifted to Street Fighter IV, do you think youre going to be playing on the Nor Cal teams?

John: When the 5-on-5 was announced on HD Remix, I couldnt find any players in the Nor Cal area who played the game seriously.  Graham Wolfe and Alex Wolfe were my sparring partners, but they both quit because they dont like that game.  So I pretty much couldnt find a single person for the team.  I was actually the one who suggested they should replace HDR with Street Fighter IV, because Street Fighter IV just blew up like crazy.  Everyone was playing it, whereas Remix took kind of a back seat.  So, I thought Street Fighter IV was more EVO-appropriate, and they seemed to agree.

Once they made that decision, I got bombarded by people coming out of the woodwork asking how they could be on the team.  At the time I wasnt playing Street Fighter IV.  I still kept up with the news, but I was not as in touch with the Street Fighter IV scene as people expected.  So I sat on the side-lines and let some time pass by before reserving any spots.  After a while I realized that Nor Cal is really segmented because we dont have a central arcade to play.  Theres a lot of hot-pockets where people get together to play, usually on consoles.  I thought it would be difficult to try to organize a qualifier at one event, so I made a decision that I would just keep an I on all the events happening in Nor Cal.  Once we get to EVO, Ill see whos performing best of the people on my list and just make the team there.  Another reason Im doing this is that there are some good players on my list who are not planning to go to Evolution, which is fine but I want someone whos both good <b>and</b> going to be at EVO.

I made this announcement a while back on the Pacific North forums at Shoryuken.com.  Originally when I made the announcement I had no intention to be on the team since I had no idea how to play the game.  Now, technically I have not placed at a single Nor Cal tournament, so I dont really feel justified in putting myself on the team.   I made an announcement today about two people, because I think theyve shown consistency over the last few months: Ricky Ortiz and Crackfiend.  The other three spots Im still thinking about.  I still have 3 weeks to decide, so I guess well see how that works out.

Theres actually a big tournament in Nor Cal this week at Fuddruckers in Walnut Creek that Ill be attending.  If I can somehow place up there, then maybe I can justify putting myself on the team.  If I dont get up there, its obvious that Devastation was just a fluke and I obviously dont deserve a spot.

Adam: Is that tournament at a Fuddruckers?

John: Yes it is (laughing).  Its kind of interesting.  One of the organizers has a buddy that works at Fuddruckers, so they kind of hooked it up.  They rent out the private party room on the loft.

Adam: Oh, they have a party room!  I pictured it happening in the diner with people eating all around you, just chowing down on burgers and stuff.

John: Ive actually see then videos on YouTube, and the space looks really big.  The tournaments been very successful.  At the last two tournaments they had over 128 people showing up, so they capped the tourney at 128 and had to turn people away.  They estimated that about 150 people showed up.   This time they decided to go all out and have made a 256-man bracket.  So this should be the biggest tournament North California has ever seen.  I remember the very first Super Street Fighter II tournament in Nor Cal was 256 people, so we havent seen anything like this in a while.

Adam: So if you place well in that, do you think youre going to put yourself on the team? Ill reiterate that I think everyone who saw your performance at Devastation want to see you play.

John: Thats a possibility, but I dont want to jinx myself or anything.  Well just see how things go this weekend.

Adam: I was doing Alphaism Radio the other not, co-hosting with Christian (skisonic) and we were talking about your dragon punches.  It seems like when you dragon punch someone, Ryus arm gets like you just get so much more meaning behind it when you do it.  You never waste one.  Every time you do it, it looks like you just knew it was going to hit.  So how do you become a man who knows exactly when he can dragon punch someone?

John: (laughing) Well, if I could give you the answer to that I would be a millionaire.  I could sell the secret to all the other players.

Pretty much, theres no solid answer.  I think people have different types of learning just like they have different styles playing this game.   Some people are visual.  Other people just go by feeling.  How do I know when to do certain things?  Most of the time its just by intuition and feeling.  I dont usually look for visual queues or audio queues.  The game could be perfectly silent and Id still uppercut at a certain time.  Ive done some personality tests where it says Im a feeling type of learner, and I think thats probably reflected in the gameplay.

