About The Fighters Generation Game & Character Reviews!
Welcome to The Fighters Generation Review FAQ. This page will give you a closer look at the process and inspiration behind the 1000's of unique game &
character reviews published on this website. All reviews on
FightersGeneration.com are written by TFG Founder / Webmaster, Frank Joseph (@Fighters_Gen). You can read more details about me and my backstory on TFG's
About page. When 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 International Karate, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, and Street Fighter 1. Many years before I created The Fighters Generation website... I practically "lived" at arcades during the rise of the fighting genre in the early 90's. I feel proud and lucky to have experienced the full evolution of the genre (and continue to with enthusiasm).
There's usually a deep-rooted reasoning for any strong opinion that I may have about a particular fighting game or character (and/or its evolution throughout the past 3 decades). Someone who jumped into the fighting game scene
much later than I might have some different opinions, understandably, and that's totally fine. That's what makes the FGC interesting. It's a good thing we have such a great variety of fighting games to choose from these days! Old school players will remember... that wasn't always the case.
I don't get paid directly to give "positive" reviews (unlike IGN reviewers or game awards show hosts), so I am free to write honest reviews on The Fighters Generation. That said, you may come across certain "negative" reviews of games and characters on this website. I always try my best to explain why I might dislike a particular game or character (and I hope you
find it entertaining). You may disagree with me at times (besides, writing 1000+ reviews and having 100% of people agree with you is impossible)... but hey, I'm not the type of person who posts fake reaction videos on YouTube and "pretends" to like (and be impressed by) everything new that is announced. If you ask me, someone who suggestively "likes everything" actually likes nothing. Claiming
many things (over a select few things that you actually do like) devalues the principle of being a true fan of something, in my opinion.
As a dedicated competitive fighting game player who has entered many tournaments since the early 2000's (for MVC2, CVS1, CVS2, TEKKEN series, SoulCalibur series, SFIII: 3rd Strike, etc), I admit that I've developed a "refined taste" for elaborate fighting game combo systems and gameplay engines that retain an
interest and a player base for many years or even decades. There's a reason some fighting games succeed at this, and some do not. Gameplay comes first. I've won and lost
in the most balanced and unbalanced of fighting games, both 2D and 3D, and I love them both for different reasons. It's not about winning and losing. It's the reward of long-term playing... learning... and "mastering" of fighting games that I truly love the most.
I also happen to be a lover of fighting game artwork, other forms of art, food art, attempts at art, combo video art... and martial arts. For 25+ years, I even taught several styles of martial arts as part of my every day life. On that note, I have a unique perspective on the actual "fighting" aspects of fighting games and martial arts-based
characters (which have deep roots in the genre).
Whether you agree or disagree with my point of view, I hope you find my reviews "interesting" and, most importantly... entertaining. I'm a writer too, it would seem. I write. See. Writing. Thanks for contributing to the dying art of the written word, by reading mine. Besides, where else are you going to find 1000's upon 1000's of game & character reviews...
all written by one person? (And if you ever attempt such a feat, good luck to you. It's not easy. lol.)
When I write fighting game reviews... I try to keep in mind that beginner, experienced, expert, and completely-clueless players alike are reading them. No matter
what category or "level" of fighting game player you fall under, 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" or video reviewers will ever do. I also use history as a base when reviewing, always considering what other games and characters existed at the time.
Since there may be some judgmental
people here on internet-land... I'd like to state 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 have incorporated some of their sentiments into my reviews. To anyone who has ever contacted me and sent me comments, corrections, and/or constructive criticism, I want you to know that I
appreciate you. Thanks for the inspiration, FGC. To give you a better understanding of TFG's Review & Rating formula, here are the basic guidelines 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 "need" Story Modes to be good. The fighting genre grew to unprecedented levels of success in arcades, WITHOUT story modes. However, a defined storyline or distinctive theme can make a big impact on drawing players in. A fighting game doesn't
require an epic story mode to get a "decent" score in this category. As long as the "theme" is well thought-out, distinctive, and at
least some considerable thought & 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 and innovative 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 such 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 with impact when they fall? In regards 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 authentic martial arts, and some developers have beautifully represented these
martial arts in their games (while others have failed). If a game "suggests" that it features real martial arts, how accurate are the styles 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 a fighting game... the soundtrack! Many
fighting games have intricate,
well-designed, and downright brilliant, 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 immediately put the damn thing on mute? Character voice acting quality / emotion, and all 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 the
wheel or revolutionize
the genre to get a decent score here. In fact, some fighting games have tried to change the format too much (and failed miserably)! Some highly successful fighting games have added vital new elements to the genre, becoming a staple and raising the bar for others. If said game is a
sequel, has it evolved in the right direction technically and visually?
