Archive for the ‘Fighting’ Category

Those who have read my two articles on DW6 and the preview on DW7 will by now know my opinion on the series; bit tedious at times, but still has a degree of enjoyment. While I enjoyed playing DW6, I felt it was starting to stagnate. Now I’ve played the 7th game, is it going to be the same deal this time around?

Dynasty Warriors 7

For the first time in the history of the game Dynasty Warriors now has a Story Mode

The plot is the same as all the other Dynasty Warriors games, which is based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms; you watch the unfolding story of the three kingdoms of Chinaas they wage war for complete control. The new addition to the new game is the inclusion of the 4th kingdom; Jin. These are formed during the downfall or Wei, Wu and Shu, and strive to unite the land. I always wanted to see how the story progressed after the final battle of Shu and Wei, as I felt the games ended rather abruptly.

In DW7, they’ve thrown out the two usual modes that have been present throughout the whole series; Musou and Free Mode. These two were basically the same thing, though Musou mode did try to tell the story of the Three Kingdoms. Unfortunately, it wasn’t told very well. Now, in the new game, they’ve included two new modes to play; Story mode and Conquest mode.

Story mode is the replacement to Musou mode, and a good replacement too. In Musou mode, you played as each individual character, playing pretty much the same battles over and over again. Now, in Story mode, you play as the kingdom, following their campaign to ruleChina. Instead of playing as one character throughout the story, you control a different character at the beginning of each act, or battle. On some occasions, you switch characters in the middle of a battle. I like this new change, as it means playing the story doesn’t feel repetitive.  The cut scenes play out really well, and do very well to convey the character’s emotions, and what’s happening at that moment in time. There’s a scene where Dian Wei sacrificed himself to save his lord Cao Cao. I was shocked to see him riddled with arrows and collapsing to the floor. That’s never happened before. Previously the cut scenes just felt shoe horned in, and just got in the way of the actual game. In previous games, when you were in the middle of a battle, you be treated to a sudden blackout followed by a pretty pointless cut scene, before resuming your march. These used to get in the way of playing, but that’s changed in the new DW. Cut scenes and game play flow fluently between each other, and feel integral to the whole experience.

The second mode included is Conquest mode. This is like a campaign acrossChina, completing different missions in different battlegrounds. These missions include escorting the commander to the escape point, storming a stronghold, and helping with an army’s defence. Each mission can vary in length, but they do not feel drawn out. It’s not like you have to sit for hours completing conquest mode; you can play a few battles in bursts and take a break. There are also legendary battles thrown into the mix. These let you take control of each character and take part in different scenarios. These can either be historical battles they took part in or what-if situations. For example, Zhang He, the ‘fabulous’ warrior of Wei has two legendary battles; one is defeating Cao Cao, and the other is convincing other generals to join his dance troupe. Yes… a dance troupe. These battles are quite varied and fun as well. These two modes are a huge improvement to the previous games, as they make the experience much more enjoyable.

Each battle plays out in a similar fashion; defending the main camp, while pushing the opposition back. You are usually given a particular task to complete, in order to carry out the army’s strategy. Previously, these felt tiresome, and I felt obligated to complete them, just because I didn’t want to lose the battle, and start over again. But this time it feels different. I felt motivated to carry out the missions. My reasoning is that the cut scenes and the story were presented so admirably, they gave me a reason to progress further, and achieve victory.

The controls have gone back to the classic layout, and abandoning the Renbu system. The classic controls involved the use of a light attack button and a strong attack button. Both can be use to deliver different combos, such as light-light-heavy. I liked the idea behind the Renbu system, but you were basically pressing one button for hours, which just felt tiresome. Visually it’s pleasing, but that’s about it. The classic system works a little better visually and doesn’t feel as tiresome. The Musou attack still hangs around, and of course that’s been given the old nip/tuck. Instead of the characters just swinging their weapon around, they have an over the top technique that can obliterate a huge crowd of soldiers. Huang Zhong launches his enemies in the air to deliver a barrage of arrows, Jia Xu releases a vortex of fire, and Sima Yi engulfs his victims in web, before blowing them up, to name a few. It always brings a feeling of satisfaction to see hundreds of soldiers fly around after one little button press, which is one of the reasons I love this series.

