Melty Blood: Type Lumina is one of the most anticipated fighting games right now and for good reason. It’s a sequel to the legendary anime fighter, Melty Blood, that took the FGC by storm in 2002 for the unique systems and movement options that the gameplay consisted of.
Melty Blood has a cult following today, with small-pocket communities keeping matchmaking alive and freelance tournament organizers still encouraging professional play.
For the most part, however, the game has been dubbed as “the bathroom” fighter for how niche it is, and how the visuals have aged (Not that they’re poor, just relatively lo-fi).
The announcement of the sequel raises exciting possibilities for Melty Blood to once again enter the mainstream and have lavish tournaments. But many have been disappointed with how the game has been dumbed down to be more beginner friendly.
Is Melty Blood: Type Lumina going to be too simple?
In general Melty Blood can be described as a fast paced three-button fighter with an emphasis on air movement. Characters must make use of their abilities to air dash and double jump to rush down their opponents or cross them up, and an important part of the offense is using launchers to string together damaging air-combos.
What makes Melty Blood: Type Lumina distasteful to some hardcore fans, however, is the inclusion of auto-combos and having a slow-motion confirm for launchers.
What this means is that players of Melty Blood: Type Lumina don’t necessarily have to memorize combo routes at lower levels of play, and can use launchers more reliably than before.
What’s interesting however is that this doesn’t necessarily mean that Melty Blood: Type Lumina will lack the depth the previous installment had due to the inclusion of newer mechanics like the moon skills and the moon drive.
Even without the latest mechanics it’s hard to say that Melty Blood: Type Lumina would lose all charm because technically mechanics aren’t being stripped off, only simplified.
The complex air neutral has been retained, and Melty Blood: Type Lumina would more accurately have a different flavor from the previous installment.
The consequences of reducing the execution barrier
Over the years fighting games have become easier, and players are able to perform more combos and deal damage pretty easily in most recent fighters, like Melty Blood: Type Lumina.
The reason for this is that the execution barrier to perform said combos has been significantly lowered.
Auto-combos in Melty Blood: Type Lumina are one effect of this simplification trend, but in general moves have become easier to link and deal more damage. Whether this makes the game lose its depth, however, is a point of contention, as high-level play exists for almost every fighter that has fallen victim to simplification.
Street Fighter V has been widely criticized for trying to reduce the skill gap between beginners and veteran players, but at the end of the day boasts an esports scene that is populated by a consistent list of professionals and isn’t as forgiving to newer players as people would claim.
It has become harder for players of higher skill level to retain their ranks in the community because the mechanics of the game do not reward their experience enough, but simultaneously the mechanics are never simple enough to deem all skills obsolete.
At the end of the day, players of higher skill will always dominate the game.
Auto-combos in Melty Blood: Type Lumina may be effective in drawing in new players, but there is no doubt that they will not carry new players across the rankings the way people claim they would.
Gameplay as a form of expression
What simplifying mechanics would damage, however, is the ability for skilled players to express themselves in different ways. The potential for gameplay to be extremely diverse and for skill to manifest in new ways is what gives a game a high skill ceiling.
The unique property that older fighters had is that players would be associated with playing styles that were easy to tell apart because of how different they could be.
Play styles were sometimes even unique for some players who would push the game to its limits.
Some people were even called “combo artists” for having the talent of piecing together unique combos and mix-ups. Games would be exceptionally rewarding to players who were willing to put in the time and effort to master them.
But newer fighters seem to encourage a single META that players should live by. People are barely encouraged to to break the game as it’s not rewarding enough to do so.
Higher-level play was flashy, but barely substantial and was most definitely heavily moderated by developers.
One can only hope that Melty Blood: Type Lumina allows players the same freedoms they had in the original game to express themselves.