The game’s basic structure is that of a traditional 3D fighting game combined with the explosive style and speed of a stylish action game. The player is able to move his character all over the field with the camera behind his back, in a fair distance so that the player can see the whole character but also close enough to see his characteristics and being able to perform primary attacking functions like punches and kicks while being able to perform secondary and often supporting functions like dodging and jumping. This is now amplified to the maximum if possible : the combat is very fast, extremely fluid and the action must have no lag between them or between the command for the function entered and the function being executed, being able to cancel almost any action instantaneously so that it’s possible to pull off some very stylish and creative chains of commands and actions with “almost any action“ being key words for the development. The most concrete examples to illustrate the above would again be Devil May Cry and the new Ninja Gaiden trilogy games. The ”heart” of the gameplay lies in this basic structure as seen above. The combination of the speed, action, creativity due to freedom of options and versatility found in the gameplay makes the sum of it all come together.
To elaborate in further detail the perspective of the game is in the 3rd person with the camera directly behind the player character’s back, at a distance where he or she is completely shown and has his or her features recognized. The camera will accompany the player’s character almost everywhere focusing on the area created by it around the player. The camera’s position can always reset instantly with the press of a button. Said reset / neutral position is always directly behind the player character’s back. The player is also able to control the camera to see almost everywhere within range. The perspective always remains in the 3rd person but moves according to the user’s control with some restrictions to make it realistic, like taking in account the fact that a human’s vision isn’t exactly omnidirectional. An example would be the fact that by moving one’s eyes and head there will always exist some visual restrictions, usually the back of the game and others. While the space the character moves features the camera focusing on the ”behind the character” angle, the player is able to make the character face the camera and even run towards it, up until a point where the character goes beyond the camera and it automatically resets behind the character’s back. That point though is always dependent on the level’s structure and camera angle presented so different levels and different areas of a level will have different camera restrictions and points of neutrality. Games like Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki, Ninja Gaiden Σ 2, The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask as well as Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 : Duodecim provide excellent examples of how this camera system works.
The use of camera control is mostly for background and spacial inspection as the space the characters fight can be useful in their fighting style or the opposite. An example of that would be that during the fight, a player investigates the background while defending against the opponent’s or opponents strikes to figure the best way to counter the flurry of attacks or run away from it. The concept of camera control is thrown out of the window however, when the player chooses to use the Targeting system, to use a hard lock-on on a specific target where the camera tries its best to follow that target as well as center it behind the character and always keep the enemy in perspective. The lock-on mode also employs wide angle for the camera, so that while the center of attention is the enemy and the character so the player can see what’s happening around them. The best examples to follow for that are Devil May Cry 3 & 4 as they provide fine examples of this lock-on as well.
The camera seems to be focused entirely on the player’s character and it always is. The reason for that is that game is a predominantly single player game but even during the multi player sections of the game,due to it being played exclusively on portable devices,each player has his or her own screen on their portable device so there is no problem with this approach towards the camera and the need for split screens is eliminated. Even if it were played on a home console the fact that multi player would be internet based it makes things easier for the elimination of the split screen feature, instead having each player’s television as the screen.
03.Controls and User Interface
The controls are made to be easy to remember and to be fully responsive as fast as possible. One of the most important features of the controls along with their flexibility and responsiveness, is their ability to be fully reconfigured from the options menu at any given time to make the player feel more comfortable with the game effectively playing it at its maximum potential capacity completely unrestricted. Below is a list with the controls in all given situations, namely in the game during battle and outside of battle, navigating through the various menus and interfaces, all in the default settings.
I.)D-Pad : The d-pad is used for moving the characters during battle in any direction given. By pressing it twice in quick succession it enables the character to run faster. During the menu navigating interfaces it simply moves from one option to another. During the story portion of the game it’s used to set the speed which the dialogue advances, indicated at the right and left tops of the dialogue box. During the minimum level the player has to press the button used to advance the dialogue while the maximum level advances the dialogue as soon as the character finishes talking.
II.)Analogue Nub / Analogue Pad : The nub’s primary use is the camera control in battle, while the secondary function is the activation of hard lock-on by pressing any direction twice in quick succession and the lock-on strafing. Other than that, it serves as a secondary option for navigation through menus just like the d-pad.
III.)X Button : The X button is used for jumping during battle. Pressing it twice enables the character to do a second jump on top of their first one. The second jump can also be used any time while in the air, without the need of jumping off the ground first and can cancel almost all airborne actions. The height of a jump along with its duration is determined by how long the button is held after being pressed. During the menu navigation portion and generally outside of battle,it’s used for choice confirmation. During the story portion of the game it’s used to advance the dialogue. If the button is held down the dialogue speed will start speeding up, topping at 4 times the speed.
IV.)Circle Button : The circle button is used for really powerful special attacks during battle at the cost of some energy. These attacks are labelled as Battle Arts in the game menus. Several characters can charge these attacks by holding down the button and building up their strength. It takes some time and energy, depending on its power but the effectiveness and power output make up for it. During the menu navigation portion and generally outside of battle it’s used for choice confirmation. During the story portion of the game it’s used to advance the dialogue.
V.)Triangle Button : The triangle button is used as the secondary attacking button, called the Weapon Attack(s) or Heavy Attack(s) depending on the characters their equipment. The attacks can form a combo but it can be used in conjunction with the primary attacking button for more combo chains. During the menu navigation portion and generally outside of battle it’s used for choice cancellation and menu exiting. During the story portion of the game it’s used to make the dialogue box invisible and instead show just the backgrounds and characters, without the dialogue box cutting a bit of the screen’s bottom.
VI.)Square Button : The square button is used as the primary attacking button, called the Martial Arts Attack(s) or Light Attack(s) depending on the characters their equipment. The attacks can form a combo but it can be used in conjunction with the secondary attacking button for more combo chains. During the menu navigation portion and generally outside of battle it’s not used unless it involves quickly changing certain settings at the Versus mode, like a shortcut instead of going to the options mode to re-configure these settings. During the story portion of the game it’s used to see the previous dialogue of the chapter before next story section.
VII.)R Trigger : The right trigger / R trigger is used for dashing, guarding during battle and cancelling a fair amount of actions. The duration of the guard as well as the dash’s is equal to the time the player keeps the right trigger pressed. During the menu navigation portion and generally outside of battle it’s not used unless it involves changing the costumes of characters.
VIII.)L Trigger : The left trigger / L trigger is used for using the character’s special ability called Personal Action. During the menu navigation portion and generally outside of battle it’s not used unless it involves changing the costumes of characters.
IX.)Start Button : The start button is used for pausing the game during battle and bring up the pause menu. During the menu navigation portion and generally outside of battle it’s used for choice confirmation along with the X and circle buttons. During the story portion of the game it’s used to skip over all the dialogue.
X.)Select Button : The select button is used to quickly center the camera behind the player, effectively returning the camera at its neutral position. It’s also used to exit the hard lock-on system at any time and go back to the soft lock-on. During the menu navigation portion and generally outside of battle it’s used to quickly exit from any menu.
