Sunday, June 5, 2016

This blog has moved!

Actually, it moved over to Wordpress several years ago.  I just totally forgot to indicate it on this page.  Hard to believe it took me around 4 years to notice..

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel

After a million delays, I was really starting to lose hope in this game ever coming out, but it finally got a release on October 20th!  Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel is the sequel to a 2007 game called Rosenkreuzstilette, which I'll abbreviate as RKS from now on.  It is a Megaman clone doujin game with a fair bit of Castlevania influence as well.  It features an almost all-female cast with voice acting and some of the best music I've ever heard in any doujin work.  It and Megamari are easily the two most well known Megaman styled doujin games.  The main gameplay in RKS is very similar to standard Megaman fare: there are initially 8 robot masters(or German girls, in the case of RKS) which can be tackled in any order, and then afterwards comes the Dr. Wily fortress stages which are usually a bit more difficult.

I was a huge fan of the original RKS, so a good portion of this review will just be comparisons of RKSF to the original game.  In RKSF you take control of Freudia, who was a boss from the 1st game.  She was easily one of the most popular characters from RKS, and even had her own cool duel theme!  She has most of the standard post-Megaman 3 options that Spiritia, the main character of the first RKS has: she can jump, shoot, and slide.  However, the main difference in the two lies in the shot.  Freudia's Freudenstachel weapon can rapid fire if the shot button is held down.  The shots come out in a sine wave pattern, which make it very useful for clearing out enemies during stages.  But since the Freudenstachel has a rapid fire mechanic, it can't be charged!  Which means that trying to do the equivalent of a Buster only playthrough against bosses is very difficult, since the damage she'll be doing is miniscule.  For some reason, the Freudenstachel also has its own weapon meter, though it's a bit misleading because it implies that she has limited ammo.  Even if the weapon meter is completely drained, she can still fire off shots: she just can't hold down the button to rapid fire anymore.

Another minor difference is in special weapons.  Like Tia, Freudia gets special weapons after defeating each of the initial 8 girls.  But since Freudia is the ice girl of the game, all of her special weapons are ice-themed versions of the other girls' powers.  They're still pretty cool and distinct though.  I do want to give a special mention to the Kopiekreisel weapon(the one obtained from beating Trauare), which I thought was completely useless at first.  It has poor range and a short active time, but it has a very unique ability of doing TONS of damage to any enemy that is in a guarding state.  A lot of the enemies and bosses in RKSF use shields or have attacks that make themselves invulnerable, so the Kopiekreisel can be really strong when used right.

All of the characters from the original RKS return in this game, and most of them have received redesigns!  The new designs look really good, and in particular I'm a big fan of the new Trauare, Zorne, and Sichte.  There are also some new characters introduced who also have some pretty good designs.

Freudia in Eifer's stage.  The bloodthirsty Gargoyle is originally part of the background, and will wake up if you get near it
On to more gameplay related topics, I feel that one of the biggest improvements that RKSF has over RKS is in its level design.  In the original RKS, some of the stages felt way too short, and I really felt that the first half of the game with the 8 girls was weak overall.  In particular, I felt that some of the girls' stages like Zorne's and Liebea's were really flat and uninspired.  That was not the case for the 2nd half of the game, and I wouldn't be surprised if the developers had spent more time working on the second half than the first.  There were still some great moments in the first half though(like the battle with Freudia), but the level design was just really uneven.  RKSF does not have any of these issues, as all of the levels are interesting.  I was also very happy to see RKSF step up the difficulty level from RKS.  The platforming segments are trickier, and the bosses have much more varied attack patterns.  My first playthrough of the game was so embarrassing, as I died over and over to certain bosses trying to figure out their movements.  There are also some segments of the game that feel more like playing a Touhou game than a Megaman one, lol.

Like RKS, RKSF also has a special mode that lets you play as a different character.  In RKS, it was Grolla, and in RKSF it's Pamela.  Pamela is easily my favorite of the new characters introduced in RKSF, so I have no probems with this!  She plays like Zero, as she has a three-hit sword combo, can charge her sword, and has the ability to dash and climb on walls.  But she takes double damage compared to Freudia and doesn't get special weapons after defeating the girls so she's stuck with only 1 weapon for the whole game.  Like Grolla, playing as Pamela is a lot of fun because you can just blaze through the platforming segments with the dash and wall climbing ability.  Bosses become much more difficult because you have to get in close to attack and you take extra damage.  So you can think of this as the Hard Mode of the game.

