Who doesn’t love a good fighting game? Hell, I even love the bad ones. Though I’m avoiding the recent DLC in Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros 3DS/WiiU (holding out for the confirmed upcoming “Arcade Edition” of SFV and the heavily rumored “Deluxe” Smash), my time with the additions to the widely derided Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite (and my surprising enjoyment of said additions) made me want to look into the post release content of the fighting games that people actually liked this year, namely, Tekken 7 and Injustice 2. Because who doesn’t like to spend money they don’t have on shit they don’t need? Communists, that’s who.
Injustice 2 (full review HERE)
These guys should be teaming up to steal Captain Cold’s lunch money.
Despite my pronounced Marvel fanboyishness, I don’t have any problem admitting that Injustice 2 is a better game than MvCI (I’ll take Marvel having SIGNIFICANTLY better movies any day of the week, thanks), but with D-listers like Enchantress and Starfire and out of place Mortal Kombat characters Sub Zero and Raiden on the DLC docket, post release content may be one category where Capcom had Netherrealm clearly beat. And then they announced Hellboy. Brought to life by veteran voice actor Michael-Leon Wooley (sounding like a gruff mix of the familiar Ron Perlman take and fellow gravelly hardass Josh Brolin), you can tell that NR treated ol’ Red with even more love and care than the main cast, looking fantastic and appropriate even in some of the more esoteric costume elements you can add to his beautifully crafted character model.
Red’s top heavy, simian nature makes him look like he jumped into battle straight from one of creator Mike Mignola’s classic story arcs (Mignola even provides the art for HB’s arcade mode ending), with a hard hitting, gun toting style that pays tribute to the Kirby influenced source material more than it fits into any preconceived fighting game play style, though his bread and butter combos (jumping medium into crouch medium into hand of god, for example) flow really smoothly. If I had one complaint it would be that Big Red’s “drag me to hell” style super move is a little on the nose, and it may have been nice to see the other BPRD members join the fray (though that may be more of a licensing hurdle than a creative decision), but aside from that one minor nitpick Hellboy is a great reason to dust off Injustice 2, and makes me anticipate the upcoming addition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Of all things!) to the game even more.
Tekken 7 (full review HERE).
“Ah’ll stain mah hanns… wif you burudd…”
Far from my begrudging respect for Injustice 2 and my forced acceptance of MvCI, Tekken 7 is a great game that I really like, and probably would’ve been the game I spent the most time with this year if not for Nintendo’s brilliant revival of its holy trinity (you know, The Plumber, The Link, and The Holy Samus), so Namco adding another classic Japanese 2D fighting game villain (joining Street Fighter’s Akuma, of course) to their deep roster of flashy and viable fighters was less of an “oh that’s interesting” and more of a “shut up and take my money”.
From his classic butt rockin’ theme music to his flippy armed throws and finger twisting supers, deathless Fatal Fury / King of Fighters antagonist Geese Howard feels just as home in Tekken’s side-step happy 3D arenas as Akuma did, projectiles and all. Tossing in some single player content, like one of the game’s small side story missions, may have been nice but given the detail lavished upon Geese’s model, stage, music (and it’s rad modern remix) and how seamlessly he integrates with the rest of the juggle and grapple heavy cast, I’m not complaining. I know absolutely dick about Final Fantasy XV but upcoming character Noctis will be worth my 7.99 because Namco clearly knows what they’re doing here with this heavily polished less is more approach, and hopefully they keep adding characters to Tekken 7, even after the majority of players abandon it for the next SoulCalibur in 2018.