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Impressions – MLP: Fighting is Magic, Feb. 2012 Build
February 25, 2012Posted by on
MLP:Fighting is Magic livestream archive – 1 hr 40 min total
So I wrote up a long post on the game as I was watching the archive of the livestream (I couldn’t watch the stream live because I completely forgot it was happening) and I figured I’d put it here so I wouldn’t have to search for it anywhere else. So, here it is.
Pinkie – They only showed off two special moves which I guess means that the finger is a normal move? I kind of expect her to have more moves than that. I mean who does she think she is, Guile? Actually she apparently thinks she’s Saki from AH3 with her reverse charge moves. As for the special moves themselves, they’re useful I suppose. The ground bounce Cartwheel Kick seems pretty good and the rest seem alright. The knockdown Cartwheel Kick can lead into her next special move, Be Right Back, a reverse charge move that’s basically designed to mixup your opponent by teleporting. BRB is less effective as a teleport though since the game screen will move over to tell you where she’s coming from. This probably needs to be fixed so that Pinkie can have some mixups that are actually ambiguous and not ones that the opponent can block on reaction. Pinkie could certainly be a very interesting oki character, but her damage needs to be toned down because right now she’s pretty easy mode, doing 30% combos for little effort. Her super seems a bit like a super-charged version of Ibuki’s Kasumi Suzaku and it does ridiculous damage.
What needs to change – Damage, obviously. As is, she’s doing way too much damage for little effort. Almost every match I saw with Pinkie against someone like Rarity or Twilight had the unicorn zoning her out only for Pinkie to get some quick, easy damage in with only a few combos to either catch up or get ahead. That’s pretty ridiculous and obviously needs to get fixed. But aside from that, I think she could actually use some buffs. She’s obviously the least complete of all the characters, and it shows through the fact that she only has two specials. She has no way to deal with attacks from the air, so maybe something like a Flash Kick would help her in this regard. And if you do give her a Flash Kick effect, you might as well give her an up charge move, probably more like a Moonsault kick or some other kind of air combo ender, maybe even a slide like Belial Edge. Also, as I said before, it’s really easy to telegraph where BRB is going because of the way the screen changes. Please fix this, as it makes her mixups easy to read. Like Sesame Street easy.
What needs to stay the same – Pretty much everything else. I really like how Pinkie is a sort of amalgam of lots of other charge based rushdown characters and if BRB is fixed to be more ambiguous then it’ll be great for ambiguous Claw-esque mixups.
Rarity – Rarity reminds me of Shang Tsung more than anyone else. She can definitely create a fireball forest and use her delayed fireballs to pressure or mix up her zoning. Her light fireball seems a bit slow though even though it’s supposed to be the fast one. Calling gems from behind the opponent is useful if cornered though. Her Seismo Gems seem kind of situationally useful, but it looks like they may be her fastest zoning tool. Most importantly are her anti-air gems though. If the pegasi in this game do have flight mode, there will be some players who try to run away with them, and Rarity now has tools to deal with that. However, the fact that they don’t hit grounded opponents at all makes them much less useful outside of anti-airing and ending combos. Her air normals also look really nice and her air combos are fun to watch. She doesn’t seem to have a lot of air-to-ground attack vectors though. I’m loving her super, it’s like an upwards Hail Storm, which is pretty much what I expected, but she can also do it off a throw, which is great. I’m wondering if she can follow up after it with her upwards gems.
What needs to change – Rarity has so many special moves that I’m kind of concerned about overlapping commands. This isn’t too much of a problem for people who actually know how to play fighting games, but most bronies don’t. The other major problem I have is that her purple gem projectile is way too slow. Even the non-delayed version takes a long time to come out, and as I’ll talk about below, this makes Twilight, the well rounded character, better at zoning than Rarity, who is supposed to be a dedicated zoner. I think both of these problems could be solved by consolidating the forwards and backwards purple gems into one move – for example, one version shoots a gem in front of the opponent, one version shoots a gem from behind the opponent, and the other one is a fake or shoots gems from both directions or something (or maybe the EX version shoots gems from both directions…hmm, wouldn’t that be fun?) – having the startup be about the same as Twilight’s projectile, and have the delays done by holding down the button after inputting the command, like with Sakura’s Hadoken or Megaman’s buster. This would also free up a command in her movelist to give an easier input for her AA gems. This is a relatively minor issue though since she can still zone with Seismo and AA gem forest. A bigger concern is her relative inability to escape pressure. Give her an Alpha Counter like Applejack at least.
What needs to stay the same – Her zoning patterns. I play zoners in pretty much every 2D fighting game I play, and I can pretty much say that Rarity’s zoning covers all the angles I’d want it to, which is perfect. I also like how big her hitboxes are on her air moves. These two things combined really remind me of one of my favorite zoners, Nu-13, but unlike Nu, Rarity doesn’t have EZ-Modo combos that do 2K for 0 effort.
Applejack – If Rarity is Shang Tsung, then Applejack is an amalgamation of other Mortal Kombat characters. Her everything about her Applebuck reminds me of Johnny Cage’s Shadow Kick, aside from the wallbounce on the hard version which Cage obviously doesn’t have. Ground Stomps are a bit like Sheeva only with less range but more usefulness. I have to admit, I genuinely laughed when Applejack said “GET OVER HERE!” when she used her lasso. Applejack’s lasso also gives her EX moves, Alpha Counters, and a special 2 bar teleport to get her out of trouble or help her pressure game, which places an importance on it that could be very interesting. And, as the developers pointed out, lassos can also be used as tech traps. She also has followups after super, which really opens up a lot of potential for her combos.