Adam: Of all the other high-level players that you know, who else would you say  plays with that mentality?  Who else is a feeling-type player?

John: Definitely Alex Valle, and Im pretty sure Daigo is very similar.  He just does stuff that nobody would ever expect.  He just seems to know.  Hes a big mind-reader.  David Sirlin actually tried to do some kind of study a while back using the Myers-Brigg test to see if theres similar characteristics between topl players.  He actually compiled a little list, and found that some players have similar types, but it was kind of inconclusive because he only asked like 8 players.  He asked me to give it to some Japanese players like Daigo and Nuki, but that kind of got lost throughout the years.

Adam: Well, lets talk about HD Remix again.  You said a lot of the old-heads, the ST people, really arent liking it too much.   Did you ever feel that way about the game, or do you just like it?

John: Its definitely a different game.  I think the game has a lot of potential and that the suggestions where really good, but maybe just the implementation and execution didnt follow through as originally planned.  At the same time I understand that Backbone is a 3rd party company with limited resources with pretty much only David Sirlin doing all the design work and one other person doing a bulk of the programming, so of course its not going to come out as polished as something like Street Fighter IV which had a lot of manpower behind it.

That being said, there are some bugs in the game that are kind of annoying especially if youre a long time Super Turbo player such as myself and a lot of other people.  I guess you just treat it as a different game and try to look at it with an undiscriminating eye.  I think everyone is looking at it as if it were ST and they were hoping it would be ST+, but its much more like a new game.

Adam: I agree.  So how do you think youre going to do this year in that one at EVO?  You think youre going to win that one?

John: Honestly, Im not sure.  The only tournaments Ive been in for Remix are in France and Devastation.  The France tournament had only about 50 people who just entered it because they had nothing else to do.  So that tournament didnt have as much meaning.  For example, Justin Wong got pretty far.  Hes a good player, but he doesnt really play that game.  He just got by on his general Street Fighter skills.  So I really dont know where I stand, because I havent played anybody thats a hardcore HDR player whos really competitive.

Adam: Theyre out there.  There are a lot of guys who really dont like Street Fighter IV and are focusing on HDR.  Ive played a number of them and theyre getting pretty good.

John: I have a few friends at work who are hardcore HDR guys, and I play against them sometimes.  Im not sure if any of them are attending Evolution, though.  So just like Devastation was my first litmus test for Street Fighter IV, I think Evolution will be my first test of where I stand in HDR.  Im guess since the game is a little bit similar to ST, the strong ST players will tend to do well.

Adam: Let me ask you a repeat question that I asked Alex in our interview.  Do you think age is affecting your ability to play and keep up with these younger players, or do you think experience has given you the ultimate edge?

John:  I think it kind of balances out.  Experience definitely helps a lot, but at the same time I feel myself getting slower and slower very year.  I remember when I was 20, I could see everything. I could uppercut everything on reaction, but now its just different.  I can actually feel myself getting slower.  Its kind of funny, because Ricky Ortiz used to just hit everything.  There was nothing you could get by him.  It was very frustrating.  Now, six or seven years later, you can even see him slowing down.  Its a natural fact of live.  Theres nothing you can do about it.  We do get slower as we get older, but at the same time the experience helps balance it out.

The other aspect is just around life issues.  When I was younger I had lots of free time, and I could play games like 7 hours a day without any problems.  Now I have a full time job and school and family issues.  Other people have wives and kids, and it really puts a damper on your ability to be able to practice as much as you want.  You look at Justin, every weekend hes at some event. I read about him winning this event and that event.  I really wish I could do that, and maybe things would be different if I was his age around this time, but there are other life obligations so I have to just focus on one game at a time.