04.Game Mechanisms,Tricks and Acrobatics
The game mechanics and tricks are plenty and affect the gameplay giving them great importance in this thematic category. Below are listed all the mechanisms and tricks that exist in the game.
I.)Speed : Speed is very crucial in the schematics of the game as it includes not only running speed but the character’s agility and reaction speed along with attacking, defending and countering speed and finally the game’s overall speed that’s counted in Frames Per Second or FPS. Each character is mostly different from each other in terms of speed, though several speed statistics might be the same for some. Also, as the game’s overall speed is critically crucial the same way it’s been in other stylish action games, again like Devil May Cry 3 & 4 and the new Ninja Gaiden trilogy, it must remain at 60 Frames Per Seconds constantly. That is not quite necessary for the cutscenes. That means that each and every mechanic in the game must work great at maximum FPS count. If possible, there should exist a Turbo Mode, an option to up the speed by 20% in the game’s menus, to enable expert players of the genre to push the game to its boundaries and perhaps beyond that, like what Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition did.
Of course there are many gameplay tactics involving speed in the game. First, there is : a.)Movement. The simple run is done by pressing the movement buttons on the d-pad in any direction the player wants. Depending on how the buttons are pressed, different kinds of speed can be evoked. If the d-pad is tilted slightly or held slightly, the character will walk. If pressed and held fairly lightly, the character will start running and if the buttons are pressed normally and held down, the character will run. Also, by pressing the d-pad twice and holding it the second time in any direction,the character will be able to run even faster than normal making it a Speed Run. The momentum gained from that plays a fair role in movement though the character is able to stop cold on his or her track if the player wishes so, but it’s fairly difficult to do so after a speed run. Finally there is : b.)Running Attack. The character can attack during a speed run by pressing any of the attack buttons. Depending on which of the three attack buttons, circle, square or triangle is pressed, a different attack is initiated.
II.)Guarding Tactics : The game offers a variety of guarding forms, tactics and tricks. The most basic being the : a)Instant Guard / Parry. The player simply presses the Right trigger and the character guards for an instant. The instant guard is also the basic parry and counter as with proper timing, the player can parry the opponent’s attack and make the attacker flinch for a short time, giving the player enough time to counter-attack. It should be noted though that not all attacks can be parried. Second is : b.)Guard. The player keeps the Right trigger pressed for as long as he or she wishes and the character will keep the guard up corresponding the player’s time. During the time a character guards, he or she is unable to move normally at all, unless the guard’s broken the guards or a certain dodging trick is used, called the slip dash. The guard isn’t exactly impregnable though. The character can take very little damage while guarding called Chip Damage, as the guard’s protection fails. Not all character’s can last the same while guarding. Then, there’s : c.)Flash Guard. While the player is guarding by holding down the Right trigger and pressing the X button at the time the opponent’s strike is about to hit, the character will evade on the spot, without moving from the original position with acrobatic moves. It uses a bit of energy for each dodge made and makes the character’s next attack come out faster while building frames in the more the character dodges. Finally, there is the : d.)Counter-attack. While the player is guarding by holding down the Right trigger and the enemy is attacking, the player can counter by pressing the O button at the exact same instant the enemy’s attack hits the player’s guard. The counter-attack deals a good amount of damage, leaves the enemy open and enables the player to immediately begin taking action.It does cost two sub-bars of energy though.
III.)Dodging Tactics : The game offers a variety of tactics that enable the player to successfully dodge incoming attacks. These are : a.)Dash and the Mustang Dash. By pressing the Right trigger while running, the character will dash for a short distance while being completely impervious to enemy attacks during that time. It can also be used in mid air, but only once before touching the ground again or use the enemy as a touching ground, as will be shown in a later section. Dashes also provide different attacks for the characters, called Dashing Attacks, with them being usually lunging attacks making them a formidable maneuvre. It does have a small cooldown at the end so that the character cannot use it all the time without any negative effect. The Mustang Dash is a Dash that is done towards an enemy while the trigger is kept hold the whole time, making the character dash into the enemy and use him as a platform to jump right above the enemy. The second is : b.)Slip Dash. While the character is guarding, the player can make him or her move without breaking guard by pressing any direction on the d-pad thus performing a slip dash. The slip dash is a dodging move that takes various forms, like rolling, tumbling even slipping on the ground to dodge an incoming attack. During that time the character’s completely impervious just like during the dash the difference being it covers a shorter distance, has a faster execution time and speed along with a faster cool-down speed. The third one is : c.)Dashing Attacks. As already mentioned, the dashing attacks are initiated when a player presses an attack button during a dash making the character execute a dashing attack. Depending on the button pressed, the attack will be different. Each player has three different dashing attacks and some can attacks can be prolonged if the attack button is held down. If the character has a crazy combo, the dashing attack animation can probably be cancelled to that crazy combo but the inputs have to be buffered in during the animation. The characters also have three dashing attacks for aerial combat but they are not as useful as the ground ones.
The fourth one is : d.)After-image Tactics. It functions like the slip dash but it’s used for parrying and blind siding the enemy at the same time. The player simply has to use the slip dash towards the enemy while blocking any attack of the enemy at the exact same moment the attack hits. If the timing is right the player will parry the strike, leave the enemy wide open attacking a mirage, an after-image where he or she was guarding and instantly appear behind the enemy while being free to move and do anything. This tactic can be spiced up by pressing any of the attack buttons during this trick as long as the after-image is still visible since the time window for such an action is very brief and very strict compared to the simple parrying and dodging action the After-image Tatcics provide. If done right, the player will also counter the enemy and stun him or her for an even more extended period of time. The counter-attack is unique for each character and unique for each button. They all deal about the same amount of damage per character but the animations are different and they are all full of invincibility frames.
The last two dodges are unique to the characters during a hard lock-on state. The first is : e.)Side Roll. If the character has locked on to a a certain enemy the player can press either left or right in conjunction with the jump button. The character dodges to the side covering some distance but it has some cool down time compared to the other dodges. The second is : f.)Table Hopper / Parkour. This is a sort of bonus move of the Side Roll. If the player times it so that the Side Roll is performed just as an enemy is about to hit the character, said character will move swiftly out of the way and this move will put the player in a better position than the Side Roll. If the player presses the buttons again quickly, before the animation ends, a second and even a third dodge will be performed, the main difference with the first one being that the second and third Table Hopper / Parkour can be controlled with the movement buttons for better locating.
