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Let's You and Me Fight: I wish Rising Thunder Felt Faster

I’m approaching the point where it is entirely possible I have completely lost my goddamn mind, as my fighting game library has expanded further since the last time I checked in a mere two weeks ago—not only did I wind up grabbing Under Night In-Birth, I broke down and grabbed King of Fighters XIII and Yatagaseru, because I figured I was on a roll and might as well keep this train going (it helps that the two of them are like $30 combined). I haven’t spent a ton of time with either, but the little time I’ve spent with KOF has been kind of neat (I am still dicking around with the characters to figure out who I want to focus on—I really like King a lot so far, but who knows where I’ll end up). Plus, KOF’s sprites are gorgeous like woah.

Just look at that. It's GORGEOUS
Just look at that. It's GORGEOUS

Of course, I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time with the newest fighting game to drop recently, which is Rising Thunder. As an admitted novice to this whole fighting games thing (this series started back in May, for reference, so I’ve been focusing on fighting games for the last…four months?), a game like Rising Thunder is aimed directly at me—my execution in most games is solid enough at this point that I can do some basic combos in most of the games I’ve got, but I still run into input errors from time to time (which is partially due to an unfortunate tendency to fall back to mashing when I panic), and Rising Thunder takes input errors out of the equation entirely (well, almost entirely. You can still wind up hitting the wrong button if you aren’t careful (I am not careful)).

So it’s neat, because instead of having to learn the stick motions and such before jumping into trying to learn combos and defensive strategies, you skip directly to the combo/defensive strategy parts. Which means that I’ve been spending plenty of time actually fighting people rather than sitting in the training mode. What I’ve found, unfortunately, is that my heavy anime fighter addiction has caused me to become used to a faster combo system than Rising Thunder seems willing to provide. This isn’t necessarily a knock on Rising Thunder, more of a problem I’ve caused by playing too much goddamn Melty Blood.

I'm tempted to mess around with Chel too
I'm tempted to mess around with Chel too

Or at least that was my initial read—I’ve since gone through and played some other “slower” games (USFIV, with whom Rising Thunder shares a not-insignificant bit of DNA, both Yatagaseru and King of Fighters XIII), and on second glance, I think Rising Thunder just feels sluggish in a way other games don’t. It doesn’t help that I’ve mostly been playing as Vlad (VLAD BEST. RUSSIA BEST) , who lacks any kind of a solid dash—a Looney Toons-esque step—though his jetpack does allow for faster air traversal, the only other option is to lumber slowly forward (and no good backdash option either). It’s possible that if I spend some time with other, not Russian robots, I’ll feel like it’s a little faster than I currently do.

Then again, perhaps that is part of the point of this game—if it is for beginners and experts alike, a slower pace does make the learning curve less steep. It’s a little easier to see what’s going on and exactly how it is you fucked up when you fuck up (I do a lot of fucking up), so there’s a perfectly good reason for it to move the way it does. Unfortunately, it also tends to leave me wanting to play something a little faster—which is basically any game that isn’t Rising Thunder (well, maybe Mortal Kombat X feels slower, but I don’t think so. It’s been a while since I played any MKX).

Bear in mind, this is an alpha—so it’s not like the game is set in stone by any means. They’ll continue to tweak the game engine, and tighten the controls even more, and maybe that sluggishness I’m feeling will disappear. I hope so, because I like just about everything about the game—I just wish it felt a little faster, is all.

I actually streamed a good chunk of me playing Rising Thunder last week, if you want hard photographic evidence of my hideous Vlad game. It's below.