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2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:37 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

So you been playing 2D Fighters all of your life and you want to start playing 3D fighters. But once you start playing 3D fighters, someone kicks your ass real bad. You would probably get frustrated; cuss someone out, rage so bad that you never ever want to play 3D fighters again. Next thing you know, you are going to preach to everyone on why 2D fighters are better than 3D fighters and pretty much say nasty things such as "3D Fighters are for button mashers". In this guide, I will teach you what to do in every 3D fighter from button layouts to traditional strategies such as sidestepping, ukemi, guard cancelling, and more. Whether it is a limb-based like Tekken, weapon-based like Soulcalibur, or a simple PKG like Virtua Fighter and Dead or Alive, this guide will help you get a better understanding on how 3D fighters are played (and hopefully this guide can shut some people up about 3D fighters being button mashers).

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:38 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 1: Know Your Stage Environments

Stages in 2D fighters have little to no environments whatsoever. However, they do provide great backgrounds to the setting of the fight, whether it is the Volcanic Rim stage on SFIV or the NY Parade stage on MvC3.

On the other hand, stages in 3D fighters provide various environments in the game. The stage environments can serve as your 3rd opponent (as EMPEROR_COW mentioned in a YouTube comment), so you would have to watch out for that. That means you need to know your environments in stages so that you can use it to your advantages. Here are some common environments that you need to know while you are playing a 3D fighter:

Walls: Walls can give you an advantage or disadvantage while playing 3D fighters. Knocking your opponent to a wall can either deal extra damage and/or extend your combo a bit more.In almost every 3D fighter, most characters will have wall-styled moves that involves getting out of tight situation, whether it is a wall throw, wall escape, or a wall attack. They come in various sizes and sometimes walls can be hazardous like a danger zone from DOA, breakable like Virtua Fighter, or extending the stage like Tekken and Soulcalibur. Walls can be your best friend, but it can also be your worst enemy.

Once you understand how to use walls in battle, then you should have no problem dealing with that stage. Just go on training mode and find new wall technology that can be used against your opponent.

As Seen In: Dead or Alive series (2 and above), Virtua Fighter series (3 and beyond), Tekken (4 and beyond), Soulcalibur (2 and beyond)

Infinite Stages: Infinite stages are free-ranged. There are no hazardous environments at all. You will never hit a wall and you will never get a ring out. According to a guide on Avoiding The Puddle, infinite stages are excellent for players who are massive turtles and have full control of their backdash cancels.

As Seen In: Tekken series, Soulcalibur 5.

Ring Outs: Ring-outs are also common in some 3D fighters. Just like walls, ring outs can also be your friend or your enemy. To get a ring out, you must either knock your opponent out of bounds or accidentally step/fall out of bounds. Ring outs are a quick way to win or lose a match.


Players find new ways to ring out their opponents. You just gotta find out new strategies to knock your opponent out of bounds. Again, hit up training mode and know your surroundings in these stages.

As Seen In: Virtua Fighter series, Soulcalibur series, Dead or Alive (Model 2/Saturn version).

Multi-Tiered Stages: Multi-tiered stages are more hazardous in 3D fighters. You knock an opponent off the ledge, the opponent will fall and take damage, and the fight will take place on a new area of the stage. Here are some examples:

In Dead or Alive, multi-tiered stages became an important factor to the game since Dead or Alive 2. Most characters have throws that include knocking your opponent off the ledge. For example, Zack has a special ledge throw in which he uses the opponent's body like a snowboard.

In Tekken, multi-tiered stages are in the form of wall breaks, balcony breaks, and floor breaks. Once you knock your opponent to a breakable wall, balcony or floor, you can continue to extend your combo. In Tekken Tag Tournament 2 with the addition of balcony break stages, when you knock your opponent off the balcony, you will tag your partner in automatically and continue the combo. But if you are playing solo, then that means the character will jump off the balcony and continue the combo. Keep in mind that floor breaks and balcony breaks can put your opponent in a bound state.

(GIFS courtesy of Avoiding The Puddle)
Wall Breaks

Floor Breaks

Balcony Breaks

Soulcalibur V introduced multi-tiered stages to the Soulcalibur series. They can either be done as round specific or stage specific. If it is round specific, then that mean the stage would change if someone won the first two rounds of the match.

Take Elysium's Utopia of the Blessed for example. It starts off as an Infinite stage, but after someone wins two rounds the infinite stage becomes a ring-out stage.

As for ring-out specific, when you knock somebody out of the ring, it shifts the battle to the next area of the stage. Nothing different.

