Thursday, 28 May 2015

"I Want to Play Fighting Games on the PC. What's there to play?"

This question pops up everywhere. Facebook groups, conversations at local nerd gatherings and even while I got my hair cut once. Let's run through this based on your needs.

You want to get right into the thick of the offline scene and want something you can get stuck into at home without investing in a console. Here's what will get you covered.

Ultra Street Fighter IV - It's the current Street Fighter. If you want the game with the most players? This is it. You want something with some simple rules when starting out (stop jumping, mash LP+LK when you think a throw or gap in pressure is coming, cr.MK xx Hadouken)? This has you covered.
Available from:  Most stores, Steam.
How's the Netplay?: Lots of players in your region so you'll probably find something at the right level. On the flipside, for every good connection you're going to have there will be a couple with irritating lagspikes and one that'll be painfully unplayable.
Will my controller work?: From memory, most controllers are supported pretty well. Configuring stuff might seem wonky at first, but once you've got it going it'll keep working.

The King of Fighters 13 - If you're in an area where this game is still played, the netplay is pretty workable with people on wired connections now! Just be aware that the people who have stuck with the game at this point are going to be doing the triple damage you will at first. Watch your feet and focus on using your meter for Guard Cancels rather than landing that one big combo you know to begin with.
Available from: Steam.
How's the Netplay?: Slightly worse than SF4's in my experience. It has a similar approach to handling ping as a whole. A system that doesn't work as well with a faster paced game.

Should I buy Mortal Kombat X on PC?
At this point, I would say no. The port is atrociously optimised and frequently has 15GB patches that make it run worse. It's also way out of sync with the gameplay adjustments on PS4 and 360.
How's the Netplay? Rubbish. Like the rest of the port. Go to your friend who has a current gen console if you want to learn this game. It'll save you both a headache.

In other words, your mates are telling you to buy this game and go in on it.

It's a relentless game with not much offline tournament presence, particularly in this land of Oz from which I come. That said, the extremely good netplay means that there's a good online scene in most parts of the world who're hungry for new blood and probably have a person or two willing to help show you the ropes. Just don't expect the lenient inputs to mean playing the neutral and defensive games will be a cinch.
Available on: Steam, 360, PS3, PS4 (soon), Vita (soon), Arcade (soon)
How's the Netplay? The best you'll get in a commercially available fighter at this point. Puts the rest of the market to shame.

Street Fighter 4 Remix
It's a mod for USF4. It's bonkers. A crazy and incredibly fun game in its own right. Won't ruin your install. Play with your friends for a laugh, stay for the furious pace.

The King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Match: Final Edition
The King of Fighters 2002  Unlimited Match
You're probably going to run into the same people. I think that 98UMFE is the better game, but it's a question of whether you'd rather learn bigger combos and deal with Nameless, or play something more focused on pokes and deal with Daimon's far standing light kick.
Available From: Steam
How's the Netplay?: Roughly comparable to 13's. If you're on wires and only a state away, you're going to be able to play the game. Just make sure to reduce the maximum frame delay to about 6 instead of the default 9.

Street Fighter x Tekken
 I hate this game. The port still works and I think the netplay's still going. Can't remember if they swapped it over to Steam after GFWL's death like they did for SF4.
How's the Netplay? When it worked, like SF4's. Capcom experimented with rollbacks early on, but then pulled them out entirely instead of bothering to read articles like this one. 

Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend
It's the last of the BBCS era, which means it's two and a bit iterations behind the Blazblue curve. It has enormous hitstop. It has Hype Dog.
Don't buy this. Play anything else. Unless that means playing Calamity Trigger. Don't play that either.
Available from: Steam
How's the Netplay? Comparable to SF4's but in an airdasher with absolutely brutal momentum swings. Workable, but you shouldn't be playing this in the first place.

Mortal Kombat Kollection
 It's a compilation of MK1 through to Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. The emulation on these is rubbish. It doesn't even display the correct lighting, let alone operate at the correct speed. The move lists display controller buttons rather than the actual buttons, making things confusing for anyone not using a 360 pad with the default settings.
Just use shmupmame or something if you want to play 2 or UMK3.
How's the Netplay? Worse than MKX's.