As far as complaints about the game go, I don't really have any.  I feel that RKSF improved upon RKS in almost every way.  I should mention that the original RKSF release is quite buggy though: my game crashed a couple of times in my 1st playthrough.  So be sure to patch the game as soon as you can if you get it.  Right now, the newest patch is 1.02a, which can be obtained on the official site.  Something I also found weird was that later on in the game, there is a boss that can be defeated instantly if you hit it with its weakness.  It is pretty funny, but I'm not really sure why it's in the game.

To wrap up, everything that made RKS great is also in RKSF, so go buy the game and play it if you haven't already done so!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Archetype Earth

Yeah, so I'm about 4 months late with this.  Sorry, things have been pretty hectic in the past few months, what with classes, TA training, and the start of my Masters research.  It does look like things are going to get more manageable soon though, so that's a relief.

Archetype Earth, the arm wrestling champion
Anyway, Archetype Earth, or 姫アルク(Hime Arc) as the Japanese MB scene has nicknamed her, is the new character introduced in MBAACC 1.07.  She's definitely a great addition to the cast, as she is one of the most unique characters in the game with a ton of personality to boot.  I mainly want to write about Full moon Archetype Earth, since I feel she's the most interesting one and also the character I switched to in this version!

In a nutshell, F-Hime is a somewhat defensive oriented character which is pretty uncommon in a momentum based game like Melty.  Her pressure is pretty whatever, and her mixup can be tricky but is very situational.  Her normals are AMAZING but are some of the slowest in the game.  Her fastest normal is 7f, which is pretty bad in a game like Melty where most characters have 4-5f jabs.  She has a ton of range on all of her moves, with one particular super having fullscreen range!  She also has one of the most broken specials in the game(ground geyser), and an amazing air super(EX light pillar) which is very similar to Ciel's EX Hiero.  Her damage potential is above average: not the best, but not bad either.  And finally she has a very unique mechanic in the form of flight which gives her a ton of air mobility options.

Flight is what really defines her as a character.  Input as 22d, it's interesting in that it is considered to be a super, even though it has no superflash.  I guess this was decided because it uses up meter in the sense that her meter will be continuously draining while she's flying.  Because it's a super, all normals and specials cancel into it, which gives her a number of good combo and pressure options.  She can do all of this on hit, block, and most amazingly, even on whiff!

This has a couple of applications.  For example, her ground geyser(236a and 236b) are two staples of her game that are very unsafe on block(something like -10f).  Normally if she whiffs this, she'll be in a lot of trouble, but she can herself "safe" by just cancelling it into flight.

Another example involves her air-to-air neutral game.  Hime probably has the slowest jump in the game, and is very floaty when she's in the air.  In addition, most characters in Melty can whiff a j.a and regain all of their air mobility and attack options after the j.a recovers, but Hime can't.  If she whiffs a j.a, she's completely defenseless until she lands on the ground.  Hime is actually not the only character who is cursed with this, as Satsuki and Kouma have to deal with this too, but it's especially bad for her because of how floaty she is.  If she whiffs anything in the air, the opponent has all the time in the world to dash in and bring on the pain.  But since she has flight, she can make herself "safe" by cancelling a whiffed air normal into it.

You're probably wondering why I put safe in quotations in those previous two examples.  It's because Hime actually can't block while flying!  During flight mode, she can do all of her air normals and specials, and she can even shield, but blocking is not an option.  But if she absolutely needs to block, she can cancel out of flight mode with a double jump, airdash, or a fast fall input with 22.  I want to make a special note about cancelling the flight into airdash, because the game allows her to do this no matter how many air options she has already used up.  This means that she can do stuff like, airdash into flight and then airdash again in the same jump.  Essentially, Hime can't double airdash normally, but with flight she can.