As Seen In: Dead or Alive series (2 and beyond), Tekken series (6 and beyond), Soulcalibur V

Danger Zones: Danger zones have been a staple in every Dead or Alive game. As I previously mentioned in the DOA guide, these danger zones can cause major damage if you knock your opponent into one. Danger Zones include electric floors, power generators, walls, electric walls, animals, etc.


As Seen In: Dead or Alive series

Once you know all of your surroundings, then you will have no problem adapting to all environments in each stage. These environments can be your best friend and help you out in each situation. So stop with the "oh this is so cheap because that wall was in the way" and the "ring-outs are so cheap" bullcrap. Learn how to adapt in each situation and you will be fine.

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:38 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 2: Command Input & Movement

In this section, I will explain the command inputs and movement in 3D Fighters in two parts and how they differ from 2D Fighters.

Part 1: Movement

In traditional 2D Fighters, you would have the traditional move left and right, jump up-left, up-neutral, and up-right, crouching, and forward dash and back dash. In 3D Fighters, we have a thing called the 8-Way Run.

What is the 8-Way Run? An 8-Way Run is when you hold the Joystick/D-Pad/Control Stick in the desired direction. That means you can move left, right, sidestep forward, sidestep backwards, etc. If you look at a command list, you will find black arrows and white arrows. What do they mean? If the arrows are white, that means you only tap in that direction once. If the arrows are black, that means you have to press and hold in that direction. In DOA, it's called free stepping.

In most 3D Fighters (and I pretty much mentioned this in my DOA, Tekken, and VF guide), most players use numeral text to read the notations. That means if they can read this:

:joystick-up-left: :joystick-up: :joystick-up-right:
:joystick-left: :plus: :joystick-right:
:joystick-down-left: :joystick-down: :joystick-down-right:

They can also read this:

7 8 9
4 5 6
1 2 3

And for 8-Way Run, they can read this:

7h 8h 9h
4h 5h 6h
1h 2h 3h

So if you ask me how to do a simple Kokoro combo on DOA5, I would say "Try doing this: 66P, 1PPP, 7P!CB!, H~7K: BT 4PKK". Next thing you know, you would be confused on what I just said. In translation, I said :joystick-right: :joystick-right: :punch: , :joystick-down-left: :punch: :punch: :punch: , :joystick-up-left: :punch: (Critical Burst), Guard cancel into :joystick-up-left: :kick: , and while back turned :joystick-left: :punch: :kick: :kick: . I'll talk more of this in the second part.

Part 2: Command Input

In 2D Fighters such as Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, Capcom vs. SNK, and KOF, they use strings to describe a sequences of pokes in order to force someone to continue blocking to create safe distances, also known as a blockstring. However, some 2D players misuse the term while naming chain combos as strings (basically precanned or canned strings).

In 3D Fighters, the term is used as sequences of attacks that executes much faster sequentially than if done out of sequence. For example, to do Jacky's Jab Double Straight in VF5: Final Showdown, you press :punch: , :punch: , :punch: . Pretty simple to do. Keep in mind that a string is a sequence of attacks that are not combos. However, in some games such as Virtua Fighter and Dead or Alive you can cancel a string by using Guard Cancel (VF) and Free Cancel (DOA). In order to do that, press the Guard button to stop the action. For example, in DOA I want to perform Hayabusa's PPP string and launch with 8K. If I do :punch: :punch: :punch: :joystick-up: :plus: :kick: all at once, then I would not get the desired input that I wanted. That means I actually did :punch: :punch: :punch: :kick: . If I did :punch: :punch: :punch: :button-g: :joystick-up: :kick: , then that means I performed the PPP string, pressed the guard button to cancel the string, and performed the 8K launcher.

For more on Guard Cancelling, check out EMPEROR_COW's DOA5 Alpha Demo Tutorial on Guard Cancelling.

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:38 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 3: Sidestepping

Sidesteps were introduced by the first Weapons-Based 3D Fighter, Battle Arena Toshinden, back in 1994. Since then, many 3D Fighters have used sidesteps in their games. Sidestepping is when your character either moves towards or away from the screen in order to dodge incoming attacks.

Sidesteps can also be called Dodge, Evade, Defensive Moves, Free Step Dodge, etc. In the early days of 3D Fighters, some fighters tap either :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: , while other fighters have a dodge button (such as Virtua Fighter 3's Evade button). Nowadays, sidesteps can be performed by either tapping the joystick :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: once or twice and sometimes tapping the joystick :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: and 3 buttons at the same time. Sidestepping can be used as defense and offense. Here are some fighters that actually use sidesteps:

Virtua Fighter: In Virtua Fighter 2, Lion was the only character that had sidestepping moves. In Virtua Fighter 3, the game used a 4th new button called Evade in which you could sidestep towards or away from the screen in order to dodge incoming attacks. The Evade button in Virtua Fighter 3 was replaced with the standard joystick notation of tapping :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: in Virtua Fighter 4.