Vanguard Princess
 Eigomanga are charlatans, bullies and thieves. They're charging you for a freeware game. Check it out here. Save the money.

Magical Drop 5
It's a bad port of a bad iteration. We'll get back to puzzle games when we get into the appropriate section.


Guilty Gear XX Accent Core +R
It came out yesterday. It's the most recent iteration of XX and if you haven't noticed at, is my favourite fighting game. There was an input reception error that's been resolved. If you use 3rd party tools to disable V-sync and keep the framerate stuck on 60 to be safe, you're good.
How's the Netplay? Absolute rubbish. Buy this if you want to play with people offline only at this point. 

Dead or Alive 5 Last Round
If you're an Australian reading this, Melbourne's got by far the most prevalent DOA scene. The port runs pretty well in my experience and has very easily pirated DLC. Not that I'm saying you should do that or anything.
Available from: Steam
How's the Netplay? It's not even implemented yet. No idea if it'll be good, but I have no doubt it'll be delay based.

One Must Fall 2097
Look mate, it's One Must Fall.
Available from: Abandonware sites. Use DOSBox.

GGPO is currently down and Supercade is likely to go bust soon, so there's really one actual option here.

It's a build of an emulator that supports CPS-1, CPS-2, CPS-3 (though iffy) and Neogeo games. It uses rollbacks, a system that at this point has proven its superiority over purely delay-based networking for 1v1 fighting games.
Yeah, but will there be anyone to play with? Ask your local Facebook groups or friends to play games with you. There's bound to be someone who'll say yes.

What are some fun games to play?
 - Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. It's the father of 2D fighters and is a fast, brutal game that will put hair on your chest.
 - Vampire Saviour. Fast, furious and has a steady cult following. Good game.
 - Samurai Shodown 5 Special. The exact opposite of the above entry. Slow, high damage and full of weird bugs that make no sense. An experience you won't forget.
 - The King of Fighters 97. There's a good chance there's a big pile of Chinese players waiting to Power Charge you into oblivion.
 - Breakers Revenge. A pretty simple game that's a bit more honest than, say, Karnov's Revenge. Check out this tutorial!
 - Fighter's History Dynamite/Karnov's Revenge. All the pain and misery of Street Fighter 2 with easier combos and some of the grimiest nonsense on the planet.
 - Magical Drop 3. It's a good puzzle game.
 - Windjammers. It's a simple and spectacularly fun variant of Pong.
 - The King of Fighters 2001. It's the best. Honest.
 - Waku Waku 7. Another fairly straightforward game with some delightfully silly visuals.
 - Power Instinct Matrimelee. See previous note, but add some incredible music. Set the dipswitch to US region.
 - Cyberbots. A curious Capcom title with simple combos and a great deal of movement. A good game to muck about in and forget all the cheap stuff by the next time you play.

You're a poser if you think these are cool:
 - Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. Unless you actually do enjoy playing Chun vs Ken. Like I do.
 - Garou ~Mark of the Wolves~: You don't actually like this game. You just picked Rock in CVS2 and thought he was cool there. Do you really want to deal with Terry/Kain guard crush setups and Kevin punching out all your blood?
 - Last Blade 2. This game gets the less fun the more you learn about it. The presentation is lovely but deceptive.


In other words, you want to delve into the eclectic world of doujin games that people have bolted netcode onto. You're probably playing with some friends, have stumbled onto an IRC channel for a game or just want to play every fighting game ever because you're a crazy like me. Let's jump into our options!

Vanguard Princess and Super Cosplay War Ultra
Both are freeware games made with Enterbrain's 2D Fighter Maker. The former is one of the most anime games you'll ever see while playing way more like a Capcom game than even some modern Capcom games do. The latter is essentially a beta testing ground for FK Digital's Chaos Code. I'm dumping them here because they both use the same ghetto tools for attempting netplay. Namely MTSP and Lunaport.
How's the Netplay? Unstable. If you can get it going with people nearby, it'll work. If not, play something else. Spending several hours trying to fix it will only bring you despair.

