Bittersweet Parting – Why I’m Quitting Skullgirls: 2nd Encore

Why I'm Quitting Skullgirls 2nd Encore Attract Image (Witty Gamer) Pic

“I’m not gonna play a fighting game if I’m unable to give it my all.” – Sikaran


SG:2E gets a lot of things right. Its graphics, audio, user interface, stability, and scalability are outstanding. Each character is unique in terms of look, sound, and feel. It has an engaging Story Mode (wholly separate from Arcade Mode), a smartly-crafted Tutorial Mode, a Training Room bursting with practice aids, Trials for those looking to expand their knowledge, Challenges for completionists, Art and Sound Galleries, superb online multiplayer netcode, and most importantly, a highly responsive support team.


In its current state, it’s everything I wanted SFV to be on release. Heck, it’s very nearly my idea of a perfect fighting game. So why am I dropping it? Answer: I don’t think I’ll ever be good at it.


Now, I’m no quitter. I relentlessly slogged through 5 editions of Street Fighter 4 (Vanilla, Super, Arcade Edition, AE 2012, Ultra) just so I could become a respectable presence at our local arcade scene. That’s 7 years of humiliation I had to endure at the hands of more experienced players. I toughed it out. Nothing tears me up more than not being able to give my opponent a good fight.


One of the things that helped me through that murderous climb was the fact that visual information was delivered to me at a friendly rate. The pace at which on-screen events happen in Street Fighter 4 is not that far removed from Street Fighter 2, which in turn is based off of average human reaction time. If I screwed up somewhere, I didn’t need to consult a slowed-down post-match replay to find out what my mistake was. All I had to do was think back for a couple of seconds. Same thing for when I make an excellent play – it’s easy to recall what I did right because the game events unfolded before my eyes at a reasonable pace.


In contrast, SG:2E seems to be tailor-fitted to people with above-average reaction time. Everything just zips by at what seems to me to be an inhuman pace. But to high-level SG:2E vets, its game speed is ho-hum normal. Their eyes and brains can process the onscreen phenomena quickly enough to be able to unhesitatingly initiate the correct responses to specific in-game situations.


Another thing – in majority of the fighting games that I’ve played, there are certain ‘break-off points’ when both players can rest their minds for a bit and at the same time plan their next action. Examples – during and after a successful throw animation, after a successful throw tech, during and after a successful Super or Ultra, and after a hard knockdown. These in-game actions have longer-than-normal starting and ending animations and cannot be linked into afterwards. They basically give everybody some breathing room. Time to think. Time to regroup.


These break points are nearly non-existent in SG: 2E. You can combo after throws. You can combo after Level 1 Blockbusters. You can combo after Level 3 Blockbusters. Hell, you can combo after Level 5 Blockbusters. The player’s mind basically has to be in overclock mode from start to finish to fend off blistering offensives. As I said earlier, this is fine for players who are equipped to handle this sort of sensory superdump. But it’s just too much for me. I’m either too average, or too old.


My SG2E Lineup Attract Image (Witty Gamer) Pic

Sigh… goodbye, my trio. I’ll miss you terribly.


I love the world of Skullgirls, and I’m open to other game types that might be made inside its universe – stealth/action, turn-based strategy, RPG, visual novel, platformer, bring it. But as a fighting game? I’m going to follow Samson’s advice on this one: “Just stay down.”


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