I wrote this on the eve of when Final Showdown was coming and I used Ver. C to prepare for that. What I saw was what I learned didn't 1:1 translate like I thought it would. Final Showdown showed me quickly that I needed to adjust my play for what's changed from Ver. C to what I was presented with. The basics of what's always been there didn't budge but everything else around it did. So with that I had to relearn my approach to Sarah within the confines given. Even with the game being out for all this time I'm not quite where I want to be but getting there isn't impossible either.
The other information this article provides is still relevant to anyone who decides they want to dive into VF5's Quest Mode and get the most out of your play there. It was quite a shame that Final Showdown didn't have Quest Mode but it offers plenty for the price point. That much is a given. So read on into a relic of the past and learn something new. Enjoy.
After we got that release date for Final Showdown I wanted to see what my VF aptitude was so I put the game in and proceed to play. And what I discovered was no mystery to me. I sucked. Very badly. The reason being is because I do what I always do, go on autopilot. This happens in every fighter I play unless 1 of 2 things are possibly happening. Either I'm trying to experiment with something new and I'm just focused on taking mental notes about my current research or I'm so engrossed into what or who I'm playing I'm a lot more focused on the task at hand and I'm a lot more careful in my approach to that given situation. Other than that I'm just going with the flow because I know it isn't that really important if I win or lose . When it comes to Virtua Fighter and Sarah my autopilot flows like this. I know some basic BnB's and I'm always finishing PPP strings with a K on block. Anybody who even remotely plays VF knows that doing this results in Sarah dying afterward because 100% of the choices she has when a K comes out in that string that the opponent has enough block advantage to make dinner, eat it and still have time to punish that mistake. Also I'm not taking advantage of O or D-Stepping which leaves me vulnerable to a whole bunch of stuff I have no business getting hit by or not punishing my opponent's linearity. And let me not forget if I knock you down I always have to either Jumping Knee Stomp or Soccer Ball Kick you for no apparent reason. A stomp or swift kick to the downstairs area when Sarah does it is really, really, really sexy. Just saying. All of the above are horrible habits for a Sarah player or any player period. However, since I took on Quest Mode I'm starting to break myself of those nasty habits and play a better Sarah because of it. I see these mistakes and I know I'm making them and that's the first step to breaking them. When I make those mistakes now I get a little peeved at myself because I know I shouldn't be making them. But Rome wasn't built in a day and neither can I think I'll erase all of that away in just a few days of dedicated play. Quest Mode has been a great tool for me to learn about the rest of the roster and the many different ways a character can be approached. Even though every single player has access to the same weapons doesn't mean that 2 people will use those weapons exactly the same. This goes for any fighter and has proven to be pretty much fact.
At this juncture you might be wondering how has Quest Mode changed my approach to VF5. It has in many ways mainly the fact that the AI quickly showed me that autopilot is a HUGE NO NO! How I described my Sarah play when I'm not focused can be summed up in one word...linear. In VF, linear has your life bar empty in no time. This statement of fact is why a lot of people shy away from the game. The reason being is that the wall for playing the game at some competency happens a whole lot earlier than in other fighters because VF expects you to understand it and has no qualms showing & telling you how horrible your play is. When Final Showdown drops this wall is going to smack the uninitiated in the face and I'm just giving fair warning to those who fall into this bracket because that point will make you consider giving up. So take heed to the words I speak now. VF isn't like any other fighter out there because of how you have to approach the game to get good at it. VF rewards those who find something and stick with it. That reason is why I only play Sarah because I know that putting all my efforts into being a better Sarah player will pay off in the long run. This is what got me past that wall when I wanted to play VF at some competency and because it worked for me I can at least suggest that if you run into this issue that giving it a shot may work for you.
Now maybe after reading all of that you might want to take up Quest Mode to up your Virtua Fighter aptitude. So I'll bless you with some stuff you may want to know before stepping in.
1. Pick one character and stick to it. The game doesn't reward you for going through it with more than one character at a time. Fully completing it with one character affords all the characters in the game with a special bonus when you start that mode with them after that. And the reward in the grand scheme of it all could've been better but at least you get one.
2. Know your arcade hierarchy. For the most part you can hop into any arcade you want but you may just want to go from easiest to hardest. Sega Arena Coast, Club Sega Downtown, Club Sega Bay Area, Sega Arena East, Sega Route 101, Sega World North and Sega World South.
When you finally decide on an arcade there are 3 stations available. The 1st one is for the lower ranked players of the arcade. The 2nd one is the mid-ranked players. And the 3rd is for the high ranked players and where you'll find the traveling players that frequent multiple arcades. So that you know, rivals that sit on the 2nd machine can sometime show up on the 1st machine as well. Some rivals who sit at the 3rd machine also show up on the 2nd machine as well. Knowing this information is key when trying to find that elusive rival to complete that list. And once you defeat someone a star will appear next to their name in the arcade screen and on their player card as well. A lot more on this later.
