Though I tend to be the type to ride from one hot new release to the next, 2020’s lineup was…subpar for me as a whole. Sure, there were a couple of games that made an impact on me, with one in particular that is likely to be crowned my personal Game of the Year. But for the most part, my year was defined by catching up on older games that slipped by me during their hey day. Here are some of the more notable titles I caught up on in 2020!
For a long time, I perceived fighting games by Arc System Works as being too complex for me. Initially drawn to their work by how amazing the BlazBlue games looked, my mind melted when I struggled to grasp the game’s intricacies. Guilty Gear games up to Xrd might as well have been rocket science. Love watching the pros play these games, but I have no clue where to being learning how to play.
Their penchant for designing characters that function wildly different from one another while layering on tons of system-level mechanics for fighters that were inpenetrable to me. Even now, after a decade of serious fighting game experience, it would take me a ton of work to just feel competent at any of legacy Guilty Gear or BlazBlue games.
In recent times, Arc System Works have gone a long way towards finding a better balance while also pushing the limits of anime-style graphics. Between their tireless efforts to improve (and Capcom’s well-documented struggles), I think that Arc System Works is the king of fighting game publishers right now.
For the most part, I’m loving Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]. Having picked up the game a few weeks ago, its particular brand of anime fighter is deeply gratifying. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve played dozens of matches through the game’s horrid netcode and will probably suffer through many more just to get a less-than-ideal fix. Even online matches against my brother – who is a 10-minute drive from me – feel sluggish. With everything going on, adequate online play would have been greatly appreciated.
It’s not entirely fair to bash Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] for a problem that’s much larger than itself. Furthermore, with this game technically being the fifth update to an old game, one can argue that it’s hampered by delay-based netcode of the time.
Nevertheless, the subject of netcode in fighting games has recently hit a crescendo. As more games adopt better solutions to the fundamental problem, it’s become increasingly maddening to see major developers lean on inferior netcode solutions.