Special mention should be given to the weapons on offer, since there’s a new feature; the weapon switch. You now equip two weapons to take with you, and can switch between them at will. It now brings more opportunities to slap some goons around. You have your regular, run of the mill weapons to choose from; swords, spears, axes, pike, arm cannons, bows… wait… arm cannon? Never knewChinawas that advanced to have a hand held cannon. And somehow they invented a lance that doubles as a drill. It’s classic ancient weaponry, with that usual Tecmo Koei over-the-top style. Even a harp can be used as a weapon. Who knew?

Dynasty Warriors 7 Case Artwork

Dynasty Warriors 7 is available now on the PS3 and the X-Box 360

If I had to mark it down for something, it would have to be the skill point feature they’ve implemented. You level up your character by defeating enemy generals, and gaining skill points to spend on new abilities; from an extra attack, to a new musou attack. Now it’s a good idea, but the points are only given to the character that killed the generals. Any characters you don’t use don’t gain skill points. This can lead to difficulties later on. For example, if you haven’t used a warrior until you play their legendary battle (maybe because you haven’t unlocked them until then), then they will be pretty weak, and only able to perform basic attacks. This means they will be susceptible to getting wiped out with a few hits, which can get frustrating. My opinion would be to have a ‘pool’ of skill points to use on all the characters.

Secondly, with all the new characters, you never really get to use them in story mode. I would like to see the origins of some characters, like Ma Dai of Shu, and Cai Wenji of Wei. If you’re going to include new additions, an origin story would be nice. But these two little flaws don’t really get in the way of the game.

I was thoroughly impressed with Dynasty Warriors 7. It feels like an actual sequel, with noticeable upgrades, and a better playing experience. DW6 was good, but number 7 is much better. This is the sequel I was waiting for, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Score: 9/10

Review written with the help of Sun Tzu by: Satchel

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Ever wanted to see WWE legends like The Rock, The Ultimate Warrior and Stone cold Steve Austin fight against Triple H, Randy Orton or even Sheamus? Well now you can!

Macho Man and John Cena Image

I'm not too sure about the likeness or that John Cena's muscles are that big but there you have it

You can make your favourite legends fight against the latest wrestlers from the WWE Smackdown and Raw roster in many epic battles. You can play Exhibition mode which is a single match and choose either a basic 1v1 match or maybe you fancy putting your wrestlers in a steel cage match, a fatal 4 way or even an extreme rules match.

There are a wide range of modes and many different wrestling rings for you to play on this game and if you like you can even create your own superstar.

I have played a few of the Smackdown vs. Raw games over the years but i was never a big fan of them but i actually enjoyed playing WWE All Stars. I found All Stars a lot easier to get the hang of, especially with the controls, and i loved the hints that would pop up beside my life bar (hints such as how to get in and out of the ring, how to climb the ropes etc), these are very helpful for beginners such as myself.

I liked the fact that this game is very Arcady – you can just pick it up and play as and when you want, you do not need to sit for hours playing and trying to get into it.

WWE All Stars Cover Art

WWE All Stars for Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, X-Box 360 and Sony PSP

The moves in this game are easy to do but you need to get close enough to the person you are wrestling to be able to pull them off, i also found that sometimes when i would be trying to do a move i would end up doing a completely different one without even knowing how i did it.

The main thing in this game that I’m not a big fan of is the fact that the wrestlers are all very bulky and have a lot of muscles. I know some wrestlers do have quite a few muscles but not as much as there is on them in this game. Most of the wrestlers look wrong because of it. I also felt that the ring entrances were a bit short. It just seemed to last a few seconds as the wrestlers ran to the ring and got into it, so I wasn’t very impressed with that.

If you are still not sure whether this game is for you then you can download the demo free on both Playstation 3 and on Xbox 360 now. In the demo you can only play as either Ray Mysterio or Ultimate Warrior but you still get a good tryout of the game – well enough to decide if you like it or not.

I will recommend this game although i do not believe it is worth the £39.99 price tag. I would say wait a few weeks to get this when the game decreases in price a little bit as the game is good but not brilliant and not worth spending loads of money on.