What needs to change – I do think that Applejack needs to be nerfed, but I’m not sure what the best way to go about it is. I think the root of her balance issues comes from her lasso though. The best nerf I can think to give her without completely fucking up her gameplan is to give it more recovery frames on whiff. Obviously this won’t be enough though, as her lasso is currently the best (and also one of the only, now that I think about it) anti-air in the game. Beyond that or reducing the range of a lasso (which would actually really screw her over) or reducing her damage slightly (which might not be so bad), I can’t really think of anything to make her more balanced.
What needs to stay the same – Just about everything else. Applejack is a solid rushdown character, probably the best rushdown you could do without an air dash, and she’s also the closest thing this game has to a grappler thus far. She uses wallbounces and groundbounces very well, can do followups off lassos and supers, and has good tools for pressuring her opponent. The developers running the stream said that the has an invincible command dash that uses 2 pieces of magic and goes through projectiles. I think that this should be her only easy way out of projectiles since it’s a pretty powerful affect against some characters.
Twilight Sparkle – The way Rarity is now, Twilight’s projectiles are much better, which might make Twilight a better zoner overall. Her hard fireball is also a diagonal upwards one to use as an anti-air, like Morrigan or Gouken, so pretty much anything Rarity can do Twilight can do better. Of course, Twilight is obviously much more of a complete character, so who knows. Also, an upwards attack vector was really the one thing she needed to be a complete character. I mean how else would she control space in the air? Launcher? The failed teleport makes it pretty obvious which game they were most influenced by when designing it. Why is heavy the failed teleport though? Wouldn’t it make more sense as light? I suppose it doesn’t really matter though. Oh, and I guess the failed teleport is supposed to be her DP, so she’s now a complete shoto. But is it invincible? Her EX trap is interesting if it eats projectiles. I wonder if this makes it like just a normal projectile or if it’s more like Hakumen’s Black Hole? Also, apparently all her pages take up her magic meter now, which kind of limits her. Her throw game is solid though, with throw into fireball and throw into super both being very good options.
What needs to change – If her fake teleport isn’t invincible, make it so. So many characters in the game need air defense (and they’ll need it even more if the pegasi have air dashes or flight as many have speculated) and Twilight is one of them. I’m also unsure exactly how her EX trap negates projectiles, as I said before, but it would be pretty cool if it was like Hakumen’s Black Hole. She and Rarity (and Pinkie’s Super I guess) are the only characters to have projectiles so far though, so I doubt that’ll even have that much relevance. There’s also the danger of teleport mixups, which I’m assuming is why the developers talked about CPU Twilight as if she were an SNK Boss.
What needs to stay the same – Unlike Applejack and Pinkie, who are a bit overpowered, and Rarity, who is a bit underpowered (compared to the rest of the cast at least), Twilight kind of feels like she’s at just the right balance in the current build. She has a lot of options and chances to mix up the opponent, but she doesn’t do so much damage that she needs to be nerfed. I think they got exactly what they were going for with Twilight – a balanced, shoto-esque character with options for rushing down and zoning (although she’s clearly better at zoning but w/e).
General – Meter building has been lowered and I guess that’s a good thing. In a SF style game, you don’t want people supering all the time or the game will be overly focused on who has the best super. This was arguably one of the major faults of 3rd Strike. However, supers appear to build meter, which they should probably fix because no other game is like that (and for good reason). But, pieces of magic (idk what else to call them) don’t carry over in between rounds, which is pretty interesting. I’m glad to hear that they lowered the framerate for the first video because frankly the game looked incredibly choppy. It’s good that they have techs in the game, but I’m not completely sure it’ll prevent infinites all by itself. One thing that I guess I’ll just have to get used to in this game is the lack of a super flash. Sometimes the combo counter glitches so that only the first digit of the combo displays, which is pretty weird and they should fix it just as a presentational issue. And OH SHIT THERE IS AIR BLOCKING. Wow, I never saw that in any previous video. Maybe there is hope for a Rainbow Air Dash, especially since they confirmed that pegasi will have air mobility options.
What needs to change – For the most part it’s not about “What needs to change” but more like “What I want to see” – Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash in combat, Pinkie’s remaining special moves, and all the missing level 3 supers. The game right now is fine for the most part, but there are still a few things I’d like to see. The combo counter is glitchy as hell. Don’t fix it until the final build though, I always get a good laugh out of it being derpy. In general, I think that more characters need upward attack vectors, as I said time and time again. Right now Applejack is the only one who has one and she seems to be pretty dominant in part because of it. Ways to escape pressure are also not very visible in this build. Alpha Counters should be universal if they’re not already, but if there are still ponies whose pressure games are way too good then bursts may need to be implemented. Also, PUT SPIKE IN THIS GAME HE’S THE BEST CHARACTER IN THE ENTIRE SHOW AND HE’S A TOTAL FIGHTING MACHINE, JUST LOOK AT HIM!
What needs to stay the same – The absence of any sort of bullshit comeback mechanic and the presence of adorable ponies. And in general, the sheer attention to detail on the backgrounds and the ponies’ sprites is just phenomenal. Most fan games tend to be half-assed, but Mane6Dev are really going all out with Fighting is Magic. I’m really looking forward to the next time the game is shown. Maybe I’ll actually get to watch the stream as it airs for once.
Final Thoughts – I can’t believe this game doesn’t support DDR pads as controllers. What a load of shit. Oh well, at least there aren’t any major potential balance issues in the game.
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