Critical-GOTY 09 pt.1
Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 4:18PM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Fighter, Mechanics, Misc Design & Theory, Street Fighter

The idea is simple; to highlight the games that are the best of this year. The limitation is obvious; I didn't have the time or the budget to play every game that was released this year extensively. The tradition is maintained; to present my GOTY mainly to reflect on my own personal tastes and hopes for design trends that I would like to see continued in 2010 and beyond. 

With this flexible GOTY system I don't have to worry about ranking my choices in a list, and I don't have any arbitrary entry limitations. Every game that I feel should make the list makes the list. A free indie game has the same chances as a new Mario game. With that said, I've come up with a few honorable mentions. These games have a lot of positive qualities, but I have too many issues with them to put them in my GOTY list.

Honorable Mention #1: Street Fighter 4.

The Street Fighter series is a well established fighting franchise with a refined style/definition of combat. In this game, fireballs, footsies, and dragon punches abound. Unfortunately, the core Street Fighter design has been the same since SFII released in 1991. Many fans love how the series hasn't drastically changed since its SNES inception. I'm a fan too. And though I greatly appreciate SF4's online features and how it rebirthed the Street Fighter series for the current generation, there is too many short comings about the game to award it as one of my GOTY. 


My favorite new feature of SF4 is the FOCUS ATTACK mechanic. This is one attack that has many functions. Simply, it's a charge mechanic that can absorb one enemy attack and dish out a unique block breaking blow. Complying with the core interplay loop, the charging state and even the initial release of the attack can easily be grabbed. The following are the additional, sometimes nuanced, uses of this mechanic.

In the end, the FOCUS ATTACK is a charge, offensive, defensive, mixup making, combo continuing, safe move maker that can be used easily by beginning players while giving pro player more options. It's fun to imagine adjusting more traditional fighting games like Street Fighter by replacing several moves with fewer moves that have a variety of applications. 

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