Character selection is arguably the most important thing there is when it comes to fighting games. Its where everything else begins and generally its not much of an issue. You pick a character you think is cool and play with them for a bit, maybe branching out to other characters when youve mastered them to a level youre happy with or perhaps abandoning them entirely because their playstyle simply doesnt gel with yours.
Which as an aside is one of the most irritating things in a fighting game, a character can appeal to you visually or in terms of backstory or in terms of fighting style, but for whatever reason their fighting style simply doesnt work for you. Maybe theyre a rushdown character whereas you prefer a more defensive or “turtling” style of play. Actually that might make a nice metagame framework for a fighting game. Instead of each character having their own movelist you instead pick from a selection of pre-defined “style” movelists with each character having a few unique special attacks/combos/grabs etc.
Normally I dont have a problem picking a character and sticking to them. Actually “back in the day” it wasnt even really an issue as the rosters were so small. Nowhere near the 30-40+ characters of modern fighting games. Though on the other hand as most fighting games these days are long running franchises I generally already know which character I’ll be playing. But for some reason after taking a break from Tekken for a few months I just cant seem to settle on any one character. It was all so easy from Tekken 2 through to Tag it was always Lei Wulong, with a variety of back-up characters. But Tekken 4 was such dung that I didnt even bother learning a character, whats the point when you know youre not going to play it? With Tekken 5 I abandoned Lei, who was fucking terrible, for Feng. And I was quite happy with that decision, playing him through Tekken 5 and then Tekken 5: DR (and picking up Lili in the long wait for Tekken 6).
But when Tekken 6 arrived I was sort of bored with Feng and decided to abandon him for Lars. But now that Ive started playing again and I relaised that while I like Lars as a character I just dont like the way he plays. Now I could concentrate on Lili, but tier lists aside, she just feels too much like a backup character. And the problem is that I know what the tier list is. While I know intellectually that it doesnt matter because a) the gaps between tiers in Tekken are extremely small and b) Im unlikely to get to a level where the differences matter on another instinctive level it feels like something of a “waste” to learn an “inferior” character.
Which means that I should pick up Bryan (cant, he’s Patricks character and thus my hatred of him is ingrained), Bruce (I like his fighting style but loathe his design), Bob (Frankly too fat, he looks retarded), Steve (Even though Ive read 892 issues of Hajime no Ippo I still dont really fancy being a boxer, or do I?), or Lars (Just dont like how he plays). Or to extend it to the top ten characters Lili (cant get out of the mindset of using her as a backup character), Law (hate Bruce Lee), Devil Jin (much like the even more useless Capoeira users people who dont know better will complain he’s cheap), Julia (gah, just gah, Adeline is the only person I recall ever playing her) and Nina (ugh, again, just no) or Alisa (actually may give her a go).
Oh well I just hope that my inability to stick to one character keeps itself limited to Tekken, as I do have in my sticky little hands Super Street Fighter IV which expands the cast by ten characters (I like the look of Juri, Ibuki and Cody). But as Ive “remained faithful” to Ryu through every iteration of the franchise so far they’ll end up being backup characters at best (and to do that they’ll have to be easier on the eye than Cammy (or cosplay Cammy)). Well Im going to watch some Venture Brothers and have a think.
Listening to: Queen - Boehmian Rhapsody