Consistancy and Thoroughness

The Last Blade 2 is most likely my favorite fighting game of all time. This is not a genre I'm a huge fan of, the list of fighting games I enjoy is pretty much this one, Guilty Gear, and Capcom vs. SNK 2. My problem with fighting games is a feature for another day, but for some reason, I enjoy this one nevertheless.

What it has going for it:
First and foremost, I like the character design. Each character has their own (obvious) personality, which matches with their fighting style, and is animated very well for its time. I will be the first to admit that the characters in Last Blade 2 are cliché, but when departing from clichés gets you “I'm an 11-foot tall rock-and-roll doctor with a giant scalpel and a paper bag over my head, who is also a humanitarian, serial killer, and maybe a child molester”-

Well, let's just say that I'll take “powerful but inexperienced protagonist, stand off-ish rival/blood relative, and the woman that tries to stop them from feuding” any day.

The basic format of the game involves choosing whether to play your character is “Power” or “Speed” mode. Power does much more damage and has more special moves, Speed unlocks significantly more combo trees. Nevertheless, the two forms are balanced surprisingly well. Additionally, since combos don't go on excessively long, the game becomes more about using a combination of high and low attacks, rather than successfully entering a difficult combo that the opponent can do nothing about once you've connected with the first hit. Perhaps it's not for everyone, but I drastically prefer this style of play.

What it doesn't:
With a few exceptions, most characters seem to have been designed with one mode (speed or power) in mind, and work significantly better in that mode than the other, so the ability to play any character in either mode is not quite as helpful as you'd think.

Oh, and did I mention that this is an SNK fighting game? Those of you not familiar with fighting game history might not know this, but SNK final bosses are bullshit. They are bullshit, and they engage in bullshit, consistently and thoroughly. I cannot imagine who okay-ed the final boss for this game having no ducking animation, so you can't tell if he's going to hit you high or low until he's already hit you! Your reflexes are worth nothing, and the final boss turns into a glorified guessing game with 50/50 odds, where you get massacred by an ancient Japanese tornado god if you pick wrong.

Defining Moment:
I'm not sure, given the game is so short, that I can pick a particular moment that defines my experience with this game. I think I'd have to pick the night where Natalie, my brother, and I stayed up until 3 AM playing an emulated version of it on my computer.

Well, that or the time I found a copy of it for sale at my local Game Dude, and discovered that by “For Sale” they meant “For Sale for over seven hundred dollars”. At least I won the bet for “who could discover the most expensive used game at game dude”.

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