HOW TO: BE­COME A COMBO KING

Fight­ing games can be in­tim­i­dat­ing, but our step-by-step guide will make you a win­ner in no time

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Robin Valen­tine

Fight­ing games are home to some of the most in­tense and elec­tric com­pet­i­tive mul­ti­player mo­ments you’ll ever ex­pe­ri­ence – but the genre’s scary rep­u­ta­tion puts far too many peo­ple off. If you’re tempted by the thrill of deadly one-on-one com­bat, but fear you’ll never be able to pull off a win­ning combo, this guide is for you.

Make no mis­take – fight­ing games do de­mand pre­ci­sion and prac­tice to suc­ceed. But they’re not quite as com­pli­cated and in­ac­ces­si­ble as they might ap­pear, es­pe­cially once you un­der­stand the core concepts com­mon across the genre, and with a lit­tle pa­tience you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can get caught-up.

And those com­mon­al­i­ties mean that, once you’ve built your foundation in one game, those skills are eas­ily trans­fer­able to oth­ers. Be­fore you know it, you’ll be a genre devo­tee, kick­ing butt in ev­ery ti­tle go­ing.

So read on and let our step-by-step guide smooth out your learn­ing curve. While we don’t have the room here to get into the nitty gritty of frame data, spe­cial move can­cels, and other jar­gon-laden sub­jects, these tips will point your re­search in the right di­rec­tion, and set you on the path to fight­ing game greatness.

01 Choose your game

There are loads of fight­ing games out there – if you’re just start­ing out the best thing to do is pick just one and fo­cus on it. This year’s Mor­tal Kom­bat 11 is a great choice that’s es­pe­cially ac­ces­si­ble for be­gin­ners, while Xbox-exclusive Killer In­stinct has the ben­e­fit of be­ing free to download. Street Fighter IV is a mod­ern clas­sic, but also very pre­cise and dif­fi­cult – be ready for a chal­lenge if that’s your pick.

02 choose your char­ac­ter

Find­ing your feet is a lot eas­ier if you com­mit to learn­ing one char­ac­ter fully, though it may take a bit of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion be­fore you find your ‘main’. Much as it may feel dull, it’s often a good idea to pick one of the game’s ‘mas­cots’, such as Ryu in Street Fighter or Scor­pion in Mor­tal Kom­bat, as they’re usu­ally sim­pler and more well rounded – per­fect for get­ting a foundation in the game’s ideas and me­chan­ics.

03 learn the lingo The fight­ing game com­mu­nity uses lots of slang and tech­ni­cal terms, which can make even a be­gin­ner’s guide seem im­pen­e­tra­ble – but re­ally they mostly have very easyto-un­der­stand mean­ings. A quick on­line search will give you a glos­sary of the more com­mon terms. Look up an ex­plainer for fight­ing game no­ta­tion, too – un­der­stand that, and you’ll be able to crib com­bos from other play­ers. 04 un­der­stand your nor­mals A com­mon be­gin­ner mis­take is to concentrat­e too heav­ily on spe­cial moves. While they may be less flashy, your ba­sic punches and kicks – or ‘nor­mals’ – are a vi­tal part of your arse­nal, and one of the keys to im­prov­ing is learn­ing the prop­er­ties of each. They’re usu­ally much safer to lead with, too – spe­cials are often ‘un­safe on block’, mean­ing you’ll be left vul­ner­a­ble if your foe de­flects the blow. 05 de­fend your­self An­other er­ror too many play­ers make is ig­nor­ing the de­fen­sive side of the game. Mash­ing out at­tacks isn’t go­ing to get you any­where, you need to learn how to block and play con­ser­va­tively. Try to stay on the ground, too – jump­ing in too much is a bad habit that gives your op­po­nent easy op­por­tu­ni­ties to pun­ish you. Some­times you do need to go all-in, but save your ag­gres­sion for when the time is right. 06 prac­tiSe your com­bos There’s no get­ting round it – ul­ti­mately, all fight­ing games de­mand prac­tice. The key thing is ex­e­cu­tion. At the very least, you need to be able to con­sis­tently per­form your spe­cial moves. If you’re whiff­ing your fire­balls, get to the train­ing room and throw ‘em un­til you can do it ten times with­out a mis­take from both sides of the screen. Then you’ll be ready to com­mit your com­bos to mus­cle memory.

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