Now's a good time to talk about what she can actually do during flight.  During flight, she levitates in the same spot in the air, and doing attacks won't make her descend.  Not counting the amount of time that attacks take, she can stay flying for about 5 seconds before the game forces her to land.  If she holds left or right while flying, it will make her go in that direction at a very slight downward angle.  Her momentum is preserved when doing attacks while holding directions, so this is very good offensively and defensively.  Holding down will make her descend until a different direction is pressed.  Essentially, she can move in three different directions while flying.  Since she can change direction at any time, it gives her a lot of control over her air position.  Obviously this is very useful for the neutral game, but it also gives her some really cool left/right flight mixups midscreen.

One of the other cool things about flight is how much stronger it makes her air light pillars(j.236x).  These are a great zoning tool as they essentially have infinite vertical range.  But they do have a glaring weakness.  Normally if she does a light pillar, she is completely defenseless afterwards, as she's forced to slowly descend to the ground.  But when she does a light pillar during flight mode, she can continue moving and attacking afterwards.  This even applies to her EX light pillar(j.236c) as well, which is amazing and forces her opponents to play the neutral game extra carefully when she has meter.  j.236c is normally unsafe on block, but with flight it becomes a completely safe super she can use to snipe down her opponent whiffing any attack from full screen.

Since I spent the last few paragraphs talking about flight, you're probably thinking that Full Hime spends most of her time in the air.  But in fact, the opposite is true.  She's very much a ground based character, which pretty much flies against the face of Melty's air intensive gameplay.  Even though flight gives her a bunch of good offensive and defensive options, her air movement is still slow overall.  Most characters in the game won't have much of a problem intercepting her in the air to make her go on the defensive.  It also doesn't help in how slow her jump is; I don't have the frame data to back me up, but I'm pretty sure she has the slowest jump in the game, along with the slowest fall speed.  In contrast, her ground walk and run speed are AMAZING, and coupled with her strong normals, it makes her general playstyle almost look like that of an old school fighter: lots of walking back and forth, keeping the opponent at the very tip of her long ranged ground normals.

Since we're on the topic of normals, let's go over F-Hime's ground normals.  They are just great in general(but slow!), but her best normal is definitely 5b.  This move has some amazing vertical range and also hits multiple times.  This makes it an excellent anti-jump tool, and the multiple hits make hitconfirms easy.  You can even use it as antiair at certain distances.  It has a weird property of not being jump cancellable until the 2nd hit.  Sounds bad, but it actually gives her a very useful option select string in pressure with 5a6b23b.  You can see a more in-depth explanation of how this works in part 1 of LordKnight's F-Hime tutorial.

The other ground normal I want to talk about is 2c.  This is the ground move that distinguishes Full Hime from her other moons, as H and C don't have her version of it.  It's an almost half-screen range sweep that hits multiple times.  But even though it's a sweep, it doesn't hit low.  This might actually be a good thing, because the move would be totally broken if it was a low.  Anyway, the sheer range of this move means that F-Hime can confirm pretty much any ground hit into a full combo.  It's also very useful in the neutral game because of its sheer range.  The vertical range on it isn't bad too, so some characters have trouble IADing over it.

Moving on to air normals, the one that everyone remembers is j.c.  It looks a lot like IaMP Yuyuko's j.5a.  It has the same function too: huge normal that hits everywhere around Hime, so it's the move of choice when going for a crossup.  The charged version, j.[c], is the other normal that distinguishes Full Hime from H and C.  It's not very useful in the neutral game, but it's absolutely essential for all of F-Hime's unique combos.  When it hits, it sends the opponent reeling into the ground for a completely untechable groundbounce.  Pretty much all of F-Hime's combos involve cancelling j.[c] into air pillar or doing an IAD cancel after the j.[c].

j.b is also really amazing, as it has some disgusting vertical reach.  It's definitely the move of choice for air-to-air when F-Hime is below the opponent.  It also hits a decent amount underneath her(but not as much as j.c), so it's also an acceptable jumpin at certain angles.

j.6b is...  interesting, to say the least.  It completely stops F-Hime's air momentum, and it makes her shoot out this short-range beam of light downwards at a diagonal angle.  I have not found a use for this normal at all yet, other than random IH shenanigans.  It is super cancellable on whiff, though.  The charged version j.6[b] is a bit slower but shoots out a full screen diagonal beam of light, and it's quite a bit more useful.  It has an application in one of F-Hime's corner only combos, and it's pretty good in the neutral game vs certain characters.

