Note: This was written by Joseph and translated by Modelah.
Joseph's VF5FS Beginner's Blog post
Hello everyone, I play Virtua Fighter as Joseph (but you can call me JoJo, too).
I've been playing VF for about 14 years now, and have been competing for the past 7 years or so. I've never swayed from my main character, Akira.
Akira's Charactersitics, Strengths and Weaknesses
Akira's appeal lies in the destructiveness of his attacks and overall coolness factor. Being quite different from the rest of the VF cast, he can be daunting for new players to pick up. However, once you get used to how he works you'll be able to unlock his overwhelming attacking power. In this version of VF, he's generally thought of as 'the strongest character', for reasons I will outline below.
It will take some time to use Akira efficiently. He has some high-damage combos that can be difficult to pull off. The combos listed here are entry level combos, so let's start there.
: A common elbow. A simple input. Speedy, and good to use for quick retaliation.
: Better in terms of damage, reach and frame advantage when compared to the above. Its overall property is also better than other character's elbows, and even on normal hit can force nitaku against crouching opponents (translation note: he does not mention crouching specifically, but that can be assumed based on the frame data) making it a highly efficient elbow attack.
: A high combo starter that leaves Akira at +1 on block! Also mainly used to counterattack when at +14~15. Overall, a versatile technique that can be used as abare when at disadvantage or calculated attack when at advantage.
, , -for characters up to Akira's weight. Only works when Akira, Jacky and Jean are in open foot position.
, , -for all characters except Taka
, -for Taka
: A staple move key to Akira's offense. Disadvantage is small on guard, knocks down on normal hit and can lead into 80+ damage combos on counter hit. I love cooking opponents with this!The only drawback: It doesn't hit backdashers at all so be wary against players who employ it.
, dash, -for all characters except Taka
, dash, -for all characters except Taka
, -for Taka
: aka 'Maho'. Staggers on hit, allowing for follow-up attacks. A shoulder attack that is particularly useful against opponnents who try to sabaki strikes. Another strong point; when using it as abare at disadvantage, it blows through certain moves so I get a lot of "wtf was that, you gotta be kidding me" from my opponents. This can help keep opponents honest, they won't be able to just attack at will. Be wary, it leaves Akira at a big disadvantage on block and whiff.
(release within 1 frame) aka 'Doppo'. Akira's knee attack that leads to combos on NH. Execute by pressing at the same time then releasing shortly after (kinda tricky). Just keep practicing until you get the hang of it. An interesting note about this move; unlike other character's knee launchers that are -15 on block (elbow-class attack counterable) Akira's Doppo knee is only -13 (so most of the time only is guaranteed), perhaps as a reward for the complex input.
(release within 1 frame), ,
-for characters up to Akira's weight.
(release within 1 frame), ,
-for Wolf and Jeffry. For Taka, omit .
: A two-handed attack attack that covers Akira's stomach and stuffs sabaki attempts. It pushes to opponents to Akira's back and if it causes a wall hit you can follow up with extra hits like and for greater damage.
: Covers Akira's back and side-turns the opponent. Allows for Akira's best side turn attacks against all characters (more on that later), and can be considered one of Akira's most important tools.
* Both of these moves put you at a small disadvantage when guarded but will leave you wide open if evaded.
Akira has a variety of throws but there are only 2 you really need;
for big damage, and
which is 15 points of damage by itself, but when followed with a combo becomes one of the most powerful throws of all the characters!
Combos:There are many other character-specific combos of varying degrees of difficulty that I've omitted here. Some characters may be able to tech-roll out of those combos so for the time being you should get used to using the above examples.
, , , -for characters up to Shun's weight.
, , -for characters up to Akira's weight.
, -for all characters except Taka.
, -for Taka (yeah, cheap).
Other useful moves
: aka 'Kaiko'. A high-guard breaking move that makes Akira such a threat in VF5FS. On hit it breaks through a guarding opponent's defences creating enough advantage for moves like (see above) to connect. The 'Yutori' or Lazy Throw Escape (LTE) is a popular and extremely versatile defense technique and this is the move that eats it raw, cementing Akira at the top of the highest tier in the game as far as I'm concerned. It's range is pretty short, but it's fast; it's impossible to deal with even if the opponent sees it coming. This move is an awesome weapon in Akira's arsenal.
: aka 'Gekiho'. Another guard break like 'Kaiko'. The major difference is that this one hits mid, and if it misses only has the same frames as (???). Howver, hitting this on a sideturned opponent is where this move really shines. Without going into too much detail, basically attacks from the side increase your frame advantage when compared to attacks to the front and guard breaks are no exception. Hitting Gekiho from the front only gives you enough advantage for whereas hitting it from the side would allow you to get in a knee-class attack. Here's a reliable Gekiho combo:
(on sideturned opponent), to float the opponent, then hit ( for Taka).Hitting and escaping your opponent's throw attempts are good opportunities for you to get into the sideturned game. With this move, your sideturned opponent's yutori defense will crumble, turning him or her into a lamb destined for slaughter... well, I'll share some lamb recipes with you later, I guess. A word of caution though, if it hits anything except for a guard (NH or CH) from the front, the disadvantage is so great the opponent can even attempt to throw you.
or or : aka 'Toryū'. Just looking at the commands brings on a headache but this is also another guard break! Unlike Kaiko and Gekiho, during the first stage where contact is made with the opponent's standing guard inputting the following commands causes the attack to come out as a string(???). Highly damaging and awesome-looking, this is another highly-recommended mainstay technique.
When to employ the guard breaks:
- Kaiko is a straightforward input, you can use it on the spur of the moment or when the opponent's defense freezes as you dash in to apply pressure.
- Gekiho is best applied from the side as outlined above.
- Toryū's range is longer and should be used when Kaiko won't reach the opponent, but will leave you vulnerable if it is evaded or whiffs.
Akira is a character with a lot of one-shot moves and doesn't really require a complex attack approach. Try this:
Start off with , and then , a throw or and repeat.
Even when you guard the opponent's attack, it's , a throw or . Learning the opponent's moves can come later.
Even if your opponent's hits you, it's , a throw or .
Train yourself to be able to repeat this attack style without hestitation. This is fundamental to using Akira.
Application of the above techniques:
Just to point out again, Akira's fundamental strategy should ideally revolve around:
- Hitconfirm to take advantage of when the move hits and lessen the risk when the move is guarded. As above, (hit),then go for a throw or . If is guarded or evaded, employ a yutori (LTE) defense or abare with .
- Change to in order to get more damage. is a mid with an easy input and allows you to press the advantage, the risk is low but unfrotunately so are the returns. is somewhat trickier to do but on counter hit can lead to more damaging combos. Once you get used to it you should make this a part of your offense, too.
- after takes advantage of Akira's strengths. As I mentioned before, Kaiko is an immensely powerful tool, you should get into the habit of using it as soon as possible. As it's difficult to input after the guard break, be sure to buffer as soon as Kaiko contacts the oponent's guard. After hits follow with a combo, all you have to do is learn the combos and train your reactions.
1. Aiming for a counterhit off to lead into combos
3. Breaking the opponent's guard.
And that really just about sums it up. I think his other moves are really nothing more than a means to end (OK, maybe a slight overstatement there). As for the uses of other moves and techniques, you should get the basics I've outlined here down first and slowly work up from there.