Reviews: Skullgirls

One of the most accessible fighters

Skullgirls is my favorite fighting game. It is my favorite for every reason except gameplay, which goes to Street Fighter: 3rd Strike, even though I'm terrible at it.

First, let's talk about fighting games and you. Chances are "you," the people reading this review, aren't major fighting game players. But! Skullgirls is designed to be as accessible as possible while still providing a full range of options, even if lead dev Mike Z has... some of his own opinions on what this means.

The game provides a comprehensive tutorial system, although it's still missing a couple things, notably advanced defensive options which aren't applicable to other fighting games. Additionally, other modern fighters have reached similar conclusions: they need tutorials. This reduces it as a reason to choose Skullgirls over modern fighters, but it is still very important. I'd say it's the best fundamental tutorial in fighters.

Skullgirls is very heavily inspired by Marvel vs Capcom. Even if it's not my particular style of fighter gameplay, I respect the style nonetheless and I think Skullgirls is better at it than Mv C ever was. Mv C games are jank. U Mv C 3 is also ridiculously complex. Skullgirls has toned down those parts without losing meaningful depth.

Okay! Now what makes this game my favorite!

Everything feels full of life. Everything is well-drawn, well-animated, the action is fast, the characters shout things all the time! I could go on all day about all the awesome aesthetics of this game. Each character is distinct, each stage is vibrant.

And it really adds to how it feels to play the game. Not only the personality of the characters, but the feedback on every action is perfect. The hitstop (frames paused on hit), audio effects and visual effects are perfect.

Plus, it has easily the best characters in fighting games. Arc System Works games have nothing on this. I can count the number of Guilty Gear characters I like on one hand (personality-wise, design-wise they're distinct).

Storywise, the story is incomplete and looks to be staying that way for years, if not forever... neither the IP nor Lab Zero are dead, thanks to the announcements of Indivisible and Skullgirls Mobile, not to mention that Mike Z is still manically working on the game, but there haven't been any announcements related to the main Skullgirls storyline. What already exists varies in quality. The original 8 stories were made to sell each character, and they do! They also have nonsensical progression and lack significant chunks of background information. Nonetheless, they still add plenty to the lore and leave you wanting more. The DLC stories deliver even better. Squigly's story alone was a notable quality increase, and by the time of Eliza? Fantastic!

Very fun fighter

This game is very fun. I like fighting games so this is right up my alley. It is a little on the easy side, but maybe I'm just good at it (I play on normal difficulty). The story isn't too hot but hey, this is a fighter, not a visual novel! The 2D animation style is also good. The girls are sexy and cute. There are a lot of different modes to add re-playability. Overall score: 8/10.

For the Elite

I've been playing the game for a few days now and I have to say, this game is not for the casual fighting game player.

First off, it's very difficult. Even on the easier difficulties the AI will be able to pull complex combos and will make sure it's hard for you to hit them. Trying to do combos is tricky as well. You need to have precise timing, even things like throw cancels have very narrow windows that are hard to hit. There's an in-depth tutorial system to help teach a bunch of the aspects of the game, but these are hard as well. And the fact is, most of the time gameplay is so frantic it's hard to pay attention to try to figure out when an opponent can be attacked or is stunned.

I don't want to give the impression this game is bad. On the contrary, it's fantastic. The thing is it was designed by a tournament fighter so it's designed for hardcore players. Despite the cartoony look of it, the combat is more akin to Street Fighter or Blaz Blue instead of Mortal Kombat or Super Smash Bros. There's very little specials, no movelist, and no pause during battles (unless you hold the button for some reason). This is stuff I'm sure tourney fighters will appreciate, but for most people I feel these are drawbacks.

The characters are very unique and have cool playstyles, but the lack of a movelist makes it difficult to learn how to attack. For example, Ms. Fortune can literally lose her head, preventing you from doing combos, and there's no indication in game on how to reattach it. They are going to be adding this at a later time though. Nobody just attacks with their body though, there's a lot of attacks from random people, items, hair, demons, and stuff that attacks instead. I found this distracting.

There's not a lot of modes, just Arcade, Story, and Versus, but for fifteen dollars that's fine. Story mode is still pretty short though, but not unexpectedly so, but not all fights in that mode get exposition. Oh, and the last boss is a capital-b Bitch. There is a training mode with some cool options like to turn hitboxes on and stuff, but again, this is something only pros will be able to make use of.

In conclusion, I don't want to give the impression the game's bad or that I'm whining. This is a fantastic game, if you're really skilled at fighters. If you're interested in it, just do what I didn't do, and try the demo first.