Skullgirls Hands-On Preview

Being a fighting game fan, it’s always interesting to see a new IP try to invade the fighting game space. A lot of the time, the lack of familiarity will kill a game, as people are too busy with their Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat to give the new guy a second look. I was one of those people when it came to Skullgirls. I heard about it, saw some screens, and didn’t really think anything of it. Just another fighter, I thought…

…but then I played it. I don’t know what it was that possessed me to try it, but man am I glad I did.

Skullgirls is surprisingly deep and surprisingly easy to get into. The control scheme is identical to Street Fighter: six attacks, specials performed with the same motions as the Hadouken (down/downforward/forward), Shoryuken (forward/down/downforward), Hurricane Kick (down/downback/back), supers performed the same way, etc. Each of the three characters I played followed a certain prototype: Peacock (left side of the picture) is the projectile spammer, Cerebella (right side) is the Zangief-style grappler, and Filia (not pictured) is the Ryu/Ken type of “beginner character.” Each one had a deep system of play, but they were also perfectly balanced with one another, making me very happy.

Each match takes a Marvel vs Capcom approach: 3-on-3, active switches, defeat all opponents to win. There are assist moves and team supers just like the Capcom megahit, but there’s one thing Skullgirls didn’t take from MvC: speed. Skullgirls operates at a far slower pace, more like a BlazBlue or Guilty Gear, that brings a different kind of strategy to the table. Players will have more time to react to their opponent’s move, creating a sort of fighting chess match. I played a couple of matches against the developer, and while he handled me the first time, I quickly learned the quirks of the game and found myself victorious.

Though it might not the next great installment from an established franchise, Skullgirls has everything fighting game fans could ever want: interesting characters,familiar controls, and balanced gameplay. Now that I’ve gotten a taste, I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game this fall on Xbox Live and PSN.

And to think I almost skipped it…


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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