In Virtua Fighter 5 it is now currently known as a Defensive Move. There are two types of defensive moves: successful and failed. All Defensive Moves can be combined with a single :punch: :plus: :kick: attack.

You can turn an Defensive Move into an Offensive Move. Offensive Moves were introduced in Virtua Figher 5. To perform an Offensive Move, tap :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: to go into a Defensive Move, go neutral, then press :punch: :plus: :kick: :plus: :button-g: . Not only it goes under a different animation, but it also makes a characteristic sound. After a successful OM, press either :punch: or :kick: to perform a OM attack. All characters have a OM attack.

Tekken: Kazuya was the only character that could sidestep in Tekken 2. Since Tekken 3, all characters have the ability to sidestep by tapping :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: on the joystick. Just like VF, all characters have certain sidestep attacks.

Other than sidestep attacks, you have options during the sidestep animation whether it is a sidestep cancel or a standard attack. On the Tekken Zaibatsu website, there are two charts that actually shows these options during a Face Forward Sidestep. Here is the first one summarized:

If the Frame Window is from 1st to 11th, then there is no blocking.
If the Frame Window is from 8th to 43rd, then it's possible for an attack input.
If the Frame Window is from 24th to 43rd, then it's possible for a new motion input.
If the Frame Window is at 43rd, then that's the end of the sidestep animation.

On the second chart, it shows the similar situation, this time with the character's back turned towards the opponent:

If the Frame Window is from 1st to 21st, then there is no blocking.
If the Frame Window is at 15th, then the character can change to face forward position.
If the Frame Window is from 21st to 40th, then it's possible to block attacks.
If the Frame Window is at 40th, then that's the end of the sidestep animation.

To do an Auto Sidestep, hold :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: while blocking your opponent's attack. As soon as the block animation has ended, you can sidestep. Sometimes this technique can avoid being forced to block the rest of the attacks if you sidestep in the correct way, while other times you might get hit during the auto sidestep.

Soulcalibur: In Soulcalibur, they have their own name of sidestep named the Quick Step. To perform a Quick Step, tap :joystick-up: :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: :joystick-down: twice. Please note that the second input must be held down. This can help dodge vertical attacks, but also you have to anticipate horizontal attacks as well. This video will explain Quick Steps. White speedlines and blur effects indicate its successful execution. Once you dodge the attack with the Quick Step, you are now in a advantage position.

Dead or Alive: Dead or Alive has their own version of the sidestep called the Free Step Dodge. To perform a Free Step Dodge, tap :joystick-up: or :joystick-down: . However in DOA5, you have the option to change your sidestep controls. That means you can sidestep by pressing :joystick-up: :joystick-up: and :joystick-down: :joystick-down: , or the alternate input of :joystick-up: :punch: :plus: :kick: :plus: :button-g: and :joystick-down: :punch: :plus: :kick: :plus: :button-g: . Many DOA players prefer the alternate sidestep input rather than the primary input. As usual, many characters have sidestep attacks.

According to Sorwah of FSD, the side step command will be invulnerable to any single linear attack within it's 18 frame initial window and vulnerable to any hit during it's 10 frame recovery. It is unknown if Team Ninja will do anything with the Sidestepping.


In conclusion, Sidesteps are a great tool to dodge attacks. Hit up training mode and learn how to sidestep oncoming attacks.

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:39 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 4: Recovery

In this chapter, I will explain how to recover from an attack in 3D Fighters. This part of the chapter will explain how to recover from a fall.

In 2D Fighters, when you get hit by a move that cause either a hard knockdown or soft knockdown, the character that is waking up from an attack is generally invulnerable. In 3D Fighters, however, when a character attempts to wake-up, that same character is vulnerable to an upcoming attack. Unlike 2D Fighters in terms of waking up from one place, the wake-up game can give the player an option to choose how the character stands up, especially if it involves an attack (For Wake-Up attacks, see Chapter 6).

There are several ways to wake up from an attack, such as in-place recovery, front rolls, back roll, side rolls, and step recovery. These wake up options can be done by pressing a button after a hard or soft knockdown.

Front Roll: Rolls the character in front of the enemy.

Back Roll: Rolls the character away from the enemy.

Side Roll: Rolls the character to the side of the enemy, whether it is in the foreground or the background.

In-Place Recovery: The character wakes up from the current position.

