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.
First released in 2012, Under Night In-Birth is arguably at its peak right now. Numerous updates and a groundswell of fan support have helped it earn a place on the EVO main stage, pushing the game even further into the spotlight. Though I’ve known of the series for quite some time, I finally decided to take the plunge with its latest release, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]. What is it about this fighter that continues to draw players in many years later?
I am a fighting game enthusiast. So much so, that I’ve bought a sizable portion of fighting games released in the last 10 years. This includes pretty much every main stage title at EVO, a number of deep cut indie fighters, genre oddballs, and even some that I know are flat-out bad. Right now, I’m playing Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r], a game that is alien to even most fighting game fans. In modern times, sampling this many games within a genre feels like an anomaly.
While I think that players still have their preferences, my gut says the total number of players who actually sample a wider selection of titles that a genre has to offer is in decline.