IV.)Cancelling : A quintessential gameplay mechanism that exists in all fighting, beat’em up, action-adventure and stylish action games and can make or break a game. The game focuses a lot on cancelling and the various forms it has and how it can influence the playstyle of a player along with the overall image of the game. Here, cancelling is a very easy technique and the player may do a cancel, any cancel, without even realising it. Starting, there is : a.)Cancel. The most basic cancel implemented in the game. It’s simply the action of cancelling one action to another whenever possible. An example of that would be during attacking to cancel the combo string by jumping in the air, away from the opponent or to cancel the ending animation of the basic combo by starting the same basic combo all over again, looping it. Not all actions however can be cancelled and not all the animation frames of some actions can be cancelled. This is done to make the game more balanced as a fighter. For instance the ending animations of heavy attack combo strings or attacks that end with a heavy attack or the ending animation of the Crazy Combos are animations that cannot be cancelled by anything else other than a Jump Cancel or a Movement Cancel, both explained now. The attacks that cannot be cancelled in any way will be mentioned. Second is : b.)Movement Cancel. While the player’s character is performing an action other than moving, the player quickly presses and holds any direction on the D-pad and then quickly presses the Right trigger, the character will perform a dash while cancelling his attacking actions. It can get the player out of a tight spot or it can be used offensively to blind side the opponent and attack him or her there. The same but to a lesser extend is doable with the faster run, done with a double tap of the movement buttons at the same direction. Third is : c.)Jump Cancel. The player uses a jump by pressing the X button, to cancel any action if possible. Its uses can be defensive, as a quick dodge but they can be offensive as well by following the enemy the player sent flying and continuing his or her attack on air. And since the jumping action has top priority over all other aerial actions, the player can press the jump button during any aerial action while the character is touching the enemy and he or she will cancel out of it.
Next there is : d.)Standing Cancel / Ground Cancel. The player simply doesn’t push any buttons to simply stop the character from performing any actions. Despite all these cancels, there are still some animations that cannot be cancelled in any way possible. These animations being a certain part of certain Battle Arts since the game can only buffer during those animations and cannot cancel them. The basics of cancelling lie in the notion of ending an animation earlier than normal so that the flow of the speed is not disrupted, that’s why most combo endings can be cancelled and jumps as well as movements etc, as explained above. However this only applies to ground moves, as there is no ground to stand on while the character is airborne and is constantly falling down thus this cancel doesn’t apply to aerial moves, hence why the Enemy Step is crucial for aerial combat. There is a method to cancel these and that is the : e.)Parry Cancel. The forced cancel is the way around that rule. Simply by pressing the Right trigger with no directional input and during an action that cannot be normally cancelled, the character stops the action he or she was about to take and instead do a parry that is has less i-frames than the normal Instant Guard / Parry and if it isn’t canceled it stays up a second longer than the normal parry. Finally there is : f.)Guard Cancel. It’s like the forced cancel above, but instead the player keeps the Right trigger held down to guard and keep guarding. This is useful since it can be used to block an otherwise unavoidable incoming attack. Again, it’s not without its setbacks : the guard of the character’s is twice as fragile, thus taking half the hits required to break, gets twice the chip damage and the character cannot do anything for 2 seconds other than keep guarding. It should be noted that the Guard Cancel is meant to be optional techniques in the game, being able to be turned on or of for each and every character so that players can decide which characters they want will use or won’t use these two techniques.
V.)Jumping Tactics : Since acrobatics and stylish movements are a crucial part of the game’s visual style, the jumps included need to be equally stylish. First is : a.)Standing Jump. The standard jump the player can do while standing. By simply pressing the X button while standing still will make the character jump. It’s the jump that has the least mobility but can reach the maximum height possible for the character. The player can move a little in the direction he or she wants after going airborne but it’s extremely limited. Next is : b.)Running Jump. If the player presses the X button while moving the character will do a running jump, jumping further than usual but at the cost of overall height. It is more acrobatic in appearance than the standing one and can cover more ground than that while being very flexible. Then there is : c.)Dash Jump. If the player jumps, by pressing the X button, during the dashing animation of a character then a dashing jump will be performed. The dashing jump is the fastest of the three and it covers the most ground out of all though at the cost of overall height, having gained momentum that has to be expended before the character stops moving and a bit of cooling down between jumps.
There is a way to bypass this jump’s weakness though. It’s the : d.)Dash Jumping Tactics. By using the dash and jumping cancels, the player can cancel the cooldowns of the dashing and jumping animation parts during the dashing jump enabling the character to move continually faster without losing momentum, creating a controlled loop of the actions taken to avoid any kind of attacks headed towards him or her. Finally there is : e.)Double Jump / Air Hike. Almost all the characters can double jump by pressing the X button on the air or simply after pressing the X button to jump once from the ground. The double jump usually adds momentum as well as keeping it from the last jump made. Also the double jump is a good way to jump cancel the animations of rising launchers so that the player can follow the opponent he or she sent flying in the air. The air hike, like the simple ground jump has priority over all aerial actions. In its case, all of the aerial actions acting as the perfect aerial cancel. Lastly, all the jumping animations are different for each character.
VI.)Offensive Mechanisms : Along with the many defensive capabilities the characters have in their arsenal, the game offers a plethora of offensive mechanisms and abilities. First there is : a.)Combo String / Predetermined Combo. The most basic way of attacking, the most basic combo, it’s simply a string of attacks that are performed by a certain button combination. These combos are pretty much set in stone with each character having his or her own and are the staple of offensive manoeuvres. An example of a Combo String would be pressing the square button 3 or 4 times in a row and a very certain flurry of attacks happens or it could simply be a Dash Attack. A great thing about Combo Strings is that almost all of them can be cancelled unto themselves upon finishing via Buffering, thus skipping the ending animations and start looping, though it will start causing a drop in the Style Gauge. Second is : b.)Linking. A series of hits that flow in natural progression without any cancellation of frames or animations. Linking is usually referred to as “natural combos”, meaning the combos flow together nicely and there is little to no twitchy feeling. Linking is the antithesis of cancelling, although it takes more skill to pull off cancels than links. Some combos can be changed around so that you don’t need to cancel at all and just link naturally. Also some animations in between certain combos and actions can be linked without the need of cancelling, like bypassing the ending animation of some combos by starting the same or another combo that is able to link the ending animation of the previous one to the next. Third is : c.)Median Moves and Crazy Combos. Any special move that is visually represented with a single golden flash and requires multiple inputs of a certain button to come out. Once the move is initiated the player must press the correct button in quick successions during the time the move plays out to pull off the Crazy Combo. That move is called a Median. A Crazy Combo is not to be confused with a “button-mashing” technique, as it is highly controllable, cancellable and does not require lots of button presses to do much damage. Some of the more powerful moves in the game are Crazy Combos. It is noteworthy to say that Crazy Combos will not kill the opponent, should the opponent have very low life but will drain the enemy’s life to a pixel until the final blow is connected. If the final blow doesn’t connect, then the opponent will be left with 1 pixel of life. The Crazy Combos can only be cancelled either by a Battle Art or a Flash Guard and can be interrupted.