Front Step: The character wakes up and steps in front of the enemy.

Back Step: The character wakes up and steps away from the enemy. This is the safest wake-up option in most 3D Fighters.

Quick Recovery

Quick recoveries are when the character wakes up from an attack IMMEDIATELY after a knockdown. Like a standard recovery, the character can wake up from any direction, only faster. To do a quick recovery, press the button or direction at the exact moment you land on the floor. Please note that you cannot do a wake-up attack during a quick recovery.

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:39 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 5: Down Attacks

In every 3D Fighting game, there is a move that you can perform while your opponent is knocked on the floor. That is called a Down Attack. Down Attacks are the best way to capitalize on your opponent while he/she is knocked on the floor. Down attacks may have the same or different inputs, may they be light or heavy.

There are 3 types of down attacks: Light, Heavy, and Throws. Let's break it all down, shall we?

Light Down Attacks: Light Down Attacks are in the form of a low punch, low kick, or a stomp and they are usually performed by pressing :joystick-down: / :joystick-down-right: and either a :punch: or :kick: button. These are considered to be safe.

Heavy Down Attacks: Heavy Down Attacks are in the form of a jumping punch, jumping stomp, a headbutt, or a standard body slam and they are usually perform by pressing :joystick-up: / :joystick-up-right: and a :punch: or :punch: :plus: :kick: for some games. Heavy Down Attacks are usually unsafe, so I wouldn't recommend using this while performing a move that can cause a hard knockdown. They are the most damaging, however.

Down Throws: Some characters in every 3D fighter have a down grappling move, mostly done by pressing :joystick-down: and a throw button. Down throws can be done if the opponent gets hit with a hard knockdown move and can be done in any position that your opponent is facing while he/she is on the floor. Plus, down throws can either bring more damage to the opponent or set the opponent up for a devastating combo. Please note that down throws can only be performed by grappling characters.

Once again, down attacks are very essential to 3D Fighters. They are like one of the main reasons why 3D Fighters are all about grounded gameplay, on which I will cover on the last chapter.

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:40 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 6: Wake-Up Attacks

Wake up attacks were introduced in Virtua Fighter in 1993. A wake-up attack is when you get up from a fall and attack the person. Wake up attacks can be blocked and sometimes it can be punished. Here are a few wake-up attacks to remember:

Wake-Up Kick: When you get knocked down, press the kick button to get up using a normal kick. On defense, it should be blocked mid. Do not crouch to block.

Wake-up Low Kick: Press :joystick-down: :plus: :kick: after recovering from a fall to wake up with a low kick, also called a sweep. On defense, this should be blocked low.

In Tekken, the alternative way to react to a low kick is a Low Parry.
In DOA, use a low counter hold.

Cross Chop: This is seen in Tekken only. To perform a cross chop, press F+1+2 or B+1+2. On the first roll you will roll forward or backward, then on the second roll you will perform a head dive. Slow, but safe.

Chinese Getup (Kipyup): Only some games perform a Kip-yup. To perform a Kip-Yup press :joystick-right: . Sometimes it could do damage to your opponent.

Spring Kick: This is seen in Tekken only. To perform a spring kick, press B+3+4. It is a slow kick that goes a far distance. Slow, but also safe.

Special Wake-Up Attacks: These varies by a certain character that you use. Some wake up with flip-kicks, some use throws, and others wake up with a stance change.

How Do I Punish Wake-Up Kicks?: Well, there are several ways to punish wake-up kicks. The most common of them all is by blocking. However in games like Virtua Fighter, they can be punished by strikes. DOA5's new update allows you to punish wake-up kicks by performing a stronger strike other than just holds. Tekken can use low parries for low wake-up kicks, on which I previously mentioned.

My tip? Don't abuse wake-up attacks unless you have to.

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:41 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 7: Reversals & Parries

In most 3D fighters, they rely on reversals and parries. Reversals and parries are a great tool to use on a defensive level. Reversals are used to turn a defense into an offense, meaning that you would catch your opponent's attack and counter with your own. Parries are use to deflect your opponent's attack in order to set up a combo. Sabaki is when use an attack as an reversal. Let's take a look at each game to see how each character use these defensive tools:

Virtua Fighter: In Virtua Fighter 2, Pai, Akira, and Kage were the first three characters to use attack reversals. Now, only these characters use attack reversals (and parries): Akira, Pai, Wolf, Jacky, Kage, Aoi, Vanessa, Goh, and El Blaze. These are character-specific, although Jacky only have one (which can be done on high punches on neutral).

