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Skullgirls: 2nd Encore - Review - Cinema Shelf
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Skullgirls: 2nd Encore – Review

Developer: Lab Zero Games

Available For:  PS4 / PS Vita / Steam

Game Type: Head-2-Head Fighting

With the release of the original Street Fighter IV for past generation consoles, competitive fighting games saw a renaissance of sorts back in 2008.  While members of the fighting game community (FGC) still participated in monthly and annual tournaments, this genre of gaming didn’t really see a lot of fresh new software come about after arcades started to die out in late 90s.  With the release of SFIV, fighting games started to see growth again, with notable titles such as Blazblue, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Mortal Kombat (9) paving the way.  With so many new fighters coming out over the past decade, it would be a tall task for any new fighter to truly stand out from the crowd.  However, Lab Zero’s Skullgirls: 2nd Encore has enough style, substance, and fun-factor to help it stand on its own in the crowded fighting scene.  Whether you are looking for a competitive pastime or just something to play with your buddy on a random evening, this games provides as much, if not more, bang for your buck in the face of its higher-priced competitors.

The Style

One of the first things you’ll notice about this game is its style.  It sports a standard 2D style, with 14 strangely designed, but wonderfully animated, 2D characters.  The characters themselves are a strange bunch, ranging from a teenage girl with a talking head of hair to a beaten down police detective with rebuilt, robotic limbs and musical instruments for weapons.  Yes, Skullgirls is a strange game, but that is just part of the overall charm.  Rounding out the aesthetic appeal is the game’s jazzy soundtrack, produced by Michiru Yamane of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night fame.  Overall, it looks good and it sounds good.  Can’t complain.

The Substance

As a complete fighting game, it has a lot to offer.  Included in this 2nd Encore release is all of the characters and options from its previous release, plus the addition of balance changes, all DLC characters, and voice-overs for each character’s story mode.  Anyone new to fighters will find the game’s tutorial system very helpful, and each character’s trial mode will offer up combos to master when you really want to take things a step further.  Arcade mode, challenge mode, VS, and of course, online play flesh out this package and offers a lot for its 24 bucks asking price.

Overall, this is a legit fighting game, created by legit professional fighting fans.  While fun can be had with the game if you are not serious about being competitive, the game has roots in competitive tournament play and even has a small tournament scene already developing in its currently short lifespan.  Be sure to put in some practice before heading to the online arena if you don’t want to be overwhelmed.  Also, while the game is accessible, with its tutorials and helpful training options, it can still be fairly technical due to its 6 button layout and execution demands for pulling off some of the flashier, more damaging combo strings.

Curtain Call

Skullgirls: 2nd Encore is a fun, well-polished, competent fighting game that fans of the genre should give a chance.  The character designs are definitely wacky, and depending how you feel about your fighters, this may or may not be to your liking.  Still, the overall package available for its inexpensive price does more than enough to shine through.  Fans of anime, jazz music, and fast-paced fighting games such as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 should definitely give this a shot.  Just be sure to practice up before heading online, ‘kay?

Rating:  9/10

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