Fighting EX Layer PlayStation 4 Review

Fighter EX Layer is a title fighting game enthusiasts will definitely enjoy.

By RON, Posted 22 Aug 2018

What started out as an April Fool’s joke is now a fully fleshed fighting game, one that longtime fans had been waiting for and that the fighting community welcomed warmly. Arika, the studio behind the Street Fighter EX series back in the early 2000’s, makes its triumphant comeback to the genre with this entry in the EX family. Fighter EX Layer can be regarded as a spiritual successor to the SFEX games although without Capcom’s support and none of the Street Fighter licensed characters. Despite this, many fans of the series will be delighted with the characters that actually make their transition to the new roster. 13 characters (12 if you get the light version of the game) that show off just how charismatic and full of soul their designs can be. It is like welcoming back a friend that’s been absent for long and which you did not expect to ever see again.

Fighting EX Layer,PlayStation 4,Review,Screenshots,Gameplay,Characters,Skills,Combo

Fighter EX Layer is a game aimed towards hardcore players. Although anyone will be able to get some fun out of it, the developer had these kinds of players in mind while designing it. This is especially clear when taking a look at what the studio decided to focus on. For example, the game lacks a story mode or a single player component besides training mode and Kumite mode, a survival mode buried behind menus that happens to be quite entertaining. Within training mode, there is also an expert mode, in which players will be asked to perform a combo or a move when only provided with the name of said action. Although a good training tool for more proficient players, the lack of visual button prompts can be very infuriating because of the constant pausing while the player learns. The studio confirmed that they will not be adding a single player component besides arcade mode in the future, letting people know its focus is on the competitive side of things.

At face value, the game looks like any other 2D fighting game but it differentiates itself through its mechanics. The most noticeable one of them is the Gougi system. This element adds preconstructed ability decks to the mix. Each card in the deck represents a perk that will become active upon fulfilling certain conditions, such as doing chip damage or by the mere passage of time. Once active, these abilities can be either passive or active and will allow the player to change their fighting style midgame. This is one of the most notorious elements within the game and one that sets it aside from other titles in the genre. While not game breaking à la items in Super Smash Bros., these boosts create a very natural and dynamic way of combat. The match might not be the same from round to round due to the activation of a boost, urging players to always be on their toes. The “light” version of the game includes 5 of these decks, while the “standard” version includes 15 of those. These decks are available immediately and are not hidden behind certain actions in order to unlock them. To some degree, people even may argue it could be considered pay to win, refusing other players access to a feature that might provide an advantage. Looking closer, however, the “light” version can be regarded as one aimed towards players that want to play the game but are not that much into the competitive scene, while the “standard” version appeals to the player who wants to dominate every possible technique.

Fighting EX Layer,PlayStation 4,Review,Screenshots,Gameplay,Characters,Skills,Combo

The other defining characteristic is not necessarily unique to Fighter EX Layer but it makes the game what it is. The combo mechanic allows for players to cancel an attack mid animation in order to connect special moves. This makes for a very organic and fluid combat system in which the player is able to chain efficient and visually stunning combos. The attack system follows a classic six button format with the possibility of choosing between classic and progressive modes. This, unlike it might sound, does not give any kind of unfair advantage on command input but rather offers a different approach to the game depending on the player’s combat style.

In terms of visuals and sound the game does an excellent job of capturing the feel of the EX series as well as games from the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The character roster is also colorful and charismatic. Quirky fan favorite Skullomania makes his triumphant return, alongside other attractive, well designed characters. Despite the game not benefiting from as big a budget as some of its competitors, the detailed animations on show really make the combatants come to life. The music maintains a certain turn of the century vibe, while the sound effects also evoke games from that period in an excellent example of nostalgia done right.

Fighting EX Layer,PlayStation 4,Review,Screenshots,Gameplay,Characters,Skills,Combo

Fighter EX Layer is a title fighting game enthusiasts will definitely enjoy. The studio behind it knows its audience and has tailored a game suited to their needs. It’s also a must play for any competitive player. Maybe one of the only downsides it has is that the game price may be a bit steep for a game like this. The light version, with 12 characters and 5 Gougi decks, has a price tag of $40 USD and the “standard” version, which adds a 13th character and 10 Gougi decks, will set you back $60 USD. To be fair, the $20 dollars difference is not very well justified. The addition of a single character falls flat and the extra Gougi decks, while providing a competitive advantage for hardcore players, feels a little bit like something that should’ve been included in the “light” release. Nevertheless, paying a full game price tag is a great way to support a studio that listened to fans and, ultimately, delivered a game worth playing.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): Arika Co. Ltd.
Developer(s): Arika Co. Ltd.
Genres: Fighting
Themes: Fighting
Release Date: 2018-06-28

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