Fighting games are widely considered to be some of the most technical and difficult games to play. At least, that’s the consensus of people who aren’t super into them. But what people don’t realize is that fighting games aren’t necessarily difficult. What’s difficult is getting into them enough to truly get good.
Now, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I am not a professional fighting game player. Far from it. If I were to go up against a pro, it’d be a miracle of every god in the world for me to land a single hit. But that doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely love fighting games, and I’ve been trying to get better for a long time now.
Today, I’d like to share some of the information I’ve gathered from my research on this genre in order to make your journey into fighting games as easy as possible. This isn’t the word of a professional, I must reiterate, but the advice of someone who struggled greatly to get into this genre. With that said, let’s begin with our first point.
1. Which Game Do You Play?
This may seem like a simple question, but it’s an incredibly important one. Your first fighting game could make or break your feelings towards the genre as a whole. On top of that, it will likely be the one you play the most if you do get into it. As such, you need to be careful about which one you pick.
First: do not, under any circumstances, play a game you have no interest in. For example, I couldn’t care less about any of the Street Fighter games. I find them incredibly boring and not fun to play. I’m not saying they’re bad, they’re just not my kind of game. If you feel that way about a game, then go ahead and skip it, even if it’s currently popular.
Luckily, picking a game isn’t too hard. Don’t pick the one that’s most popular. Pick the one that appeals the most to you. If you love the characters of Dragon Ball, and the insane gameplay looks like fun to you, then play Fighterz. If you have a soft spot for the characters of Street Fighter, then play that game. If you love anime waifus and crazy gameplay, maybe play Skull Girls. If it seems like fun to you, then give it a go.
Never ever go with the popular pick. Go with the pick that appeals to you. If the popular pick appeals to you, then go for it. If not, look for something else.
2. Learn the Mechanics
This is a far more important than anything else. Before you pick your character and practice their combos, you need to learn how to play the game itself. It may seem tedious, but launch into tutorial mode before anything else.
If you learn how to block, parry, dodge, or whatever other mechanics your game has and get good at them, then congrats! You’re already better than a large number of people online. It may take a bit depending on how your game, but it is incredibly important if you want to get good at your game.
After you’ve gotten these down on at least a basic level, then you can move on to step three.
3. Choose Your Fighter!
Now we can get to the part people are waiting for. But I’m going to break your heart really quickly. I know that you’ll be eager to play the character that strikes your fancy the fastest. But you shouldn’t do this.
Don’t pick your favorite yet. Instead, pick the one that’s the easiest.
Picking these are simple. Just look up “Beginner characters for *insert game here*”. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the game by playing these simple characters, then you can move on to the more advanced ones. Or hell, maybe you’ll just come to love that simple character more.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the game and finally picked your character, now’s the time to spend some time outside of the game. Look up guides, watch pro league play such as tournaments, and other such things. By observing, you can learn about more advanced techniques and combos to practice. On the topic of which…
4. Practice, Practice, Practice!
This is where getting good at a fighting game can become a full time job if you’re dedicated enough. This may also very well be the point that breaks your desire to get better.
Here’s the thing: mastering a fighting game is a pain in the ass. It means playing in the training mode and practicing the same combos over and over again until it’s as natural to you as breathing. This is easily the most intimidating aspect of trying to get truly good at these games.
Personally, I’ve grown rather fond of spending time in the training mode. It feels like the training arc of an anime before the massive tournament. And luckily, modern games do a lot to help save you from the tedium and frustration of this training loop.
Nowadays, games let you train while you search for an online game. This should be your default setting. Not only does playing against a real person save you from the frustration by giving you a dose of competitive fun, it also helps further your skills by pitting you against someone even more complicated and unpredictable than the computer could ever be.
Also: use an ethernet connection. For the love of fucking god, make your internet connection as good as you possibly can. You will save everyone involved a lot of suffering if you do.
You should also train with a friend if you can. Having a training partner/rival that points out your mistakes will cut your training time in half. Plus, it could help you and your friend grow closer and have some simple fun together.
Again, I must reiterate that I am far from a pro fighting game player. I’m just a guy who really loves to play these kinds of games and wants to help other people get into them. I don’t expect anyone to read this and suddenly become a pro. But I do hope that this helps someone get into fighting games a little easier than before.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go practice the same combo over and over in Fighterz to prepare myself for Season 2. Because god damn it, I am not going to lose to the upcoming hordes of Jiren players!
Even though I very likely will regardless…