Sunday, 7 July 2013

Critical Rocket's gaming genre breakdown 3

Yes it has been delayed a couple of times but it is here, part 3 of my genre breakdown.  Today I thought I would talk about a genre I have had a pretty mixed relationship with, the fighting game genre.

My first experience of fighting games was probably Street fighter 2 in the arcades back when the four boss characters were unplayable and Ryu and Ken dominated the scene.  Obviously back then the fighting genre was huge in the arcades across the world gaining massive attention and bringing fans swarming to Capcoms franchise for years to come.  The console versions on the SNES and Megadrive where OK, but never really matched the quality of it's arcade counterpart.  Until the debut of portable fighting sticks the best you could get was multi button controllers to emulate the arcade button system.

Still Tekken X Street fighter was cool
I will admit I sucked at Street fighter and plenty of other fighting games really, with a long list of titles I had tried I never seemed to get into the groove of the fighting game.  I did like them though even if they did kick my ass every time I played them, I just couldn't get the nuance of the combo systems or being able to naturally chain attacks together to make a devastating combo happen.  What I did really like about fighting games though was the characters.  Every new game or sequel would bring with it a raft of new larger than life characters, some good, most bad but it was the variety on offer really that made them fun to play as.  Older fighting games used to have unlockable characters which made running through the story fun and gave you a reason to keep playing, while other series had secret modes and costumes to find.

Mortal Kombat made huge waves with it's gimmick of being able to kill your opponent in a number of visually gory manners.  It wasn't the best fighting game out there, in fact it sucked when placed side by side with the likes of Street fighter, King of fighters, Tekken and more, but it had that unique selling point that no other fighting game had at the time.  The controversy it caused only made the game even more appealing and thus Mortal Kombat still persists to this day.  Shit it became so popular at one point it had it's own TV show, 3 movies and collectible toys.  Again I wasn't very good at MK but it was still fun regardless.

Probably my favourite fighting game was DOA2 or Dead or alive 2.  I hadn't played the original but it didn't really matter in the long run since the story wasn't all that important.  The combat was exactly what I had been hoping for in a game like this for years.  It actually had fluid combat, counters and level interaction.  The characters were all pretty cool and the tag battle modes and awesome combat kept me playing until I had unlocked everything it had.  Yes it had some very skimpy outfits for the more immature gamer, but outside of that it was cool, Ein is still one of the best characters in fighting games in my opinion.

These days though I can't help but feel that the genre has hit a slump.  Back in the early days it was sprites and 2 dimensional arenas to fight in.  Players wanted a third dimension and we got Tekken.  Then players wanted level interactivity and we got games like Urban reign and Dead or alive, but today we have nothing.  The genre seems happy with that and the innovation seems to have stopped.  I guess it's a mix of players not demanding more from their fighters and developers not wanting to take a risk.  But where could they go from here?  Well maybe more interesting arenas, new modes and even new ways to play.  I am not the biggest fan of motion control but I am surprised no one has yet tried a Kinect based fighting game.  Sony had the awful bare knuckle boxing game on the Move, but that's it.

It's not as deep as some but it's still more interesting than SF
The Dragonball franchise will be giving us a new team based brawler later in the year or early next and when it's dragonball Z bringing the innovation you have to worry really.  Why isn't Soul Calibur, Tekken or even Street fighter not leading the way anymore in fighting game evolution?  As it stands the genre could carry on as it is for the next few years but eventually journalists are going to tire of another conventional fighter and want more and maybe that is when the developers will try something different, when the review scores reflect a disapproval since developers seem very unwilling to listen to their own fans.

I do like the genre even though i am no expert in it.  I find myself now playing fighters that do something a little different like Urban reign, Dragonball Z or Ultimate Ninja storm because they at least have a different way of playing instead of running the same old tired tropes as the big names are.

Thanks for reading, have a good week everyone.


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