Combo Breaker: Coping With Simpler Control Schemes


It’s no secret that gaming companies have been working hard on the formula for getting more of the general public into gaming. Nintendo was the first to find such success with the Wii; its affordable console lured consumers in by the masses with something as simple as a flick of a wrist. Nintendo's intent to bring in larger and more casual audience also extended to its portable gaming division; the DS offered user-friendly innovation through by allowing users to play games with just a touch to a screen. Game developers have also created ways to ease reluctant swimmers into the deep end of the gaming pool. Capcom, for example, is at the forefront of such a movement and did so by simplifying the controls for some of their popular franchises. But this casual approach to what otherwise should be 'hardcore' titles has caused quite a bit of upset among seasoned gamers. To this I simply say: Deal with it.

When it comes to Capcom simplifying control schemes, there are three titles in particular that easily come to mind: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom , (Ultimate) Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and the recently released DmC.

Of these three titles, MvC3 and DmC caused the most controversy among fans. Angry gamers vented their frustration on the internet when it was announced that these games would utilize an easier user interface compared to their previous installments; more specifically when Capcom revealed MvC3’s control scheme would consists only of Light, Medium, Heavy, Special and two Assist buttons and DmC would include easier weapon-to-weapon  transition. In both of these cases, simpler controls where somewhat of a success.

DmC was released to mostly positive reviews commonly citing its disappointing narrative and chopping frame rate as its main shortcomings. There has been no mention however about the simpler control scheme ruining the overall experience. Another thing to point out is that the grading system is actually fair this time around. In the past, you would have perform the most insane combos, collect every power-up and kill just about every enemy you encountered on the off-chance that you might get something about a D Rank. It was as if the game was punishing you for being a beginner. DmC doesn't do that; it actually acknowledges your skill level and as you progress the higher the standard becomes to achieve a better rank.

As for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it seems that the Fighting Game Community has accepted UMvC3’s interface with open arms….the roster selection on the other hand, not so much- but that's a whole other topic altogether.  Either way, Capcom simplifying the way the fighter is played did not hinder the tournament scene to a noticeable extent.

Which brings us to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, the precursor of Capcom's simple control scheme approach. Many believe that game's controls were a reason why it wasn't a commercial success, when that clearly is not that case. For as much as I appreciate the title finding a home on the Wii, it was TvC's release on Nintendo's console that doomed it to failure. The Wii was never a go-to console for fighting games, so when the functionality of your over-priced and overrated arcade stick depends on whether your Wii-mote's battery is up and running, you’ve got a big problem. Sadly, after EVO 2011, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom hardly ever heard from again. That is of course you happen to play online a lot; and if you do…what’s wrong with your PS3 or 360?

One shouldn't have to learn a complicated button and trigger combination just to move a meager 20 frames. Easier controls allow newer players to do advanced techniques with the press of 5-6 buttons and not have to spend all their time memorizing X, O, X X, Left, Left, Square, R2, Down, Square, Square to cancel a 20-hit combo into a hyper-combo; yes, I’m looking at you Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Simpler controls also don't alienate gamers but instead make them feel welcome when stepping into arena for the first time.

Complicated control schemes and memorizing complicated button combinations doesn't make a gaming experience more intense; if anything it makes it more meaningless. Do you think anyone would care if you you can do a million-hit combo just because you spent every waking moment of your life learning Up, Up, Down, Down, etc. when that time would wisely be spent on other things, like…playing a DIFFERENT GAME perhaps. Far be it from me to tell you how you should spend your time;  just don’t flood the web making a big deal about how a new entry in a well-established series is possibly make your life easier.

 Written by Associate Staff Writer Corey Moore. 

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