Well, just packing up here ready to go on holiday. Had a good ten hour run on FS yesterday, playing around 200 matches in both Ranked and Room, making a few Santa-girl outfits etc. Graphics and gameplay-wise, this release has really blown me away. Probably the most enjoyment I've had with a videogame since the Dreamcast days (Third Strike, Virtua Tennis, Crazy Taxi, Code Veronica, Confidential Mission, Gunbird 2, Shenmue II, and of course, VF3). Actually being able to play it against other people this time around has been, for the most part, a wonderful experience. So, when I get back in Jan', my plans are really to: Get a new stick. Seriously. Have been using the same old MadCatz with a hideous (IMO) SFIV graphic for like two years now. The VF colour coded Sanwa buttons in it are totally shot. Would really like to try the stiffer Seimitsu stick at some point, as this one has the JLF, with the looser throw (I stretched the spring a bit though). Am most likely looking at the large white Hori stick for 360 next year. Let's hope there's enough funds left in the piggybank after all the presents and booze-up of late Dec' Internet connection. Again, pretty critical for playing fighters online. Will be on the dog 'n' bone to the ISP, making sure the best speeds are coming through like they're supposed to be on a wired and prioritised line, where you pay extra to not have any 'throttling' during peak hours. Might get a new router as well. Comfy gaming chair. Real talk Watch a lot more videos, and spend time practising higher damage options with Vanessa and Shun. Had no idea I would end up playing these two when I got the game. Shun always intrigued me on the older games, but in all honesty, I never took the time to sit down properly with his movelist. He seemed kinda daunting back then, but now I feel I'm getting a basic handle on things, just need to memorise and explore more of the stance strikes. Vanessa, she didn't really appeal to me as a character on part 4, and felt stiff and clumsy... now on this, you can make her look awesome (I think she may have some of the best customisations items out of all the girls), plus easy switch between OS and DS essentially gives you two quite different type of styles, which you can adjust according to who you're fighting. Just some of her basic attacks and throws deal very good damage. I never use guys like JA/BR/BL/AK/WO, so seeing how quick you can shred bar with just a few simple moves felt kind of astonishing at first, but great I have to admit Aoi. This is one of my personal favourite character designs, in pretty much any video-game ever. A stunning Japanese woman in what is arguably one of Japan's all time AAA amusement titles. I love the way she can patiently turn the tide back on an opponent, and use their aggression against them. In my hands at least, she does feel a bit weakened in this version compared to the old game (VF5). The damage on low throws has been severely reduced, which feels a bit unfair when you look at Goh or Wolf. I find myself having to rely on quite boring sequences too much (2KP, 64P+KP, or just mixing up PPP2K with... low throw). Bur for sure, some of the most consistently dominating players on Live user her, so clearly I just need to spice things up a bit. Memorising and really practising her wall combos (some of which aren't even that hard, for example, 66P stagger, 46P+K, 2KP, KPK, no tech 2P+G = 100+), and getting the positioning on them is something I really need to work on too. Oh, and G cancels, my goodness. Hopefully newer, crisper buttons will help with that, as all I'm really able to get right now is long range 66PGP for the throw. Gotta start using that knee! Building a more solid Pai game that doesn't involve reckless rush-down that gets me flipped and half-bar'd all the time. Again, there are some good Japanese video out there on YouTube, as well as all the EVO2012 warm-up vids. Always loved the speed of this lady, but I think I definitely need to take it easier with her sometimes. Need to learn the stronger combos off 1P, and break the bad habit of just doing PPKK like from the old one. I feel that her 46P+G is very powerful, and have been practising getting the follow-ups from this, but online, at very quick pace, I still mess up the back dash towards them after flipping over. Good players will break the low throw follow-up, so you can effectively yomi this with a cold 3K+G instead. That's VF Other chars. Well, I tried using Sarah and Eileen a bit, but at the basic level, they felt more of a deathtrap than Pai Just can't get into the flow or momentum of these two, compared to the other 3 females. But for sure, in the right hands (Blossy, Daydream respectively), they shred. Again, that's VF I tried using Lion a bit (Love the BMX pose!). All the low moves mixed in with 23P mid launcher felt powerful very quick, even with real simple follow-ups (PKP, 66KK?). If I carry on using him though, lots more to learn, such as capitalising on this long range, low hitting side-turn move, plus the stances and guard breaks etc. I can see why Chibita, who favours up-close speed and aggression, loves the flow of this guy. Unfortunately most Lions I see so far on Live don't really utilise a lot of those moves, so I guess hooking up with an accomplished Lion user for a set would be another target for next year, lol. Rest of the cast, hmm, might take a delve into what Jeffry has. Pretty rare to come across him at all on there. Same deal with Kage, which really surprises me. I always thought he was a big deal char in VF. I remember browsing this forum many years back and seeing lot of Kage avatars. I'm from the generation that saw a Japanese Kage player dismantle like 100 kids on a British gaming show, back when VF3 was new The speed manoeuvrability and low-hitting options from range all look quite tempting! Anyhow, that's it, gotta catch train soon. Hope to carry on playing with you all next year Merry Christmas, and have a good one!