Score: 7.5/10

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If you remember in my first ever review, I thought the Dynasty Warriors series never really offered anything new, and that it was rehashing the same things with better graphics. Well, after scouring the internet, I found the official site to Dynasty Warriors 7, and it seems I am not the only one who thought that; KOEI may have actually listened to gamers, as DW7 looks to have been given the much needed enhancements.

Dynasty Warriors 7

For the first time in the history of the game Dynasty Warriors now has a Story Mode

You are all aware the game is set during the Three Kingdoms era (based on the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms). Well now they’ve extended it to include the Jin Dynasty, which came after the wars between Wei, Wu and Shu. This means they have added a new kingdom: Jin. This I’m looking forward to, since I wanted more settings than just the same plots done again and again. And the player gets to find out what happens after the fall of the Three Kingdoms, when Sima Yi (the cunning Wei strategist) takes over and starts the Jin Dynasty. Another kingdom means more characters, meaning more methods of decimating thousands of lowly soldiers (joy).

Reading further into the site, KOEI claim that cut scenes blend seamlessly into the gameplay. So you could be watching a scene where a character charges through a forest, stops by the enemy camp, and you can now start the mayhem straight away. No more blackouts that take you away from the experience.

Dynasty Warriors 7 Case Artwork

Dynasty Warriors 7 will be available on the PS3 and the X-Box 360 from the 8th April

According to the site, characters can use a wide variety of weapons; from swords, to spears, to axes, for example. You can additionally equip two weapons, and switch between them on the fly to deal greater damage, a technique known as a “switch attack”. Now this is pretty good, as you now have a much bigger move set at your disposal, but I liked how the characters had their own weapons; like Sima Yi had his claws, Xiahou Dun has the mace, and Zhuge Liang uses a fan. I’m on the fence with this feature, so I won’t make any judgements until I see the game.

One of the biggest additions is Conquest Mode. This looks promising, as you can travel through ancient China, battling for dominance. It allows you to visit cities, recruit new allies, create new weapons, and so on. This is what DW was lacking I felt; just to have the chance to travel the country, and visit towns, as well as taking part in epic battles is what might add more enjoyment to the game.

I do enjoy the series, but I have never been one to look forward to their release, mostly because I know there wasn’t going to be anything new. But after reading up on the 7th game, I am now quite excited. The full review will come when the game is released, on the 8th of April.

Stay tuned, Gamers.

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With all the graphical power contained within a PS3 and Xbox, you’d think games today would have nothing but 3D graphics, and shun anything 2D related. But there are games that stick to the 2D illustrative and make it work, particularly with a good storyline and gameplay. One example of this is BalzBlue: Calamity Trigger.

It’s essentially a 2D beat-‘em-up, similar to Street Fighter and King of Fighters; distinguishable characters, over the top moves, and very technical fighting. The controls are simple enough to learn; with the usual light, medium and heavy attacks, plus a ‘drive’ attack. It’s basically an extra attack to combine with the normal moves. And of course you have your over the top special moves, and a fatality-esque “Astral Heat” moves. So fans of Street Fighter will be able to get used to the control scheme. As a player of such games (net very good but good enough to know the gameplay) I would think a relative newcomer would find the controls a bit difficult at first to handle. Additionally, the movement can feel a bit stiff at time, and the moves don’t seem to flow into each other. Marvel vs Capcom 3 managed to make the controls feel fluent and fast pace, but BlazBlue sometimes feels rigid, which is a shame because I enjoy the over the top combat presented.

BlazBlue Cover Art for X-Box 360

BlazBlue Cover Art for X-Box 360 (Also available for PS3)

The premise is about a character called Ragna the Bloodedge travelling to the fictitious city of Kagutsuchi to destroy the government known as the Librarium. The Librarium know of Ragna, given the nickname of “Grim Reaper”, and his intentions, so put the highest bounty ever on his head, to entice warriors from all over to capture him. Now usually I ignore the storyline in a fighting game, as they never go into too much detail, but BlazBlue includes a story mode, so they delve deeper into the world and story of each character. The story mode plays very much like a typical anime, with cheesy voice acting, and random spells of humour mixed in with the drama. My one concern is the cut scenes are usually just an image, and the dialogue played over the top. I would have liked an actual cut scene in between battles, like a clip of the characters acting out the situation. Apart from that I do like the story and the acting, since I am a fan of anime myself.