Fourth is : d.)Buffering. Buffering is a mechanic that has a dual meaning. It usually means the art of inputting a move within the animation of another move or the ability to hold certain buttons during another input and then release the button to make the move come out instantly. This game features both but not all characters are capable of both as more often they will be capable of the first. The second is also known as charging a move, though the time it takes to prepare is usually long for some. Attacks can be made whilst charging but they cause no extra damage, merely charging up power until the player feels like releasing the stored energy. Two easy examples of buffering would simply be for the player to input the commands a predetermined string and finish the input before, slightly in most cases or a bit more than that, the animations for it are finished or to finish a Combo String but still continue pressing the same attack button, thus having the Combo String loop itself. No matter what though, the buffering requires pretty strict timing. Next there is : e.)Charge, Charge Cancelling and Held Attack. Charging is a very simple technique : it is simply done by holding a button that is used for an offensive action, in essence the primary, secondary and special attack button. While holding down any of these buttons, the character slows down a bit while slowing the attack’s animation for as long as the player holds down the button. When the attack’s fully charged will come out automatically but the player can control the outcome of the charge with the timing of the button press and release. Usually charged moves do more damage and make it easier for the opponent’s guard to break but sometimes a move may gain additional effects, changing the move completely. The power of the charged move depends on how charged it is and naturally, a move when fully charged is at the height of its power and can break guards. Characters are also unable to resume the combo they used to attack after a charged move, instead restarting said combo if the player tries to input the rest of the commands to pull of the string. Some attacks though cannot be charged and instead just gain an additional effect, usually the rising launching effect along with a slightly different animation to match that or they just become a hidden attack with a different animation or set of animations but deal the same damage nonetheless.
There is also a technique that is used for cancelling charged attacks : Charge Cancelling. Many attacks, whether at the beginning, middle or end of a predetermined combo can be charged up by holding down the button used to initiate them. This has several advantages as mentioned above. There is however, one much bigger advantage a player can get from charging up a move : he or she can cancel it. A charged cancel is performed by pressing the Right Trigger, like in the forced cancel, while a move is in the process of charging causing the character to immediately abandon the attack and revert back to a neutral state without having to wait for 2 seconds to attack again. This has many advantages, first and foremost being much faster than allowing the move to complete its animation normally. This means that the player can cut out the long recovery times and follow-up attacks that inhibit many otherwise useful moves. In many cases the character can recover so quickly that he or she can continue hitting the opponent before they’ve finished reeling from the last blow that was delivered! It is one of the most flexible cancels and has important gameplay ramifications outside of doing combos. In some cases though, the attack cannot be charged but has to be held down to pull of the changed move. These moves can be cancelled but only the start of their animation by holding down the button until the move begins to change and then let the button go. It requires extremely strict timing to pull off.
Then there is : f.)Manual Combo / Free Flow Combo. A manual combo or a free flow combo is a self made combo, done through the player’s own ideas. In most games this would use the majority of factors mentioned like guard cancelling,ground cancelling and others, though due to the mechanics of this game, these manual combos can be made at a very early stage of skill but not without its drawbacks, like large cool-downs or huge openings between attacks due to the player’s inexperience. With a higher level of skill and knowledge of the game, the player can use the many factors of the game like the numerous cancels listed to do even better combos of this variety making them visually stunning and eliminating all the downsides they would possibly have, like the cool-down times between moves. As the difficulty is raised however, the need of manual combos raises accordingly. A manual combo in this game will be considered the linking of any 3 or more moves in standard succession. There is a very large number of manual combos that can be done in this game for each character. Another form of attacking are the : g.)Battle Arts. The Battles arts are the special attacks of the game, consumming energy to be performed and act as all-cancellers to everything even other Battle Arts and aerial attacks. The Battle cannot be cancelled by anything else though, not in the normal way. Usually at the very start of a Battle Art or at the end, there are either start-up or ending animations that can be cancelled by everything else in the game, thus allowing the player to perform any action he or she wants, but only during that small time window not unlike the finishing animations of a Combo String.
Finally there are : h.)Automatic Launcher and Dodge Attack. These techniques allow a character to launch the opponent and launch the character in the air as well or dodge an incoming attack while attacking at the same time,mostly to stun the enemy. The Automatic Launcher acts as a rising launcher and a canceller for almost all the moves and techniques but only for those done on the ground. While it is fast and it can practically instantly connect any ground move to an air move, it doesn’t raise the stylish gauge. It should also be taken into account that it can’t be charged and doesn’t deal great damage. It is done by pressing the primary attacking button and the jump button at the exact same time. The Dodge Attack on the other hand, acts as a dodge to any direction, usually a random one if no directional input is made. An attack and a canceller for almost all the moves and techniques. It’s very fast and provides enough invisibility frames as soon as it starts, but doesn’t raise the stylish gauge and doesn’t travel as far as other dodges. Also it can’t be charged and doesn’t deal great damage. It is done by pressing the secondary attacking button and the jump button at the exact same time and can only be done on the ground.
VII.)Acrobatics and Tricks : This game has a heavy focus on stylish movements, so acrobatics are also essential. First is : a.)Wall Run. Simply by running near a wall and pressing and holding the Right trigger, the character is able to run on the wall as long as it exists or as long as the character keeps moving and the player keeps holding the Right trigger. During the wall run it’s possible for a character to jump from wall to wall or even jump away from the wall and towards the opponent.
Second is : b.)Horizontal Wall Sprint, Horizontal Wall Sprint Jump and the Caged Bird Technique. If a character jumps towards the side of a wall while sprinting he or she will perform a horizontal wall sprint. Like the wall run, the character will move on the wall and while faster than usual and without needing to press the Right trigger but the character doesn’t have much flexibility to move during that and the sprint doesn’t last that long. If, during that wall sprint the player presses the X button along with a direction from the d-pad, the character will perform a horizontal wall jump enabling him or her to perform a very dynamic and powerful jump. If the jump is performed in a fairly closed space the player can extend greatly the time of the wall sprint by jumping from wall to wall without losing momentum at all. This is called the Caged Bird technique. Third is : c.)Vertical Wall Sprint, Vertical Wall Sprint Jump and the Flying Bird Technique. If a character jumps straight to a wall while sprinting he or she will perform a vertical wall sprint. Like the previous wall sprint it’s very quick but doesn’t have the flexibility of the wall run and cannot go indefinitely. If during that wall sprint the player presses the X button to jump the character will perform a vertical wall sprint jump, a more acrobatic version of the horizontal jump boasting greater height but less length covered. It is a good way of dropping behind the opponent. If the player finds himself or herself in a closed but finely confined space he or she can make the character bounce between the walls until the character reaches the top and is unable to go further or if the player wishes to stop the ascension by not jumping up any more. That is the Flying Bird technique.