Dead or Alive: Counter holds are the main theme in DOA. Every character have a standard 4-point hold system, some have an advanced hold system, and a select few have a damaging expert hold system.

Soulcalibur: In the first 5 Soul games, the game uses a guard impact system that reflects the opponent's attack. In Soulcalibur V, with the newly-acquired soul meter, guard impact now costs meter. However, Just Impact is a timed parry, similar to the form of the Street Fighter III series.

Tekken: All Tekken characters have a low parry function. To use it, tap :joystick-down-right: to parry a low attack. Most characters have their own parry move, while others have certain attack reversals.

Hit up training mode to practice your reaction to certain attacks. I would say start off with 10 first just to get the hang of things.

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:41 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 8: Other Gameplay

2D Fighters are all about aerial game. They focus on anti-airs, air combos, air dashes, and many more. When playing a 2D Fighter, it is all about muscle memory and execution, as Jaxel stated on his 3D Fighters video.

3D Fighters, on the other hand, is all about the grounded game, and is based on strategy. Here are some things that need to know while playing any 3D fighter:

Weight Classes: There are some 3D Fighters that emphasize on the weight class. Weight class in a 3D fighter determines the character's placement based on weight, to see if the character is juggle-worthy or not based on how high the character is launched, not how fast the character falls down.

Let's take Virtua Fighter's weight class for example. Here's the weight class for VF5: Final Showdown:

Super Light Weight: Eileen = El Blaze
Light Weight: Aoi < Sarah = Shun = Pai = Lion = Vanessa
Middle Weight: Lau = Kage = Lei = Brad = Goh
Heavy Middle Weight: Akira = Jacky = Jean
Heavy Weight: Dural < Jeffry = Wolf
Super Heavy Weight: Taka

Note that Taka-Arashi is the heaviest character in the game, since other weight classes can't launch him high enough. Some have to go into different throw animations because of his weight. Dead or Alive, Tekken, and Soulcalibur also does the same thing, minus the throw animation. So remember: the lighter the character, the higher the launch.

Sabaki: First introduced in Virtua Fighter 4, Sabaki is a attack that have reversal properties. Unlike Inashi/Reversals, a Sabaki will always animate on the opponent's action, rather than connecting on a successful attack. For example: In DOA5, Leifang's 236P Critical Burst move is a sabaki.

8-Way Run: I previously mentioned this on Chapter 2, but I don't think I defined it. First seen in Soulcalibur, the 8-Way Run can be done by pressing the joystick in the desired direction.

Crouch Dash: This is seen mostly in 3D fighters and some 2D fighters, occasionally seen in the Tekken series. It is a dash executed by either from the crouching position or a crouching movement. Not to be confused with the wavedash.

Okizeme: In 2D Fighters, it was more of a psychological concept since you can't attack your opponent while knocked down. In 3D Fighters, this is used to attack downed opponents (See both Wake-Up game and Down Attacks).

Unblockable Attack: Self-Explanatory definition. An attack that cannot be blocked. The only way to avoid an unblockable attack is by sidestepping or attacking. First seen in Tekken.

For more on 3D Fighters, check out Jaxel's Power Hour EP 03: 3D Fighter Popularity.

Re: 2D Player's Guide to 3D Fighters

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:38 pm
by |Virtua Kazama|
Chapter 9: Other Sources

Other than SRK, iPlayWinner, and Eventhubs, there are websites that do support 3D fighters exclusively. Here are some to get you started:

DOAWorld - A website dedicated to Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden games.

FreeStepDodge - Ran by top Bass player, Matt "Sorwah" Ponton, FreeStepDodge is the #1 website for the competitive DOA scene.

Tekken Zaibatsu - Forum website dedicated to the competitive Tekken scene.

VFDC - Ran by Myke, VFDC is the #1 website dedicated to the competitive Virtua Fighter scene.

8WayRun - Ran by Jaxel, 8WayRun is the #1 website dedicated to the competitive Soulcalibur scene.

Virtua Fighter Relationship - Japan's Virtua Fighter ranbats since 1994. Shows the stronger side of Japan's VF scene.

Avoiding The Puddle - Another source to dedicated to Tekken players. Ran by Aris.

SDTekken - Website dedicated to both Soulcalibur and Tekken players.

Got questions on any 3D Fighter that you want to know? PM me for more infomation.

One last thing before I end this guide: PLEASE support your games, whether it is 2D or 3D. SF and Marvel players are doing it, Tekken players are doing it, Soulcalibur is doing it, DOA and VF are doing it as well. Show up to offline events, meet new people, and level up. Don't be discouraged by Stream Monsters. Just DO YOU.

Until then... JUST KEEP PLAYING!!!!