When it comes to fighting games, we rarely see a new contender. When a game happens to brave this field, it’s usually based off something that will sell by its name alone. Due to this, you see a real lack of style when it comes to this genre, but Skullgirls hopes to change this with its unique look. While this is a great idea, does Skullgirls have the content to back this up or is it all flash and no substance?
Let’s see what’s HOT and NOT for Skullgirls!
Attempted a Story
One thing that stands out for Skullgirls are the quirky characters. However, besides being simply weird or different, each character is given their own unique story. Each story follows something of a cookie cutter format, so expect a lot of redundant elements. These include everyone fighting Marie (the SkullGirl) and her unique art, having some sort of goal or wish for the skull and fighting Double or Valentine prior to Marie.
Despite the redundant elements, many of the stories are pretty interesting. Every character is given a number of unique static images, which showcase the game’s world. Some are more interesting than others, but for the most part they’re extremely well done. Besides the fantastic images, there are a number of segments with dialogue. These parts are similar to BlazBlue and most NISA-published RPG’s, but unlike those, they’re not voiced over. While there is no spoken dialogue, each scene has background music that matches the scene.
As far as the actual stories go, they can get confusing or seem lacking at times. This is because many stories overlap and add new information. For instance, it’s not till you finish Cerebella’s story that you actually find out what happened to Ms. Fortune. There is also mention of an overarching story, but as far as I can tell it’s not included. I believe the unifying line is Squigly, who is an upcoming DLC character that appeared quite a lot in the games promos, but oddly enough I didn’t see her in the story at all.
As you play Skullgirls, it’s impossible to miss the attention to detail. No matter what you look at, be it the characters, the stages or the story art, it all looks fantastic. This is even more impressive when you consider how much depth some characters have. Peacock for instance summons a number of little helpers, Double changes into the various fighters and just about everyone uses some form of prop. It’s hard not to appreciate the art and it will make your experience quite the pleasurable one.
Skullgirls is all about getting combos, so naturally the controls are extremely important. Thankfully, as long as you have a clue what you’re doing, then you shouldn’t have a problem with the controls. Everything moves so fluidly, that you should be able to choice your hits effectively. You might run into some problems with double inputs, but you can resolve that by assigning them to a quick button. Quick buttons are also great for more important skills like throws, which you might have issues inputting normally.
Needs a Serious Coat of Polish
Like a good fighter, almost all the time/effort went into the art and controls of the game, so other areas are forced to take a back seat. While this was the right call, some of these elements are just plain sloppy. For starters, the “Unlock Full Game” icon that appears in a demo is always present. The only difference is that it gets shaded out. This can get annoying, since it is always present regardless of what option you’re looking at.
As you scroll through the menus, you will see that extra’s is currently useless. At the moment, it simply holds the credits, but it has mention of an art gallery and other things coming soon. This can be slightly disappointing if you wanted to look at some of the story’s fantastic art, but you didn’t want to replay it. In either case, there is no word on when this will be added, so it might be a while.
While the first two might not matter to you, the game also lacks a command list of any kind. This means you’re forced to either figure it out or search the internet for a command list. To make up for this, there is a “how to play” command list, but it is mostly common sense things like what button is for punches. Keep in mind that this image is not dynamic either. So, if you change an input, it will not change on this page. This is a real odd design choice since some things like the ability to turn hitboxes on in training is far less important. Finally, no level is given a preview image meaning you will need to remember what each stage looks like. This is another odd and poor design choice.
Virtually no Accessibility
If you’re new to fighting games, then you’re going to have a hell of a time figuring out Skullgirls. As mentioned above, you will need to go online to find the command list. This can get irritating if you don’t memorize the skills. To make matters worse, even on the easiest mode, it can be extremely difficult to beat some enemies. A prime example would be Ms. Fortune, who will commonly do 10+ hit combos on easy settings. This steep learning curve might cause you to give up, but thankfully there is a small training mode.
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