Do you wonder why the fun zone for VF is so different each time you play? One day you’re having an aweful lot of fun, learned new things, won quite a nice bunch of matches and lived up to your level. Whereas an other day you simply can’t make sense of the game. You’d rather like to smash VF onto your table and rage-post on VFDC what had become of the VF series. Hold on! Let me tell you that VF is a great game – but not a very relaxing one. Take a few minutes to read through the five important things to do before a match in order to really get the most out of Virtua Fighter.
1. Have you slept well?
You probably know that but may not be consciously aware of it: VF is quite a hefty workout for your mind as well as for your body! You’ll be sweating and your brain will be burning from all the complex calculation and guessing work it has to perform hyper-quickly during a match – often so for hours and hours. Make sure you rested well beforehand. The more energy and enthusiasm you bring into VF the more you get out of it.
2. Clear your mind!
Do you actually have more important stuff to do today? Did you just mean to boot up VF for a quick relaxing match? You’ll hardly get there! VF is pure stress. Trying to play it in a relaxed, lazy and slow way will make your character lazy and slow and – well – relaxed too. You won’t win much. Even worse: you’ll lose against opponents that you would have beaten under normal conditions. Losses make no one happy, especially not if you can’t change your way in a match because you came here just for a few minutes of relaxation. Do your more important stuff first!
3. Warm up!
That doesn’t mean going into Dojo Mode to practice a few moves or ETEG before a match. By God, beware! That would only greatly drain your mental as well as your physical energy beforehand. Probably you would even turn into an automaton ETEGing EVERYTIME you’re disadvantaged because you happened to rage-train it for thirty minutes straight! You already know all the moves and have practice in ETEG. No need to overdo it! What I mean by warming up is – even if it may sound hilarious to you now – to make sure that your room temperature is warm and comfortable enough. No one plays well with cold hands or feet. The colder your room the stiffer your hand movements and the worse your command inputs.
4. Evaluate your opponent!
That’s a tough task I know. But most likely you have met quite an arsenal of different fighting styles. You may not know every frame data for the other characters in VF but your own. But you can tell how the different characters in VF work: some are more throw-happy than others; while others do swing more strikes than throws at you. You can recognize strike and combo patterns and simply have a damn good feeling when to fuzzy and throw and what-not.
Every bit of information that you can squeeze out of your opponent is one further step to victory, his character choice and costume included. Do you know his win/loss ratio? This may point at his expertise or scrubbiness. Does he like to chat while fighting? Maybe a sign that he doesn’t take a fight quite too seriously mistaking VF for a chat plattform. Do you probably even know who you are up against? What was his fighting scheme last time? Scheme A and B but never C? Then you probably already know the counters? Perfect! Find your way into the mind of who you are up against. After all, VF is also a psychological fighting game.
There are players who are obsessed with moves using them over and over; who are most aggressive; or rather passive. Don’t only note details about his particular fighting style but also fit those into the overall puzzle, the big picture. What does it actually mean that he down-punches and throws everytime; or high-punches and throws? Yes! It means you can make up a counter and re-code your nitaku options. Be adaptive!
5. Don’t play online!
I know you’ll create an online match in just a second anyway. OK, no sweat. But remember: don’t take playing online seriously. Ever. Don’t think only because you can beat that one great VF player online that you could do so offline as well! Vice versa: don’t get mad at the game or yourself because you didn’t win that one match against a scrubby player. Or don’t blame the game because, actually, you would have hit because you had an advantage of one frame! And so on, and so forth … Online incorporates a heavy load of lag and lag-disguising techniques deeply written into the netcode of VF.
There are things that may only work out online whereas if you were to face that particular technique offline you’d simply laugh at it. You may think: “But hey, it does play pretty fluently online when I’m up against my friend!” In fact you’re moving like stonehedge on feet though! Just do the test: simply put the stick forward for walking. Aweful delay! Or repeatedly tap the guard button to check lag just when the match has started. Aweful? Yes – even with great connection.
But nonetheless, playing online can and will widen your horizon. You get to know people and learn new things that may vary heavily from what you’ve known or seen before. In any case, it’s worth it. But don’t take it too seriously …