||The awe-inspiring artwork of fighting games is a large part of why I love them. The Art Direction grade should mirror a game's "art style" and illustrations (or lack thereof). Promotional posters, backgrounds, character art,
and overall "artistry" that the game portrays is judged here. This category does involve some personal preference, obviously, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We all have different tastes. As an artist and artwork
enthusiast myself, I feel I have a great appreciation for what a fighting game can offer artistically.
||In the early days, this score reflects the number of "color palettes" players had available, 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 modes have 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, unique features, or modes never before seen in a fighting game? If
so, are they worthwhile options that add enjoyment or 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 all count towards the presentation. Basically, does
the game have a stylish appearance from start to finish? Or was the game's presentation rushed and seem 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, rewarding, deep, and the character roster is well-rounded... this score will follow suit. Also, does the game have enough features and a quality Online Mode that make it replayable for years?
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 (and don't need to change much). 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, each who add something to the game? (Or
are the characters more "cut & paste" and all play the same / are 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. The final score is NOT an "average" of all the scores above (why would it be?)... as each category is not of equal importance. (Obviously, certain aspects of a fighting game are more
important than others, like GAMEPLAY. It's a GAME, not a movie.) 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. (It might be, but that's not what we're saying here. lol.)
*SIDE NOTE: Fighting games on portable systems and some early console games are given a slight "curve" in certain categories, as graphical and other limitations were a thing to consider 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 early reviews while I was still in high school... (ay, what were you doing in high school? I was
double-dipping and creating a website instead of following the flock and wasting my life.) As the lone Webmaster of this URL since the very beginning (a real life person who has spent 1000's of hours coding and editing this website), my comments near the bottom of character profiles have helped me stay sane and having fun while making incredibly-time-consuming updates,
edits & improvements. I have fun with it.
That said, I've taken the liberty to share my (100% honest) thoughts and opinions on fighting game character designs and their evolutions over time. As characters evolve... 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 in the game (or games) they appear in. How innovative and
interesting is their moveset design? If a character's fighting style claims to represent an authentic martial art... is it legit? Are they a "fun" character to use? How has their moveset evolved from sequel to sequel? This rating should reflect a character's latest rendition of
their moveset, but also considers previous movesets and the "impact" they had in prior games.
charismatic are they? 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 portrayed through official character illustrations, which the artists themselves bring out
of the character!
personal opinion of a character's threads, or lack thereof. Does the
character make a fashion statement with their look, or do they just come off as
boring? Or even worse, are they "ripping-off" 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 fighting game series as a design (not how useful
they are in the game). Does their
fighting style and/or 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"?
||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 online. 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 (nor did they experience what the game truly offers competitively when playing against another human - a very important aspect of a fighting game). Let Captain Commando himself explain this to you:
I 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. So I take all the sweet time I need... because I don't have a quota and don't get bribed 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 far greater detail than most other gaming sites.
What makes TFG
reviews unique: Reviews & Ratings can 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 SoulCalibur 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
Quality fighting games were designed to be played for a long time.
After 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 skills. The fighting genre is very unique in that respect, as the overall "enjoyment" of the best games greatly depends on your own dedicated, skill level, and even how many characters you know how to use.
In many of my favorite fighting games,
I'd say each character feels like their own "game". Think about a 3rd-person action game where you only use 1 character with 1 moveset. It's a whole game, right? Fighting game characters can offer such incredible variety and greatly differ from one another's playstyle. Before "judging" a fighting game, I think you should at
least attempt to learn the majority of the roster (yes, that means go through everyone's entire movesets). That's what I've always done. You can "enjoy" a game without doing so... but we're talking about "reviewing" a game, remember?
Learning the deeper aspects of a fighting game's mechanics, character moveset intricacies, game balance, appreciating the pros & cons of each element... and how it all comes together, is dynamic and takes time. In respect to the point I made earlier, I'm 100% positive that some "mainstream" reviewers never
came close to learning even ONE character in a fighting game they reviewed.
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 passionately and consistently for 30 years. Analogy: Once you've tasted fresh ingredients cooked by a master chef (or master chefs from a variety of great restaurants over the years), it's difficult to go
back to enjoying cheaply made fast food. In every facet of life, people with experience and confident opinions tend to lean in a particular direction. In the FGC... I've never met a professional player who plays ALL fighting games, or claims to "LIKE" ALL fighting games. Pros usually stick to playing 1 or 2 games at the most. (For years.)
In closing... I hope you enjoy my perspective on fighting
games and occasional edgy humor 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. Please enjoy TFG's
exclusive Fighting Game Reviews! (Ohh yeah, aside from writing reviews... somehow I find time to actually play fighting games and create videos for them, too. Check out my
YouTube Channel for a visual representation 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!"