Akatsuki Blitzkampf
A simple 3 button game with some grimy stuff in the top tier. It's still a very solid title with a lot of mind games and tricks to make for an exciting two player experience
Availabe from: Melonbooks.
How's the netplay? The weakest option in this section. It has well constructed delay-based netplay, so comparable to SF4. If not better. The game's pace is suited for it too.

 Melty Blood: Actress Again - Current Code. Version 1.7. Rev 1.4
Melty Blood is a bloody fun game. As of this year, rollbacks have been successfully bolted on. The cast is huge and has something so suit just about all play styles.
Available from Oh hell, have a Pastebin with info. Type-Moon tied the release to the Limited Edition of the second volume of a Blu-ray for a cartoon that exists purely to advertise themselves. They clearly weren't interested in having a steady stream of regular customers.
How's the Netplay? Pretty darn good! Amusingly, working in the rollbacks and plug 'n play controller support wound up resolving an input detection inconsistency the port had with the arcade version.

Eternal Fighter Zero
An airdasher with a curious hodgepodge of moves and character types from all over the place. Everyone's a little girl. The SFX are incredible. The damaging combos feel great. The Instant Block system is a blessing (lets you blow up repetitive pressure) and a curse (you IB to punish something then they IB back and still get in). Curious game that now has rollbacks. What a world we live in.
Available from: This link. Game's been out of print for an eternity. 
Netplay info:
How's the Netplay? Provided you're both on wired connections, flawless. Just don't try playing Adelaide to Spain like I did the other day.

Touhou 7.5 - Immaterial and Missing Power
There is no game like IaMP out there. Not even the games that inspired it (Astra Superstars, Cyberbots) or the games that the devs themselves made afterwards. Or the game they made before, though EFZ does have similar movement rules. A game with minimal grounded combos but incredible damage and momentum swings off of swatting someone airborne. Or even making them airblock in an air-to-air situation at all. There are no mid hits. Crazy game.
Available from: Wherever you usually steal your little girl scrolling shooters from.
More info:
How's the Netplay? It was the first doujin title to have someone bolt Rollbacks on. They work great.

Touhou 12.3 - Hisoutensoku
The expanded release of the game Tasofro made after IaMP. Plays drastically different and has a larger cast. Way more lenient in some ways, even more brutal in others. Simply put, a different game. Australia has the best player in the Southern Hemisphere and he's always hungry for blood.
More info: 
How's the Netplay? Again, rollbacks. Given that they're inserted into the game's default Netplay system, things are pretty intuitive here!


Ougon Musou Kyoku X (cross)
Ah, Super Seacats Fights. You hyped everyone up before launch with your fancypants spritework then put everyone to sleep by sucking.
By the end of the patching for Vanilla and the expansion though, the game is actually pretty good. Too bad nobody believes me. Think of it like a faster SFxT with a Pandora system that is both viable and a way to bait people into spending meter they should've used to win neutral. David Sirlin would probably approve of that, come to think of it.
How's the netplay? Built in delay-based. Felt like SF4's. Not the best, but I forgot to bring the game up so here it is at the bottom.

Well, that just about covers every game you can play on the PC right now. There's surely something to tickle your fancy or competitive needs. The PC has way more than people think it does.


  1. great entry, i'm already set with which PC fighting games i'm gonna play, but it was still fun to read this list and remember some games i've played before

    melty blood was my first "serious" fighting game ages ago, and a friend recently got me to try EFZ. i remember playing the umineko fighter in... beta, i think? or maybe as soon as it came out? it was really early, before i had even had an idea of what i was doing in fighting games

    which fighting games do you play most on PC, yourself?

    btw i'm the same guy that you had a brief conversation with in your december 2014 "Talk about Yatagarasu, and Beta Impressions" blog, but i may delete my comments there later, so that my name doesn't lead people here in google searches, haha

    i just remembered i had a question. since you're so experienced with a variety of fighting games, you probably pick up combos and other aspects of execution quickly. do you still spend much time in training mode on stuff like faust's fdc drill cancel instant overhead, or can you pick up that kind of stuff quickly in a game you've never played?

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