How a Simplified Input Game can be Interesting Too

I don’t get the hype behind Rising Thunder. Simplifying inputs? And you like Divekick, yet you’ve said that complex inputs are more rewarding (when I asked about PM’s input leniency compared to Melee, or when discussing wavedashing in Melee).

Divekick explores a unique strategic space. It’s fast, and there are things to learn about the game. I played one friend in it and seriously beat him every game for like 20-30 games in a row. I perfected him multiple times during that. One of my friends actually figured out a new way to advance safely, by jumping, then kicking near the end of the jump, which I would normally do at the beginning of a very shallow jump.

There are actually some advanced techniques in divekick, like performing special moves requires pressing both dive and kick at the same time, but there’s a short leniency period, so you can kara-cancel into a special move. For example, Mr N can kara-cancel his kick into his hover, allowing him to effectively kick for a frame before hovering, kicking with less commitment. And of course he can keep doing this as long as he has enough meter.

Rising thunder has unique character designs, like Crow, who is so unique he couldn’t exist in another fighting game because of his invisibility power, or Vlad who has a weird air dash with a meter you can expend as you like, or Dauntless, who has some really amazing combos and unique special moves, along with one of the rare normal anti-airs. I like that with Chel I can cancel sweeps into fireballs (which I almost never get to do in SF, it’s only possible in SF2), and the combos are reasonably interesting. It’s cool to be able to see someone else do a combo I’ve never seen before, then start doing it on them. The kinetic advance system is also cool, it’s like FADC, except you can also jump out of it. Not to mention that combos do get rather execution-heavy at a high level. There are even link combos, usually from M into L.

In its own way, it’s interesting that all the special moves are on single buttons because it very much changes the amount of time you can execute moves in. I remarked on picking up Chel that it was like every character with an anti-air special was a charge character. I mean this in that you can instantly react to jump-ins with just a button tap. I was so trigger happy at first that I even reacted too soon in some cases to jump-ins, whiffing completely, because I expected my fingers to be slower. And the cool-down periods, much as I dislike the use of cool-downs as a balancing measure, do actually add a strategic element to the game, so if your opponent whiffs an anti-air, you know jumping in is safe for the next few seconds. Chel’s projectile has the cooldown negated if it hits the opponent too, meaning that you can keep up fireball pressure as long as the fireballs are hit or blocked, clearly pointing to neutral jump as an answer to Chel’s fireballs.

The other thing is, and I admit this isn’t speaking to the game’s favor, but it’s a proof of concept that even if you simplify the inputs down to the minimum possible level, scrubs won’t magically get good at the game. This is a moral victory for me.
Having inputs that are hard isn’t something that’s strictly speaking a good thing. I don’t think any fighting game needs a pretzel input ever again. I think the move away from FRCs for GG Xrd was a good thing and made the system more interesting, even if there were some OSes that worked in 1.0.

I think that the difficulty of an input is something that should correspond to how helpful the result is. It’s not something that can easily be judged. The difficulty of a given input should be relative to how rarely it needs to happen, so you get easy inputs most of the time, hard sometimes, impossible rarely.

The bigger compromise here is the depth of Rising Thunder in part because of the input system they chose. There are less options, less ways to modulate options, and thus the game is more strategically flat. Having movement commands act as a modifier on top of normal button presses allowed for a larger range of moves to be accessible at once.

Also seriously, wavedashing isn’t hard. You can learn to do it in 30 minutes or less.


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