236a and 236b are easily Hime's best specials, and probably one of the best special moves in the entire game.  These specials make a geyser come out of the ground, which: 1)launches 2)hits multiple times 3)hits low 4)is jump cancellable on hit and 5)has a decent vertical hitbox.  236a geyser hits between 2-3 character widths in front of her, and 236b is just a little farther than half screen distance.  They are the main reason(other than 5b) that Hime is so dangerous on the ground.  Many characters have to adjust their gameplan in the Hime matchup to play around this move.

The geysers have all sorts of uses.  They are integral to all of Hime's combos since they launch and are jump cancellable.  For F-Hime specifically, they also readily combo into j.[c].  They're also the main component in her pressure game.  Since F-Hime doesn't have any ground overheads, her main pressure involves the mindgame behind whether or not geyser will be used.  She can use geyser at the end of a string to catch people trying to jump out.  But if opponent blocks geyser, then pressure effectively ends there.  She can also use flight and the elbow(214a/b) followups during pressure, but those aren't nearly as safe and/or solid(since flight is very easy to react to) so their usage is much more limited.

Hime's DP 623a/623b is pretty amazing.  The A version isn't really used, since it has no invincibility, but it is pretty fast at 8f.  It's just 1 frame slower than her 5a/2a!  623b is the one that is used mostly, being one of the best dps in the game.  It has 8f of invulnerability, and starts hitting on frame 9.  In addition, it has a really high vertical trajectory and is air unblockable, so it's one of the harder dps to bait in the game.  I have had some success using it as antiair as well, whenever the opponent has used up all their air options.

For supers, her EX uppercut 623c has a TON of invincibility.  It's the go-to move to input if you need to counter an opponent's invulnerable super with your own.  The recovery of this move throws a lot of people off, to comedic effect.  Basically, after the move ends, Hime descends very slowly to the ground in a vulnerable state.  I'm not sure if the move has no landing recovery, but I've seen many people try to punish it and then fail completely because they underestimate just how slow she falls.  It seems like the most reliable way to punish EX dp is to just jump up and hit her in the air as she's descending.

EX elbow 214c is another interesting super which I have a bad habit of using a lot.  The move has ZERO invincibility, but it's very fast and has a ton of forward movement.  It's also safe on block.  I find it most useful against characters who rely on slow startup specials to reset pressure, like F-Akiha.

EX air pillar j.236c was briefly mentioned earlier, and it's easily her best super and one of the strongest in the game.  It tracks the opponent's position, hits fullscreen, is really fast, and is guaranteed to come out after the superflash.  You can almost think of it as an air version of Ciel's EX Hiero.  The knockdown that it creates is techable, but this actually isn't a bad thing as Hime has a lot of time after the super hits to run over to where the opponent is.

Another use of j.236c is in her fuzzy!  Hime has a fuzzy in the form of dj.a/dj.b after making the opponent block a deep j.b or j.c.  However, the only way she can follow up this hit is by cancelling into j.236c afterwards.  It's a very dirty trick, but it's somewhat limited in the sense that j.236c is "unsafe" on block.  Remember how I mentioned earlier that j.236c is actually safe on block if it's done during flight?  Imagine that Hime does the fuzzy on an opponent starting from an IAD j.ab, and it's actually blocked.  The opponent will then be able to punish her as she descends to the ground.  But if the fuzzy was done from something like, flight j.c or flight j.ab, then she can just fly away to safety after the super ends.  Essentially, the only safe time she can attempt a fuzzy is in flight mode.  But she can still get away with trying it sometimes from a normal airdash, since fuzzies in Melty are unreactable.

She has another air super in the form of EX kick, j.63214c.  It costs 150% meter, and it makes her kick the opponent so hard that he/she bounces around the walls before falling.  It generates an untechable knockdown, which is already very good.  But she even has enough time to dash over while the opponent is falling, and hit them with a 2c(which will knockdown) into flight mixup!

Her arc drive and blood heat arc drive are amazing, as they are a full screen hit that circuit breaks the opponent.  The circuit break generated from the BHAD is better though, because it has an extra property of increasing the opponent's meter to MAX before breaking it!  This means that the opponent is pretty much guaranteed to have 0 meter after the Circuit Break period wears off.

