Awesome. Probably played 100 hrs of the first one, never coming close to beating it. lol. Let's just say it's bad luck? Nah, my skill.
Very interested in what they do with a sequel, DD is legitimately amazing. While Early Access was the right decision for the original, I feel it somehow robbed it of ever getting any lasting attention, and it has live on as an underrated game.
Glad you are playing this Zombie. I do think it is a mixed bag in many regards, but it's among my favourites in the series.
There's too many comments to read, so I'll keep this short in case I'm just repeating what others said.
It's a well known story that Vaan was added late to the game, where Basch was intended to play a larger role. Keep in mind as well the game's main writer / director / producer changed hands very late in development. This is one of those "production events" that we can really feel in the game. That said, when I play FFXII I never play as Vaan though, except in towns where you are forced to assume control of him. Otherwise I set other party members as my leader. You could do this in old FFs as well, and it always made it feel like the party was the character that mattered, not one person. This is a small but important detail I think.
Gambits are cool but I only used them in my last playthrough. Previously I would use the menu system to effectively turn this game in to KOTOR, allowing me to pause every action, jump to every character, and queue up what I want them to do. Very slow way to play, but it's there. There are some settings in the menus which get rid of those targeting lines, which for me really cluttered the screen, just a note in case you feel the same.
Hey @relkin have you thought about joining the Giant Bomb Fighting Game Community Discord?
In my opinion, yes, the average knowledge of FG players has risen dramatically in the last 5 years and yes, you will find most fighting games as challenging as SFV, if not moreso. The reason is that access to knowledge has become hilariously easy. Just type SFV MEATIES in to youtube. You can learn on your own of course, but these little short cuts can give you a seed idea before you come around to understanding the whole thing yourself. As such, a huge % of players tend to know many concepts and but only in simple execution.
The key thing to think about is not how much training you need to do, but who you are doing it with.
For the love of god, don't let Ranked be your only experience with this game, or any fighting game.
Join the discord, get some tips & learn in an environment when you can have longer sets, more thought, and less crazy randomness.
For what it's worth, you sound like you are approaching this the best way possible (small victories count) but perhaps your idea of how fast you will learn doesn't meld with modern fighting games.
if you don't have lots of time to play, make time to watch some key videos. They will shortcut your training time, but are not a replacement
play with the same people regularly. this will really help you come to terms with your weaknesses, and get actual applicable advice
at early levels, you really, really need to know a few things A) the moves you can punish when you block and B) the moves you need to keep blocking after.
if you block something, and ask yourself IS IT MY TURN!? write that shit down and look it up. Or, go for it, and memorize the result.
On wakeup, you mostly want to just A) crouch block, try to react to overheads, and take the throw. As well as B) vary your wakeup timing.
Patience. In SFV, there are very few characters who can force you to block even 3 buttons and keep the pressure going without taking a risk. Just let the block strings happen and wait for the character to be pushed away from you.
If you haven't already, try completing easy survival for some/all characters in the game. This will give you some experience with their buttons; early on, you tend to die a lot out of pure lack of MU knowledge or character behaviour
Of these four, generally I find that Wolf, Doom & Deus EX hold up quite well. The first two because they are so simple and arcadey, and the last, which, after some re-keybinding, is very playable in a modern setting. Yes, much less forgiving than most FPS today, but mechanically similar to what you'd expect to play today.
Dark Forces I bet would be awesome for people who played a ton of similar FPS back in the day, but for me it is such a weird blend of mechanically simple & complex levels with some really hard to use controls (page up / down for look up / down) and a map that is so, so hilariously hard to read at first you think the devs are playing with you.
//> I will say that, in general, I don't really believe that games "hold up" or not as far as the experience of people who generally play games goes. Your skills & history with games just affect that concept too much, as will the stance you're bringing in with you, such as looking for a good time, historical curiosity, or something else.