Then there is : d.)Wall Cling and Wall Cling Jump. If a character jump on a wall while sprinting but instead of running on the wall he or she simply stays still, by not pressing any button, the character will simply cling on the wall for a while and then drop down. If the player jumps during the time his or her character’s clinging on a wall, a wall cling jump is performed. The final technique requires the player to have locked on to a certain enemy for the trick to really work. The technique is : e.)Teleport Trick. By pressing the Right trigger along with the X button and in conjunction with a direction from the d-pad to teleport extremely close to the enemy. The player will disappear and appear near the enemy but is invincible and untouchable during the teleportation animation. The Teleportation Trick costs one sub bar of energy though. For the trick to work the player must not be guarding and the buttons must be pressed in perfect synch. Also depending on the direction the player presses on the d-pad will make the character teleport accordingly near the enemy for example, if the player presses up the character will appear above the enemy, if the player presses down the character will appear downwards or behind the enemy. Finally the range of teleportation is very limited, roughly a 4 meter radius from the original place. It can be used either on air or on the ground. If it is used during a combo, then the range of the teleportation is infinite, as some moves knock the enemy much further away from the character’s radius, however the style gauge must still be active for it to work like that. Also the teleportation trick can count as a hit and it can be made into an infinite, so the players have to be careful not to overuse it or it will count against them. It has both a ground and aerial version and they both can be used in natural succession.
The Teleport Trick can be done without the lock-on system but there is a very obvious difference. This is called : f.)Air Trick. The Air Trick is done in the same way that Teleport Trick is done but the character must not have locked onto any enemy at all. The Air Trick is a way to basically dodge on the spot or dodge on the left or right and even upwards or downwards(unless the character is on the ground) by pressing the same buttons but pushing no directional buttons, pushing left or right, pushing up or finally pushing down respectively. The range of the Air Trick is far shorter than the Teleport Trick, instead the range is the same as half the height of the character using it.
VIII.)Other Game Mechanisms : Tricks, concepts and other gameplay mechanisms that don’t fit in categories but are equally important as those mentioned already above. First is : a.)The Targeting System. The game implements both a soft lock-on targeting system, the Auto-Targeting / Free Move, but also a more traditional hard lock-on system, the Targeting / Lock-On.
Auto-Targeting / Free Move :
The system in place for this game is very complex but at the same time user-friendly. The targeting system basically employs a user-controllable,automatic lock-on system and since there is no isolated button that makes a character lock-on to an enemy, there isn’t an on-screen indicator either. However, the character will actually look at the enemy that is auto-targeted and he or she will turn his or her head appropriately in all directions. If the opponent is behind him then the character will look as far as he or she can to whatever side the opponent is closest. The system is always on and the most perfect examples to show the way the system works is to compare it to the auto-targeting system of the new Ninja Gaiden trilogy, Devil May Cry 3 & 4, Metal Gear Rising for the Playstation 3 and the Ys 7 and Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki games for the Playstation Portable. The way it works is that the game will auto-target the closest offensive enemy, meaning the closest enemy that is attacking or is at least active in some way, in case the rest of the opponents on screen are defeated or just downed. Even though this system is in effect it is user-overridable at any time should the player want to continue to juggle a dead body lying on the ground rather than striking the alive and attacking enemy standing right next to the character, the choice being his or hers to make. The player can even be surrounded by a group of enemies and can re-orient the character to whatever enemy in whatever stage during any phase of the attack or combo. The only time this will not work is if the opponent is out of the melee range which is measured from a minimum of zero distance to a maximum distance of a 4 meters radius, where the system will not make the character face the direction of the enemy when attacking and rather attack the void in the direction he or she is currently facing at. Again, the same games stated above provide excellent examples for this system.
Targeting / Lock-On :
Contrast to the above mechanic, this one has the player enable it, for it to activate. The player has to press any direction twice on the camera control button to enable a hard lock-on for a certain enemy so that the player can focus on that one opponent so that he or she can focus on a certain enemy out of a crowd or a boss out of a horde of enemies. The hard lock-on can also be strafed around to lock-on to other enemies or even the enemy the player wanted from the start, again via the camera controls. This targeting system though has a bit of a weakness in that, if the enemy that’s targeted disappears from the screen either by moving out the character’s field of vision, like jumping behind the character’s back fast enough that can’t be tracked down or moving so fast that the enemy can avoid the lock-on or just teleport and disappear for a second. The enemy that’s targeted has a lock around his or her body but while it doesn’t circle around the body rather it just exists within the enemy’s character model and that lock represents the life of that character or enemy and the portion of the life that remains is presented with a much heavier shade of the colour the lock has compared to the portion of life that’s depleted which is represented with a much lighter and almost transparent shade of that colour. The maximum targeting distance of a 10 meter radius is acceptable and should the targeted enemy go away from that area the targeting system will be disengaged automatically.
The player can exit the hard lock-on with a simple press of the select button and when an enemy is killed, the lock-on indicator doesn’t disappear but rather moves to the next most offensive enemy making it easier for the player to continue using the targeting system without resorting to double tapping constantly. There will be an option however regarding this setting, for players that want to keep the targeting system and for those that want to exit the targeting system every time a locked on enemy dies. Also the dashing move can now blindside the enemy from the side much more easily by simply pressing the R trigger at the same time the player inputs a ”side” direction, meaning a direction that will make the character appear at either side of the enemy.
Finally, the player can execute the dashing attacks, automatic launcher and dodge attack with easier inputs. The dashing attacks can be executed when the player presses any of the attacking buttons at the same time he or she presses the directional input that makes the player move towards the enemy that’s locked on. The automatic launcher can be executed when the player presses any of the attacking buttons at the same time he or she presses the directional input that makes the player move away from the enemy that’s locked on. The dodging attacks can be executed when the player presses any of the attacking buttons at the same time he or she presses the directional input that makes the player move sideways from the enemy that’s locked on. During the hard lock-on, the character’s approach to movement changes as well by having the character walk slowly to the side, always looking at the enemy when the player’s pressing left or right and slowly walking backwards if the player pushes down. Games like The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and Devil May Cry 3 & 4 provide really good examples of that system and the last one provides an excellent example of the life representing lock.
Second there is : b.)Infinites, the Style Gauge and Taunts. The concept of infinites is not uncommon in games but it’s usually related to either a cheap exploit or a technique reserved for more experienced players(mostly in terms of fighting game mechanics like in Street Fighter II). In this game, infinites are too easy to do on purpose due to the system. Using advanced cancelling techniques and linking, the player can string together infinites extremely easily. Infinites come with a huge handicap tied in with the Style ranking and damage dealt. So if a player initiates a move more than twice it will automatically count against him or her and it will drop the style. If the player keeps using the infinite it will result in the style ranking completely disappearing and thus losing important power boosts, damage, frame advantage(frame advantage is mostly tied in with Crazy Combos here though), the damage dealt from the infinite is zero and the opponent can break out of the infinite and damage the player as well as stun him or her. The player can also counter the opponent’s infinites.
