Fighting Game Night!
Hot on the heels of Evo 2014, a few weeks back we decided we'd dedicate a GAR to 1 versus 1 fighting games and see where it took us. What we discovered was that we really like kicking each other in the face, whether with an anime-like college girl, a high definition wolf, or a boxing kangaroo. We played a total of 5 games, here's a rundown in the order we played them.
Persona 4 Arena
This was by far the group's collective favourite. Persona 4 Arena was developed by Arc System Works, responsible for the fast-paced 2D fighting series, BlazBlue, but is above all one of the biggest acts of fan service that you're ever likely to see, pulling characters, settings, and that funky awesome music from Persona 4 and Persona 3. Every battle is such a flurry of colour and overlapping sound effects, that no matter how much experience you have with fighters, you'll feel like a complete badass.
During GAR 26, we held a short-form tournament to give away a Timmy Bibble's Friendship Club t-shirt, where J stumbled onto the crazy-powerful Shadow Labrys, some devastating moves taking him all the way to victory. If you're a fighting game fan, you should really check this one out. Our resident enthusiast Mike was really impressed with it, and we're all in anticipation of the sequel that's currently in the works - which has yet to be given a European release date, unfortunately.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Tekken is one of the easiest fighters to get into, and at this point the roster of characters is truly ridiculous, having had 6 games in the main series. We spent our time with TTT2 in the Team Battle mode, where each of us would randomly pick 8 characters then fight each other while trying to work out each one's moves. This was a great way of seeing a variety of content, though some of the characters seem a little too abusable, Eddie proving a button mashers delight much to my frustration.
Tekken 7 is on the horizon, and looks to feature all of the men-throwing-relatives-into-volcanos you'd expect and hope for.
KI was a bit of a shock to the system when we first launched it, as it plays very differently from the rest of this list. Focusing on combos, bouts are filled with combo-breakers, counter-breakers, and ultra combos if you can manage to string attacks together for long enough. I have no history with the series, but the game got Earl a little hot under the collar from our short time with it, so it must be doing something right.
The game's an Xbox One exclusive, with a second 'Season' on the way. You can get into the action for free with one playable character which gets rotated out for a different one every so often.
Dead or Alive 5
Most of my fighting game experience comes from the Dead or Alive series, funnily enough - I spent hours playing DOA3 on the original Xbox back in 2003. Next to Tekken, it's another very accessible fighter that's fun to play, and flashy with it. Dead or Alive 5 is great fun too, though not up to the high level of quality that we reached with this list of games.
It's strongest point, however, is in the story mode, which features bonkers cutscenes, intertwining timelines and some of the greatest excuses for a fight to happen since the Mortal Kombat reboot - in fact, it seems to have taken some cues from MK, released a year earlier and which proved that the single player of a fighting game doesn't just have to be an arcade mode with unlockable costumes.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown
Virtua Fighter is certainly the toughest game to appreciate from this list. VF5 was originally released in 2006 in arcades, with the 'Final Showdown' version getting a console release 2 years ago in 2012. It feels very retro, the sound effects invoking a different time, jarring in charming fashion against the more high res look of the game. It feels like a classic game, polished and refined over several years, revised based on feedback from the arcades until it was at its very best.
It's a pure game in every respect, featuring no fluff or frill, and boasting one of the deepest fighting engines you'll ever see. We only spent a short time with it on the night, but from experience I can say that it's a clever game that requires some of your time and attention before it really shows what it has to offer.
We really enjoyed the experiment, and found some games that we'll definitely return to. For the next fighting game dedicated GAR, we'll have a new list of games, including older classics in addition to modern titles.
We've got some more Round-Ups coming up, with more fresh multiplayer indie games to share with you. Every week, our community meets up to take a look at new titles, forgotten classics and much more.
If you have a suggestion for a game that you think'd be a good fit, come and share with us!