A lot of people would say that I am a pretty nice guy, but I have a competitive spirit that burns brightest when I have a chance at a one on one battle. My friends and I don’t always get the chance to compete with physical activity, but we do love our games. Fighting games are the modern embodiment of our society’s oldest form of competition. It is because of this that there are so many fighting games out there and some of them are ridiculously popular. However, in every industry there are high quality products that get overlooked due to a lack of advertising. I wouldn’t say that I know everything there is to know about the fighting game industry, but I do own quite a few fighting games that have not gotten their proper due. The following is a list of my five favorite fighting games that did not sell as well as they should have.
5). Persona 4 Arena
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
I have only recently gotten into the Persona franchise because of recommendations from my friends and I am very happy with what I experienced. Oddly enough, the first game that I played was not any of the plot driven ones, but the fighting game. However, Persona 4 Arena is definitely a game that was worth my time. The soundtrack is very good and if you pre ordered the game they offered a CD for it. The animation in the game is very crisp and the colors are vibrant, but all of the stages are basically the same which is something that happens a lot in 2D fighters. The basics of fighting are fun and if you give the tutorial some time the game will start to feel natural. We get the classic style for the combos that involves a lot of quarter circles which is helpful in the fact that you can use some prior knowledge from other fighting games to get you started. One of the reasons why the game has not done as well as it should have in North America is the fact that if you didn’t know about Atlus games before, there was very little advertisement out there trying to grab your interest as a new customer. The game uses characters based on the RPGs from the franchise which is a tell in and of itself because JRPGs rarely do well over here and they often don’t even get ported to North America which irritates me, but that is capitalism. Those of you that enjoy the Persona games will like the use of characters that you have grown attached to. People that enjoy fighting games will enjoy the classic feel and fun looking combos in a game that is honestly very balanced. Persona 4 Arena is definitely worth your time and the $29.99 price tag at GameStop isn’t bad. I bought the game at $59.99 in August, but that is what happens to unpopular games. If my recommendation isn’t enough, IGN gave it a 9/10.
4). Digimon Rumble Arena 2
Platforms: GameCube, Playstation 2, Xbox
I absolutely love the Digimon anime, but a lot of the games disappointed me. Luckily, Digimon Rumble Arena 2 was made and it became my second favorite fighting game for the GameCube. The game doesn’t really have much of a soundtrack, but that really isn’t a big deal for a game like this. The graphics are pretty good for a GameCube game and attack animations are very clear. Unlike most 2D fighters, there are a variety of different stages that give you varying experiences due to the stage specific elements in the game.The fighting engine is basically the same as Super Smash Brothers which is nice because the moves are very easy to pull off which makes the game accessible to people with little to no experience with the game. Unlike a lot of other fighters the game allows for up to four players which makes Digimon Rumble Arena 2 great for parties. My favorite part of the game is the fact that you can collect energy that will allow your digimon to digivolve during battles which will upgrade your skills and will appeal greatly to fans of the show. The game probably didn’t do well because of the lack of popular games and advertising for the Digimon franchise in the states. Once again, people in North America are not appreciating Japanese games. I bought the game for $19.99 before the Wii came out and you can buy it now, if you can find it online or at a used game store, for under $10. IGN gave the game a 7/10, but the appeal that the game has in group settings makes it even better for me.
3). Dead or Alive Dimensions
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Dead or Alive is a very popular fighting game franchise so people may wonder why one of their games is on this list. However, not every game in a popular franchise sells well. The soundtrack for this game very high energy and exactly what I would want from a fighting game. The graphics are pretty good for what the 3DS can support and the fighting animations are extremely well done. The stages keep up the multi level element that Dead or Alive is known for which is one of my favorite additions to the world of fighting. The translation of the Dead or Alive 3D fighting engine to a handheld device was very well done and something to boast about when describing this game to people. This was very refreshing because fighting games have rarely attained success in that regard. Pulling off combos will start to become easy as the game progresses and the tutorial is very helpful. I have tried out the online play and I never experienced lag on my end with only minimal lag from my friend who was using a less reliable wi-fi connection. The ability to battle over wi-fi is obviously important because, unlike console games, the 3DS will only allow for one player per system. Dead or Alive Dimensions was a release game for the 3DS which spelled trouble for the game. The 3DS sold horribly at the initial launch due to high prices and a weak set of games that accompanied it which tainted the name of our new DOA right off the bat. We also have the stigma that comes along with handheld fighters that they are never good enough in comparison to their big brothers which is a very unfair assumption. Then we get our classic lack of advertisement, but Dead or Alive games rarely need extra advertising to sell due to the brand they have established. However, I feel that the low sales will discourage the making of another handheld DOA game which upsets me because of how good this one is. I bought this game for $39.99 at release, but it is $19.99 at your local video game provider now. IGN gave this game an 8/10 which was rightfully deserved and all of my friends that have played the game would definitely give it a thumbs up.
2). Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
I was a really big fan of early Naruto, but my interest has waned as the story progressed into Shippuuden. However, I have not given up on their fighting games. The soundtrack for this game is pretty good and you get that classic Naruto feel from the music which would obviously make sense. The manga style graphics are really good and you get that anime feel when you are playing which is a really fun and unique experience. The stages are all pretty much the same and fall into two types being those with and without water. The fighting engine is what really put this game over the top for me. When we think of 3D fighter Dead or Alive and Tekken come to mind, but the Naruto Ninja Storm games have implemented truly free form fighting. You are not constantly locked onto you opponent having to sidestep attacks and that is what has helped make this game a favorite at parties I go to. The fighting engine is so unique that you really need to play the game to know how great it truly is. The cinematic way that the specials are expressed will excite any fan of the show and enhance the experience for everyone involved. Honestly, this game has sold better than the others on this list because Naruto fans will buy it just because they love the show, but a lot of people who are not fans of the series will stray away from the game. Even if the game got better advertising, the “series specific” stigma will halt new fans from getting started. You don’t need to know about the Naruto universe prior to playing this game because it is a fighting game, but the story mode does contain spoilers if you plan to get into the actual series soon. I bought the game for $59.99 at release, but you can get it at $29.99 at a lot of stores nowadays. IGN gave the game an 8.5/10 and it deserves a chance from all fans of fighters.
1). Tatsunoko vs Capcom Ultimate All-Stars
Platforms: Nintendo Wii
Who even knew that there were fighting games on the Wii not called Super Smash Brothers Brawl? Who knew that Capcom was cheating on Marvel with Tatsunoko? Well, we all know now. This game has a very fun fighting game soundtrack that fits the Japanese fighter well. The graphics are actually really good in terms of Wii standards and the stage backgrounds make this game beautiful to look at. We get very clear attack animations and any fan of Marvel vs Capcom can appreciate the way that the combos look. The 2D fighting engine is basically the same one that has given Marvel vs Capcom its popularity. Once again we get to utilize our basic quarter circle combos that are great for fighting game veterans, but the game still feels very accessible to new people. Fans of the Capcom fighting games will see some familiar faces along with some heroes from older anime that give us some unique individuals to choose from. Unfortunately, there are quite a few reasons that this game did not do well. Most games that are not Nintendo franchises or dancing games have a hard time selling on the Wii which is the unfortunate truth that hurt sales for both the system and its third-party games. People assume that the Wii is all family friendly and they won’t take other games seriously. Also, there is the classic lack of advertisement which is starting to piss me off. I didn’t even know about this game until three years after its release. I bought the game for $25.99 and you can find it online for around $24 at this time. IGN gave Tatsunoko vs Capcom a well deserved 9/10 that I completely agree with.
What we are seeing is a glaring lack of support for fighting games as a whole. People get swept up in the safety that comes along with well-known gaming franchises and avoid spending money on a risk. I don’t disagree with that line of thinking because getting burned when it comes to using your money sucks, but at least research some of the lesser known games to see if they are worthy of picking up before you disregard them. Also, try going out of your way to look up games that people are talking about online that you wouldn’t hear about otherwise. All in all, fighting games are great for playing with friends and the genre deserves some more love.
Honorable Mention: BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend
Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, Playstation Vita, Xbox 360
You fighting game veterans out there may be asking why I am putting a BlazBlue game on a list of lesser known fighters. The answer is that the BlazBlue console games are not the best of sellers. The soundtrack is really nice and people who bought the limited edition got a CD for said songs. The graphics are very nice with some of the best attack animations that I have seen in recent 2D fighters. The stages are all basically the same in terms of functionality, but the things that are going on behind the scenes are very entertaining. You get a classic 2D fighter’s gameplay engine so everyone will once again have access to their favorite quarter circle attacks. The one thing I must add is the reason that BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend did not make the list was because the game is kind of tough for beginners to get used to which can make it less accessible to your average person. Once again, the game suffered from a lack of advertisement in North America which really hurt its selling potential. I bought the limited edition at release for $59.99 and went back to GameStop on many occasions to see copies lying there on the shelves. No one besides myself even pre ordered the game at the GameStop that I go to and I live in the Bay Area of California. You can get the game online for less than $20 now which is really unfortunate because it came out this year. IGN gave the game an 8.5 out of ten and the hours that my friends and I put into this game support that score.
Actual Last Words:
I love obscure fighting games and would enjoy some recommendations.