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The evolution of the parry throughout gaming

The+parry+is+one+of+the+most+exciting+mechanics+for+a+video+games+combat+if+executed+properly%2C+as+shown+through+the+combat+above+played+in+FromSoftwares+2019+Sekiro%3A+Shadows+Die.+So+while+some+games+implement+it+flawlessly%2C+in+others+it+gets+boring+quickly.
Kelly Quinn
The parry is one of the most exciting mechanics for a video game’s combat if executed properly, as shown through the combat above played in FromSoftware’s 2019 “Sekiro: Shadows Die.” So while some games implement it flawlessly, in others it gets boring quickly.

Almost every game that has a standard combat system includes the option to parry an enemy attack. This means that the player times their block to just when the enemy strikes, allowing for some sort of counter attack or damage to the enemy. Sometimes the game’s entire combat is built around parrying. Other times it’s just a footnote. But even when it’s not a useful move, the risk-reward factor makes the parry a thrilling move to use.

The game often credited with having the first true parry mechanic is “Samurai Shodown II,” a fighting game released in 1994 on Neo Geo arcades and home consoles. That being said, they weren’t officially called parries until being given that name in the arcade fighter “Killer Instinct 2.” Then the series that popularized and developed the mechanic was “Tekken.”

Perhaps the first set of games that comes to mind when parries are brought up is FromSoftware’s “Soulsborne” series. Most of the games have the similar mechanic of being able to deflect enemy attacks with a shield, which, if performed successfully, allows for a critical attack dealing a lot of damage. “Bloodborne” was a game that’s different, as the player can’t parry with a shield but instead must use a gun. However, these games still primarily have a focus on dodging enemy attacks rather than parrying.

In 2019, FromSoftware released “Sekiro: Shadows Die.” This game’s combat is built around consecutively parrying enemy attacks, which deals damage to the posture. Once enough posture damage is done, the player can go in for the kill. This creates a give and take flow to the combat, almost making it feel like a rhythm game because the most effective method for timing parries is when the player keeps count in their head.

Another game with a brilliant parry mechanic is “Ghost of Tsushima.” There are three stages: blocking an attack, parrying an enemy and if timed correctly, a perfect parry that immediately breaks the enemy’s posture. This along with the smooth animations make the player feel like an unstoppable samurai.

Not all games get the parry correct though. If it is too easy to execute, the mechanic ends up getting redundant and unsatisfying. This can be seen in a lot of “Assassin’s Creed” games. The player can deflect incoming attacks and then immediately counter attack. Unfortunately, the opening for the parry is just far too wide, making it difficult not to counter attacks. The animations are flashy enough for this to not be a huge problem at first. But with these games being as long as they are, the combat can get very boring towards the end.

That being said, it seems more and more games want parrying to be a predominant piece of their combat. Two recent examples include Marvel’s “Spider-Man 2” and “Lies of P.” With it being such an exciting move to pull off, it’s no wonder developers want to emphasize it. It’s important that as more and more games incorporate the parry, it doesn’t get stale.

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About the Contributor
Kelly Quinn, Writer
Hello. My name is Kelly and I enjoy writing about movies and video games. Oh, and I have beaten Elden Ring five times.

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  • K

    Kieran BuxtonJan 30, 2024 at 11:31 am

    A great article. However I notice you didn’t bring up the parrying mechanic in hit Roblox game, “Untitled Boxing Arena.” Parrying attacks is a crucial part of the game, and one of gaming’s latest examples.

     
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