3. Quest Mode has a variety of AI patterns for all the characters but they do fall into some distinct categories.
You have the low ranked scrubs who are just there to fill up the rival list.
You have the medium ranked fighters while still just fodder for your destruction tend to pretend they can fight back.
And you have the high ranked fighters who have the best defense I've ever seen. EVER!! I tend to compare these fighters to WW Guile because you look in amazement in what these AI fighters can do, guard against and punish. (The WW Guile reference for those who don't know is that an AI Guile in WW can do Sonic Booms and Flash Kicks at will. THAT SHIT CRAY!!) And let me not forget the about the blatant abuse of O and D-Steps. Learning to guard and punish O-Steps and watching when the AI D-Steps is key to have any chance of winning the farther you get into Quest Mode.
4. Burst in Tournaments and You. While you happen to be "Laying The Smacketh Down" on all those who dare oppose you is the game will let you know that a tournament is starting. Tournaments come in 2 flavors. Official VF Tournaments and those that are run by the Arcades within Quest Mode. Official VF Tournaments happen every so often when you reach a certain rank/win quota. When these come up it's best to deny the invite initially because they'll be available when you're ready. However, these tournaments don't stack so you have to clear it first before another one is presented to you. Tournaments that are run by the arcades come within 3 flavors of their own. Gold, Item and Emblem for a 1st Place Victory. Gold tournaments should be ignored for the most part because as I'll put you up on later that there are better ways to get money in Quest Mode. Item and Emblem Tourneys should be taken when available because they come up less often than the ones that offer a Gold prize for 1st place. Item tournaments give you Mid/High priced item for winning and Emblem tournaments gives you an exclusive emblem for winning. From what I know if you happen to lose an Emblem tournament that you can claim that emblem from the rival who won it by finding them and winning the fight when challenging them again.
5. Leveling up happens normally except for one extreme case. When you attain the Master Rank the only way to level up from it is to beat 5 10th Dan opponents in a row without losing. These don't have to be 5 back to back matches. Just as long as you win 5 matches against 10th Dan opponents. Losing does come with the consequence that you are dropped back to 10th Dan and then have to reattain that Master rank and start all over again. After that leveling up goes back to normal for the most part. Ranks from there on in are is determined by your winning percentage. Below 70%, Between 70-80% and 80% or higher. You'll know that you're at the end of ranking tree when your rank is Liberator, Destroyer or Conqueror.
6. Item Matches. Every so often when a match starts you'll be given the extra incentive to win a random item upon your victory in that Item Match. Now what you get from the item match is determined with color the Dragon and Tiger are while the match is starting. Silver is common, Gold is uncommon and Gold & Green are rare.
The Silver ones can be anything from some money, a common item or an Orb.
Orbs are for your Orb Plate. You'll notice it on the bottom left hand side of your player card. It takes 7 orbs to fill up a single Orb Plate and when you do you're given a special item. The first one is on the house and the other 7 you'll have to buy from the Item Shop. There's a very quick way to get this done in a hurry and it's very important for gathering additional items. More on that later too.
Uncommon and Rare Item Matches always give you a customization item upon winning. And depending on which Item Match you're involved in will grant you an item equal to it.
Now that you know all of this information let me let you in on how to break Quest Mode so you can be done with it faster. Because as my father told me "It's better to work smarter not harder." This statement is one I live by. I always find a way to do something quicker because I just have knack for doing so. So let's get started.
1. Go to the Options Mode and turn off Autosave. This is important. While you're there adjust the Arcade & Versus settings for quick fights for Step 2.
2. Go to Arcade/Versus Mode and Create new data for who you're taking through Quest mode.
3. Lose 7 times. Now go to Quest Mode and Win 6 times.
4. Now after that 6th win exit all the way to the map screen and save.
5. Go back into the arcade and win once more and back out to the map screen. At this point you should notice that the last number in your wins and losses are 7.
6. If luck was with you you should see a SEGA Hot Air Balloon on the right side of your screen.
WELCOME TO THE BALLOON TRICK!!!!
What the Balloon Trick does is activate 10 straight Item Matches in the first arcade you enter after the balloon shows up. If you completely leave the arcade back to the map menu then it deactivates and you'll have to wait until the numbers match up to see if you can trigger it again. This is great for getting Orbs to fill your orb plate. Free items for customization and what this will ultimately break down into is 10 matches of free cash to spend at the Item Shop.
They say you can do this with any number and you can but 7 triggers more for people than anything so it's best to stick to it because it's a proven winner.
7. Here's the thing. Because you were smart and listened to me and turned off autosave, you can now control this trick like this. Fight 9 Item Matches and then quit back out to the Map Screen and save. Go and fight one more and exit back out to the map screen. If you see the balloon then go back into the arcade and rack up more, more and even more. If it didn't trigger then fully exit the game and start it over and see if it'll trigger for you. Early on it's so worth it to abuse this trick so you can quickly fill your 8 orb plates so you have a better chance of snagging an customization item from a common Item Match later on.