Adam: You mentioned that too earlier, that you didnt want to dilute yourself.  Do you think thats a problem with many players who want to be top gamers, that they play too many games?

John: Well, just like everything in life what you get out of it is related to how much you put into it.   If you want to be a champion in one game, its probably better for you to play 10 hours of that rather than playing 10 different games 1 hour each.  So theres definitely an effect.  I think I could maybe juggle two games at the most these days.  Theres no way I could enter more than that many tournaments and try to be competitive in all the games.

Adam: I had this mentality a few years ago where if I was going to a tournament and spending the travel money and time to be there that I would enter just about everything.  Every match I got to play was tournament experience, and that really helped me get rid of my tournament nerves faster than I otherwise would have.

John: Oh yeah, thats a very good idea.  Thats actually what a lot of people do.  When I was in France, I actually joined the Street Fighter 4 tournament even though I wasnt playing the game at all.  I guess thats my first, official, real Street Fighter 4 tournament, but I probably went like 2 and out.  I didnt know anything.

It was also on XBox, and I didnt bring an XBox controller, so I couldnt use my American stick.

Adam: So you cant play on Japanese sticks?

John: Im just an old dinosaur.  I tried to learn Japanese sticks.  Everybody else has switched to Japanese sticks and claim that theyre superior, and I believe them, but I just cant get myself used to it.  So I stick to my old MAS stick.  Its unfortunate, because every time I go to Japan and try to play in the arcades, I cant do uppercuts.  As a shoto player thats a pretty big drawback, but i still just cant use Japanese sticks at all.

Adam: How much time have you spend into trying to get comfortable on a Japanese stick?

John: About 3 or 4 years ago someone actually left a Hori HRAP stick in my room at EVO.  I dont know who it belongs to, it was just left there, so I just brought it back home and started practicing on it.  I tried for about 2 or 3 months, but I just couldnt get the feel down. down.   So I decided until they actually discontinue all the parts on my MAS stick, Im just going to stick with it, because thats what Im used to.

Adam: I think thats about all I have for you.  I wish you luck at Evolution this year, and I will see you there.  Any parting words for our readers about what they can do to be the best that they can be?

John: A lot of people ask me about my fireball game and my ground game and why they cant do this or do that.  My once piece of advice is that everybody has a specialty.  You cant be good at everything: thats just not possible.  You cant try to be the best at every aspect of the game.  All the good players are famous for one specialty.  Rickys kind of famous for his defensive play and being really smart and really fast.  Valle is known for being very unorthodox and very different.  Myself, Im known for doing textbook stuff.  So I think everyone needs to just find their one strength and focus on it and maximize your strength.
For example, in my Ed Ma match at Devastation, his character, Akuma, can run away really well, has a lot of options, and is better suited to fighting far away, whereas my character Ryu can do better footsies and do more damage than him.  Instantly you should think that he should try to run away more, but he decided to play a more heads up match thats more favorable to me and not really favorable to Akuma.  Everybody has different styles and techniques and what theyre good at, so you should focus on that, and play your game.  Dont play the opponents game.

Adam: Thats the best advise you can give, is to make the opponent play your game, dont play their game.

John: Exactly.

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Street Fighter V Review https://www.evo2k.com/street-fighter-v-review/ Tue, 09 May 2017 15:02:38 +0000 https://evo2k.com/?p=48
review game Street Fighter V

Fighting games are in the middle of another renaissance. With so many good releases coming out lately, it’s nice to see one of the kings step into the ring. Street Fighter V is the current-gen/PC contender in this generation’s battle for the crown and it definitely pulls out all the stops. Whether it’s a great game really depends on what you think a Street Fighter game should be. It’s fun and innovative while being very familiar, but there are a few issues with the new technology and systems that drag down the game’s overall level of polish.

What Worked

It’s nice to see Capcom take some chances with a new game. It would be easy to make the Street Fighter series totally iterative, but the developers seem to want to try out new things with each release. While there’s certainly going to be some tweaking done to the basic platform as time goes on, it’s good to play a game that feels new.

