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Editorial

Top Five Dead Fighting Games That Need a Rematch

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Over time, many gaming franchises have come and gone, sometimes without notice. One of most competitive genres for developers to break into is that of fighters, as many staples have been ongoing for more than a decade, crowding out younger IPs.

Evolution and trying new things are a large part of the gaming landscape, but new does not always mean better, especially in a genre that has fans who can stay loyal to one game for a very long time. With Evo 2018 gone and to honor some of the great fighting franchises that have lost to the heavyweights such as Street Fighter, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat, OnlySP has made a list of titles that deserve another chance to claim a spot in the limelight.

Bushido Blade

Released on the PlayStation in 1997, Bushido Blade focuses on a realistic fighting system, forgoing life bars and special moves in favour of tactics and strategy, where one well-placed hit can end a match.

Bushido, the Samurai code of honor and rule set that warriors would live by, influenced the game’s content, as each character can wield various weapons that were used in Feudal Japanese combat. Battling was unique for the time; many games such as Street Fighter and King of Fighters focused on beating an enemy until their health dropped to zero, but, in Bushido Blade, a strike to the legs can cause an enemy to limp, restricting movement, and a hit to the head can end a match instantly. Matches have no timer and last until a competitor succumbs to their injuries or is dealt a lethal blow.

Due to the way combat is handled, a greater emphasis is given to spacing and range, as players using a longer weapon holds a reach advantage over the enemy, yet can easily lose to better strategy or baiting. Each character has a signature weapon, but all weapons are usable. The series would later have a spiritual successor, titled Kengo: Master of Bushido, which lost what made the original games so impactful.

If the series was to be revived, the combat might work similarly to that of For Honor, with an emphasis on stances, fakes, and strategy over unblockable attacks and arcady mechanics courtesy of its sim-like nature. The series would certainly thrive on modern systems thanks to its consistent commitment to the historical source material.

Bloody Roar

Bloody Roar began in arcades in 1997 under the name Beasterizer, featuring characters that could transform into anthropomorphic creatures with improved capabilities. The game was later ported to the PlayStation in 1998 with the new title of Bloody Roar. Several sequels followed, the last of which, to date, was 2003’s Bloody Roar 4 on the PlayStation 2.

The series is known for having a roster of characters whose play styles vary greatly; for instance, Stun is a brawler who can transform into an electric beetle, while Long is a martial artist who specializes in long combo strings and can change into a tiger. The game plays in a 3D space akin to Dead or Alive with breakable walls opening areas in the stages to expand the fighting area.

Bloody_Roar Fighting

Turning into a beast is not something to be done at any moment, but works best with strategy; transforming at the right moment can provide the upper hand needed to win a round. The combat is quick and fluid—among the best in fighting games of the time. Similarly, battles have arcade stylings and are over-the-top, but play with a realistic fighting style that, combined with combo enders and special moves, create a cinematic feel.

Bloody Roar shines thanks to its variety of characters and accessible gameplay that contains a surprising amount of depth and character, which results in a unique feel for a fighting game. If Bloody Roar was to continue as a modern fighter, the possibility exists for it to be a more cinematic and visually impressive game with great combat would be sure to impress players.

Virtua Fighter

Virtua Fighter released in arcades in 1993 and was the first fighting game to have 3D graphics, starting the movement that would bring titles such as Tekken to the market.

The series has always been known for remarkable depth, despite the simple controls of the original game. Each character can be played in a multitude of styles, offering players multiple approaches instead of settling on any particular fighter. While Tekken may be known for having a deep fighting system, Virtua Fighter is argued by fans and people in the fighting game community to be even more complex due to better character balance and multiple options to play each fighter.

Before Sega put Virtua Fighter on ice during the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era, the series was known for having a competitive tournament scene. The franchise is not friendly to button mashers, but rewards thought and execution, while still offering many ways for new players to have fun and perform well.

Virtua Fighter offers considerable depth, focusing on grounded hand-to-hand combat based on martial arts (with the exclusion of projectile and super attacks), creating a tense battle of skills. The series has an average roster size, but makes up for it in gameplay variety, with each character featuring a distinct style. With modern technology, the Virtua Fighter series could shine thanks to improved hardware smoothing out the gameplay while offering developers the opportunity to create more in-depth movement systems to complement the combat systems.

Darkstalkers

Darkstalkers was developed by Capcom and released in 1994 for arcades, reaching the PlayStation two years later.

Unlike many other fighting games that focused on specific martial arts for each character, Darkstalkers aimed to make each character feel unique. Compared to its contemporaries, the series focused heavily on style.

While most characters in fighting games feature standard dash-and-run or use jumps to close distance, Darkstalkers changed that. The series’s famous succubus Morrigan (also appearing in the Marvel vs. Capcom series) instead flies, making air combos easier. Dimitri, a vampire, teleports to avoid attacks.

Similarly, arenas have more flair than the norm, as battles could take place in a variety of locations, from the side of a building to a moving train. The chain combo mechanic (linking weak attacks into strong or special attacks) was introduced in the game, changing how Capcom would treat its future fighting games thanks to better combo potential.

Guilty Gear by Arc System Works draws inspiration from the way Darkstalkers treats characters, creating a unique freestyle fighting system that lets the player play each character in multiple different ways. Akin to Dimitri in Darkstalkers, the Vampire Slayer in Guilty Gear also teleports for their “dash” instead of running. A modern Darkstalkers could be akin to Guilty Gear, but with more emphasis on the supernatural and ultimately a different play style to make a unique experience.

Power Stone

Power Stone was released in arcades and Sega Dreamcast in 1999. The game was known for its open arena combat focusing on free movement and environmental interaction.

The ultimate selling point of the game is collecting three gems to transform into a super version of the character, enabling players to perform special attacks. Rather than depth to its combos, the title instead focuses on an arcade-styled beat-’em-up combat system that has players worrying about distance, obstacles, and items that would appear.

The 2000 sequel, Power Stone 2, added more characters and changed how arenas worked; instead of a small box with obstacles and traps, maps change over time. As in Super Smash Bros., stages move, and players must fight to avoid incoming obstacles and not fall behind otherwise they will take damage helping the enemy win.

What the Power Stone series lacked in depth for combos, it made up for in environmental interaction and arcade-influenced party-esque fun that had players running around in stages for items and fighting over gems, creating a game unlike any other. Were the series to return, the titles would be able to handle more depth to the combat along with larger, more complex arenas and more varied items to create an ever-changing battlefield.

A graduate of Game Development with a specialization in animation. A true love for all things creative especially Game Design and Story.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019

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Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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