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Combo Breaker: Practice Makes Perfect!

It’s been over a month since Tekken 7 graced our computers and consoles, but it’s felt a lot longer. I went through a huge series of losses in the ranked queue, which left me wondering if I would ever get better? What could I do to play as my favourite characters and lose less? Following on from contributor Jay’s incredibly useful guide on how to learn how to lose, I took a step back and understood that my personal understanding of the game needed to be improved. This is a look at how I improved, but also how you can apply this to anything in life.

We’ve all been told at least once in our lives the phrase “Practice makes perfect” and naturally, there is truth to this phrase. If you repeat an action enough, your muscle memory becomes in tune to the thing you’re practicing – Your brain also becomes more aware of the pattern, allowing you to process it faster. The same is true in everything: Pattern recognition helps us get the best out of everything we try to do and practice helps us achieve this.

You can understand the frustration someone may have if they’re just not getting any results – They will criticise themselves until there’s nothing more to criticise. They will speak ill of the game, or the thing they wish to get better at, because it certainly couldn’t be them, could it? After having 9 straight ranked mode losses, I came away from the ranked mode, jumped into the practice mode again and decided to practice some combos and learn when they were best applied. Sometimes the result shocked me, finding some of my favourite combos were so situational that it was unfathomable that I even got them off so frequently in the past.

With a move list which has a tutorial in game, along with an overlay to help you see the inputs required to pull the move off, the Tekken 7 practice mode allows for some interesting tests of moves and abilities. From the Guard All option, which blocks anything that isn’t a true combo, to the CPU mode, which you can ramp difficulty up and down on, there were a great many ways to practice combos. Whilst this doesn’t help you against a player, the amount of ways to practice simply overwhelmed me. I knew I would have to learn juggles, where your opponent is in the air and cannot defend. I knew I would need to learn the best Oki moves, I.E keeping my opponents grounded. All in all, my days of practice of old were far behind me.

This low rank fight image was taken back when Tekken 7 was new..!

Whilst going through all of the many moves, I started off by perfecting all of the simpler moves that would be beneficial to me. From a sweep that was a near 360 rotation, to a lunging kick which threw my opponents high into the air, as well as being sure I knew how to execute my basic moves more frequently, I practiced everything. Yes, I was even hitting 10-hit combos more frequently than ever before, as muscle memory came into the equation. Funnily enough, I played so much King in the past, I still remembered his 10-hit combo, but rarely could I tell you what the inputs for the 10-hit combo actually were.

Practice is one thing, but understanding why things happen is another. To understand how to make the most of my characters, I went to YouTube where people, including pro Tekken players, were able to explain a character in detail. In practice, understanding is just as important as the muscle memory, as otherwise you wouldn’t know where or when to place your newly practiced moves. My huge launcher kick was a vital component to my game, but it was such a hard move to land. Then there’s a move on Lee called Fake, where it looks like he’s going to kick, but ends up doing a backflip, saying “come on” in the process. So I learned about cancelling moves and getting back to a neutral position. Besides, I learned how fun the move Fake was for avoiding low attacks.

Lee’s Fake move – It’s… Not hugely practical, but my God is it funny to dodge a low with this?

I could type up a huge number of useful tutorials, or indeed provide link to the hundreds of YouTube videos which talk about how to get the most out of your practice, but in all honesty it’s best to seek out a channel or method that works for you first. Whilst I could tell you the intricate nature of pressing buttons, such as watching the in game demos of moves and timing your inputs to the pop noises, you need to experience these things for yourself. And that is advice that applies to every video game. Hands on experience is a must – so go lose a game, but don’t get disheartened!

Have you had much experience with games where you lose a lot? How did you overcome these losses? How much practice do you get in on your favourite competitive games? As always, leave us a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


One response

  1. Pingback: EVO 2017: Tekken’s Top 8 – A look at competitive gaming | GeekOut South-West

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