GDC 2012 Day 1: Fighters’ Club
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Ever had one of those days where you were considering playing Elsword or Grand Chase but the graphics just turned you off? Or perhaps you miss the old beat-em-up arcade games from the 90s like Battletoads and Final Fight? Well Kill3rCombo seems to have seen this niche and published a game to fill it called Fighters’ Club! And this isn’t just a cheap nostalgia trip game but a well produced action fighter beautifully animated with cutscenes that look to be straight out of a graphic novel and unique boss battles.
Currently they had three playable characters on display named Remy, Spike, and Jack. Jack is your typical tanky bruiser with a heavy emphasis on wrestling style holds and throws. He's great for marching into a mob of foes and spinning his fists to level all of them at once. Remy is an agile fighter with a style akin to over the top kick boxing. She can't absorb as much damage but is often fast enough to dodge any major strikes aimed at her. Her ability to dish out combos is also pretty astounding. Spike rounds out the crew by offering a mix of Remy's speed with Jack's survivability. He can dish out some noticeably consistent dps if a player knows when to grab and block his foes.
While the game may get its origins from the 90s, it isn't a simple two button fighting game. As you level up you will acquire many unique abilities that are activated at the cost of your blue bar. You will also gain the ability to add skill points into these skills to power them up in various ways such as increased damage, range, reduced cooldowns and more. However you won't be able to upgrade all of your skills so this adds to the customization between two players of the same class.
In addition, at level 15 players will be given the ability to evolve into a more advanced version of their class. For instance Jack can go Beast mode, unlocking numerous wrestling moves with impossible physics to give you some satisfying cement crushing finishing blows. To help players decide their fate, they are shown a quick in-game trailer of some of the new moves that will unlock with each class.
Gameplay and Missions
Currently KillerCombo has about 30 missions available for testing on their in-house servers. Each mission offers various difficulties that players can unlock, with normal mode being simple enough to solo and higher modes for group play or extreme challenges. In these missions you usually fight your way across a map taking on multiple varieties of foes, a couple minibosses, and then the ultimate boss at the end of the map. These bosses were pretty unique and each offered a special mechanic to challenge you in new ways. One particularly cool boss was a slutty biker chick that called her gang in to try to run you over during the fight. This forced players to quickly dodge not only her attacks but random bikers that flew across the map from different angles. These missions are broken up into 4 overworlds, helping tell the story of the fighters. I'm not quite sure what that story is but it seems to involve China, a beachside club town, and the headquarters of an evil corporation.
Players will be rated from the first moment they step into a new mission, with reward cards awaiting those who complete missions with the most speed and skill possible. These cards will of course include gear that can be put on to improve your stats as well as appearance. Pushing out huge combos and successfully blocking enemy attacks are the two best ways to reach this point but don't think it is a simple task. Low and high blocks are considered in Fighters Club so keeping a close eye on your opponent's tells and attack animations will be key to stopping incoming attacks. Some foes also use ranged projectiles forcing you to use gap closer skills to successfully get in range of them (or throw other melee range foes at them!). A nice added feature is the introduction of finishing moves that are as easy as performing a grab on standard foes but force you to whip out long button combos to pull them off against boss mobs.
Your player versus player needs will be played out in 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 matches. Tons of arenas are available with interactable environments and weapons you can pick up to keep things interesting. A ranking system will be implemented at launch so that those seeking to climb the ladder can prove their greatness. They also promised spectator mode so you can watch your friends in action while waiting for matches to start. After watching a few matches and seeing the publishers in action, I realized just how skill dependent this game's pvp is. My only gripe is that in a game named Fighters Club, there was no arena in the basement of a bar. Hopefully we'll see this reference added in by launch.
If you're ready to try out a new side scrolling action title that is more geared towards graphic novel animation style than manga, Fighters Club shouldn't disappoint. Just be ready to wait a bit because the US beta won't be arriving until Summer of 2012.