About The Fighters Generation's Game & Character Reviews!
All written reviews here on
FightersGeneration.com are created by yours truly, Frank Joseph (AKA FYagami / Mr. Yagami / TFG Webmaster). If you're reading a TFG Game Review or Character Overview, you're reading an opinion of someone who grew up in late 80's / early 90's arcades playing
pretty much every fighting game since Yie Ar Kung-Fu and Street Fighter 1. I practically
lived at arcades during the rise of the fighting genre in the 90's. I feel proud and lucky to have experienced the full evolution of the genre. On that note, there's a usually a deep-rooted reasoning for any strong opinion that I may have about a particular fighting game or character (and its evolution over the past 3 decades). Someone who jumped into the fighting game scene
later than I may understandably have some different opinions, and that's totally fine. That's what makes the FGC interesting. It's a good thing we have so many different fighting games to choose from!
I don't get paid directly to write positive reviews (unlike IGN), so I am free to write honest reviews. Unlike some... I'm not afraid to say that I "dislike" a particular game or character. If you ask me, someone who suggestively "likes" everything... actually likes nothing. Claiming or pretending to like many things (over a select
few) devalues the principle of being a fan of something, in my opinion.
As a serious competitive player who has entered tournaments for many different games, including: TEKKEN series, Soul Calibur series, MVC2, SF III: 3rd Strike, Capcom Vs. SNK 2, etc.), I admit that I've developed a "refined taste" for elaborate fighting game combo systems and gameplay engines that retain interest and a player base for many years - decades
even. I've won and lost
in the most balanced and unbalanced of fighting games (and I love them both for different reasons).
I'm also a lover of artwork and martial arts. I've actually had a great job as a martial arts teacher with 25+ years of on-the-job experience. That said, I indeed have a "unique" perspective about certain elements when it comes to
fighting games and martial arts-based characters. Whether you agree or disagree with my takes on games & characters... I hope you find my reviews "interesting" and, most importantly, entertaining! Besides, where else are you even going to find 1000's upon 1000's of game & character reviews
all written by a one person?
When I write fighting game reviews... I try to keep in mind that beginner, experienced, and completely-clueless players alike are reading them. No matter
what level of fighting game player you happen to be, I hope you find TFG's reviews to be
clear, informative, and fun to read. I try my best to cover literally all aspects of a fighting game, which is
something that very few "mainstream" reviewers will ever do.
Since there might be some judgmental
people here in internet-land... I'd like to clarify that I'm not some egomaniac
who thinks his opinion is the only one that matters. In fact, I've openly taken critiques and feedback from many of my long-time readers over the years, and
even incorporated some of their sentiments into my reviews. To give you a better understanding of the TFG Review & Rating formula, here are the basic guidelines that I use:
doubt the MOST IMPORTANT part of a fighting game. How responsive and smooth
are the controls? (Taking into consideration the year it was released.) How effective are the gameplay elements introduced? How technical, deep, and intuitive are the core fighting mechanics &
character movesets? Finally, how rewarding is the game for skilled players who put time and practice into the game?
games aren't particularly known for their elaborate, fleshed-out storylines... and fighting games don't necessarily "need" Story Modes to be good. Remember, the fighting genre grew to success in arcades WITHOUT story modes at all. However, a defined storyline or theme can make a big impact on drawing players in. Even so, a fighting game doesn't
require an epic storyline or mode to get a "decent" score for this category. As long as the "theme" is vivid, unique, and at
least some noticeable thought and effort went into the storyline - a quality fighting game should score fairly well in this category.
||No fighting game player worth their salt would say a fighting game is "good" based on graphics alone. However, visuals
are definitely an important aspect of any game and can really make a statement. Simply put, how
visually impressive was the game at the time of its debut? (Especially when compared to
other fighting games at the time.) All games are judged using optimal graphical settings when options are available.
||"A fighting game is only as good as
Do characters have fluid movements? Or are they stiff? Do they "follow through" with their attacks? Do they hit the ground hard when they fall? When
it comes to specific fighting techniques, sometimes there is in fact a "correct"
way to perform them (and more ways than one). Since the genre's beginning, many
characters' fighting styles are based on real
martial arts, and some developers have beautifully represented these authentic
martial arts in their games (while others have failed). If a
fighting game "suggests" that it features real martial arts, how
authentic and accurate are the styles are represented? This is comparable to how an observant pro-wrestling fan can tell when a wrestling move is
"well-executed" and when it's not.
the most underrated aspect of fighting games... the soundtrack! Many
fighting games have intricate,
well-designed, and downright catchy tunes. Is the music of the
game something I'd want to rock out to in my car from time or time, or do
I want to mute the damn thing? Character voice acting quality / emotion,
in addition the effectiveness of in-game
sound effects are also included in the final Music / Sound rating. ♪ ♫
|| What new "ideas" or content has this fighting game brought to the table? Does this game take innovative steps forward? Or does it mostly copy ideas from other games. A fighting game doesn't need to reinvent or revolutionize
the genre to get a
good score here. In fact, some fighting games have tried to change the format too much (and failed miserably)! Other highly successful fighting games have added vital new elements to the genre, becoming a staple and raising the bar for others. If the game is a
sequel, has it evolved in the right direction technically and visually?
