Snskid made a part 1 of this post HERE. Jthamind (J. Williams) inspired this discussion via twitter. The question at hand is simple: Virtua Fighter or Tekken? My comrade snskid chose Tekken gave his reasons for doing so. Now you get to hear the other side of said discussion. I will always take Virtua Fighter. Why? Lend me your eyes and I will explain.
I have always been a Virtua Fighter fan. Hell, I liked the offshoots Fighting Vipers and Fighters Megamix as well. The 3D fighting allowed for a brand new dynamic at the time that plethora of 2D fighters at the time liked. There were some quality 3D fighting games out at the time too. People seem to forget about the Tobal series. Virtua fighter stuck out to me due to the each character’s unique styles and presentation. As I learned more about martial arts, I realized that Virtua Fighter characters were so unique to them each representing specific martial arts and fighting styles. I had heard of Tekken and gave it a chance but it was not as deep to me. I would witness people button mash and it turned me off of the series. The characters were not balanced at all. Also, while there were a few characters there to mimic fighting styles, it was more so to emulate actual people instead of the martial art itself. A perfect example of this would be Tekken’s Law characters and Virtua Fighter’s Jacky. The Laws are made to emulate Bruce Lee. Jacky is made to represent Jeet Kune Do, the hybrid fighting system and life philosophy founded by Bruce Lee. If you look at each character’s move list and actually watch their fights, Jacky clearly looks more like Bruce Lee due to the fact that he actually uses his fighting system. All the Law characters have going for them is their design in that they are drawn to look like Bruce and even sport familiar wardrobes from his classic movies. You can also compare Virtua Fighter’s Shun Di and Tekken’s Lei Wulong (one of Tekken’s best characters if you ask me). Lei Wulong is made to emulate Jackie Chan through various films and focuses a lot on his use of drunken Kung Fu for a good amount of his moves. Shun Di actually represents Zui Quan (Drunken Kung Fu). Users even have to have him drink while fighting and the amount of drinks he has opens up new moves for him.
Virtua Fighter has a learning curve to it. It is not something you can just pick up and get into. I love that about Virtua Fighter. It rewards gamers who take the time to learn a character and the universal game elements and dynamics. What Virtua Fighter does is have characters that are easier to learn than others. This is done while maintaining balance. Characters Lei-Fei and Pai are easier to get into, but to master them still requires time and patience. Characters like Akira, Kage, and Goh are very difficult to get into , but the rewards are ample for taking the time to do so. With Tekken, it is very tier based. I really got into Tekken with Tekken Tag and Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection. At arcades, people were always playing these games and they were fun. With that said, the characters picked are always the same. This is true when I watch tournament videos as well. This is ironic to me since Tekken has such a vast roster (though they do have a lot of clone/copied characters).
It appears that snskid and I do agree on a few things. Virtua Fighter does take more skill to play. The problem is that there is this misconception that no one plays Virtua Fighter. This is not the case. While Tekken may be more popular overall, there is still a huge community playing Virtua Fighter. Asia dominates Virtua Fighter (like most fighting games). I never have a problem finding opponents on Xbox Live, and they are REALLY good. The community is great as well. They are very hospitable and always up for a challenge. I also agree that I do not like Virtua Fighter’s lack of real endings. To be fair though, the story in Virtua Fighter is as good (if not better) than Tekken. That is not saying much though as all fighting games have feeble plots. The focus is on the game itself and even in that, they pay more attention to player versus player gameplay.
My biggest beefs with Tekken are the juggling combos and the fact that grappling combat is not really an option. I can not stand to watch a character be hit into the air only to be punch in their ankle 5 more times as they fall to the ground. Are they fighting on the moon? Tekken matches break down to “mindgames” to lure your opponent into a launch move so you can juggle them. Characters that are in tiered fighting games and low tiers have to rely on them to be useful. In a game like Tekken, the whole battle is based on this methodology as to set up juggles. Tekken is a 3d fighter, yet side stepping attacks is only a viable option for a few characters. While I love the chain grabs in Tekken, I do not like that they take so much work to do for so little damage. Regular grabs themselves aren’t even that potent. King is my second favorite character (Behind Lei Wulong and tied with Eddie & Christie). When I got Tekken 6, I spent my time trying to learn King (and some Armored King for some variance). The funny thing is when I spoke with my friend Sam (FNF 115) about that, he suggested I learn to use someone else since grappling is not a huge focus in Tekken. Snskid himself then went on to show me that King was top-mid tier in the game. This confused me. I then looked at footage of good King users. None of them grappled at all. They just juggled people. In other words, you have a character who is supposed to be an homage to legendary Japanese pro wrestler Tiger Mask, as well as Mexican wrestler Fray Tormenta (and even the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba), fighting in a manner where grappling is secondary. That makes no sense.
As for the characters in each game, that is something I can’t really argue as it is opinion and not concrete. I prefer Virtua Fighter’s characters in both their fighting styles, and likability. Wolf and Brad Burns (the Muay Thai practioner) have hilarious opening and victory phrases. Goh Hinogami is just plain cool to me. But I get that none of this is definitive. Tekken does have some really cool characters. Lei Wulong’s bounce when not being moved or in between moves is just awesome to me. Eddie and Christie’s Ginga (the Capoeira kata or movement done in neutral position to keep them in movement) looks great. The thing is, these are the only characters that stand out to me. The movements of all the Viruta Fighter characters is memorable to me. I would have all the readers of this go watch YouTube clips of Lion and Jacky users in Virtua Fighter 5. It looks great. Martial Art practitioners will love watching characters that represent their art in Virtua Fighter. MMA buffs will love watching Venessa.
The point that snskid made that really stuck out to me was his comparison of Wolf and King. Wolf has WAY more moves period and more moves you would see in WWE/TNA that King. Rock Bottom, Stone Cold Stunner, F5, The Pedigree, GTS (Go-To-Sleep), etc, are all in the game. He also MMA grappled in his move set (though you would be better suited using Vannessa and Goh for that purpose). Virtua Fighter also has El Blaze for lightweight/lucha libre style. Let us not forget the Jeffry McWild, the Pankration practitioner.
I know this may come off as a anti-Tekken article. It is not. Tekken is a great franchise. I went from hating Tekken more than any other 3d fighter, to placing it on the same level as Virtua Fighter. Do I prefer Virtua Fighter, yes. With that said, I can see the appeal of Tekken. Tekken Tag to this day is fun to me. Tekken found a way of mixing depth with accessibility. While it may be as deep as Virtua Fighter, it is more accessible. That balance is tough to create and maintain and I have seen several series fail at it (Street Fighter III: Third Strike to Street Fighter IV is a perfect example, but that is for another time). Tekken has that line that separates casual/new players from dedicated/experience players. To me that is a requirement of a great fighting game. What do you guys think? Should there be a part 3? Are there two games of the same genre type you would like compared? Let us know.