With the PlayStation Experience 2015 now over, it’s time to jump into my favorite video game genre…fighting games. Fighting games had a massive rebirth last generation. Street Fighter IV and its many iterations planted the flag and lead the way. Arc System Works launched a new franchise: BlazBlue. Frenchbread, known for the cult hit MeltyBlood, brought forth the series’ spiritual successor Undernight: Inbirth. The list goes on, but it was a great generation for fighting games. Now that we are entering third year of this generation, Sony wants to prove that it is the place to play, and they have secured some exclusives to make that abundantly clear.
Street Fighter V. Just the name alone sounds prestigious. Street Fighter V was announced last year at the PlayStation Experience after being leaked the day before. We’ve had a long string of announcements, leaks and hype being built since then….but now it’s really come to a nice fever pitch. During the keynote at the beginning of the conference, Capcom revealed the final character F.A.N.G (pronounced Fong), a new character to the franchise and a member of the nefarious Shadowloo organization. While F.A.N.G himself is a bit of an odd duck, I welcome new characters with an open mind and am willing to give him a try. Capcom also confirmed that six additional characters, Alex, Urien, Ibuki, Juri, Balrog and Guile, will be available at later dates. They can either be unlocked in game just by playing or can be purchased for immediate use with a season pass. This brings the initial playable cast to a well-rounded 22 characters total with more to come later down the line. Street Fighter V was clearly one of the most popular attractions at the event; the line was consistently long and there was always a match to be seen. I spent roughly an hour and a half with the game and it very well may be my favorite game in the series. The mechanics feel tight, responsive, and the art style while not particularly unique, is gorgeous in its execution and fluidity. Street Fighter V will be released on Febrary 16, 2016 on the PlayStation 4 and PC and will feature cross play between the two systems.
The King of Fighters XIV. It’s hard to imagine that The King Of Fighters franchise has been around for as long as it has. After the game struck its chord in the fighting game community but failed to meet sales numbers, SNK Playmore was brought to new ownership. Earlier at E3 this year, King Of Fighters XIV was revealed and was met with fairly harsh criticism. I’ve been a fan of KOF and its brother series for a very long time, but I was totally underwhelmed when I saw the launch trailer. It didn’t strike me as a King of Fighters game despite the first two characters being revealed where the series’ protagonist and rival being in the trailer. The art style seemed like it had been bleached heavily and looked…uninteresting. This was also shocking because the sprite work in KOF XII was fantastic, but the characters here hardly looked like themselves. The key note resparked my interest quite a bit. The new trailer showed a much better looking set of character models and revealed two old favorites. It also revealed the game would have a MASSIVE cast of 50 characters. I sat down and played the game for quite a bit…..my thoughts are mixed. On one hand, everything felt smooth and very responsive. It felt like the level of quality I expect from a KOF game. Some of the animations looked great (the super moves in particular), while others suffered from the canceling of frames. The character models do also leave a lot to be desired in terms of visual appeal. I was told however that more was going to be added to the characters and the game was still in VERY early stages. I sincerely hope this gets corrected because they could have a huge hit on their hands. We’ll keep our eyes on this project and will let you know of any new announcements.
There is one more game that is PlayStation exclusive but was not available at the show or even mentioned in the keynote: Guilty Gear Xrd. Guilty Gear saw a long awaited revival last year on the PS3 and PS4. Arc System Works did some incredible work with the art style and, in my opinion, is the best looking fighting game ever created. Using the Unreal Engine 3 to create cel-Shaded 3D models and animating them on a 2D plane to resemble hand drawn sprites, the game maintains a look similar to its roots while bringing it kicking and screaming into the future. The second chapter in the Xrd series, -Revelator-, is coming out sometime in spring of 2016, so I was a tad surprised there was nothing here for it. If you have’t checked out Guilty Gear before, Xrd is a great place to start!
And with that, we have covered the great stuff we enjoyed at PlayStation Experience! We have plenty more to come so stay tuned to ConFreaks and Geeks!