30th Oct2019

‘Skullgirls 2nd Encore’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

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2D fighters are my gaming bread and butter, having been weened on to them at an early age thanks to side-scrolling efforts such as Double Dragon and Streets of Rage and discovering the grand-daddy of 2D fighters, Street Fighter at an arcade in Majorca back in the 90s. Since then I’ve played them all, from classics such as Final Fight and the King of Fighters series to more obscure fighters such as Spectral vs. Generation, Waku Waku 7 and Groove on Fight.

In recent years the 2D fighting genre has had something of a resurgence, thanks to the like of BlazBlue, and the new Guilty Gear games and a myriad of Japanese fighters – that would never had received a physical release back in the day – hitting places like the Playstation Network (which is home to a number of VERY cool 2D fighters that seem to have flown under the radar of pretty much everyone!)

Back in the day, waaaaay back in 2012 to be precise, I played the original Skullgirls game on both PS3 and Xbox 360 (why I bought it twice I don’t know) but never got my hands on the sequel. Until now…

First off, let me say that Skullgirls 2nd Encore is, like the first game, one of the best-looking 2D fighters ever, with gorgeously drawn characters and backdrops that are unlike anything that has come before. And the graphics are perfectly suited to the Switch – in both handheld AND docked mode this game looks amazing!

Stylistically Skullgirls 2nd Encore looks very much like an anime-style game, but with more of a Western influence. The fantastic artwork also extends to the games story mode, with a tale told mostly in drawings – though unlike the original there more of the typical reading line after line of text, as characters talk and reveal more about the games story. Speaking of which, the games expansive story mode sees each character have her own story and own unique ending. Which means there is a TON of replayability here!

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Now as a fighting game “veteran” one of the things that gets my back up is fighters that are just too damn easy. Which is NOT the case here. Skullgirls 2nd Encore manages to be not only a great looking fighter but also a damn hard one too, and even on easy the story and arcade modes will flummox the more casual gamer. But whilst the arcade and story mode may be tricky for some, for the less-hardcore this game does offer a fantastic two-player experience that will please everyone – from the button bashers to the skilled fighter fan.

A franchise developed by hardcore fighting fans, it really does show in the finished product – for the first time I would heartily recommend you tackle the tutorial before going anywhere near the rest of the game. You’ll be glad you did. Plus there’s plenty of button combos to learn for those that really want to get deep into the game, although if that sound like you, you might want to invest in an arcade stick for an even better Skullgirls experience (especially if you want to use some of the 3-button combos).

A mix of hardcore fighting, gorgeous graphics, great characters and (for once) a worthwhile story mode, Skullgirls 2nd Encore is an essential purchase for fight-game fans; and for Switch owners, the fact you get all previous DLC including extra characters, a fully voiced Story Mode, unique challenges, helpful trials, color options and an endless Survival Mode – all of which is just icing on the proverbial cake!

Developed by Lab Zero Games and published by Skybound Games, Skullgirls 2nd Encore is available on the Nintendo eShop.

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