The style gauge that was mentioned earlier is a gauge that measures how stylish the player’s combat is. It is generally graded on letters and it’s raised by having the player continuously attack using varying techniques and streams of attacks. The gauge resets to zero once the player is hit, spends too much time not attacking or simply used the same move or follow up of moves more than twice during a stream of attacks or to put it in simpler terms, if the player uses an infinite the style gauge drops to zero and disappears, in which case all of the following attacks will deal zero damage unless the player stops the current streak and starts anew. The style gauge is an important factor in gameplay as it is plays a great role in the final score after a battle, the higher the overall rank the higher the final score is and is thus tied very closely to the rewards the player can gain but it also gives certain advantages to the player during gameplay. The higher the stylish gauge gets, more buffs are gained like decrease in damage scaling leading to damage buffing at the highest rank, frame advantage, overall higher damage on all attacks, more energy is regained than normal and it is highly satisfying for the player to pull of the maximum in one go. Generally, the system promotes rapid and fast,controlled inputs of different attacks but punishes infinites and mindless button mashing. The more the gauge’s grade raises, the more effort is required to raise the grade. The moment the player stops attacking it takes exactly 5 seconds for the gauge to drop and disappear. If the player attacks within the next 5 seconds the gauge will start again but a grade lower than before. If the player takes more time to attack though the gauge starts from the beginning again. All of these mechanism apply to the enemies as well, apart from the scoring ones.
The Taunts are directly related to the style gauge and each character has his or her own taunts that change and become bolder and more stylish the better the rank of the style gauge is. A taunt is automatically initiated if the character finishes any sort of action that just raised the style gauge and after that the player doesn’t press anything at all then the character will start taunting instead of standing still, effectively raising the style gauge by a whole level but with the trade-off of having the gauge level drop twice as fast once the player exits the taunt.
Thirdly there is : c.)Guard Break and Guard Recovery. One simple yet essential mechanism in the game. When the player’s or the opponent’s guard’s broken, they go into a state called Guard Break and Guard Recovery. During that state the one who was guard-broken is stunned, completely open to attacks and cannot move from the place he or she was last while waiting for his or her guard to recover. If the one who’s in that state is attacked he or she will snap out of it but he or she will still be vulnerable and will not be able to guard until the guard’s completely restored. That means that the player or the opponent might have broken from the guard break state but still suffer from the guard recovery state. During the later, an empty bar will appear on top of the character’s head and it will slowly refill. When it refills, the character will be able to guard again.
Fourth there is : d.)Juggle, Enemy Rebound, Enemy Step, Launcher and Rising Launcher. The term of juggle is used for combos done while the enemy is airborne and hasn’t landed to the ground. The more the enemy is juggled the faster his frames drop, making it seem like he or she is falling faster. If the player’s character is airborne during the time an enemy is hit or ”juggled”, both characters will stop momentarily in mid-air and then resume their fall. An Enemy Rebound is when an enemy is hit and knocked back in such way and with such force that the surface he is hit upon acts as a reflector and bounces him back with diminished force. The surface must be real though and not the invisible walls set as the boundaries of the field / arena. This move is useful for extending manual combos and getting better stylish ranks.
The Enemy Step is the mechanism of using the enemy’s body as solid ground or even better as a jumping post. It works well while the enemy is suspended in the air for extra height. Rebounding off enemies allows the player to stay in the air for extended periods of times and automatically evading minor threats. This technique can be used indefinitely as long as there is a base to jump off of. Enemy Step goes hand in hand with what’s called Air Reset. It’s a technique that will put the player motionless in the air, almost at zero gravity but from there on, he or she is free to do whatever he or she wants. In general, after an Air Reset the player’s free to do any move that is doable in the air. The most common way to gain an Air Reset is via Enemy Step, although there are some move that have built in Air Reset, specifically some rising launchers. Finally there is Enemy Step Cancelling and goes hand in hand with double cancelling. It’s basically an Enemy Step that is very quickly cancelled into any other aerial move with a very swift input. This will cause the jump animation to be almost completely negated, allowing the player to pull off combos with great potency and it also yields the potential for a decent style increase.
Lastly, there are moves that are called Launchers and Rising Launchers. Any move in the game that tosses an enemy in the air, essentially neutralizing their ability to attack and allowing the player to attack to his or her heart’s content a falling yet airborne enemy. Additionally, some Launchers can set both the player and the enemy airborne, called Rising Launchers. Some launchers can be cancelled into a rising animation for air combos. This goes hand in hand with juggle as some launchers can be converted into rising launchers with the player launching the enemy as well as himself or herself in the air to follow up with an air only combo. This instantly starts an air combo but both the player and the opponent momentarily negate gravity and the more an opponent gets hit during the juggle, the more he or she is affected by gravity. Also any move followed by a launcher or a rising launcher is considered a juggle.
Fifth is : e.)Hissatsu. Or the finishing move as it’s translated from japanese. The Hissatsu’s practically a cinematic movie that plays after the opponent’s or the player’s defeat granted that the last attack used for damage was strictly a special attack / a Battle Art. It’s for aesthetic purposes mostly but it can add to the final score as a bonus and it can raise the style bar at the end of the fight. It also lets the character do a very different victory pose having him or her revert back to the original form either by transforming back, disengaging the armour or other and pose as their human self. As soon as any Hissatsu is initiated the theme song of the character who initiated it will start playing in the background for an added effect. These can only be done to opponents in the Versus modes and bosses of the Story mode.
Then there is : f.)Combo Counter, Super Crush and Ultra Crush. The combo counter is a way of keeping track of how many hits have been thrown since the start of a combo. The combo counter appears as flashing numbers, indicating the number of hits followed by flashing letters that spell ”HITS!”. The combo counter appears after a second hit in succession is done, right above the style gauge. The number of hits affect the final score of the battle but not that much compared to the style ranking does. The Super Crush is a mechanism that lets anyone escape after an infinite is executed and counter at the same time. The condition is that the opponent must have executed an infinite and his style gauge must have disappeared, indicating the use of the infinite. After that condition is met, the player can press any button and he or she, will stun the opponent and deal a tiny bit of damage, leaving the enemy open for a full-on assault. The Ultra Crush on the other hand is done sacrificing half of the energy bar[that equals to 2 sub bars out of the 4] with the press of a button, any button after a combo has reached it’s eighth hit while the style gauge is still up. The one that executed that will be able to damage the other a bit and stun him or her enough to launch an assault against. This Crush is used to get out of extremely dangerous situations and both of them can be used by players and enemies.
After that, there is : g.)Elements. Several attacks, usually charged or Battle Arts have an element tied to them. The elements apart from adding a damage boost at the attack and changing the attack animation a bit don’t do much else. The elements that exist in the game are Fire, Ice, Wind, Thunder, Light and Darkness. The damage boost each element gives comes in as a secondary status ailment. Fire inflicts severe burns that stagger the enemy, Ice inflicts frostbit that stuns the enemy and then deals damage, Wind has wind blade slice the enemy, Thunder paralyses and shocks the enemy, Light deals damage and crumple stuns the enemy and Darkness knocks away and enemy while dealing damage.
Next is : h.)Force State Moves. This game’s characters whether playable or non-playable have a wide variety of statures that are brought out in various situations. The situations that are going to be explained further are those that happen after a character is hit in a certain way. These situations are also non-over-ridable with cancels or any other mechanisms of the game.
