Published on July 24th, 2019 | by thec0re30
Fantasy Strike Steam Ver. Review!!
Summary: Presentation is good overall but certain characters needed more work. Gameplay definitely creates an engaging challenge despite the easy inputs. Online experience is fantastic.
It has been a long time consensus that fighting games hold an inherent amount of difficulty and require an insane amount of dedication for mastery. What often gets left out of that conversation is just how engaging and incredibly strategic fighting games are and one factor always seems to be the focal reason many do not reach this level of enjoyment: execution. Fantasy Strike, lead by an EX Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix developer aims to simplify this word while still maintaining the deep and challenging aspect of a definition that has had a tight grip on the genre ever since its inception and so the only question left to ask is does Fantasy Strike successfully pull this off?
At first glance Fantasy Strike looks like your traditional 1 vs 1 fighting game but as I’ll discuss later when it comes to gameplay things aren’t quite as traditional as they seem. Rounds are doubled from their regular best 2 out of 3 matches which seems to be directly tied to the low amount of hit points for each character.
Since my initial time with the game back in August of 2017, Fantasy Strike has gotten a bit of a touch up. While physical details have remained unchanged, it would seem an additional bloom effect has been added with colors looking sharper and animations looking more fluid as well.
For the most part, the cast of Fantasy Strike are, to put it frankly, okay. While some characters feel carefully fleshed out in both their aesthetics and game play others feel a bit rushed and uninspired.
One of the more stand out features of this title are its visual cues. Damage is directly tied to hit points and can clearly be seen on the health bar while invulnerability and armor are highlighted in the form of color effects on the characters themselves. Even hints to certain situations make their way onto the screen. It’s an obvious effort to help get you in the right sort of mindset outside of the initial tutorial.
Game modes for Fantasy Strike seem to be your basic affair covering its bases with modes that have pretty much been the standard for fighting games though it does attempt to serve up additional content for those who wish to learn more details about their characters of choice.
Of course, no fighting game is complete without some stage music and the soundtrack for Fantasy Strike hits on the right notes offering some very memorable tunes to listen to during game play.
While simple inputs may be the goal for this title, it certainly isn’t the only aim. Fantasy Strike does away with the traditional crouching movement ultimately taking away a crucial mixup strategy found in most fighting games. This isn’t a bad thing as you start to realize the developers are trying to get you to focus on other strategies that you may have ignored.
Basic attacks are broken down to a minimalist form as they are tethered to one button but give you three options by way of directional inputs. Special moves can also be activated with a simple button press and rely on pressure sensitive pushes to give you stronger versions or variations.
It’s here that you get a small feeling of depth but not in the sense of discovering extended combos just better ways to gain an upper hand. Characters add their own mechanical quirks which are tied to their fighting archetype and while it’s a nice idea there are certain choices that I feel are more of a Pavlov experiment than a gameplay mechanic.
Yomi counter, an anti-throwing measure, is in my opinion a highlight feature of Fantasy Strike’s combat system as it requires no command only a belief that you have a read on your opponent and the willingness to relinquish your control rewarding you with damage and in some cases escape from pressure. The idea of letting go in a fighting game can be both liberating and freighting in the same vein adding some much needed excitement to the title overall.
Super moves are also available at the press of a button and carry two special variations for each character. While they are simple to use, most require a good read to be advantageous making them more of a reactionary and methodical tool dispelling the thought of it being a simple comeback mechanic.
The online experience for Fantasy Strike has been a solid one so far. The initial release carries two matchmaking modes and an invitation only lobby for friends. If you are looking to jump into the competitive matchmaking mode, you are going to want to make sure you have a good grasp of at least three characters under your belt as ranked mode puts you in a first to three set that randomly chooses your characters line up leaving the match-ups to chance.
This online mode ,in particular, certainly puts your character knowledge to the test as each win sees your champion on the side lines with only the remaining team left to earn you the W. After winning a match, this isn’t where things end as the mode simultaneously thrusts you into a single elimination tournament with a 1st place finish getting you closer to the next level.
It’s an interesting take on ranked matchmaking and though precautions are put in place to ensure a lack of participation will not affect your ability to earn points, a full experience is highly predicated on the volume of players involved which makes me feel like the novelty of it may where off if the activity is not there to sustain it.
The implementation of GGPO’s popular rollback netcode seems to be in great working order as I played against opponents with pings above 100ms unaffected by input delay or lag spikes during both ranked and casual matchmaking sessions.
Loading in between matches especially within ranked mode took some time but for the most part waiting is not unbearable and you can play in other modes while you await a chosen challenger.
As a proof of concept, Fantasy Strike definitely wins me over. It’s obvious a lot of thought went into creating a fighting game that tries to balance execution and depth while still delivering on an overall fun experience and I do believe it does this exceptionally well. With that being said, only a few characters really peaked my interest among an already small roster making me wonder just how long players will be in for the ride.
Despite this small grievance, the experience was enjoyable enough for me that I would highly recommend it especially for the executionally challenged. Whether this game will bring you to that epiphany of how amazing fighting games can really be is hard to say but I certainly do see Fantasy Strike’s potential with teaching fundamentals in ways most developers never think to do so.