Shadow Fight 2 Is A Punch To The Gut

I hate this game.

I hate this game because I should love this game. I hate that the fighting controls seem pretty sophisticated to there is the hinting that if you just worked out how to do it you could pull of some amazing combos. I hate that that’s a feature I haven’t enjoyed in a fighting game since Tekken 3. 

I hate that the design of the weapons and characters are nearly wonderful. I hate that there’s nearly a story in it. I hate that every time I boot it up I nearly have fun. And that’s the operative word. No, not fun.

I hate Shadow Fight 2 because it’s nearly a good game.

But my god, does it hate itself for it. It feels like the intelligent kid in the classroom that intentionally gets worse marks in their exams because they’re worried they won’t be accepted if they would just be themselves. It couldn’t be one of the best fighting games on the AppStore, with duel/survival/story modes all bundled into one. It had to start taking drugs (microtransactions) with the cool kids and fuck itself up.

The combination of the virtual joystick and the punch/kick button is so close to being brilliant, but it falls down last minute by being as unresponsive as Vladamir Putin to human rights issues. The eight directions on the joystick pad narrow down to four because it’s impossible to differentiate between (to use a compass for clarity) South and South West or South East. Which means you end up pulling off the wrong move and getting a machete to the throat.

Best fighting animation…but never for the move you want to make.

The opening ‘narrative’ (although who really needs a plot for a game that’s about mindless violence) says that you were an ex-pupil of Mr Old-Martial-Arts-Master, but have returned to the world with no body, only as a being of shadow. Which is great, except you’re fighting shadows as well. Even though the opening frame is of you (Mr. Shadow) versus Colourful-Enemy-Des-Jours. So telling your black fighting machine apart from your enemy is like a blind man playing Where’s Wally in the dark with the Where’s Wally book on a different continent.

There’s an arbitrary energy system put into the game; because apparently you can return from the dead but still have to have a little nap every five fights because MONEY. Of course they can be replenished by gems, but who cares? Why would you want to?

And one of the best things is that Shadow Fight 2 implements one of the best F2P initiatives – the ability to get gems for free by watching ads. Dream League Soccar did the same thing, and I loved that game because it never felt like I stopped playing. I would be watching adverts to collect coins in order to buy a new player or get some more training in. I never did it to continue playing the fucking game.

Shadow Fight 2 is a sick joke. I’m fine with bad games on the AppStore being bad because they’re cheap cash-grabs or because they’re not well thought out. But this game has so much potential that is just being seeped away.  I would rather give money for the game and shove some brass knuckles up the arse of microtransactions than spend a single penny on gems. Ron Swanson, how do you feel about the game?

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