||The inspiring artwork of fighting games is a large part of why I love them. The Art Direction grade should mirror a game's
artwork quality (or lack thereof). Promotional posters, backgrounds, and "artistry" that the game portrays is considered here. Does the game have a defined and enjoyable "art style"? This category does involve some personal preference, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We all have different tastes. As an artist and artwork
enthusiast myself, I have a great appreciation for what a fighting game offers artistically.
||In the early days, this score pertains to how many "color palettes" you could choose per character. As simple as it is, using a particular color or costume can really make a personal statement in a fighting game - adding
enjoyment. In the
"next-gen" of fighting games,
character customization has become a staple. How
deep, creative, and satisfying are the customization options? Customization can add quite a bit of replayability to a fighting game. However, PC mods (as awesome as they are) DO NOT apply in this rating!
||Self-explanatory. How vast is the options menu? Has
this game introduced any options or modes never before seen in a fighting game? If
so, are they worthwhile options that add enjoyment / replayability? In addition, alternate gameplay modes and any
"bonus" features that the game
presents are judged accordingly. Even "Easter Eggs" or
secrets that a game contains can contribute positively to this rating.
intro of a game is the all-important first impression... setting
the mood before the action starts. How impactful is the
opening cinematic? We definitely can't base the whole game on the intro alone, but it can make a statement - setting the "tone" for the game. In addition, a fighting game's menu design, character select screen & versus screen also count towards the presentation. Basically, does
the game have a stylish presentation from start to finish? Or was the game's presentation rushed and more like an afterthought?
||Along with Gameplay Engine, this is a very important aspect of a fighting game! What's the point of a fighting GAME if it's not fun to PLAY?
Some fighting games bore me within the first week or two, but other fighting games I enjoy playing for DECADES and never seem to get old. Usually, if the gameplay is top notch and the character roster is solid, this score will follow suit. Does the game have enough features and a quality Online Mode that make it replayable for years? Indeed, Online
Mode is considered in this category!
an essential part of every fighting game, how
much "oomph" is behind the attacks? Do
those punches, kicks, and throws look powerful, initiating a satisfying
in your mind when they connect? Or do they fall flat? Do
characters on the receiving end of the attacks react impressively and accordingly when they're hit or knocked down? If the attacks in
a fighting game don't look like they hurt when there's a collision... something is missing. "Violence is a beautiful
||Fighting Game characters are some of the most beloved and memorable of all time... and the best of them stand the test of time! How
fleshed out are the fighters? This includes their visual appeal, development, storyline... and possibly most important - their moveset! Are character movelists interesting and intuitive? Does this fighting game have a great variety of fighters who add something to the game? Or
are they more "cut & paste" and redundant? This category considers the roster as a whole, while TFG Character Overviews judge characters individually.
that's the bottom line, 'cause I said so! This is the final score of the game. This score is NOT an average of all the scores above... as each category is not of equal importance. (Obviously, certain aspects of a fighting game are more
important than others, like Gameplay.) Also carefully taken into consideration is the
date of the game's original release and how it compared to other fighting games of the era.
That means: Just because SF2 scored a 10
and MVC3 scored a 8.9
doesn't necessarily mean SF2 is a "better" game.
Side note: Fighting games on portable systems and some early console games are given a slight "curve" in some categories, as graphical and other limitations were a thing back then.
TFG's Character Ratings and Overviews are "just for fun" and have always been a unique trademark of the website since the early 2000's. I even wrote some of those reviews while I was still in high school (ayy, what were you doing in high school? I was
double-dipping and creating a website instead of following the flock.) As the lone Webmaster of this URL since the very beginning (a real life person who has spent 10's of
1000's of hours editing TFG character profiles), my comments near the bottom of character profiles help me stay sane and having fun while making ever-time-consuming updates, edits & improvements. I have fun with it.
That said, I've taken the liberty to share my personal (and 100% honest) thoughts and opinions on fighting game character designs and their evolutions over the decades. I also frequently update my overviews, so be sure to check back on your favorite character reviews in the future (especially when they appear in new games). I "judge" each character in the following categories:
Style / Moveset
opinion of a character's overall fighting style. How innovative and
interesting is their moveset design? Also, if the character's fighting style claims to represent an authentic martial art... is it legit? A character's fighting style evolves and even sometimes drastically changes when they return in sequels, which means this score is also subject to change.
This rating should reflect a character's latest rendition of
their moveset, but also considers previous movesets and the "impact" they had from prior games.
charismatic is the fighter? Is their personality clearly represented
in the game and official artwork? Pre-fight intros, taunts, win
quotes and win animations go a long way for a fighting game character. The personality of a character can also be
vividly illustrated through official character artwork, which the artists themselves bring out
of the character!
personal opinion of a character's threads, or lack thereof. Does the
character make a statement with their look, or do they just come off as
boring? ...or even worse, are they potentially a "rip-off" of another character design?
