Marvel vs Capcom 3: I swear I only read it for the articles

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Trish has um, ample, uh, options at any given time. In the air, she has uh, plunging, er, attacks to strike from above, and due to her mobility and speed, she has, uh, generous timing on her combos.

Whew. I made it all the way to the jump without mentioning her breasts.

Damn it!

After the jump, speed kills

MvC3 is by far the fastest fighting game that I’ve played. I’m by no means an old man, and my reaction times are certainly well within the normal range for most gamers, maybe even a little better than average. But I just can’t keep up with these kids and their crossups and frame counting. So, when I get into a face-off situation, I’m probably not going to get the better of it. At the end of the day, I’m probably going to lose.

That’s where Trish comes in.

Trish is fast. She’s fast enough that if I mis-time an attack, she has a decent chance of recovering before I can get punished for it. We’ve discussed my deficiencies in pressure situations previously, so having a little margin of error really helps out my overall survivability. If I’m going toe-to-toe with the vast majority of the roster, Trish gives me a shot at getting a jab or two in, an important consideration when every hit can lead to an enormously damaging Hyper-combo. Of course, each attack does commensurately less damage, but I’ll take some low damage hits over zero high damage hits any day of the week. The important thing is that when I’m fighting, say, the frustratingly speedy online favorite Wolverine, she lets me get in a sweep or jab in to break up my opponent’s rhythm. But more importantly, she has enough toys that I don’t need to in the first place.

In the grand scheme of things, Trish really isn’t all that complicated. She has a broad but standard range of movement options including flight and air dash, and she has a pretty standard projectile attack that she can use on the ground or in the air. Combined with her aforementioned speed, she’s a marginal utility player, nothing special. But that’s before you consider Hopscotch and Peekaboo.

In a general sense, the most important concepts in a fighting game are timing and positioning. If you want an attack to hit, you need to be able to execute the attack without getting hit, and without your opponent blocking it (timing), and your opponent has to be where the attack is going to be (space). Timing can get pretty complex, and gives rise to thing like frame-counts, canceling, and hit-confirmation. Positioning, however, is a pretty intuitive concept. If you’re where an attack is, you get hit. If you want to make an opponent more likely to get hit, remove his ability to move out of the way of your attacks. The problem of hitting an enemy becomes a problem of controlling space. In fighting game parlance, it’s called zoning.

Hopscotch and Peekaboo are Trish’s tools for zoning. Hopscotch sits on the ground, and shoots a projectile straight up at your opponent as soon as he crosses its plane. Peekaboo sits in the air, and briefly stuns an opponent that touches it. Best of all, they aren’t projectiles or beams that are tied to Trish directly. They’re fire and forget traps that stick around on the playfield for several seconds while Trish is free to move around. And since they come out pretty quickly, a good Trish player is going to make sure that they’re around pretty much all the time.

Neither of them really does any damage to speak of, but that’s okay, because that isn’t what they’re for. They aren’t attacks, they’re tiny ultimatums: if you move into this space, you’re going to get hit. And in a game where one hit can change the entire flow of the match, it’s enough to give an opponent pause. They slow down. For some less adept opponents, Trish’s traps can completely shut down any attempts to get in close. And slowing down the game gives me a fighting chance.

Next time: bionic aaaaarm!
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Charles Wheeler is the satan of martial arts and can survive anything — even nukes. He has been making and writing about games for over ten years. His latest project, The Rules on the Field, is a blog about sports and game design. You can find it here.