eGamer Awards 2012: Best Fighting Game
Welcome to the 2012 eGamer Awards! We’ve enjoyed holding our Community Awards this last week, and once again we’d like to thank you for your participation in that process, and we’re sure that you had as much fun as we did with it. Now, it’s time for our awards to kick off, and we hope that you’ll stick around for the next week because we’ll have plenty to talk about each and every day right until Sunday, where our Game of the Year will be revealed. But that’s a concern for the future. For now, let’s take a look at the best fighting games of this year, so that we can pick out the one that stands above the rest.
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The fighting genre is generally a delicate one to handle, because while the genre often delivers games of exceptionally high standards, the audience they’re targeted at is usually not very large, or is pretty hardcore. Fighters are most of the time split into two categories, namely the fighters for casual gamers and the hardcore ones. Added to the fact that choosing your favourite fighting game is most of the time based on personal preference entirely, and this award is a really challenging one to hand out. However, to explain what we look for in this award, it must be understood that fighting games are more than just characters, fists and weapons, even though they’re usually the most important aspects alongside balance. With fighting games, there is also the factor of what you’re getting for your money – in other words, the complete package. Fighting games need to have content and features so that you’re comfortable playing on your own while your friends are away or if buying some friends isn’t your thing, and content and features is of critical importance next to gameplay. In the end though, it just also comes down to a little bit of opinion mixed with how much fun we had with the games nominated.
Soul Calibur V
Soul Calibur V proved to be a fantastic comeback for the series in many ways. With gorgeous graphics, welcome gameplay tweaks, a broader appeal, robust character customisation, a solid online component and excellent fighting, there was plenty to love about the next entry in this series. It may not have revolutionized the franchise, but it definitely played to its strengths as far as its gameplay was concerned, and in the end it was just a highly entertaining and all-round good fighting game. The game also featured ten new characters and a guest appearance from Assassin’s Creed star Ezio Auditore da Firenze, which certainly helped to make things feel fresh and exciting. Soul Calibur made its return after a four year absence, and the result was a very impressive fighter and a worthy sequel.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations continued the series proud tradition of delivering a great video game adaption of the Naruto anime. Boasting a massive roster of 72 playable characters, which included all characters from previous games as well as new ones, and improved gameplay, Generations had a decent amount to offer. It still felt as good as ever to play, and the graphics never ceased to be jaw-dropping. Admittedly, while it wasn’t a large leap forward for the series by any means, and mostly opted for minor refinement over what came before it, it stands to reason that at the heart of the experience was a genuinely entertaining fighter that was packed with awesome fan service.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was a sure highlight in the fighting game genre this year. It may not have brought a whole lot new to the table, but it turned out to be an excellent fighter and a fantastic tribute to the Tekken series, with tons of polish and loads of content that made it feel every bit worth the money. Whether you were a long-time fan of the franchise or a newcomer entirely, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 had plenty to offer you, and the fact that a bunch of new characters and content was going to be added to the game completely free post-release gave fans all the more bang for their buck. Featuring the largest character roster in series history, a return of the tag elements, wonderful visuals and welcome amounts of refinement and polish, this game was undoubtedly one to watch out for in this genre.
UFC Undisputed 3
UFC Undisputed 3 was a fantastic fighting game experience that was more refined and polished that its predecessor, and it also saw improvement with its presentation. Many would argue that with its improved gameplay and rich content, it was actually the best title in the series. Praise definitely needed to be given to the game for its increased accessibility and new Pride mode and submission system, which was a major improvement. About the only niggle to have with UFC Undisputed 3 was that despite its extended development time, it wasn’t really an evolution for the series. However, it succeeded in raising the bar for MMA fighting, and was an all-round awesome fighting game with plenty to offer.
Dead or Alive 5
Dead or Alive 5 was a solid fighter that delivered an experience that was easy to pick up for the casuals, but hard to master. Visually, the game looked better than ever, and it was appropriately flashy and stylistic. It wasn’t really that fresh or new, and didn’t pack the same bold design that previous entries aimed for, but there was no doubt that it was entertaining and worthwhile for dedicated fans.
It wasn’t Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, because we felt that a lot more could have been done with it, especially with regards to its lackluster single-player component, and in the end it wasn’t much more than a minor refinement over its predecessor, which was disappointing.
Soul Calibur V was a worthy contender, but it didn’t take the win either because firstly its single-player mode was disappointing, and arguably the weakest in the series with limited content. Secondly, despite the four year absence, Soul Calibur V didn’t take steps to advance the series forward. Lastly, we walked away with a lot of mixed feelings regarding things we loved and things we weren’t so fond of.
And the winner wasn’t Dead or Alive 5 either, because honestly we expected a bit more after the series’ seven year absence. It came as a bit of a surprise then that Dead or Alive 5 hardly brought any new ideas to the table. It was a solid technical fighter that didn’t do a lot wrong, but we hoped for more.
The winner wasn’t UFC Undisputed 3 either, although it posed the strongest argument and came in at a very close second. We don’t want to take anything away from UFC Undisputed 3, as in the end we favoured our winner more because of what it brought us and did for its franchise.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was the most satisfying fighting game we’ve played this year. With an impressively large and diverse character roster, excellent and refined fighting mechanics and tons of options and game modes, any Tekken fan would find nearly everything they could want from this entry in the series. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 incorporates everything it takes to make a great fighting game, and it’s easily one of the best offerings this series has seen in years. On top of that, any Tekken fan would be overjoyed to discover that the game has brought back and improved the awesome fast-paced tag mechanics that last featured in the series twelve years ago. Overall, it’s hard to find anything to really complain about with this game, and the fact that free characters, stages and costumes are being added to the game at zero cost just gives us all the more reasons to love it. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is a fantastic tribute to this series, and it’s our choice for the best fighting game of 2012.