Agree 100%. I get that they always want to have some new “thing” in their games that spices up the combat, but for some characters, the changes between variations were pretty weak (stares daggers at Reptile) or there were cool things in each individual variation that, when combined, would’ve made a really fun character, but separated out, weren’t quite as fun.
Then, of course, trying to remember what each variation for each character is capable of when playing against them felt like a logistical nightmare. You go in to the match trying to remember… “Okay, Voodoo Pigeon Mileena… She has this move and this move that carry across variations, but then she can also do this, this and… Aww butt poops, she’s already peckin mah face off.”
The whole variation system honestly just left me wanting a character that could either do all the stuff from all variations or, assuming that’d be horribly unbalanced, or simply had a full assortment of moves, skills, stances, etc that were balanced against the rest of the cast.
I mean, if they HAD to bring this back, then I’d say limit it to two variations, but have NONE of the special moves overlap. Two is at least easier to keep track of as opposed to three, and with no overlap, it’s a bit easier to remember which version has which moves. Not a lot easier, but a little. Over time it wouldn’t be nearly as annoying.
If they’re going to do different stuff with the gameplay, I’d suggest:
- Drop variations from 3 to 2
- Bring back stage transitions, but have them feel more organic
- Give every character a reversal or a parry
- Change meter from 3 bars to 4
- Allow players to reverse combos into combos of their own using two bars of meter
- Allow players to escape combos using one bar of meter, but make the animation more fluid looking
- For the love of all things, take out the weird directional presses like (d, b, f) for things like throws and what not. Just make them d/f throw button or t,t throw button. Also, give grapplers more combo throws.
- In addition to (shorter) X-Ray moves that still use 3 bars, give each character a small super (2 bars) and a full super (4 bars) and have them be more flashy.
- Support bar / support moves: Upon selecting a character or a beast before the match, you can call them in during the match, using one bar makes them drop in and use a special move, like a fireball or some rough equivalent, two bars brings them in to absorb damage you’re taking (even during a combo) for a brief period of time, three bars is a short combination attack that does medium damage if it lands and four bars is a combo super move.
Obviously, I’m not saying that every one of these should be enacted. But I do think that it should be easier for characters to play defense in MK games. I also think that meter could be used for more, and while support moves and supers and what not aren’t necessarily new ideas, I think they’d just give people more to look at, but they could also have certain properties that might lend themselves to being more useful in certain situations.
I know, these ideas aren’t overly well thought out, but again, I’m just trying to throw some ideas in there that could make the next MK feel different, since they seem to want that in each game. I’d also add loosening up the timing a little bit, perhaps making cross ups a bit easier and smoothing out certain animations that seem to come and go a bit too quickly as well. But that’s just me.