So my last entry into the Fight Stick Diaries was about buying the stick and trying it out for a couple of hours. In this entry I'm going to be talking about how I have been doing in the last month and two weeks with the stick and also talk about the arcade parts.
Over the last few weeks I have been putting in some hours everyday into playing my arcade stick so that I could get better or used to it. There are a couple of things that I have noticed while putting in the time:
Practicing with the CPU can only get you so far
Finding the right way to hold the joystick is hard
Hitting the right buttons takes some getting used to
I chose Persona 4 Arena as my main fighting game because it's very beginner friendly and also the community on Giant Bomb is pretty awesome and helpful. There are a couple of ways I have practiced in P4A and that includes training mode, challenge mode and versus mode against the CPU. I tend to avoid online matches since I don't really feel confident about my performance but sometimes I do friendly matches with the GB P4A crew so I can get actual human player practice.
Before I switched to an arcade stick I was playing with the DualShock 3 and was doing really well with it. After awhile I cranked up the difficulty in the game to “Hell” (which is the highest) because the game felt a little too easy. This might have been because I was playing with very skilled players on GB and started to learn some new moves and tricks from them. When I transitioned to the stick, the difficulty didn't really change much at all for me since I can beat all the characters (except for Kanji) almost 95% of the time. The only problem I really faced playing against the CPU is predictability. The CPU tends to always charge in first attacking and I can pretty much counter it most of the time and a good example of that is Chie always starting with Rampage.
Once I got used to playing against the CPU, I went to Challenge Mode but this time I started from challenge #1 with everyone again since I want to re-learn everything. Everything went smooth until after the instant kill challenge where it want's you to do longer chains of combos. So I spent the last 2 weeks doing challenges over and over until I basically reached challenge #20-21with every characters except Labyrs and S.Labrys. It was a very long and arduous process but it did help me learn every character's combos and also helped me to hit the right buttons with my fingers. It took a lot of time but I can definitely say it is pretty rewarding that I can chain combos.
There is one thing that I still can't get used to and it's finding the right way to hold the joystick. I looked up “how to hold an arcade stick properly” on YouTube and Google and tried the common ones that everyone uses but I can't seem to use any of them. Right now I settled on holding it like this in the picture below:
I find this way more comfortable than the ones I tried from YouTube but the only problem I have is doing QCF. I can pull it off when I'm in training but when it comes to a real fight I panic and flub the QCF completely and ruin the combo I've been working on. I think I just need more practice since people on the forums tell me it could take about 3 months to completely make it feel like second nature to me.
Well that's all the update I really have for now since I only played Persona 4 Arena seriously but once I get into Street Fighter 4 it's going to be a bit more different. Next time I'm going to talk about why I switched to Seimitsu push buttons and thinking about buying another arcade stick.