For characters who have more than one in-game outfit, their primary alternate
outfits are also taken into consideration in the
||"Effectiveness" in terms of what a character brings to their particular series from a design
standpoint (not how useful
they are in the game). Does their
fighting style and personality bring something unique to the series? Do they manage to fit in with the rest of the
cast and effectively stand out on their own? Finally, would the series be just fine without this character, or is
he/she a "must-have" in the franchise?
||The final score of the character, judged by Akuma's ten symbol of
the absolute worst.
Final Words: Ratings Can Change.
When it comes
to fighting games specifically, I believe the practice of "reviewing" a
new game after playing it for a "couple days or weeks" and then slapping on final score just isn't practical. Sadly, that's exactly what
most mainstream gaming websites do for their fighting game reviews. They rush to publish their review
so that it's one of the first available to read on the internet. These
undeservingly "popular" reviews almost always lack depth, and
in many cases, it's clear that the reviewer didn't even scratch the surface of
learning the game's deeper mechanics. Whether the reviewer has given the game a "good" or a "bad" rating... either way it's a disservice to the reader for not fully understanding the game's all-important gameplay mechanics. Let Captain Commando himself explain this to you:
While it's proven to be a flawed system... I also understand that "those
types" of gaming journalists usually have many different games to cover and
can't spend too much time with any one particular fighting game.
Me, on the other hand? I only have to review fighting games. And I take all the sweet time I need, because I don't have a quota and don't get paid by rich developers to write positive reviews for their over-hyped games.
After thoroughly reading some of my reviews, I think you'll find that I go into much
greater detail than other gaming sites.
What makes TFG's
review system unique is that reviews & rating scores will evolve. There are several reasons
for this: First and foremost, in the modern era of fighting games, post-launch patches & updates can add gameplay mechanics, character updates, story elements, and fix glitches or bugs - all of which can greatly enhance the enjoyment of said fighting game. In one example: a few months after Soul
Calibur IV launched, a patch was released that enabled the ability to parry
throws. This was a very significant (and positive) change effecting high level gameplay,
and resulted in my changing SC4's gameplay score from 9
(also effecting the overall review score slightly).
After playing and practicing a fighting game consistently for several months (or years), it's likely you'll feel differently about it than you did the first time playing.
Viewpoints may also change after
experiencing more of what the game has to offer by leveling up your own skills. The fighting genre is very unique in that respect, as the overall enjoyment of some of the genre's best games greatly depends on your own prowess, skill level, and how many different characters that you know how to use. In many of my favorite fighting games, I feel like
each character is their own unique "game". Think about a 3rd-person action game where you only use 1 character with 1 moveset. A single fighting game character can sometimes have a much deeper moveset than that entire character who stars in their own game. Before judging a fighting game, I think you should at least attempt to use at least
half of the roster... if not every character.
Learning the deeper aspects of a fighting game's mechanics, character archetypes, and appreciating the pros and cons of each element is a dynamic thing that takes time. In respect to the point I made earlier, I'm 110% positive that some of those "mainstream" reviewers never
came close to learning even ONE character in said game.
(Y'know, that's actually pretty tough to do in under a week).
As a critic, I try to leave out as much "bias"
as I can when reviewing fighting games and characters, but it's almost impossible not to develop a certain "taste" after doing something consistently for 30 years. A quick analogy: Once you've tasted fresh ingredients cooked by a master chef (or several master chefs from a variety of restaurants over the years), it's difficult to go
back to enjoying cheaply made fast food. In every facet of life, people with confident opinions tend to lean in a particular direction. In the FGC... I've never met a serious player who
doesn't "lean in some particular direction" when it comes to the type of fighting games they prefer.
On that note, if you enjoy my reviews... thank you so much for taking the time to read them. I do this for you guys. On the other hand, if you think I suck at reviewing games, please be my guest to create your own website with 1000's upon 1000's of individual reviews and try to have people agree with you 100% of the time. Good luck with that!
In closing... I hope you appreciate my unique perspective on fighting
games and occasional "edgy" humor that I put into my reviews.
I always welcome feedback (via social media) if you have any comments, suggestions, or critiques about any review published on this
site. Thank you so much for reading and visiting this website. Please enjoy TFG's
exclusive Fighting Game Reviews! Somehow I even find time to actually play fighting games and create videos about them, too. Check out my
YouTube Channel for a better idea of what I love about fighting games.
"Since you took the time to read all this.... I'll let you in on
a little TFG website "secret". Every game profile on TFG contains a link to
page located at the top of the rating table. All you need to do is hover
your mouse over the image below, left click, and Voila! There are
several other animated links like this one to find on TFG. Can you find them
all? Keep in
mind the animation might not work properly in all browsers. Test it out below!"