Now remember that the Balloon Trick lasts for 10 fights but in looping it we're only using 9 of them though. So what can you do with that other fight. Plenty. Now I want to introduce to you...THE POWER OF QUITTING FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT!!!!
You can combine Item and Rival Hunting by using your one extra fight to quit back to the arcade if you've already fought that rival to see if the other 2 stations has someone you haven't defeated yet. If someone happens to be available to get their ass beat then do it. If not then pick somebody and go for it. This is a great habit to get used to when your rival hunting later on because you don't want to waste time fighting somebody you've already beat. Because winning umpteen times in a row does nothing as far as I know. The other thing you can use your extra fight for early on is to get back to the arcade menu to purchase another Orb Plate. This is important because if you don't have an orb plate then you can't win orbs for it. The one event that supersedes all of the above is if the match you're quitting on is a Uncommon or Rare Item Match. These are worth the fight even if you can't reset the Balloon Trick because they don't come up too often.
8. Priorities, Priorities, Priorities! This is very important in the early part of Quest Mode because as I see it the faster you get certain things out the way the faster you get to concentrating on the one thing that makes Quest Mode such a chore...fighting rivals. When it comes to the Balloon Trick is the only choice you might be faced with is when a arcade ran tournament appears. Remember that Gold tournaments are very common are very worthless to you at all times because you know how to beat the system in regards to getting money. An Item or Emblem tournament are less common but worth to stop the Balloon Trick for to make a play to with that Item or Emblem. Because every Item tournament you win becomes one less item you have to buy. Emblem Tournaments are more in my view just a way to get them to stop popping up as 1st prizes so Item ones become more common.
When it comes to Rival Hunting priorities take center stage because backing in an out of an arcade to find that one rival you missed is tedious as hell. The simple way is to remember the arcade hierarchy. Rivals you have to defeat that sit at machine 1 over time become harder to find because more rivals occupy that machine. And machine 3 is the reverse of this. So if you're nearing the end of completing an arcade and more than one new rival is available then take the rival on machine 1. You will thank me and so will the thought of ending your own life because of the tedium of entering and exiting an arcade to find that one.
Also keep in mind that there are some rivals that won't even appear before you to get beat until you reach Liberator, Destroyer or Conqueror Rank so don't fret if you've been looking for a bit and the one isn't showing up.
9. Remember you learned earlier about the power of saves and quitting, right? Now it's time to see the Super Form of it which I dub, LOCKING! Locking comes in 2 forms. Tournament Locking and Rival Locking.
Tournament locking works like this. When you've decided to accept a arcade ran tournament you can save before starting the tournament. So on the off chance you don't win, you can restart the tournament and keep at it until you win.
Rival Locking works like this. Because there's no penalty for quitting mid match regardless of where the battle stands you can lock that rival in place until you win. This works hand in hand with keeping 7's in your wins and losses. Because losing results in the same lock but you'd have to lose 9 more times to get a 7 back in your losses column. That's a humongous waste of time and the most important part is by keeping that rival locked until you win means one less you have to hunt down later on.
With all of that out of the way I'm done for now. But before I go I will leave you with some tools that will assist you further in Quest Mode.
Shout Outs to Ash_Kaiser on VFDC for making this awesome Rival List for the 360 Version of the game. It still applies to the PS3 version too but the 360 has additional rivals. I still don't know if that's good or bad.
You can find it HERE!
If you need a movelist for either the PS3 or 360 versions then I got you as well. Remember that Ver. B =PS3 and Ver. C =360.
You can find the Version C Movelist HERE!
The default link is Akira for the same version. So I linked Sarah's instead. I HOLDS MY BOO DOWN, YOU DIG!!!!! Thanks to VFDC for that link as well. I hope the command list gets an update for Final Showdown. I have a feeling I won't be let down on that.
The game itself has an awesome movelist in Training Mode that shows you how to do the move with button presses and joystick movement. Super awesome. A great way to watch and learn the execution of those moves that may give you trouble. This feature will be available in Final Showdown as well so be sure to take advantage of it.
I know this information will be moot for most in 2 weeks but that wasn't going to stop my sharing of all it however. I wrote this to remind myself that my Sarah play could be a lot better and what better way than to put that fact on show for the world to see.
The Quest Mode stuff is for whoever sees a use for it. Better to write these things down versus letting the thoughts rot into my head.
So with that I hope you learned something new and I'm going to continue to use Quest Mode as my tool to become both a better Virtua Fighter player and the best Sarah Bryant player I can.
And of course to earn enough money to play dress up. I'm going to find a way to share my customizations of Sarah. They're pretty cool if I say so myself.
Don't forget to save those dates for Final Showdown. June 5th for PSN and June 6th for XBL!
And remember to always Play, Learn, Adapt and Evolve. You'll have more fun that way.
-Triple Da God AKA #GAMINGZNUMBA1DOPEMAN