The AI in Shadow Lords can be frustrating for a mediocre player

This thread was originally posted before the September 20th release of Shadow Lords and I can now say that the mode is even more difficult. Normal mode is now harder than challenging mode was pre-release and challenging feels like godlike difficulty. Gargos is nearly impossibly to beat on normal what with his free lifebar cheese and insane reactions to everything you do. For a mediocre player Shadow Lords is nearly unplayable in its current state.

I’ll be the first one to admit I’m not the best KI player. I can’t manual on command, or at all for that matter. I can’t predict autos and break them on reaction based on the animations. I’m lucky if I can time a breaker on a shadow move or get a successful shadow counter. I’m just not the best player and I’m not afraid to admit it, above average maybe? But I’m certainly not like these folks who’re getting through Godlike as if its a cakewalk.

That being said I’ve been sticking to challenging difficulty, for the most part I can keep my head above water and beat my enemies (not without taking my share of the bruises) and overall its a lot of fun. However its a little frustrating when I have two Omens on the map at once and I can beat one of them no problem with minimal damage and the other one with comparable buffs feels like he’s on Kyle difficulty and reacts to everything and destroys me before I can even think to activate a consumable. I’m not really sure why the difficulty seems to jump around in such a way, I get having missions of different caliber for obvious reasons but I don’t see why two Omens at the same day in-game would be so drastically different in skill.

It all has me feeling frustrated and thinking I’m not all that great at KI. Seeing the skilled folks strut around making it look easy makes it even more frustrating. If I try to go down to a lower difficulty I find that the rewards are so paltry that its almost not even worth playing, I’d be better off playing Godlike and just deploying every mission because I’d make more gems than playing legit on normal. Long story short the mode is amazing but the difficulty can be a bit jarring for the average-skilled player versus what you can expect to come away with for playing.


I’m starting to agree, actually. I’ve been going through on normal a few times just to unlock cutscenes, and I’ve noticed the AI doing… weird things.
Things like mashing jab, or spamming (I don’t use this word lightly) a certain command normal or special, going for tick throws and flip out setups, Instinct Canceling autos to bait lockouts, whiff punishing a normal with Annihilation, catching a jump in with teleport Shadow DP… This AI is definitely different than other low-mid level AI in the game.

Sure, I can understand if this started happening on Tier 4 missions or during Omen fights or Godlike or Challenging, but a lot of this happened on the very first day of starting a new game on the lowest difficulty. Is the game keeping track of your progress and making it so every subsequent run gets more difficult? Is it holding a grudge against me for that one cheesy Godlike Boss Rush I did? It feels really weird having to heal back up after the first day. I like having challenge in the later parts of the game as the days wear on and I feel inclined to use a guardian, or when there’s enough reward to warrant using an item. But 70 gems does not equate to 70% of my health…

I’m starting to think that, especially after I managed a Godlike run, the AI difficulty is more or less universal throughout all modes, and the difficulty levels are mostly determined by buffs applied to the AI.


[Inevitable mention of Shadows AI integration into Shadow Lords request]

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Someone should totally add shadows AI’s to Shadow Lords :open_mouth:

I wouldn’t sweat it though OP. I’m a generally good player even in tournament, and the AI gives me problems. I find myself utterly unable to predict, well, anything when fighting against it, and sometimes find myself having to resort to unfair loops against it (poor thing doesn’t know how to jump command grab resets). The AI alternates even on the lower difficulties between “stares vacantly at wall” and “unstoppable whiff punishing and counter hitting force of nature.”

I’m really hoping I can use KI Gold to unlock the colors and whatever else is attached to the mode. I don’t think I’ll be playing it much at all unless Shadows AI’s somehow get integrated into it.


Can’t break? There is a companion for that :smiley: The AI is BS though.

I don’t get it whit wanting the shadow in the game instead of the AI. I think people would complain if they did that for several reasons.

First off there are a lot of shadows that don’t work right. My Hisako for instance just jumps. I have played over 60 matches with her, but when I or my son challenges her, then all she does is just neutral jump the whole time. I also can’t do a set of matches without running into the can’t find the character error.

Second. The shadows would need to have been used enough to get data on every character in the game for them to claim to work right. I don’t know of that many people who put that kind of time into their shadows.

Third. Who’s shadows would be used in the first place? The shadows would either be to easy or way to hard to fight. If the shadows are random then you could end up fighting an easy one on godlike and a hard one on the easy setting.

