Version Reviewed: Xbox One
Art Of Fighting 2 is the next release in the swiftly growing library of games in the ACA Neo Geo collection brought to us by Hamster Corporation. It comes from SNK’s large stable of 2D One- On- One Brawlers, which is, of course what the genre they are probably best known for.
AOF 2 improves on the first game in a number of ways. The graphics are enhanced for starters, and the game is still quite pretty to this day. The roster of playable fighters is also dramatically improved from AOF 1. This time out you can play as any member of the original cast of 12, whereas the first iteration limited us to just the two main characters, namely, Ryo and Robert. Mechanically, the combat system has also evolved somewhat with an overhaul of the rage gauge and the addition of weak and strong attacks as well as the opportunity for landing recoveries for those who are fleet of finger. The ability to deplete your opponent’s rage gauge with well-placed taunts thus leaving them less able to perform special moves adds some strategy to proceedings. Upon doing a spot of research however, it seems that this mechanic was quite the bone of contention for many 2D fighter stalwarts, with many not liking it at all. The game also comes with the now obligatory Caravan high score chasing mode and the appropriate set of online leaderboards with which to earn bragging rights. Then there are the achievements of course which, as is usually the case in this series provides a nice and easy 1000 Gamerscore so long as you have a second controller handy for a bit of exploitation.
Most readers will know whether this is their type of game or not. SNK’s 2D fighters are quite specialist games in many ways and this one in particular is extremely difficult. Even on the easiest difficulty, you may struggle to defeat the first opponent unless you invest some time to learn the mechanics. These games aren’t quite as easily accessible to beginners as, say, Street Fighter 2 which is obviously the game that SNK were looking to Usurp with their many fighting games without ever quite attaining the far reaching pull of Capcom’s effort. If, however you are into these games, or are a sucker for retro nostalgia like myself, you will find that this is a faithful conversion with plenty going for it even if it doesn’t quite hit the heights of the aforementioned Capcom classic or even some of it’s stablemates.
7 Out Of 10.