Melty Blood has long been a favorite among anime fighting game players, dating all the way back to the Actress Again Current Code days. It was always a niche favorite in circuits like Lunar Phase, and has always been featured in multiple majors throughout the decade. When Melty Blood: Type Lumina was released, it was received with moderate praise, but it was marred with multiple balance issues, glitches, and netcode hurdles.

The game was often unplayable depending on relative region, ISP, and even time of day, to the point where you’d wonder if the game actually had rollback netcode. It was a shame, because Melty Blood definitely had some naysayers for a long time. You know the type: the ones that can’t wait to see things fail for their own self-satisfaction.

For a while, Melty Blood thrived despite this. Tournaments were still regularly filling, the character balance sort of worked out (though Vlov was definitely rough to deal with), and the netcode eventually got resolved a few months down the line. The biggest complaint for me, personally, was the shield mechanic.

Basically, shield works similarly to reflect in Dragon Ball FighterZ; it’s frame 1, enables a multitude of options upon successfully using it, and you need to have a plan for it, or face a situation you may not be able to control. It was extremely powerful, and enabled very scrambly situations that enabled hamfisted RPS. It was very tough to keep things handled when you were on the offense. It was a very major complaint amongst the community, and a focal point of how games were played.

Fast forward to post-EVO 2022, and it’s almost like French Bread, the developers, created a brand new game.

First, they quite literally buffed everyone. Meaningfully too. Characters that needed a bit of love, got that, and then some. Sweeping system mechanic changes made a large majority of the case much more oppressive. Noel, for example, is just allowed to hit her gigantic buttons and be super safe from so many different options. System changes also allowed dash-blocking to be a reliable thing, which indirectly nerfed Vlov.

Some of the shield changes also put more emphasis on standard normals instead of charge normals, as standard normals can influence certain shield interactions as well. Air shield has much faster recovery, which doesn’t make it a free punish anymore. There was a shield option select that allowed you to get a meaty, as well as shield Heat (burst). You now have to high shield it, which is a bit more of a commitment, but makes said commitment a bit more invested for the attacker. Lastly, shielding takes away some of your moon drive gauge, meaning it has a real cost now. You can still shield if you’re out of moon gauge, but you only get a brief one, and are unable to hold it.

Another game changing change is auto-combos being optional. A major pet peeve of mine and many other players was how the slightest input “error” (many of which were just fundamental fighting game habits you should be learning, like double tapping), would force you into an auto combo. Now, you can choose to completely lock out auto-combos, only use them by hitting A+B, or keep them the same. This option is also available for aerial versions of the auto combo.

This is likely character dependent, as some characters really do like having their auto combo easily available. I don’t know if any character wants to completely get rid of it, but I’m sure someone out there would prefer it that way. It’s the option to change it that makes it so good. Next, HP values are all different now. Before, everyone’s HP was 11000, now, we have variable values based on the character:

Neco-Arc: 10,000

Maids (Kohaku and Hisui): 11,000

Ciel, Shiki, Noel, Roa, Miyako, Hisui, Kohaku, Red Arcueid, Dead Apostle Noel, Aoko, Mario, Mash: 11,700

Arcueid, Akiha, Vlov, Saber, Powered Ciel: 12000

Kouma: 12300

Of note, maids gain a small regen whenever they tag into each other, to apparently make up for their smaller health pool, and to encourage playing both of them.

These are just a few of the massive changes that went about in Melty Blood: Type Lumina, and doesn’t even go into the individual character changes, or even the new characters released with the patch! If you were looking for a very fast paced anime fighting game, with super good movement and incredibly oppressive offense, this is your game.

It’s been very fun dipping back into it, and I’ll probably compete more in the future. Currently, I’m looking at Noel, and Red Arcueid, but every character feels great to play, and I encourage you to give everyone a shot!

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