Now this is just my opinion, but I don’t wanted to deal with the Egos of people who would end up having their shadows in the game. That would instantly cause one group of players to think they are better than another because they would have their shadow in the game.

Look at it this way. The Multiplayer part will be out in 3 weeks, so half of the people play SL now will jump ship to the MP version.

I thought I was the only one that felt this way

None of that has any bearing on whether or not I personally want shadows AI integration into the mode… :slight_frown:

The normal AI is tedious and boring to fight. Shadows are at least nominally interesting (and if they haven’t seen a situation they do have some “best-guess” logic behind them). There are definitely people who have taken a lot of time and care getting their shadows right as well, though it’s certainly not the full population or probably anything even close. Either way, while you might get difficulty spikes pulling shadows, I don’t think it’s any different than the random difficulty spikes you get now, except that now your opponent would be difficult in a believable and interesting way, as opposed to “I’ve decided to counter hit and shadow counter everything you do now - have fun.”

With regards to people putting on airs about having their shadow chosen for the mode, who says they have to be notified at all? I’m fine with it plucking a random shadow from the server and letting me fight it, or plucking my shadow randomly from the server and letting someone beat up on it. I don’t need a bounty notice, and I don’t need to ever know that User123 beat my shadow in SL. But I’d like to think that User123 probably had a half-decent fight against a Hisako that fought like an actual Hisako.

I imagine there are definitely some people out there who prefer fighting true AI to either real people or the hybrid human-AI shadows. But I’m just not one of them, and most of the players I know tend to fall into that boat as well. Add a toggle for it if you must I guess, but for a lot of players out there, SL will be a no-go entirely without the option to fight more human-like opponents.

To me it makes no real difference, I have seen shadows do some of the same miracle crap that the AI does. I have seen shadows break in the same spot 7 times in a row, and the one time I try a counter breaker they don’t, but then go right back to breaking it every other time. I don’t see the shadows change their play style in the match either.
I think that the SL AI is alot different than the single match AI, but I could be wrong.

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I guess I just play the AI too much normally to know what to expect. That doesn’t mean I’m not caught off guard by something that is usually un-characteristic of what I expect it to do. Jago power level IV wake up DP…hurts. The point of the mode is supposed to be utilized with everything it gives you and to eventually have Gargos show up.

I don’t want anyone to feel this is a bash on skill level or you I’m saying to just get better, the mode is designed to reach a certain point with failure as an option. That is why your collection carries over. I have had my fair share of wipes due to the AI jump or damage scale, but if it didn’t have a spike at all, I feel I would be on day 50, using no consumables waiting for an area to be corrupt enough for an omen to appear.

I get what the OP is saying, but could you imagine how boring it would be with consistent normal AI. Just a perspective on my end and hopefully you all don’t keep giving this mode a shot due to the difficulty spikes. Thank you.

[quote=“SadisticRage76, post:6, topic:14160”]
I don’t get it whit wanting the shadow in the game instead of the AI. I think people would complain if they did that for several reasons.

Third. Who’s shadows would be used in the first place?[/quote]

You don’t get it at all. We don’t want IG to integrate your Shadows, or my Shadows, or Storm’s Shadows or Bass’s Shadows or anyone else’s Shadows in particular. (Though I think the idea of commissioning a pro player’s Shadow for each character for a Godlike difficulty would be rad.) What we want are specially curated shadows, either hand-crafted entirely or automatically generated or carefully assembled and tested from pieces of recorded Shadows, which play a given character sensibly at various levels of competency corresponding to the difficulty levels in the non-Shadow Lab modes of the game, maybe with some variation in habits as well so that you can find yourself pitted against e.g. a medium-difficulty zoning-focused Fulgore Shadow or a medium-difficulty rushdown-focused Fulgore Shadow, not Fnrslvr’s Fulgore or SadisticRage76’s Fulgore which are obviously likely to be incomplete products.

We want the technology behind the Shadows that makes them capable of matching up risk-reward decisions to situations with delayed reactions, not the specific habits of the players behind various Xbox Live gamertags.

As someone who fights a lot of Shadows, my experience couldn’t be more different.