Graphically, it’s sublime. Each character looks vibrant and unique, the stages are nicely rendered, and the animation flows beautifully. If the controls were as seamless as the graphics, I would have awarded an extra point.

Screenshot from BlazBlue

What does BlazBlue have that Street Fighter doesn't?

Now I was about to rate this game a 7/10, but I kept playing the story mode for a bit, and stumbles a cut scene hidden away in the “Tips” section of the story mode. It was titled “Teach me Ms. Litchi”, Litchi being one of the characters in the game. Soon as I played it I was greeted with another character, Taokaka, saying, “Teach Me Boobie Lady!”. Soon as I head that I literally burst out laughing. Maybe it was the childish side of my brain, but the surprise of it caught me off guard. The scene is basically Litchi being asked to train Taokaka to be a vigilante. The silliness of it reminds me of the humour of anime, which persuaded me to grant it an extra point.

All in all, this is a strong and enjoyable fighter, which offers a nice challenge that keeps you hooked. The one thing I found sad is that you end up choosing characters not because you like the look of them (like Marvel vs Capcom 3) but because you can control them easier compared to the rest of the roster. Apart from that, I do recommend you give this game a look.

Score: 8/10

Review won in a game of Battleships by: Satchel

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Blood, fighting, gore, fatalities and finishers! Yes, you are right Mortal Kombat 9 is almost here. I used to love the Mortal Kombat (MK) games when I was younger, I rarely can sit and play a game for hours on end but with the MK games and Tekken games I found myself glued to the television.

Mortal Kombat 9 available on PS3 and Xbox 360

Blood, Guts, Gore, it must be Mortal Kombat 9

For those who don’t know anything about Mortal Kombat, where on earth have you been? It is basically a fighting game you can choose to play single player mode and work your way through the different stages and battle different characters with your chosen character, or you can do challenges in the challenge tower, do some training or just go and battle others online. In 2 player mode you can fight against each other, team together against others or go and play online.

A warning this game is not for the faint hearted there is plenty of violence, blood and gore, so much so at the moment there are currently no plans to release it in Australia as it has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board.

Mortal Kombat 9 X-Ray Blow

When you take a devastating hit in MK9, you get a sort of X-Ray view of things.

If you are not too sure about this game why not download the demo? In the demo mode you can play as Mileena, Jonny Cage, Sub-Zero or Scorpion (these are the only characters you can play as and the only characters you can battle against). Don’t be misled by the demo you get all excited when you beat the demo characters and you see your next battle is against Goro but instead of getting that battle you get a trailer for the game.
The demo is currently available on the playstation network for free but those who play xbox will have another week or two to wait for it to become available. Fear not although the demos are available at different times the game itself will be available from the same date for both consoles.

I have really enjoyed playing this game and like previous Mortal Kombat games I can see myself spending hours playing it. I have enjoyed this game so much I am actually having difficulty finding any faults with it!
I will happily recommend this game to anyone who loves fighting games (well not young kids as i think it is a bit too gory for them – hence the 18 classification). You can just pick this game up and play it for as long or as little time you like.

This game will be available to buy from April 21st 2011 on Playstation 3 and X-Box 360.

Score: 9/10

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So here we are on the latest edition of Pokémon and what we find is that very little has changed…….But that’s not necessarily a bad thing

I remember when I was a little person I used to love playing Pokémon, I went to all the trading fairs, bought all of the merchandise and even owned a Pokédex. That’s right I was poke fanatic.

But this was in the age of Ant and Dec being on TV early in the morning on a Saturday, when they had programs called SM:TV Live and CD:UK and I used to sit down and enjoy a Saturday feast of Pokémon action

Of course now I am an old person and games like this don’t excite me anymore……..right……..wrong!

Pokemon Black UK Case

Pokemon Black UK case

On first glance of this game it seems as though it’s a new game, the graphics have been tarted up to look like it’s a different game, but underneath all of that there is a game that I have been eagerly awaiting. Whilst most people eagerly anticipate the new COD or the new FF game, I and my 7 year old child inside are desperate to get their hands on this game.