01.)Hit Stun. Any hit on a character that makes him or her wince or slow down during an attack. There are differing levels of hit stuns in the game, varying with each hit and character. Hit stun allows the attacker to transition from ground hits to ground hits quite easily. It’s essential for the basic combo to say the least.
02.)Major Stun. Usually followed by a powerful hit like a charged attack or a large group of medium level hits like a crazy combo but without knocking the enemy away or up thus causing the character to falter back some and leave a large gap of opening in between. Characters that go into a major stun usually retaliate pretty quickly due to the frames built during that time. There are many varieties of major stun postures.
03.)Crumple Stun. This happens after a lot of heavy or light hits or after a flurry of certain attacks, usually after a crazy combo ends. The crumple stun happens after the last hit of such a flurry with the character slowly falling down, dropping on their knees. During that time the player or the enemy can attack and start a new combo.
04.)Guard Stun. Whenever a character guards he or she will go into a stationary stance and will not take any additional damage from your attacks except for some moves that do penetrate guard with chip damage. Any hit during a guard will be a guard stun and will merely prolong the state and negate the attacker’s attacks. Some guards can be cancelled into an Auto-Parry or even Perfect Impacts.
05.)Auto-Parry and the Perfect Impact. It’s not so much a posture as it is more of a means to counter attack. It can follow a guard stun but not always, this allows a character to completely turn the tide of battle. Generally Auto Parries exist in the forms of attacks but it can only done when two characters attack each other at the same time. An Auto-Parry is signalled by a large blue flash during the clash. The Perfect Impact is always followed by an Auto Parry.
When two characters go into a state of clashing it’s known as Perfect Impacts. During that state of clashing the characters are either stuck in repeating the same actions that caused them to clash until one of the characters messes up the timing of clash and it should be noted that the timing for clashes is very precise, or tries a different course of action or worse, button mashes instead of pressing the button at the appropriate timing,he or she will be left open for the other character’s attacks. This applies only if the clashing attacks are very powerful in nature otherwise the two characters will continue clashing for as long as the combo string is not finished in which case, the character whose combo string finishes first is in trouble unless both character’s strings finish at the same time. The blue flashes are also different for each type of clash. If it’s the first type, the blue flash appears as a normal, light blue flash but if it’s the second it appears as two interchanging rings of a heavy blue flashing colour during the instant of the clash. Regardless, after any type of Perfect Impact the characters can continue comboing.
As for the A.I. of the game, at that point, the enemy character will go into a repeating cycle trying to hit the player with moves that have built in Auto Parries. The player can continue to counter attack for additional style points and sometimes after a certain number of Perfect Impacts he or she can completely disable the A.I.’s defences and carry on with attacking.
06.)Air Stun. The Air stun is basically the aerial version of hit stun in the air. During an air stun,an enemy will take a wide variety of air based attacks as inputed by the player. However, enemies and opponents can break out of air stuns if sloppiness is shown just like the normal hit stuns on the ground.
07.)Wall Stun. In essence a wall stun is a major stun animation that results from the knockback effect of colliding with a wall[an actual wall,not the invisible walls set around the arena, if any]. A wall stunned character will cease to move and simply drag across the wall while slowly falling. The wall hit is added to the damage slightly and the falling animation can be exploited for even nastier set ups,not just a simple combo string.
08.)Downed / Fallen. It’s the state where a character has fallen to the ground. During that time, the character is invincible for a brief period of time, until he or she recovers or gets up from the ground. A character can get into that state only after a wall stun, a crumple stun or a heavy special attack from an opponent that ends with him or her falling to the ground.
Other important aspects of gameplay are : i.)Invincibility Frames, Recovery and Recovery Animation / Recovery Frames. The Recovery is simply a technique used for quick recovery from certain types of stun, the most common being a major air stun and a downed stun[when the character is face down on the floor, simply he or she has ”fainted”] by pressing the X button to cancel out of the state the character is in with a recovery animation, this usually being a small somersault in the air or simply an acrobatic movement to get up from the ground and at the same time move away from the spot he or she was downed. This animation covers a large portion of animation frames employed by all the characters in the game and its variable. In general, whenever a character goes into any sort of stun or stature,they will go into a phase of recovery to continue the offensive. These range from simply getting up on one’s feet to complex acrobatics.
These frames of animation are called Recovery Frames or the Recovery Animation of the character. The player can also press the X button to cancel the animation frames of the character going into a downed stunned state and start the recovery animation. For example : the opponent hits the player with an attack that would make the player’s character faint when he hits the ground but instead the player hits the X button before his or her character reaches the ground and thus the character employs a recovery move, like a back-flip and thus gets of the ground and away from the opponent while being invincible during that short period of time. These frames that exist in the animation frames and many other animations, that make the characters invincible for a very brief time window, are called Invincibility Frames. These exist mainly in dodging and recovery animations but animation frames like the start-up animation of a normal jump grants a few invincibility frames or the very start of any wall run or even the start-up of the enemy rebounding jump. These frames should be very carefully implemented as they, along with the cancelling mechanisms can make the game truly a very stylish looking and fine working game.
Finally, there exist the gameplay mechanics tied to the customization aspect of the game : j.)Customization, Disciplines and Status. First of, the customization found in this game is in regards to the choice of the players preferences over the Discipline set to a character and unlocking moves. Unlocking moves is done by spending points to the unlockables menu to purchase new moves. These moves can either be Universal, meaning that once bought, all characters can use them or Personal, meaning that the player has to go a certain character’s unlockables menu to purchase the moves he wants. The Disciplines are akin to the concept of Styles in Devil May Cry 3 & 4. These Disciplines can enhance some selected moves and have the characters gain some new abilities. All the characters can equip any of the 4 universal Disciplines to fit the players personalized preferences over a character and their moves, but they can only equip only one of the four every time for the character,but they can only equip only one of the four every time for the character,being able to change the Discipline in the customization and character menus before a fight. Each Discipline has three levels of Mastery, the first being the standard level where almost nothing is added, the second level of Mastery is the unlocking of all the moves associated with the Discipline and the third and final level allows the player to equip another Discipline on top of mastered one, making it possible to equip all four of them if all of them are mastered. It is important to note that to unlock the true powers of a character, all four must be equiped but the players can choose to limit themselves if they wish to.
The four Disciplines that exist in game are the Speedster, a Discipline focusing on speedy acrobatics, the Defender, a Discipline focusing on the games various defensive manoeuvres and enhancing them, the Warrior, a Discipline focusing on improving the Martial Art / Light Attack moves of the character and the Fighter, a Discipline focusing on improving the Weapon Attack / Heavy Attack moves of the character. Moves the characters gain by equipping the Speedster are the Teleport Trick, the Air Trick, the Mustang Dash and the Dash Jumping Tactics. Moves that are enhanced are the Dash now being able to string an almost infinite string of Dashes by reducing the cool-down time of the ending animation and having the Dash being cancelable of itself and the aerial version of the Dash, by now being able to be done twice before being touching the ground. Moves the characters gain by equipping the Defender are the Guard, the Guard Cancel, the Flash Guard, the Counter-attack and the After-image Tactics. Moves that are enhanced are the Instant Guard / Parry, by now being able to block everything with the proper timing, the Slip Dash having severely reduced cool-down and covering more ground. The Warrior and the Fighter acting in the same vein, except that one enhances a character’s primary attacks and the other the character’s secondary attacks and allowing the character to charge the attacks that correspond to the Disciple. These will be listed at the character section.