Other than 2c and j.[c], the final thing that really distinguishes F-Hime from H and C is that she has a unique ability to do a combo that regains all of her red life while simultaneously destroying the opponent's meter!  You can probably guess by now that it involves comboing into her BHAD, and that is exactly right.  Basically, she just needs to combo into her EX air kick early in MAX mode.  The idea is that after EX air kick, she has enough time to go into Blood Heat, which will heal all of her red life instantly.  Then she can just immediately do Blood Heat Arc Drive, which will hit OTG.  The extra damage from BHAD is pathetic at this point(since it's OTG), but it's guaranteed to Circuit Break the opponent and destroy their meter.  So if F-Hime currently has a lot of red health, she can really turn the tables with this when she gets to MAX.

I've spent this entire post talking about her strengths, so now's a good time to talk about weaknesses and difficulties.  One of her most obvious weaknesses is her defense modifier: it's the fourth worst in the game.  The only three characters who have less health are F-Necomech, Neco Arc Chaos, and VAkiha.  And those first two are considered joke characters!  She bleeds badly, so she really can't afford to make any big blunders because every hit hurts.

Another difficulty is in input overlap.  Specifically, it is with j.6b, that useless normal that I mentioned earlier which actually ends up being disruptive to her game!  There are two main situations where it comes up, the first of which is easily remedied.  Imagine you're playing Hime, and you want to fly forward and then j.b.  Well, flying forward is input by holding 6, so if you press j.b...  it will come out as j.6b and completely end all of your air options and momentum.  This is a problem, but luckily it's easily solved by just holding 3 during flight.  This way, the game won't register it as j.6b, and you will get your j.b with forward flight momentum.  The other situation is much more problematic, and I still see Japanese Hime players struggle with it in videos.  It arises whenever Hime needs to do an air combo involving a jump cancel into j.b, like 5b j.b or j.c dj.b.  Since you're going to want to jump forward in her combos most of the time, it's very easy to hold forward for too long and get j.6b instead.  This problem can also be remedied somewhat by holding 3 after the jump cancel, but that is very difficult to do when you're trying to do something like a quick hitconfirm from 5b.

Last difficulty I want to mention is in matchups.  I haven't played against all of the characters in the game yet, but from my experience she seems to struggle against fast characters.  This kind of makes sense since F-Hime is a semi-defensive character with zoning capabilities: fast characters and pixies can easily get in on her and start their offense.  So, characters like VAkiha, VSion, Nanaya, and Ryougi are pretty tough for her to fight against.  Ryougi deserves special mention, because not only is she fast, her normals are also faster than Hime's and have comparable range!  Ryougi's air hitbox is also stupid, so many of F-Hime's optimal corner combos involving double air pillar don't even work on her.

That's about all I wanted to go over for F-Hime.  She's a very fun and rewarding character to play!  My next post will probably be something GG related

Sunday, January 8, 2012

MBAACC 1.07 impressions

Akiha Tohno by NFB-ZMC

Current Code 1.07 came out on PC recently, and the game is pretty much as good as I had hoped from watching videos.  I had already mentioned before in earlier posts about Melty that MBAA improved on MBAC in almost every single way, but there were still fundamental problems with the game, like how strong being in the air was.  Most of those leftover issues were fixed in CC 1.05, and carried over to 1.07 so I'm pretty happy with the way the game turned out.

A CC 1.05 change that carried over to 1.07 was in airthrows, specifically raw airthrows.  Airthrows are godlike now so you can really bring on the pain against people who just jump and frolick around all day.  This is a really great change as it makes the air game less dominating, so there's a bigger emphasis on proper ground movement.

Somewhat related is the almost universal increase in character walkspeeds, which also makes the ground game stronger.

I also want to talk about the removal of anti-A armor, which was something a lot of people were divided over.  It's pretty clear why it was added in the first place though, since A attacks in MBAC were so dumb.  But the active frames on A attacks were already universally toned down in MBAA, so anti-A armor ended up being kind of overkill.  It's been removed since vanilla MBAACC, and one of the results is that antiair 5a becomes viable again.  This sounds bad, as 5a mash antiair was one of the most obnoxious things about MBAC, but I think it's been toned down appropriately in CC because of the counterhit change.  So for the most part, if someone scores a trade from a mash 5a antiair, the extra counterhit stun will be just long enough so that they won't be able to combo afterwards.

