Posted by: Leek | November 13, 2013

Memetaa TV Episode 4: Jojo: ASB – Talking about the Basics

For the next coming parts I’ll be slowly working through the basic and necessary system mechanics I believe all incoming and existing ASB players should know. Even though a lot of what I say in these tutorials won’t be new to some players I believe there might be a few bits of information you might have missed out on. So even if you’ve played the game up and don’t feel like you need to learn anything, I still recommend you give the tutorial a watch or skim the text version.

By the way, I forget to mention this every time but for any existing players that live around the Midwest that are looking for matches I’m available. If we can magically get a 4 bar connection or higher then I’ll be happy to play some casual sets with people (and I’ll even upload them if you’re alright with it). I know as well as anyone the online is terrible but I figured I would extend the invitation to anyone feeling up to it.

What you should know about the ASB Roster
I had gone over the variety a bit via styles in the ASB roster but today I really want to talk about it in detail. Now for those that have looked over it you’ll see that ASB is a very character heavy game with 32 characters not including any of the DLC and 41 with all known DLC. Just like with any character packed game you can probably guess that tiers are pretty far apart and certain characters with struggle against others severely. For example, a player set on using Rohan will have a number of bad matchups ahead of them versus someone using Hol Horse (who may find only a few bad matchups). Despite this there are no real “clone” characters and every character plays generally differently within their style. I still have yet to investigate the entire roster but I recommend you play around and find someone who really clicks with you.

As for a few comments concerning DLC, I’m not quite sure how BanNam intends to market the release for Western audiences. The fact they decided to give it a Western release was already a shock to me so I’m curious as to how they play to try and sell it. And if they had any wit, I can’t imagine they’re stupid enough to try and market the DLC characters at individual full price (600 yen or around $6-7 per character). But I can’t see into the future. However, I’d recommend you do a bit of research on which one appeals to you if you want to buy any. Or if none appeal to you, I feel the roster is satisfying enough you can live without them.

How does ASB play?
For starters, I feel it’s important to instruct what the game feels like on a competitive (and less casual level). As stated by CC2 themselves, the game is very beginner friendly. The basic mechanics are easy to understand and they implemented several ways that beginners can get out combos that will do decent damage. So if you had any worry of “Is it impossible to play on a standard controller?”, I would say to not sweat it. If nothing else it’s just finding a button setting that is most comfortable you can perform combos consistently. And rolling it back a bit, even if it is beginner friendly there is an obvious skill ceiling. ASB is still a fighting game and thus there are various fundamentals that you need to understand if you want to compete with higher skilled players. But I believe if you have a basic understanding of how to use the game mechanics to your advantage then you will generally be able to perform rather well.

From the get go I will say that if you’re a fan of faster games that ASB will most likely not be for you. The game itself can become very defensive, especially in certain matchups. While it’s not impossible to be rushing your opponent down the entire round, you will have to play very smart and there are certain times you’ll have to be ready to control your pace. But from a viewing standpoint there will be a lot of times where there is a lot of movement and no attacking because players are trying to bait their opponent to make the first move. So it’s important to know that since no gauge combos can often do very small amounts of damage that time ups and generally long matches aren’t rare. However from a player standpoint you’ll be thinking during every second of the match. The game timer runs 99 seconds but if you play to a timeup you will most likely feel every single one of those seconds in a tight match.

For just some basic fundamental pointers I can throw out, remember that crouching lights for all characters (excluding Wham) can all be spammed and are exceptionally fast. So be ready to low block early in strings as there are many players who will want to catch you with a quick crouching light to start combos. Another alternate outside of guarding the low is to use how great jumps are in the game. Jumping is incredibly strong in ASB for several reasons. For one, it can get you out of a lot of setups on wakeup that aren’t timed well and potentially give you time to counterattack. Well timed jump attacks are incredibly dangerous to counter and since anti-airs aren’t great for a large part of the cast it means you don’t run a huge risk by throwing them out. While you can’t be reckless with them and bad jumps will be punished, just be aware they’re not a bad form of movement to use to get away from opponents even without air guard. For the most part, a opponent is risking more by trying to anti-air you than you are by jumping at them.

My basic advice outside of those mechanics is to know the ranges on your attacks well so you can maximize or at least get hard knockdown after any hit. Every bit of damage counts and if you can score a hard knockdown it gives you a tremendous attack advantage. But if you know your spacing well and how to punish your opponents properly from various ranges then the damage will begin to stack up. The sooner you can find how to keep yourself relatively safe means the easier it is to build up your defensive or offensive game. If you choose defensive then you can manipulate opponent to make mistakes and punish by smart use of Stylish Moves or flat out punishing unsafe moves. If you choose offensive then you can know what attacks keep you safe at what ranges and frustrate your opponent by whittling down their guard gauge. All in all, while I feel defense can make you very strong in this game just playing your character with a keen mind will give even the most defensive player trouble.

