Hey everyone! It's been a while! I just been busy with work and finding a topic that I would be interested to write about. I got this whole week off from work and of course I already used some of that time to play some Street Fighter 4 online. After winning a bunch of games against someone that was trying to get better at the game, he messaged me and asked 'What am I doing wrong?' I messaged him back with a couple of things I noticed and told him to keep practising because it's hard to be good at that game when it's been out so long and most people online know a lot about the game. This encounter also gave me the idea to write about how I improved in fighting games and what I think is important in becoming a better player. So without further ado, let's talk about how you can get good at fighting games.
Take time when looking for your character
The first thing I would recommend is; find the right character for you. Don't pick a character just because you heard they're the best in the game. First thing you should do is at least try a few different characters before you get set on one. There are a number of different character archetypes out there and you may prefer one over the other (command, grappler, charge, etc). If your set on using one archetype then at least try the other characters that play similar (if you want to try out a charge character then try out Honda, Balrog, Bison, etc). Try to find a character you enjoy playing and one that you want to learn more about. This is because you'll be picking them so often and you'll get tired of them if you find them to be boring to play as. Focus on 1 character at first and expand to 3 or 4 to learn how different characters play and to also have options when someone counter picks. Learning how different characters play can help you understand how your opponent thinks since you already know the characters strengths and weaknesses (you know a charge character can't do certain moves when you see them walking forward because they have no charge at that time). Playing different characters can also help you get better as a player because one character can be more footsie based while another is combo based. This helps you get better footsies all around and more clutch with your combos. For this reason, its best if your 3 or 4 characters all play different (one charge, command, projectile and grappler character).
Hit challenge and training mode with your new character
Most games have a tutorial mode that helps you understand the game and gives you examples of when to use different tactics. From all the games that I have played, I think Skullgirls has the best tutorial in a game and can really help people who are new or trying to get good at fighting games. Challenge mode also shows you your characters beginner combos and moves (don't worry about completing all of them, just try to learn a few of the early ones and work them into your game). You can also look on YouTube for combos and practice those in training. Early on in training mode you'll want to work on BnB combos and hitting your moves from both sides (some people have trouble doing a Shoryuken on a certain side, so practice on both sides to make sure you can do it consistently). When practising a move you'll want to do it a number of times on both sides (you wont get it fast, this stuff takes time).
Don't always go for the win but instead focus on an aspect of your gameplay that your trying to improve
A lot of people get caught up in trying to win a match instead of trying to improve their performance. It feels nice to win but you wont learn as much if you lose focus on what your trying to accomplish just to get a W under your belt. You learn a lot more in a loss then you would a win; in a loss it keeps you thinking on what you can improve and how, while a win just makes you think everything is all right with your game-play. You need to practice anti-airs and combos that you keep missing or dropping. Play the computer so that you can get use to doing combos and anti-airs in game . This way you can practice landing them in a moving environment and not have to worry about out thinking your opponent too much since you just want to get these basics down.
Play online to learn match-ups but don't worry too much about win/loss ratio
When you play online there may be a steep difference in skill level because people have been playing fighting games for a while. It may seem like this at first:
It may seem hopeless but continue to play online and try to find people around your skill level if possible (if they have a ranking system then try to find people within your range). In some games this is hard to do since they only have the hardcore playing it now, but still play online to learn the character match-ups and how to play a human opponent. You also have to learn not to auto pilot and adapt to what your opponent is doing. This means you have to learn how to punish moves and learn the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents character. The way you fight Zangeif and Cammy would be completely different because of the way they're built. An example of this can be seen in this video where K-Brad shows how to approach the Guile match-up with Juri.
Note that he says this is how you fight the match-up with Juri. This means not every character will approach this match-up the same. You have to try and find what works for you. Even though he thinks this is the best way to appraoch, it may not be suitable for your style so try and find what works for you. You'll also want to watch your replays of losses and try to see what you did wrong. Watching replays helps a lot because sitting back with a clear mind helps you see things that you didn't see when you were in action.
Work on defense and your wake-up game
A lot of people work on offense and play aggressively but don't work on their defense. When people ask me for advice, most of the time I tell them to work on their defense because I could jump in for free and get a combo. Learn when to block high and low (when an opponent is jumping at you or they do an overhead then block high, if they do low moves then block low). Teching throws is really important as well. Go in training mode and set the dummy to record and throw, then set playback and try to tech the throw on a consistent basis. Furthermore, don't always panic and press a button on wake-up. People can use different set-ups if they see you become predictable with your wake-up moves (sometimes it's just best to block or back dash). Learn the mechanics of the game and what frame traps, crossovers and other advance moves look like so you can block accordingly,
Watch other players to help get ideas
Watching other players who have a lot of knowledge in fighting games can help you see how they approach the game and give you some ideas on how you should adjust yours. There are also many places on the internet with a bunch of fighting game information and tutorials that are very helpful. Some of these places include:
Play different fighting games
My last piece of advice would be to play different fighting games (this isn't necessary but I think it helps). The main game I play is Street Fighter 4 (if you couldn't tell by all the SF4 references lol) but I try out all types of fighting games. The reason I find this helpful is because some games can help you get better with different things (Marvel vs. Capcom is more of a combo based game while Street Fighter 4 is more of a zoning and footsies game). Even though both are very different, they are in many ways very much the same. In both games you are trying to outsmart your opponent, open up your opponent, using the same commands, etc.
We are finally done!
If you read the whole thing then you won.........my respect!
Also, if you want to challenge me in a game of Ultra Street Fighter 4 then my name on PSN is: Da_linkwent. Just send me a message saying you read this and want to challenge/train.
I am out for today, feel free to follow your boy on any of these sites: