Can free movement 3D fighters be deep and enjoyable?

Free movement 3d fighters are rarely seen. This is a style of game that really isn’t worked on much, and when games are released they usually aren’t made deep enough to be taken seriously anyway. Recently I have been looking at many of videos of games like Marvel Nemesis, DBZ Tenkaichi, and Power Stone to see what was right and what was wrong with each of them. I would think that most of these games have never been taken seriously by the majority of you. And it is for good reason that they haven’t, from what I have seen none of these games really have the capability for high level competitive play.

For those of you who have played many free movement 3d fighters I want to know which ones you liked the most. Why did you enjoy these ones over the others? What are the vital flaws in the game that cause for deep competitive play to near impossible? What improvements do you think can be made in order to make the game deeper but still retain the fun value that they game gave?

Recently I have been looking at Power Stone 1 and 2. I am guessing that a lot of people here have played the Power Stone games and know the basics of them so I won’t go to far into them. I really enjoyed the first power stone game but it was limited in depth for quite a few reasons;

The escape system is a bit overpowered and was placed in the game because I feel they could not think of a good way to apply a blocking system. Really I have not solved the problem of making a blocking system that feels fluid in environments like this and work effectively. We need a new way to guard or avoid attacks.

Items kind of limited competitiveness I guess, though not enough for me to really have a problem with them (in the first game anyway).

Lack of moves. It could be hard to apply specials to a free movement 3d fighter right? Cause quarter circles would be pretty weird, I mean what if you are facing towards the screen. Anyway, I tried to think up a solution and the best I could come up with is taking an idea from Primal Rage. In Primal Rage, you would press the attack button and then do the stick movement in order to do specials (instead of the other way around). This could work for these kinds of 3d fighters. Press the punch button, and then press Up+Down+Right quickly for one of the special for an example. It could be made so the movement is exactly the same no matter where you are facing. The problems may arise from the time it would take to have to determine your move however, which could become a major issue.

I am really hoping that we can come up with some good ideas on how to fix this kind of fighting game so there will be more variety in the games we receive in the future. I really enjoyed Power Stone and would hope that there would be some way to fix the system that it used to make a competitive fighters. Please post whatever ideas you have.

Back when my friend had his Dreamcast all we used to play was Virtual-On! and Power Stone. I really loved those games, but the fact that free-roaming games are usually made with simplistic controls to appeal to everyone makes it their undoing.

If there was a learning curve involved in those games you mentioned, I seriously doubt they would have sold as well as they did. Most companies like to follow the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it route” With their games, 2D and 3D alike, so that kind of makes it what it is.

As far as what they can do to improve these types of games I really have no clue being a fighting newbie that I am.

Some suggestions: I always thought blocking with another stick would do wonders, since it can move in any direction you could just tap and hold it in the direction of the attack to block.

For special and stuff maybe a tapping sequence or button combinations. Specials and super specials could each have a bar, where the specials depletes and fills up (Like in the AoF games) and the super special one works as normal.

Well I have played Powerstone 1/2 and I think that that game was really fun to play. The thing about a game like that is that you have to have some type of requirement that you have to meet in order to use a special move some thing like a charge button. So that you don’t have to worry so much about the motions. The game could of been competitive (maybe not on the tekken/guilty gear/marvel/st level but it would of been played. Something else that they could of done is make a block button with a guard meter so you can’t just run around and block anything. Make certain items un-blockable i.e. bombs. Then counter that with items that give you super defense or armor that can take that damage but cut it by 3/4. I can think of a bunch of things you can put together but I am also trying to make a game similar to somethign like that. So I have been thinking about it a lot.

Well I played Marvel Nemesis. That game (VERSUS) sucked unless you picked a)powerful characters i.e. Iron Man/Venom or somewhat equal chars. i.e. Dare Devil and Spiderman. Another reason was that if you used a ranged character you could play keep away all day like Venom vs Wolverine.

The DBZ games sucked. End of discussion. Pitiful mixups, poor strats, charging is stupid, controls sucked.

Now Power stone I liked. I found it quite good.

To answer your original question: Yes free movement can be enjoyable. It just has to be done right.

If you want a good ‘Free Movement’ fighting game. Play Urban Reign, it utilises a fuctional lock-on system. Its fun and actually quie deep, with exception to the burst system (which is retarded).

DBZ Tenkiachi 2 isn’t too bad. It offers aton of mix-ups and there’s never a clear option that prevails over all. The characters are decently balanced and its fairly easy to pick up since there’s nothing technically difficult to execute.

Its emphasis is on timing, since you need it to get out of combos and to dodge charged attacks.

Edit: Free 3D movement fighters can be done. Obviously it has to be done right, but its definitely got potential.

I have played a little DBZ Tenkiachi 2. And I have watched my friend play it quite a bit. I really didn’t seem to see any depth in the game, I couldn’t see any reason to use one of the combo variants than another in a given situation. Sometimes the attacks would get in different high and low, but then the whole thing is just a bunch of guessing cause nothing is really safer than another in any given situation, if the person then ends up randomly guessing what you do at the right time than its just… c-c-c-combo breaker. I just felt the game didn’t have anything to it to keep me playing it for long. I couldn’t really seem many strategic differences between the characters I played as. Not hard to make a game balanced if the characters are all the same. But it did seem like people could have fun with it.

Now, what I am really trying to get at is whether or not it is possible to make a free 3d fighter with the competitive quality of a game that would even make Evolution consider picking it up as one of the main games. If it is possible to make this type of game with that much depth would it be possible to still keep the game fun and relatively easy to pick up at a casual level? I feel a game like this could open up new possibilities for fighting games, and help the fighting community grow all together.

A playlist of Tenkaichi 2 Match vids

Watch some of these match vids in that case and tell me what you think. Was your friend playing against the AI by any chance?

Much better than what I was seeing and no I usually was watching two of my friends playing against each other. However this doesn’t change my idea of the game though I guess there is more depth to the combo system then I thought. But I still feel the game has limited zoning qualities overall, and lacks the positioning properties that could really make free movement 3d fighters unique. In fact, sometimes I think that the Tenkaichi might not even belong in the topic. The majority of the gameplay does not have free movement since usually you are locked on the opponent and the free movement is pretty much entirely gone. Not saying its a bad game. I am just saying it doesn’t bring the kind of potential that a full free movement fighter could bring. Not that I have anything against a lock on system in a full 3d fighter, I just feel like it shouldn’t be as frequent as it is in Tenkaichi.

The free movement is still kind of there. You can avoid attacks by actually dragon dashing away from your opponent. And if you’re fighting on the ground, you can easily jump and get out of melee range and have some free movement. I see your point though, I also wish Tenkaichi gave more freedom with the 3d movement.

I’m sure in time we’ll have a really good 3d movement fighting game. Its pretty easy to have a good 2d/3d fighting game because its been done to death and companies can always reference other successful fighters. The free movement ones aren’t done so much and there isn’t much of a competitive scene for any, so we’ll just have to wait for a really good one to come out. Spike isn’t doing too shabby with their Tenkaichi series, since they gave T2 a huge overhaul over T1 and they’ve already added a whole bunch of new mechanics into T3. Quite clearly they care about making a game with good gameplay and you never know, the third time could be the charm.

Tobal 2

Would Tobal #2 be a free movement game? I always considered it a great 3D fighter with a wonderful play system. Lots of potential there.

I still need to try Power Stone. Call me lazy :wgrin:

The thing about trying to make these games more complex is that you will never have the accuracy you can have in a 2D fighter, which if a player is really familiar with they can have nearly consistent single pixel accuracy with pokes/specials.

I always saw Powerstone as trying to encourage situational/environmental combat, but as I recall certain moves just ended up being really overpowered(Jumping lock on kick maybe?). Good game but flawed execution. There are quite a few moves in powerstone games once you factor in stuff like wall moves, ceiling moves, different chains, powerstone powers, etc. I dont think traditional fighter specials would help the game out much.

I personally think jumping was what really messed powerstone up though. If they put in a big delay before/after jump like in Bushido Blade that might encourage more “ground game.” Then they need to include some amount of dynamic(Throw+Block I guess?) in there to get out of short/long range move spamming.

Power stone was a monster of fun.

No. As much as I love Tobal, that’s a traditional 3D fighter.

Ehrgeiz (from the developers of Tobal), on the other hand, is more fitting for this discussion. That game was interesting since while it was mainly a free moving 3D fighter like Power Stone (differing heights in some stages, crates with items), the game also had elements from standard 3D fighters. There was an altered version of Tobal’s grapple/throw system, a button for walking for fighting up close (blocking was done by standing still, provided you weren’t flanked or back turned), attack counters/catches, juggles, just frame moves, unblockables, some chars. even had alternate stances and move strings. Basically, Dream Factory was trying to combine Power Stone with Tobal. Probably ahead of it’s time, but I think something like this could be done well in the future or even today.

This needs to be highlighted.

The thread question is :
“Can free movement 3D fighters be deep and enjoyable?”

Play Urban Reign for your answer. There was a recent thread floating around about good fighting games that get no attention…Urban Reign is the biggest tragedy next to KOF 2006. Fortunately, the upgrade KOF:MIRA is finally getting KOF 2006 some attention around here. Wish I could say the same for Urban.

For those who missed it (a.k.a. 99% of you), Urban Reign was Smash Brothers meets Streets of Rage meets Tekken Force Mode.

It had combos, mix-ups, reversals, just-frame-like reversals, unblockables, weapons, team moves, strategies, a boatload of characters, SLICKening moves, hot multiplayer, CO-OP MULTIPLAYER STORY MODE(using the secret code at the title screen), and a one-player AI that cracked your back for free.

If you see this in a bargain bin or on ebay, buy it now.

Namco got it right.

i disagree…

there is positioning properties, zoning. theres depth there that hasnt been reached yet properly too, maybe future tenkaichi games will fine tune everything, i think also tenkaichi is a team battle game.

urban reign has something going, it just needs some sequels, the mechanics can be bettered.

ehrgiez had a whiff of incomplete BUT it had lil depths that were hard to reach, its system had standing still as blocking, you could say it was urban reign 1 since it was made by the same people, maybe if they merged both mechanics and added something to polish it up it could be a worthy fighting game, just need something for people to accept how it feels and have fun, they can do that by making urban reign a bit more stricter. maybe working on the characters and story a bit more will help people actually care about the game

urban reign was fine, but the characters are as dry as a camels foot

Might have to track this Urban Reign game down.

My problem with “Can free movement 3D fighters be deep and enjoyable?” is that developers think being able to run around like a headless chicken at warp speed is what everyone wants. Once you apply a little skill to these latest games, they are super shallow. Problem is, no one wants to waste time making a deep fighting game. It’s a waste of time when you can slap a licensed DB or Naruto game together and guarantee selling a bojillion copies.

The PC is dying for a deep, graphical hawg, free movement 3D fighting game with online match play. OK, maybe it’s just me. There’s no reason a free movement game couldn’t be deep and enjoyable. Developers need to bring some common sense to the design and make some choices after seeing what’s worked and what hasn’t. Why couldn’t there be a universal block/dodge depending on your character? Fast guy dodges, big guy puts up a forceful block. Better timing, less damage. What good are these extra sticks, buttons and modes of input if they aren’t going to get used?

For those interested in Urban Reign:

I recommend it to anyone who likes brawlin’.

Stale characters and all…

And, the main character is voiced by Spike from dubbed Cowboy Bebop…so that’s a plus. Or minus. I don’t know.


Power Stone 1.


Ehrgeiz, Power Stone 2