One of the best things about the game is its balance of old and new characters. There’s definitely a few memorable new members of the roster, but they fit right alongside your classic favorite. Capcom has made some weird decisions in the past with its Street Fighter rosters, but there really is someone here for everyone to use.

The other great thing about the game is that it innovates without breaking anything that already worked. There’s some new mechanics, sure, but you can still count on the combo-heavy nature of Street Fighter to be around in this iteration. This means that you’ll have a solid skill-set to fall back on when you’re not quite grasping the new characters, but also that there’s something new to learn for everyone who logs into the game.

What Didn’t Work

Let’s start with the fact that Street Fighter V has no Arcade mode at all. Sure, you can fight the AI and you can go through a relatively short Story mode, but there’s nothing with any real meat to it. Compare this to games like Mortal Kombat X or BlazBlue and you’re looking at a game that feels remarkably sparse. This goes hand in hand with the fact that there’s no real reward for finishing the story – you have to unlock everything through an in-game currency that takes forever to grind. This is a game that’s entirely focused on competitive play, possibly to its detriment.

That focus on competitive play wouldn’t be so bad if it always worked correctly. The game has been plagued with connectivity problems since launch, though they have gotten significantly better. For a game that seems obsessed with regaining the crown of competitive fighters, though, you’d think that you’d see something a bit more robust. If you can’t get into one of the competitive games you want to play, you might as well start up something new – if a problem happens, it’s got a terrible tendency to persist. There’s no good reason for the game to perform as poorly as it does.

Street Fight V is a good game, and one that will probably continue to get better with time. The focus on online competitive multiplayer makes sense given its roots, but the game still doesn’t work well enough for Capcom to put all of its eggs in one basket. It’s still a great fighter, though, and it will eat up a lot of your time if you are willing to look past the shortcomings. Street Fighter V may not be the best entry in the series, but it’s certainly not the worst either.

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Tekken 7 Review https://www.evo2k.com/tekken-7-review/ Tue, 09 May 2017 14:26:56 +0000 https://evo2k.com/?p=44
Tekken 7 Review

“Tekken 7” is a one-on-one 3D fighting game for one or two players and, despite its name, is the 17th game in the storied Tekken franchise. Although Tekken 7 initially debuted in Japanese arcades back in 2015, the version released for home consoles and the PC is adapted from a 2016 update of the arcade version, known as “Tekken 7: Fated Revelation.” As a means of distinguishing itself from its forebears, Tekken 7 adds a few gameplay mechanics, such as “Rage Arts” and “Power Crushes,” to the mix.

  • A Rage Art is a special desperation move that can only be used once a character’s health is dangerously low. Rage Arts deal an amount of damage that is inversely proportional to the character’s health bar and whose power is balanced out by deactivating “Rage Mode,” a state where certain moves can be powered up when the health bar is nearly empty.
  • Power Crush is a form of “super armor,” allowing the character to continue his attacks while being attacked from most heights; normally, attack animations are cancelled upon being hit by an opponent. Damage is still taken while performing a Power Crush and low-striking attacks like sweep kicks are the only way to stop a Power Crush.
  • Tekken 7 also trades out the old “Bound System,” a means to stagger opponents and leave them open to extra hits, for the “Screw Attack.” A Screw Attack allows the player to send an airborne enemy spinning sideways, leaving them open to “juggling;” a technique where an attacker continues to hit the opponent, oftentimes with upward-striking moves, whom is left vulnerable until the opponent touches the ground. Screw Attacks differ from the Bound system in that they cannot be combined with combination attacks against a wall.
  • Tekken 7 also gives two characters a separate meter, known as the “EX/Super Meter.” Eliza and Akuma, the latter from rival fighting game series “Street Fighter,” can spend this meter to perform special attacks.