The gameplay is as easy as it has ever been, and has had very few changes made to it which makes it a game that’s worthy of telling the kids to go to bed. As a matter of fact it’s worth telling them that they’re grounded and not allowed to play on their DS until they’ve learnt their lesson.

You start off in the brand new region of Unova, which, unlike previous versions of the game, isn’t based on a location in japan. Anyways, as per usual you start with a Pokémon and try and catch ‘em all. Those of you who like change will be happy to know that there are some for instance, along with day and night cycles in the game there are also seasonal changes. Rather than sticking with the Gregorian calendar changes the season changes every month on a four month rotation. Some Pokémon will be able to be caught in winter and others in summer, spring or fall. The C0-Gear replaces the Pokétech and allows the player to control the various wireless capabilities of the DS and the game itself and include the new ability to video chat with a friend. (So long as you and your friend have a DSi or 3DS) There are also two new battling systems called Triple Battle and Rotation Battle. In triple battle you and your opponent send out three Pokémon each and take it in turns to battle each other. However, the Pokémon can only battle the corresponding Pokémon; so for instance your first Pokémon could only attack their first Pokémon and so forth. Rotation battle is different in the fact that you still both choose three Pokémon and play a 1-vs-1 style game until the person left standing is the winner.

Pokemon Black and White Starter Pokemon

The three starter Pokemon Oshawatt, Snivy and Tepig (Left to right)

You can also transfer Pokémon from older games (Such as heart gold and Pokémon diamond) which integrate a mini game where you must throw poke balls at the Pokémon to try and catch it. There are countless new modes for new gamers to be interested in, but if you’re like me you just want to get down to the nitty gritty and become a Pokémon legend.

So with all of these new features, is this game a game that the older generation of Pokémon lovers can play? I would say so, I don’t particularly care for the new features and hardly any of them will I use. But Pokémon is Pokémon and the gameplay has stayed the same, it still shares the same ideals as in the past, and it still makes me reminisce about when I was barely able to cook my own dinner.

Is it worth £30? Of course it is, haven’t you been reading? Whilst this game is great, there are still things that could be changed. For instance I don’t want to waste 30 minutes having some new professor (Prof Juniper BTW) telling me what a Pokédex is. I know what it is I used to own one remember. Maybe some sort of quick start mode would be a great addition for those who have played Pokémon before.

And if I were to poké (get it) holes in to the game it’s that they have changed it. Apparently the old adage don’t fix what isn’t broken doesn’t make sense to Nintendo, but the changes don’t actually make a massive change to the gameplay.

Other issues include that Nintendo’s demographic is younger children. (Although I spent most of last year playing Pokémon Heart Gold) That and the fact that you really need to spend a lot of time to get anywhere, especially if you’re trying to train a Pokémon up to level 100. Of course that is an issue with most games these days, and those that like Final Fantasy know that levelling up will take time.

Other than that this game ticks all of the boxes whether you’re new to Pokémon or not there’s plenty for all ages to enjoy and I think I probably will.

So to summarise, Pokémon Black is great for adults and kids alike, whether your 30, 13 or 3 (Well 3 maybe pushing it a little) But in either case it’s an easy game to just pick up and play when  you have five minutes. The gameplay hasn’t changed, the graphics have gotten better, and whether you used to play this when you were younger or your new to Pokémon this game has it all.

Score: 8/10

Review rushed through by: parkergordon

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Picture the scene; two kids in a playground having the argument almost everyone has at one point in their lives:

“Iron Man could so beat the Hulk”
“NO! Hulk can throw chunks of earth at Iron Man”
“Iron Man can fly! And shoot lasers!”
And so on…

Normally these sort of disputes are rarely sorted, but Capcom’s newest fighting game could go some way to sorting out these arguments; Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds. This is Capcom’s latest attempt to beat the living daylights out of a bunch of well-known characters from a particular franchise. Previously, they laid the beat down on SNK, though they mostly just used characters from Street Fighter, with one or two from other games. Now, to take on the giant of comic superheroes, they’ve brought in characters from many more of their games, including Devil May Cry, Darkstalkers and Megaman.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Developed by Capcom and noted to be the fifth installment in the acclaimed Marvel vs. Capcom franchise

The game itself is about Dr Doom (from Marvel’s Fantastic Four series) and Wesker (of Resident Evil fame) joining forces to bring together the greatest super-villains from both dimensions.  Of course, the heroes from the world of Marvel and Capcom join forces to put a stop to this.  I’ve never felt beat-em-ups needed a plot; just hit buttons and beat the other guy, end of story.  Also, the plot is never really shown in the game apart from the little paragraph in the manual. Guess the developers needed a reason for Captain America to punch Ryu from Street Fighter in the face.

