Thursday, August 29, 2013

Skullgirls Review

For those of you who have been following this blog since February may have seen my post about Skullgirls' Indiegogo Campaign a few months ago. It's really good to see that the community have worked together to let this great fighting game grow even larger. And now that I've finally got my hands on it through Steam let's see if this game really is as good as I think it is or will it just disappoint me.

The first thing people will notice about Skullgirls would be the beautiful artstyle with smooth and fluid animations. The combination of eastern and western influences are really apparent in the artstyle and Alex Ahad as the lead designer has done a really great job in making Skullgirls look as great as it is.

Some people are crying out sexism throughout the internet nowadays so Skullgirls might get some flak because of this, however I want to clear up one thing. That all of the characters here in Skullgirls are badasses in their own way and are all powerful girls/women. If you think Skullgirls is sexist just because some of the characters have big bouncing boobs or dress in a sexy apparel then you are just crazy. Sexy =/= Sexist, but this is not what this post is about so let's move on.

The characters, although only 9 are available(including 1 DLC character) are all very unique and have very good design. Each character have various animations which are hand-drawn and animated at around 1200 frames of animation per character. This makes it the most fluid and beautiful 2D fighter in the market right now. Yes, personally I'd say that it looks better than Blazblue(it's not only about the design or aesthetics, but the smoothness of the animation and the details of each movement).

As an added bonus the various color palettes available in the game are actually shout outs to various other games, tv shows and media(although some of them are original colors). You can find a Hatsune Miku color for Filia, Eva-01 color for Painwheel, Kula Diamond color for Parasoul and even a Hulk Hogan color for Cerebella. Try to guess what each color represent!

The music for this game is just wonderful, most of it are handled by Michiru yamane who worked on Konami's Castlevania series musics. This is also the first time a Japanese composer worked for a Western developed game. The game's jazz music is just lovely and fits really well with the artstyle and the fast paced combat.

The gameplay resembles that of Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Blazblue. It is fast paced and filled with a lot of awesome looking combos. You can use up to 3 characters in a team and fight other players who are using 1-3 characters. This is balanced by making teams with more characters deal less damage and have less health per character. However, most players have stated that two or three-person teams are more viable for high level play because they give you access to assists.

Skullgirls have a lot of unique features, like the Infinite Prevention System and the recently implemented Undizzy System. These systems are there to prevent people from doing what people usually call a Touch of Death Combo where you can get combo'd from full health until you die.

One can't really review Skullgirls without saying anything about the expansive tutorial which is just the best fighting game tutorial ever made. The tutorial will teach you everything to know about Skullgirls and even fighting games in general. If you're a fighting game newbie like me, just jump in to the tutorial and when you're done you will feel that you've learned a lot. You might still not be able to do combos but that just mean that you need to practice.

The training mode also offers a lot of options for you to try. You can practice your combos and learn of the various character hitboxes in the training mode. The game offers a lot of stuff that will help the player learn and get better, which is something that will attract people who are usually scared off by fighting games and their high barrier of entry.

Character story are usually ignored in fighting games and in general the story in Skullgirls is pretty much mediocre in terms of writing. One thing in particular though is that they made each story have a bittersweet ending making the ending a bit more enjoyable and memorable. My favorite is Squigly's story mode where Lab Zero clearly have put more thought when compared to the other stories. It might be cliched, but it is still good and made you feel really attached to the character.

Speaking of attached to the characters, Lab Zero certainly have succeeded in creating character we actually care about. Every one of them have their distinct personalities, their likes, dislikes and each have their own backstory with clear goals on what they wanted to achieve.

The PC Version of Skullgirls have added a Lobby feature where you can create rooms to fight with other players or your friend. Sadly the lobby as it is right now doesn't really work well. Plenty of people are having crashes and matches that won't start in the lobby. It also lacks a Spectator Mode and Replay Feature although Lab Zero have stated that they will be adding these in the future.

All in all, Skullgirls is a very good Fighting Game with a robust tutorial and is also easy to jump in to. The great aesthetics will certainly attract a lot of casual player but it is the great fighting mechanics that will keep people around. The PC Version does have its problems but with how Lab Zero handles things it will only take a few more time to fix those minor issues. If you like fighting games or wanted to try playing a fighting game that is easy to learn, looks great and still have enough depth to satisfy a veteran fighting game player, Skullgirls is a must buy. With the price of $15, it is really worth it.

I would also want to remind you that they will be releasing DLC characters every 3-4 months, but don't be discouraged because these DLC characters will be free for the first 3 months after they are released. Currently Squigly is free until 22 November so don't miss out on this great deal.

1 comment:

  1. A nice review and a lot of information, thank you :)