The Dark Souls of Podcasts
I’ve been an ardent defender of Skullgirls for a few years now, and there have been times where that’s been a hard task. Since its launch, Skullgirls has met delays, multiple re-releases, and restructurings of core gameplay that understandably turned people off it. I even dropped the game in between the two Encore releases because of the constantly shifting meta, but thanks to the finality of Second Encore, I’m back on the horse.
Skullgirls was the first serious fighting game I dove into. I originally got into it because an artist friend told me about Alex Ahad and his smooth, interesting art style. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I understood why people would hate Skullgirls’ art, but I had never seen a 2D game so fluid in my life, and after the first blush impression, I was further drawn into the game with a promise of ease. Skullgirls has the best tutorial in fighting games, bar none, and after playing through that, I was a contender, at least with my friends. Skullgirls became a bonding experience with them, some of whom enjoyed the art, others enjoyed the gameplay. Some of my friends even ended up cosplaying the characters! There was something for everyone in the game, and it closed the divide between my friend group by playing to our interests.
Learning to play Skullgirls was an immensely valuable experience. It taught me fighting games, something that used to be impenetrable but is now a large part of my gaming life. Since learning Skullgirls, I’ve gotten into Marvel vs Capcom 3, Street Fighter Alpha, Guilty Gear, and the list goes on. I wouldn’t say that I’m excellent at these games, but the fundamentals I gained from Skullgirls pushed me to be far better than I would be. My first main, Double, was especially useful, as she’s a mish-mash of every other character in the game. Choosing an actual pile of characters for my main was a bone-headed move for a beginner, but it turned out alright!
So what about Second Encore? Is Skullgirls still viable today? Yes and no. I feel as though the overall fighting game community will never accept Skullgirls. Too many shifts in the meta, the constant delays, and an odd dislike of the artist community growing around the game put the nail in Skullgirls’ Evo coffin. But for the beginner, the average person who wants to learn the art of fighting? Skullgirls is the perfect jumping on point. Learning one character in Skullgirls gives you the fundamentals for similar characters in other games, such as Parasoul’s trap-based attacks and Peacock’s annoying yet effective use of projectiles. Skullgirls apes off of other games in many ways, but control style and mechanics are the most useful things they’ve finally nailed. It’s inviting in so many ways, and it could kickstart a new love for a nearly impenetrable genre.