The arcade mode of Tekken 7 involves five matches against random opponents followed by matches against set penultimate and final opponents. These matches can be interrupted if a “new challenger” appears as player two presses a button to join; the screen then changes back to the character select menu so that the second player can pick her character, including which specific outfits or accessories that character will wear. Tekken 7 features online play on both the local and international levels. Tekken 7 also features a useful “Practice Mode” so that players can train and practice with a specific character and his moveset.

Players have plenty of options when it comes to their character of choice. While Tekken 7 features a roster of nearly 40 characters, 20 of them are available to play right out of the gates. While newcomers to the Tekken franchise may want to start off with either Shaheen or Katarina as they are new characters who were designed to be easy to play, Akuma handles close enough to his normal Street Fighter iterations that veterans of that series will feel right at home. Other newcomers notable for their relation to the Tekken franchise include: Kazumi Mishima, Heihachi’s wife and Kazuya’s mother, who even possesses a Devil form like her son; Jack-7, another iteration in Dr. Bosconovitch’s line of androids known for using brute force and Master Raven, a female superior to Raven with a similar fighting style. As a nod to the international nature of the fighting game community, many characters speak in their native language instead of Japanese.

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guilty gear xrd review https://www.evo2k.com/guilty-gear-xrd-review/ Tue, 09 May 2017 13:51:44 +0000 https://evo2k.com/?p=41
Guilty Gear XRD Review

Guilty Gear has long been one of those fighting series that has been easy to ignore in the United States. While it’s never gotten the press of the Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat series, it has nonetheless picked up a healthy following among fans of Japanese fighting games. The current iteration of the series, Guilty Gear XRD, is certainly one that fighting game fans will want to look at. While it’s very much still a niche game, that doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty to see. Whether you can get past the narrative to enjoy the fighting, though, is the biggest issue with the game.

What Works

If you love combo-heavy fighting games, you’ve been missing out by ignoring the Guilty Gear series. The game encourages aggressive, action-first combat. There’s a lot less blocking and dodging here than in most fighters, and a lot more counter-attacks and all-out offense. This puts the game on a strange tier above games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, which have become more and more about knowing how to disengage at the right time. This is the kind of combat you might have enjoyed at the arcade as a kid before you learned how you were “supposed” to play the game.

The game is also unabashedly beautiful. The art style is an amazing change of pace, with a great color scheme and a fantastic sense of diversity in the cast. While most of the fighters are retreads of things that people have seen before, the little changes in how they look make them feel very new. The game is a visual feast and it’s certainly one that you’ll never tire of watching as you play the game. With a huge cast of fighters, it’s going to be very hard for you to run out of things to do in the is game.

What Doesn’t Work

If you haven’t played a Guilty Gear game before, you’re pretty much out of work when it comes to narrative here. The story is built on what’s come before and the vast majority of the dialog is in Japanese. This puts casual players out of their depth when it comes to story, which is never a great thing. While it’s less of a sin than it would be in a more narrative-heavy genre, it can still be annoying for new players. There’s something to be said for continuity, of course, but it shouldn’t be used to lock out new players.

Is Guilty Gear XRD worth playing? If you love anime or like combo-heavy fighters, you should definitely give it a play. If you care about narrative in your stories, though, this might not be the game for you. Guilty Gear will likely to continue to be a niche game in the United States for years to come, but it’s clear that it isn’t going anywhere. This is a series that is going to stick around for quite some time, so it’s better to get on the train now than to try to catch up later.

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injustice 2 review https://www.evo2k.com/injustice-2-review/ Tue, 09 May 2017 12:58:50 +0000 https://evo2k.com/?p=34 Injustice 2 is the sequel 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game’s story involves a Superman who’s been driven insane by grief and taken over the world – only to be challenged by the superheroes of the main DC Universe. The sequel picks up from the end of the last game, featuring more universe-hopping and even higher stakes than before.

On a gameplay level, this game is largely built on the same bones as Mortal Kombat XL. You’ll still see brutal finishers and environmental transitions, but with the gore turned way down. This is a fighting game both for purists and for comic book fans. Netherealm is taking less of a gamble this time around, but it still seems to want to push the genre forward with a game that’s a bit different than everything else on the fighting scene.