The gameplay is quite simple in this game; you have a light attack, a medium attack, a heavy attack and a special attack (used to send the enemy in the air).  These attack buttons are used in any order to deliver a variety of combos.  Each character has a number of signature attacks too, activated with simple button combination (e.g. Ryu’s Hadoken is used by pressing down, diagonal, forward, attack).  There are also “Hyper Combos” which are extremely powerful multi hit signature attacks. Each are specific to every character, so Viewtiful Joe (from… well, Viewtiful Joe) won’t have an attack similar to any other character.  What is good about this control scheme is it feels free and easy to handle; you can use any button combination to pull off different attacks.  It doesn’t feel as restricted as, say, Tekken, which has a long list of moves for each character, but not much in the way of actual freedom to move around as you see fit.  With the ease of controls in Marvel vs Capcom 3, you now select your characters not by who is easiest to control, but whichever ones are your favourites.  In a game like SoulCalibur 4, you’d normally choose a character by how easy it is to use them.  But think about this; would you rather have a character you’re not too fond of, but with an easy move set, or pick your favourite characters you like playing as, with a simple control layout, that allows for a multitude of combos?

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - X-Box 360 Cover Art

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds - X-Box 360 Cover Art

Graphics wise, it’s top notch; each character looks and move perfectly, with vibrant colours, and very smooth animations.  And don’t think it’s just the playable characters that got the works; even the stages are beautifully rendered.  One example is The Daily Bugle stage.  The background seems to stretch far into the distance, with no indication of it ending.  Looking closer, you’ll notice that while you’re fighting, two photographers are following you and taking pictures; one even leaps in the air to take a photo when you pull off an air combo. It’s the little things like that which I like, and makes me think that Capcom and Marvel have done something not many game developers do nowadays; put actual effort into their games.  It’s nice to see a company put a lot of time and effort into making a game the best it can be (but I’ll go into that in another blog maybe).

The characters in the game all look like they’ve been individually handcrafted; by this I mean they all have their mannerisms and personalities captured perfectly.  For example, Deadpool (debuted in New Mutants #98) is known to be unpredictable, wise cracking, and has a tendency to break the 4th wall.  Capcom capture this very well in the game, making him jump around, have an erratic fighting style, and even talk to the player when he wins the round.  Depending on which characters you pick, and whoever your opponent is, the fighter’s intro speech changes.  When Iron Man enters the fight at the very start, and if a woman is his opponent, he will start to flirt with her.  Again, it’s the little things that add to the fun of this game.

If I have to mark the game down for something, it would have to be the difficulty curve.  Take this scenario; Arcade mode, normal difficulty, stage 5.  Everything is going great, and the player manages to win no problem. Stage 6… complete annihilation from the computer.  The difficulty seems to jump up after a certain point. This is even apparent in the mission mode, where you need to input a particular move to advance; after mission 5 it all gets a bit too hard a bit too soon.

Something else caught my attention, and that is the number of character in this game; there are 36 character altogether, with a further two announced as downloadable content. This doesn’t seem too bad, but in the previous game, there were 56 characters. The only theory I can come up with is that they were wanting to put a lot of detail into the game, so taking out some fighters might have made that a bit easier.  In my opinion, it’s better to have a few distinct and detailed characters, than a lot of potentially similar fighters.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has been able to nail down a great recipe for “pick up and play” fighting games.  I thoroughly enjoy playing this game, and it’s one of the few that’s a joy to play online as well as offline.  If they altered the difficulty curve a tiny amount, to make it a bit more gradual, then this would be a near perfect game.

Score: 9/10

Review attached to the side of a goat by: Satchel

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