The 1.07 port is almost perfect, as far as I've seen.  Frenchbread is known for adding in last minute balance changes in the home ports, but PC CC 1.07 seems to be devoid of this.  The training mode is an improvement over the PS2 version, especially in the amount of replays that can be saved and the maximum time allotted to dummy record.  However, the training mode has actually lost some features like the status bar.  I can never understand it when game developers actually remove features that were present in earlier versions of a game.  Unless these certain features were problematic.  But status bar was very useful for getting an indication of the cancel points of attacks.

In contrast, the 1.07 netcode is easily the worst I've ever seen in any fighting game.  It doesn't handle packet loss well at all and the way it calculates delay is completely off.  Now, delay based netplay in general is terrible.  But Frenchbread isn't exactly a big company like Capcom who is rolling in money, so it's somewhat understandable that they'd go this route.  What I don't understand is not allowing the players to manually choose what delay to set.  The connections seem completely random too.  Some people can't even get good connections with people that live less than an hour away from them, but can play people out of state just fine.

In terms of balance, it's a bit too early to say but every character seems viable at this point.  All of the ridiculous characters in 1.05 were toned down, in particular PCiel and Ryougi.  VSion and Mech, who were considered bottom of the barrel in 1.05, have also been improved by quite a bit.  The game's only been out for a few months, so there are just 2 "credible" character rankings right now.

First off is top Miyako/Ries player Kanna's list, which he made within the first month of the game's release!
S Arc PCiel Kohaku Nero Satsuki Roa Seifuku Ryougi
A Warc Shiki Akiha Wara Hisui Nanaya Sion Ries Aoko WLen Ciel Kouma VAkiha Hime Len Miyako
B VSion Mech

Notice that HisuKoha, the Necos and the various team characters are missing.  Supposedly he didn't include them because of the lack of exp vs them in 1.07.

Next up is top VAkiha player Hato's list, which was actually published in the most recent issue of Arcadia magazine.
S Nero Ryougi
A+ Arc Satsuki Wara Seifuku
A Sion Warc Akiha VAkiha Nanaya Kohaku HisuKoha Mech Len Kouma Ries Roa PCiel
B VSion Shiki Ciel Miyako Aoko WLen Hime
C NecoArc NecoArcChaos KohaMech Necomech

There's a great deal of disagreement here, so clearly it's a sign that it's much too early in the game's lifespan for a tier list.  I should also mention that 1.07 came out in mid October, so the game is still pretty new.  Some characters are still relatively unexplored, so there's a lot of potential for change!  I still remember how different the final AA char rankings were compared to the ones made in the first year of that game's life.

As for characters I've been using, I have mostly been playing F Archetype Earth and my old AA character F Akiha.  I streamed a quick F-Akiha tutorial the day the game came out, detailing her general gameplay, normals, combos, and her 1.07 changes.  F-Akiha plays exactly the same as she did in AA; it's just that everything she does deals less damage now, so it's a bit harder to win.  In particular, her fire webs(412) do way less damage and have a proration of 50%, so it's not even worth trying to work them into combos anymore.  It also affects her web+arc drive unblockable setup, making it do about 1000 dmg less on average.

The recovery on the projectile version of her arc drive has also been increased, which at first doesn't seem like a big deal.  But it actually weakens her corner unblockable, because in previous versions, whenever someone wanted to reduce damage on the F-Akiha unblockable, they would just jump guard.  The projectile version of her arc drive would lock the opponent in blockstun, and since web is air unblockable, they would then get their guard broken and take a bit of damage.  Her arc drive in the older versions of the game recovered very fast, so F Akiha could just combo off of this and score another knockdown.  She can't do this anymore, so now the opponent gets to escape.  The damage that the opponent takes is generally between 1.4K-2K, so it's a significant reduction over the 4K that the opponent would take if they had gotten grabbed.

In earlier versions, even if the opponent reduced damage on the unblockable by jumping, Akiha would still be in a favorable position because she could combo into knockdown.  Now that she can't do this anymore, it's hard to say whether or not it's still worth it to go even go for the unblockable setup in this version.  Guaranteed damage is nice, but the setup does require her to be in MAX or Heat, and the opponent can easily reset the match back to neutral by jumping.  It seems like the Japanese F-Akiha players have decided that it's not worth it anymore, because I have never seen anyone go for it in 1.07 match videos.