Finally, the Status are put plainly the statistics of a characters attributes ranging from their attack power to their speed. These are Power indicating the character’s power of the primary and secondary attacks, Armour indicating a character’s tolerance to damage and guarding strength, Speed indicating a character’s overall speed both attacking and moving speed and Spirit indicating the character’s Battle Arts power. These Status are given values in the form of ten numbers starting from 01 and topping at 10, each with their own separate values. 01 is Lowest, 02 is Very Low, 03 is Low, 04 Below Average, 05 is Average, 06 is Above Average, 07 is Good, 08 is High, 09 is Very High, 10 is Highest.
05.On Screen Systems Explanation
I.)Life Bar. The Life Bar represents a character’s life or how much damage a character can take before he or she is defeated. When a character’s life bar is empty, he or she will go down, faint and will not be able to get back up to his or her feet and continue fighting. If the main character or more specifically, the player’s character has an empty life bar, the game is over. The life bar system in this game is a little more complicated though. The life bar is represented by a bar on the left upper right corner of the screen for the player character and on the opposite corner for the opponent character, with their names down below and a small window showing part of their face. The bar is composed of two different bars. First there is the blue bar or more specifically the blue area of the life bar that represents the wholeness of the characters remaining life. It always starts full at the start of the battle. Every time a character is damaged, the life bar decreases and the blue area of the bar diminishes accordingly but not without being replaced by a red portion. The red portion of the bar indicates the damage dealt to the character but it’s the damage that can be healed during battle. This damage can be healed if the character stops attacking completely for a brief period of time and the red portion of the bar starts becoming part of the blue portion of the bar. In comparison to the blue bar that can cover the entire bar, the red portion of the bar is far less than that, roughly a fourth of it.
So every time the red bar covers a fourth of the life bar and the damage is far more than that,then the damage that can’t be converted to the red portion is simply transparent. The transparent portion of the life is simply the portion that cannot be healed in any way in other words the “empty” portion of the life bar. When the whole life bar is transparent with no trace of blue inside,the character has lost the battle. Special attacks not only deal damage but also erase the red portion of life currently existing. The game however has a built in revival system so each battle counts as two rounds disguised as one in the form of Mid-Round. A mid-round is when a character is downed for the first time. After a small cinematic will play, showing the character getting up while saying something after which that battle continues. Only two mid-rounds are possible to happen during a single battle, one for the player and one for the opponent.
II.)Energy Bar. The energy bar is displayed just below the life bar and is much simpler,slimmer and smaller than the life bar. It is used mainly for special attacks but for other mechanisms that are mentioned to use energy. Each energy bar has four sub bars with the energy bar able to break that limit and raise up to 4 more sub bars. The energy bars fill by attacking meaning that, the more the character attacks the more the bar fills. Also, the higher the style rank is, the faster the energy bar is filled when the character is attacking.
III.)Style Gauge and Rank and Combo Counter. The Style Gauge and Rank along with the combo counter appear at the same time after the second hit of a combo string or a manual combo. The style gauge along with the style rank, are represented with letters. The style bar appears bellow the two opposing life bars, between the two opposing energy bars, with the style rank above the style bar and represented with letters forming a word, changing each time the letter changes with every style ranking change. The letter for each style ranking are different and different in colour. As mentioned earlier, the style rank raises through the use of combos, of continuous attack the opponent with creative manual combos that do not use infinites or button mashing. The combo counter on the other hand appears directly below the character’s life and energy bar, always under the character that is attacking. The combo counter just counts the hits that are thrown during a combo string or manual combo. The letters that indicate the ranks for the style are : F → Fruity…,E → Eh…,D → Daft,C → Cool,B → Best,A → Awesome!,S → Super!!,L → Legend!!!,X → XTREME LEGEND!!!!
IV.)”Moving Portraits” of Characters.Before a battle the portraits of the characters that are about to participate in the battle show up in the respective corners[the player’s on the right,the opponent’s on the left side of the screen] and they exchange battle banter.The moving portraits,illustrations animated via the “Moving Portrait” technology will also appear during the hissatsu cinematic and during the storylines.
06.Game Speed and In-game Graphics
The speed of the game should always be at 60 FPS maximum at all times with the option of having a Turbo Mode that raises the game speed by 20% while keeping the framerate at 60FPS.If the game engine cannot handle the speed and should drop in performance, the acceptable drop should bekept at 50 FPS minimum and only if the game can’t handle the enemy gangs of story mode, with 10 and more on screen doing their own separate thing in high speeds with competent A.I. to boot.As mentioned earlier, the reason for this is that as an action game and one that is pretty stylish,it requires a lot of animation frames to keep up not only with the speed of the characters but also to keep up with the animations of the multitudes of moves and to ensure there is no lag in the overall game speed that could seriously affect the overall gaming experience. Should the game have a problem with performance during the story mode, where more than two characters can be in the same area then the Turbo mode should be kept for the Versus Modes.
The graphics of the game are divided in two categories.The artwork and the in-game graphics.The in-game graphics would preferably be cell shadedas they add a greater sense of colour and tones differentiation,which is subliminally used for story-telling.The artwork on the other hand is mainly used for storytelling and the bios but it’s never the less important in the game.
Finally,the graphics for the arenas are also important.As this is a fully 3D fighting gamethe characters move in several big arenas and since they can interact with them as part of the gameplay,the architectural structure of each arena,each layout and each gimmick of those is quite important as, through the graphics and graphical structure of the places,the players must be and are able to tell apart each arena and each gimmick.But that’s not all,as during the story mode each character’s point of view is going to alter the outlook and often the gimmicks of the arenas to fit his or her perspective.While the difference in looks would be mostly artistic,some gimmicks do change as well.An example would be a day stage becoming a night stage,illuminated by stage lights or for a bigger change have a forest area burn during the night,making the illumination of the stage flickering and adding fire hazards all the over the stage and many more variations.Each of these changes though is accompanied by a slight change of perspective though,usually the tone of the colours to further reflect upon the character’s inner state at the timemaking some stages unique for some characters.Naturally as the players get to those arenas during the storythey unlock them for further use in other modes as well.
During the course of the story,several characters will face off against very certain enemies and they will fight in some kind of ”event stage”.This stage is a combination of the two or more versions of the same arena but instead of switching between the versions over time,it instead changes depending on the Hit Points left of either the player or the opponent and the overall mood of the battle,meaning that the interaction between the two characters in that certain stage will also affect the alterations that will happen over the course of the battle,making several showdowns between characters far more dynamic and more story-drivencompared to other fighting games,usually accompanied by the banter they exchange during their respective fight during the story.