A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Skullgirls 2nd Encore is a downloadable remake/expansion of the original Skullgirls 2-D fighting game. The game has a hand-drawn animation style and a quirky roster of 14 (mostly female) playable characters, each with over-the-top moves to battle each other. Many of the characters are shown in somewhat revealing outfits, and many of the characters' animations and poses are designed to showcase them in a sexualized manner. The violence is persistent in the game with occasional use of blood, but the stylized and cartoonish look of Skullgirls lessens some of the impact of that violence. There's some mild language present in the characters' dialogue, and one particular fighter is shown to be smoking a cigar after winning a match. The game does feature support for online matches as well, which could open up gamers to potentially offensive conversations.
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What's it about?
The plot of SKULLGIRLS 2ND ENCORE revolves around whispers of a supernatural artifact called the Skull Head. According to legend, once every seven years the Skull Head can grant the wish of a woman with a pure heart. But if the woman's heart is impure, her wish will be corrupted and she will be turned into a twisted being of immense power, known as the Skull Girl. Now a new Skull Girl has risen to terrorize the land. The only way to stop the destruction is for another warrior to defeat the Skull Girl and claim the Skull Heart for herself. Some have answered the call in hopes of destroying the artifact, while others hope to tame its power to their own selfish desires. Regardless of motive, they will all come together and battle among themselves until only one is left standing, wielding the power of the Skull Heart and the fate of the world in her hands.
Is it any good?
The 2-D-fighting-game genre has come a long way since the pixelated, glorified games of rock-'em-sock-'em that used to populate arcades back in the day. Now we have games such as Skullgirls 2nd Encore, with its crisp, colorful animation style that looks almost like you're actually playing a hand-drawn cartoon. Completing the package, the game features a unique roster of quirky characters with insane moves that have to be seen to be believed. Skullgirls is easily one of the best-looking fighting games currently available.
Of course when it comes to a fighting game, it's not all about looks; it's also about how the game plays. Skullgirls 2nd Encore puts this concern to rest, with easy-to-pick-up-and-play controls that still pack a surprising amount of nuance and complexity. The game's Tutorial mode does a phenomenal job of helping beginners learn the ins and outs of their favorite characters, while Challenges give the player a chance to practice what they've learned with some extra finesse. If there's one potential issue to be had with Skullgirls 2nd Encore, it's that it might be a victim of its own style choice. The somewhat sexualized nature of the female fighters' designs and the way they're portrayed in the game might be off-putting to some. Still, from a technical and presentation standpoint, you'll be hard-pressed to find any better 2-D fighting action than you'll get in Skullgirls 2nd Encore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sexualization of women in media. What are some of the positive and negative ways that women and girls are portrayed on television and in games? Does the artistic style of Skullgirls affect how the women in it are perceived?
Talk about wants and wishes. What are some positive things to want and wish for? When could wanting something become a bad thing?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Autumn Games
- Release date: July 7, 2015
- Genre: Fighting
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood, Partial Nudity, Mild Language, Use of Tobacco
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