The only thing she's gained is 623c having OTG relaunch properties.  Since OTGs scale pretty severely in this game, it's not very good for adding extra damage to combos.  However, it IS useful for extending midscreen combos to get that extra corner push, and it can also be used to confirm a really far 2c hit.  Since 2c at its maximum range doesn't go into any combos normally, 623c is a good tool to make this more scary.

That's pretty much it for impressions.  I'll probably talk about Archetype Earth in my next post.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

MBAACC 1.05 and 1.07

The last time I wrote about Melty here, it was in the early months of 1.05's release.  Now 1.07 is out and the game is looking better and better.

1.05 was very short lived, and the response to it was very mixed.  There were just as many people who loved the changes as those who thought they were terrible.  The game was drastically different to the point where many people felt it didn't play like Melty anymore.  There was still one thing that everyone agreed on though, and that was the game needed more time for playtesting before release.  Specifically things like C-Kohaku's 5c giving easy OTG relaunches and Powerd Ciel in general made it really obvious that the game wasn't thorougly tested.  The new OTG relaunch mechanic, which I felt gave the game some extra spice, was also kind of a mixed bag.  The main problem was that some characters could abuse it to no end(C-Kohaku), while others literally gained nothing from it(Wara).

Surprisingly 1.05 ended up being a very balanced game.  The top tier was very silly, but 1.05 gave a lot of improvements to characters who have been traditionally terrible in the series.  C-Roa, C-Seifuku Akiha, and C and H-Arc were some characters who were completely garbage in the previous 2-3 revisions of Melty, and this version was able to give them some nice tools from both system changes and character specific changes to make them competitive.

The game didn't last long enough for there to be a tier list made by surveying top players, but there was one that the entire Japanese BBS basically agreed upon.  It was:
S Kohaku PCiel HisuKoha Ryougi
A+ Shiki Arc Nanaya Warc Satsuki Miyako Len Aoko
A Everybody else
A- VSion Mech-Hisui

Top Nero player SAT also made his own list, which is almost exactly the same:
A+ Kohaku HisuKoha Ryougi PCiel
A Everyobdy else
A- (Nero) Mech-Hisui VSion

And top Miyako player Kanna made his own list as well:
A+ Leo's Ryougi, PCiel
A Everybody else
A- VSion
Leo best character in the game!

1.07 is out right now, and it's brought a few new things to the table.  First off is a new character in the form of Archetype Earth, who was previously a broken boss in the PS2 version of AA.  She's probably the most unique character in the game, having an omnidimensional flight mechanic that drains meter.  OTG relaunches are still in the game, but they seem to have been toned down considerably.  The damage in general seems to have been lowered a bit, compared to 1.05.

Archetype Earth, or Hime as the Japanese are calling her, is a really interesting character.  I originally thought that her flight mode was balanced by it 1)draining meter and 2)disabling her ability to block.  But from all the footage that's been released, it does seem like she can block during flight.  Maybe the vulnerability only lasts for a few frames in the beginning of her flight?  I'll have to actually play her to figure this out.

Hime seems pretty strong right now, as her flight gives her unparalleled movement options relative to the cast.  Her normals and specials also have a ton of range and are easily hit confirmable into combos.  Her damage seems to be on the low side, but I suspect this is because it's an early stage of the game where people haven't yet ironed out optimal combos.  Her defense modifier seems pretty terrible: if I had to estimate she looks like she's between Warc and Wara.

If the main theme of 1.05 was buffing characters who were traditionally bad, I would say the theme of 1.07 is charged moves.  Almost every single character in the game has gained new charged moves, which is a pretty funny way to add new moves into the game without drawing any new animations.  It's hard to say how much these new moves add to the game from the footage we have, but some characters like C-Wara and C-Akiha get some nice new combos.

The overall reception to 1.07 right now has been overwhelmingly positive.  Some people on the BBS think it's the best version by far.  I'm really happy with the direction Melty has been going since 1.05, so I'm pretty hype for 1.07's PC release.  Archetype Earth is a really cool character too, and as the sole character in the game with any kind of cleavage, I am obligated to play her!