The Gauges
In the last segment I just wanted to give a brief idea of where to look on the HUD for your gauges and give more ideas of how each will affect your game.

Health Gauge – The largest green bar at the top of your screen, the Health gauge is something that needs little explanation. As said before, health bars are fairly long but the amount of health you actually have will vary from character to character. The standard amount is generally considered 1000 but character like Iggy can have as little as 700. Be wary that there is in fact chip damage in this game but you will only take it from special moves (not command moves however) and supers (HHAs and GHAs). However chip damage cannot kill you so be ready to fight down to the last pixel of your health and make your opponent work for the last hit. And, of course, due to it’s defensive nature the health advantage means a big amount in this game. Health leads for various characters (such as Horseback characters) means they can go fully defensive. But on the contrary you can force these types of characters to have to come out you by taking a good health lead on them.

Guard Gauge – The small green bar below your health is you guard gauge which depletes anytime you defend an opponent’s attack. Various attacks will do considerably more damage to your guard gauge than others and some can deplete it to zero instantly. If it manages to hit zero you suffer a guard break and give an opponent a window to get in a free assault. Stylish Moves and various moves such as DIO’s burst will expend your guard gauge by various amounts and thus you should always be paying attention to it and make sure how much you’re sitting on. Guard gauge will slowly recover during battle but will pause if you’re jumping, getting thrown, or during the animation of supers. In the case you’re getting hit by your opponent it’ll recover at half the speed, so be careful.

For guard gauge it’s one of the meters you must fully be aware of not only your own but your opponent’s. In regards to yourself it will tell you if you need to back off or prevent you from trying to stylish move out of a setup when you don’t have the necessary gauge. As for keeping an eye on your opponent’s this is your indicator of when you can rush them down without worrying about a heavy counter assault. An opponent who can’t stylish is subject to a lot of pressure as they can’t just freely escape from what they wish. If you are aware of an opponent’s guard gauge while they’re not, then you have a strong chance to time your guard breaks. This you can land a full combo and completely punish a opponent with a ton of damage for their mistake.

Heart Heat Gauge – The standard super meter which gives you access to various hard hitting moves and other mechanics based on your style. Meter in ASB is incredibly important and how you use it will be purely up to how you wish to play the game. For the basics, you’ll always begin the first round of a match with one bar. You can stack up to three and any meter you end the round with will then carry over to following rounds. Standard supers or HHAs will cost one bar while GHAs will cost you two. You can also use a single bar for a puttsun or universal cancel which can allow you to extend your combos or make attacks safe that would not otherwise be. Outside of these meter is utilized differently for every character so be wary of what your specific character is capable of.

So how does gauge dictate how you play? From my meeting of ASB players there are two styles of players who you will run into. Some will tell you that if you get a hit to burn all the gauge you can and get the maximum amount of damage possible. Others might tell you to always save at least one bar for a cancel so that you can always be ready to save yourself from getting punished for a mistake. While I am a practitioner of the latter school of thought, I don’t find either to be a bad school of thought. In the end it comes down to whether you are a offensive or defensive player. I’ve seen both types win a good amount of matches and it just generally comes down to your other match decisions on whether it’ll work out. Sometimes even your choice in character will dictate which strategy may work out more often for you. But it’s important that YOU as a player pay attention to both your own and your opponent’s gauge. If your opponent has one gauge be wary that they can try and bait a punish from you by utilizing a cancel. So be smart in watching not only an opponent’s guard gauge but also their meter so you don’t fall into a opponent’s trap.

Additional Meters – If your character has any specific traits or special meters, you’ll find them above the Heat Heat Gauge. I won’t generally go over any specifics here but just be aware if your character has any specific traits you must keep track of you’ll always find those above your standard gauge.

Conclusion
These are all the basics I believe I wanted to cover for this first tutorial. From here on out I’ll start going into specific system concepts that all players should know about. We’ll start small and slowly work out way up to more advanced ideas but for the meantime, tutorials will appear to cover very minor details. However, hopefully this tutorial gave you a basic idea of what to be ready for if you haven’t touched the game or may helped you think through why you might have struggled in certain matchups. While ASB is a simple game on it’s surface, a few matches with better players will give you a breath of fresh air that there is still a good bit to learn and practice in the game.

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