☆ Review: Fantasy Strike "Are You Ready For The 'Yomi Counter'?" ☆ #GameDev

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Fantasy Strike - PC
I like to think that it doesn’t matter whether I’m good at fighting video games or not, as long as I have fun; right? 

Some of the people I play against in Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat make that really hard to buy into though, and then there is my wife, who still beats me at Tekken

I love playing the genre though, trying new systems, figuring out styles, learning how different fighters work, but have never mastered the finer techniques. 

The first time my college roommate attempted to explain dash cancelling to me I honestly thought my brain was going to implode. 

I have gotten way better over the years, even if I still lose a lot and have to take pride in my own style and flashy alternate costumes, but along has come a game that I think many more will appreciate. 

David Sirlin of Sirlin Games may not be a familiar name to most, but his credentials should be good enough for everyone. Not only does he have history as a fan of the games as well as a top competitor, but also managed to work on the recent Street Fighter II: Turbo HD Remix for the Switch as the lead designer. 

As someone familiar with not only the genre and the fighting community, but someone who wants to see that pool of players grow; he has attempted to create a competitive game that everyone can pick up and play, but that could still be considered for tournament play also.
“I’ve been frustrated for a long time that so much of the fun the genre has to offer is inaccessible to most people.”
There is a ton of good fighting games available and more coming out soon, but many of the systems are different and require a different mindset and numerous hours to truly master. The idea here though is to have something so straight-forward and easy to pick up that it doesn’t matter which title someone is used to, they will have no trouble understanding Fantasy Strike quickly.
"We hope to bring together players from all fighting games," Sirlin said. "Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, Killer Instinct, Smash Bros, and so on are difficult games to play, so if you play one of those and your friend plays another, it's hard to get together to have a good match. Everyone can reach at least a basic level of competence in Fantasy Strike so quickly that it can bridge the gap to your fighting game friends. Or get newcomers into the genre." 

Released in early access on September 14th of this year, Fantasy Strike uses a series of one-button inputs and movements from left to right, not even allowing a crouch maneuver. What would normally be considered special attacks in other games are now done by pressing a single button, and the counter system—referred to as a Yomi counter—that guards against throws by simply not pressing anything. 

This last part was probably the hardest thing for me to pick up, as I had to un-train myself to not want to act—to not panic, but there are entire matches where it may never be used. Such a limited set of controls may make some think that they will be seeing the same maneuvers over and over again, but there is some versatility in the design without having to learn too much extra, while spamming is about the same as it is in other games.
The difference with this game is a focus on strategy. Rather than centering on whether a move can be pulled off or who can pull it off the fastest, this leans toward caring more about the strategy of when those moves are executed. Instead of worrying about frame counts and searching for exploits, players will be able to react easier and play with a full array of moves, governed by a super meter. Combos are simple, but that’s certainly no reason to get cocky. There will most likely still be some balancing issues of course, and a few people are expressing concerns towards a lack of creativity, but none of this hurt how much fun I was having with it, even when some parts still felt a slight bit cheap.
In a lot of ways this game reminds me of playing Divekick, doing the ‘simple and fun’ aspect well, but better, and still adding some strategy to it. Many of the elements from this supposedly came from Sirlin’s card game version of it, or maybe they share with each other, but either way it has me interested. I think I like most that the health bar shows how many actual hits the character has left, and that matches feel quick and fulfilling, even if actual movements feel slower than some newer games and I’m cursing myself for simple mistakes.
The game looks nice with vibrant graphics, popping colors, and enjoyable character designs that take their inspiration from a wide array of fantasy elements, creating a nice full tone that makes me want to know a little more about the world. The cel-shaded art style and animations give this a nice shot of personality without making me feel I need to read too much into it. I like most of the characters here, finding something attractive in each of their presentation and mechanics. They all play a decent bit differently and each have small things that makes them stand out in combat. Figuring out how to combat the different characters and their matchups—some characters really do suck against particular opponents—may be the toughest part of the game in the short run. I had access to eight out of the ten available fighters and like most of them, but hear I am missing out on a panda. 

Is this game worth $19.99? 
Sure, especially for huge fans of the genre who want something different or play competitively with friends. Sirlin Games is using the GGPO network technology for their online and I didn’t have any real trouble with that other than some slight slowdown in one match. People are already better at this than I am, and I can’t complain about coming into this late. 

There will be leveling and cosmetic loot boxes as awards, with credits being offered too to build up and buy items, which should keep players interested for a while. 

A PS4 version of the game has also been projected for early 2018 and I will certainly be coming back to check  out the full release when that happens.
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Just Falls Short Of Greatness)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

Game Link: Steam
Dev Link: Fantasy Strike

Review By Wilds

1 comment:

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