Look, say you’re Jago and you throw out a random wind kick from midscreen. If you’re playing against the main game AI, it’ll block it with some probability, say maybe 50% depending on the difficulty level. What would a player have to do to achieve a blocking rate of 50%? They’d have to moderate their movement in advance to be holding back or downback 50% of the time, since the wind kick is active and in your face before a human being can react. That means that for at least 50% of the time, the human opponent isn’t walking forward, and that creates space control, which is very important. But the AI doesn’t give a ■■■■ about that – the AI tends to do this thing where it just marches forward like a Terminator, and blocks based on some internal criteria that doesn’t have anything to do with the liberties it’s taking in its movement beforehand. On the higher difficulty levels it blocks just about every time. The highest difficulty level should be a test of your ability to contain the AI with your good decisions, but instead it’s this grind where you throw stuff at it forever until the dicerolls come out in your favour.

Another example: I’ve been learning Wulf recently, and one thing you do against someone like Jago from midscreen or so is you dash in with Wulf’s excellent forward dash and throw out a sweep or an overpower. It’s great, because you can sit there long enough to bait out a wind kick and then go in and put a hitbox on them before they have time to blink. But the AI has this quirk where, on frame 1 of that forward dash, it’ll throw out a wind kick or something similar. It’s reliably enough of a quirk that you can just finish the dash, block the wind kick and take an offensive turn – but what even is an offensive turn against the AI? Its throw defense seems to be consist of some variant of “tech with probability p if I’m getting thrown.” Have you ever managed to bait a throw tech with a jump against the AI? Surely they should be exposing themselves to numerous baits alongside all the throws they’re teching. What about shadow counters? Similar things happen elsewhere in the match: the AI almost never meaties a wakeup, but presses a button as soon as it sees that the reversal buffer is clear, so you can clean it up with a delayed DP. You can perfect boss Shago by delay-DPing him on his wakeup repeatedly, actually.

The quality of your decision-making, your ability to manage your tendencies to contain or take advantage of those of your opponent’s, is what makes you either a good or a bad player, but what’s good decision-making in a match where you’re just baiting basic AI quirks and relying on dicerolls to get damage? It’s a waste of KI’s brilliant combat design, and frankly unfun to win or lose to.


This^^. So much this. :persevere:

Until your post just now, I had not seen one post about making shadows for SL to use. All I ever seen was people wanting to have shadows used instead of AI. That being said, I was not wrong at all.

Like I said before most players will stop playing SL after they unlock the Stage, and will play it just enough to unlock their mimic main when they come out.

I’ve spent hours in the combo training feature, doesn’t help one bit. I’ve also been trying to complete dojo lesson 32 for 3 years without success.

I’m too used to playing people now, playing vs the AI isn’t fun for me. I mean, I’m playing to learn the game to get better when I think I’m going to compete. Playing the buffed AI won’t teach me that much, it’s just another thing and other mind game (the one you have to find how to beat the machine, like old arcades at their hardest difficulty).

It’s my problem, not the game’s problem.

Some players will say it’s hard, other will say it’s easy even in Godlike. It depends on how fast you get to “trick”/ read and beat the AI.

Here’s how it goes every time I fight the AI in KI (or any fighting game, really).

“Oh, blocked that overhead out of nowhere, huh? Okay.”
“Oh, teched that throw for the 10th time in a row, while never whiffing any throws yourself, huh? Okay.”
“Oh, now you just randomly decided to get hit by that super slow move because the dice roll said so, huh? Okay.”
“Oh, so I don’t move at all for 5 seconds and then you 1st frame punish the next button I push, huh? Okay.”

… sigh…

“Alright, fine, I’ll find the exploit and just beat you without taking any damage.”

Literally no skills involved in playing KI against real people come into play when fighting against the AI. You can’t mix the AI up, you can’t exploit realistic tendencies, you can’t condition them. Spacing has absolutely no bearing on anything. The combo game is super lopsided (they will break you at random intervals and be impervious to counter breakers, so you are at the mercy of a dice roll). Literally the only thing you can do is exploit a hole in their logic until they die.

If they try to patch the holes up, unless new holes are found (or created on purpose), fighting the AI will be even worse.


Yeah it can be a bit…frusttrating (no actually really frustrating at times) but…it could be worse.

My typical measuring stick when it comes to AI kinda goes like this:

…at least it’s not MK2 on the SNES bad…

Ah those were the days. Can duck under any projectile at a moment’s notice, can put you in a throw loop, the AI was “flawless” when you actually tried to fight it.

I typically used an exploit where the AI would be about sweep distance from the other edge of the screen and if you threw a projectile they would jump backwards into it. Every time (teleporters excluded). But yeah, those flawless rounds you mentioned, I would call them “Who’s your daddy?” rounds because it seemed like the AI was making a point that the only reason you were progressing is because it was letting you progress.

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