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.
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.