Best Fighting Games of 2012: The Ones To Watch


Posted December 20, 2011 - By Dana Leahy

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Best Fighting Games of 2012: The Ones To Watch

Fighting games are experiencing a renaissance, and 2012 is shaping up to be an extremely exciting year for the genre. 2011 was jammed packed with titles that brought players flocking back to their fight sticks including Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Mortal Kombat, and there's even more to look forward to with fighting games in 2012.

New installments of some of the most beloved fighting game franchises, such as Soul Calibur and Street Fighter X Tekken, will be making their debuts in 2012. Not only will fighting game fans be able to enjoy action on their consoles, but they'll also be able to game on the go with handheld versions of their favorites on the PlayStation Vita.

Read on young virtual kung-fu master, as we take you through a list of the most highly anticipated fighting games of 2012.

Soul Calibur 5 Ezio Announcement Trailer »

Soul Calibur 5
Release Date: January 31, 2011

While the team behind Soul Calibur 4 disbanded shortly after release, the Soulcalibur franchise is far from dead. In fact, it's very much alive and well with the upcoming January 2012 release of Soulcalibur V.

Featuring over 6 new fighters, including Ezio of Assassin's Creed fame, Soul Calibur V boasts a roster of over 18 characters total.

The new characters aren't the only significant change, however, as the gameplay has also been reformulated. A new mechanic called Critical Edge has been added, making the game a little bit more tactical in nature. Critical Edge allows you to fill a meter, and the perform special attacks that deliver a damaging blow to your opponent. These attacks feature separate animations, too, so no longer is Soul Calibur just about clogging your opponent with combos. Now with Critical Edge, you will have to factor in filling your meter, which represents a shift in thinking for the Soulcalibur series.

Defining Feature: Playable Ezio that isn't a gimmicky throwaway, plus the addition of Critical Edge revitalizes the Soul Calibur series.

Skullgirls Hands-on Preview »

Release Date: Q1 2012

Tournament fighter Mike "Mike Z" Zaimont and Reverge Labs are trying to innovate fighting games on fully-animated character at a time. Skullgirls is a 2D fighting game that looks great, and mechanically focuses on being balanced. The game is kind to beginners by offering forgiving input controls on combos, but also has a lot to offer more experienced players.

Gone are the infinite combo loops that drive players batty. Instead, the developers have built in an infinite detection system that allows loops to be canceled with one button push by the opposing player.

Skullgirls will also allow players to create custom assists, culling from all the playable characters, using the in-game menu. While each character has their own preset assists, players will be able to mix and match their favorites.

Along with an incredibly unique and stylish look, Skullgirls will be on of the first console offerings to utilize the new GGPO netcode, which is specifically designed to reduce lag in fighting games.

Defining Feature:
As an Xbox LIVE Arcade/PSN offering, Skullgirls is guaranteed to deliver much bang for your hard-earned buck.

Street Fighter X Tekken "Tekken Pandora" Trailer »

Street Fighter X Tekken
Console Release Date: March 6, 2012
PlayStation Vita Release Date: March 31, 2012

Developed by Capcom, Street Fighter X Tekken marks the melding of two well-loved fighting franchises. The game will be available for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as Sony's new handheld system the PlayStation Vita.

Because it's been developed by Capcom, Street Fighter X Tekken will be a 2D fighter that utilizes the gameplay mechanics seen in the Street Fighter series, but the game will emphasize Tag Team-style play. Both characters from the Street Fighter and Tekken universes will be controllable with the 6-button Street Fighter control scheme, while you'll have the option to control the Tekken characters with the traditional 4-button Tekken system.

Unbelievably, Street Fighter X Tekken has a plot that attempts to explain why these two worlds have come together. Whether or not that will be a pro or a con -- or if anyone will care -- is yet to be seen.

The game boasts a robust list of characters from both franchises, and as a special bonus to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita owners, Cole MacGrath from Infamous will be a playable character, as well as two extra Tekken characters, Toro and Kuro.

Defining Feature: Two of the most beloved and well-known fighting franchises come together, and with a host of options, Street Fighter X Tekken will probably be one of the biggest and most exciting fighting game releases of 2012.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Interview With Katsuhiro Harada »

Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Release Date: Holiday 2012

Speaking of Tekken, the franchise will also be returning on its own in 2012 with the release of Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

A follow up to 1999's Tekken Tag Tournament, Tournament 2 boasts 41 playable characters and an expanded version of the gameplay mechanics from the original. Now, players will be able to execute extended tag combos and combined moves, as well as Tag Assaults that both characters participate in at the same time.

The Rage system from Tekken 6 has been replaced by a new partner rage system similar to the one featured in the original Tag Tournament.

Defining Feature: If you liked the first game and are a Tekken fan, the reworked Tekken Tag Tournament 2 should bring you plenty of enjoyment.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Tokyo Game Show 2011 Trailer »

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for the PlayStation Vita
Release Date: February 22, 2012

If you prefer to do your gaming on the go, Capcom has your back. The newest version of Capcom's MvC fighting franchise, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, is coming to the PlayStation Vita as a launch title.

The game will utilize both the Vita's buttons/thumbsticks, as well as its touchscreen, giving players a variety of options when it comes to controls. Ultimate MvC3 will also capitalize on the Vita's Wi-Fi capabilities by allowing you to spectate other games.

As great and wonderful as those features are, the real zinger is that you'll be able to use the Vita to control the PlayStation 3 version of Ultimate. That's right: you can use your handheld in conjunction with your PS3 and HDTV. It's neat, but if players will surrender their fight sticks for this option more than once is still up in the air.

Defining Feature
: A hardcore fighting game on a series handheld system, plus the ability to link it up with your PS3, is all good news for fighting game fans.

And there you have it! For another look ahead, check out our Best MMOs of 2012: The Ones To Watch feature.

Best Fighting Games of 2012: The Ones To Watch


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