What Looks Good

There’s a lot that looks good in Injustice 2. The look of the game has jumped up significantly, thanks to the fact that it’s a true current-gen title. Some of the new fighters look spectacular, while the old favorites look like they’ve been beefed up a bit. The new story seems suitably insane, especially if you’ve been reading the accompanying comics. This is going to be a great ride for fighting fans and for fans of the comics.

What Might Be a Problem

There are a few things in Injustice 2 that look like they might be real issues. Probably the biggest issue is going to be the gear – how well it’s balanced and how well it works is going to determine whether it’s a great idea or it’s simply something that is going to be ignored in online play. While it’s nice that the impact of this feature will be mitigated by the option to turn it off, it’s still weird to see in a fighting game.

More pertinent is the DLC plan for the game. By the week of May 5th, the first set of DLC characters was already announced. That’s right – DLC is being announced over a week before the game is released. Combined with the weird pre-order scheme and the multiple tiers of the game being sold, it looks like it won’t be the best idea to pick this one up on day one. If Injustice and Mortal Kombat X are any indication, gamers will be able to pick up a fully-featured version of the game in about a year for a fraction of the release price.

So, what’s the verdict on Injustice 2? If you liked the first game – or Mortal Kombat – you’ll probably enjoy the sequel. The crazy story seems firmly in place and it’s always going to be fun to get back to the violence of this fun house mirror version of the DCU. If you don’t want to deal with DLC or you want a game that’s got a bit more balance, though, it doesn’t look like this game will be a good fit for you.

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super smash bros review https://www.evo2k.com/super-smash-bros-review-game/ Tue, 09 May 2017 11:58:26 +0000 https://evo2k.com/?p=32 Review for Super Smash Brothers

Super Smash Brothers is a fighting game for Wii U and 3DS with a roster of 49 characters from which to choose. Unlike the average fighting game, health is not lost when you hit your opponent(s) but hitting them deals a percentage of damage. The more damage you deal to your opponent(s) the farther they fly off the stage with the goal being to knock them off the stage and stop any of their attempts to return.

for Wii U Review

With so many different characters, picking someone you are not already comfortable with can be a new learning experience. Although you will not be able to execute a perfect combo immediately, rest assured that the character has a purpose; you will have to learn the correct timing of when to use each of their skills to achieve victory. The old mechanic of guarding the edge of a stage from the previous three games has been removed, which causes more fighting to take place off the stage in mid-air. This means that players will have to improve their skills at aerial combat.

Nintendo paid close attention to detail in this fourth installment of Super Smash Brothers and successfully brought us a consistent 60 frames per second on both systems. Game play is an enjoyable experience whether you are using the native controls for either system or a GameCube controller on Wii U. The game keeps people wanting more by offering many different modes; the one called “Event Mode” makes learning a character’s moves easy because you are put in a solo or co-op adventure. Also, the different game modes have rewards that are unlocked by completing them.

for Nintendo 3DS Review

The game supports Amiibo for those who have them. They operate as custom AI opponents in that you can change their attacks, their names, and appearance. You can also have them stronger by giving them equipment, although having them fight other players does improve them as well. At max level they prove quite challenging to most people, except for perhaps highly skilled players (although sometimes even at max level, an Amiibo will make obvious mistakes and lose).

Amid all of this greatness, the game is not without flaws. A not so great game mode is present as well as one 3DS exclusive game mode. The first game mode is called Smash Tour. Four players take turns gathering things that lead up to a final battle. It turns the core of the game into extremely short matches with random components which doesn’t leave a player satisfied. The 3DS exclusive mode Smash Run has a player gather various power ups for five minutes before a final battle or competition. This would be fine, but because it is totally random a player might not have the right stats to overcome the final event.

Despite these shortcomings, Super Smash Brothers for either system is a fantastic game.

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