I'll be the first to admit I'm not a huge fan of the fighting genre. Sure, I have some of them and I play them. I'll even go as far as admitting there are a few I like (and wish I was better at) but the truth is since I suck at them I tend to avoid them. However, I will concede they are the perfect "travel" game - or even the perfect game to play if you don't have the time and energy to devote to those games that require a significant commitment to play. If you stumbled across my blog from yesterday you may recall I mentioned playing Injustice: Gods Among Us. And if you're a long time reader, you might even remember stories I've shared from my past about fighting games. Perhaps the one I remember the most vividly goes something like this.

I remember making a North Atlantic deployment (4 months, if I remember right) and my buddy Waldo brought his TV, SNES and a bunch of games to help pass the time. One particular game he brought was Killer Instinct. There's a space on a 688 (I) submarine down in the torpedo room called the VLS space. It wasn't a very big space and whenever you deployed, it was usually full of seabags full of miscellaneous uniforms and civilian clothes for whenever you made a port call. Well, the TM Chief agreed to let us set up and play the SNES down there. It wasn't uncommon to have six to eight, and sometimes more, guys huddled around playing Killer Instinct. The standing rule was - winner stays until he's defeated; the loser quits or gets in line behind everybody else waiting to play. My buddy and a few others were awesome at this game, pulling off these combos that I'm sure would even impress the developers. And I...well I pretty much sucked at it. It was like being in Elementary School again and playing Kickball - easy out. But man...I loved Killer Instinct. Even though I could only do a couple of his moves, Chief Thunder was my guy.

See, that's one of my problems with fighting games, especially the modern era fighting game. To be really competitive you have to learn the combos. It's not like the old days of Karateka or Karate Champ...where you have high / med / low punches or kicks. Nowadays you have to be able to pull off a fatality or a combo breaker or a super move...

Or you're going to lose.

Now, I can remember a move or two...maybe even three or four...but the inevitable happens...I find a character and an attack I like...then I spam the attack... then I sometimes win... then my opponent condemns me for spamming the attack... then I get frustrated and quit.

Anyway...in the past week or two, I played 2 different fighting games - somewhat similar in theme, but completely different in design and the mechanics. The first was Ultimate Capcom vs. Marvel 3 (a few years old) and the other was Injustice: Gods Among Us (fairly new). I thought I'd focus tonight's blog on this seldom played genre of mine and compare and contrast these two games.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Character Roster: While I do like comics and have a rather small collection, I'm not as keen on the DC label as I am Marvel. That said, the roster in Injustice was more than adequate, although admittedly I only knew a handful of names - the high profile characters like Batman and Superman. I thought the game did a great job personalizing the characters with their own backgrounds and special moves tailored to fit their profile.

Combat: Injustice reminds me how bad I suck at fighting games - it doesn't reward button mashing like some fighting games do, but it does promote spamming overpowered attacks like Deathstroke's machine gun and pistol attacks (at least I think they are). Since when does a fighting game let you use automatic weapons?!?! The "super moves" was a nice a feature. I especially liked the Flash's - he runs around the planet and punches you from the opposite side. Ha, brilliant.

Comic Book Atmosphere: I forget the Game Informer blogger who said it, but one of you all said Injustice wasn't just a great fighting game, it's one of the best comic book video games ever created. Despite not having a real "comic book" feel, I do think it did a great job capturing the essence of each character.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Character Roster: First of all, I think the concept of combining two different entities like Marvel characters and Capcom characters is brilliant. I also think the game picked some great personalities for the line-up. I would've liked for the Punisher to be included since he's my favorite, but quite happy with Iron Man, Spiderman and Ghost Rider. The fact that Capcom has some cool characters too makes it all the better. I particularly liked Viewtiful Joe and Ryu.

Combat: Ah, well the game has combos, but it also seems to be more forgiving of button mashing and those players (like me) who aren't as good with fighting games. In fact the game has a mode (I assume it's a mode) where you pick three characters, your opponent picks there characters...and it turns into a tag team brawl. I didn't always know what I was doing or how I pulled off some of the amazing combos I did, but it was still pretty fun.

Comic Book Atmosphere: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was kind of the opposite of Injustice - it definitely felt like a live action comic book, right down to the kerplows and blams splashed across the screen. As much as the gameplay and action felt like a comic book, I still was impressed and preferred how Injustice portrayed the characters.

In the end, it's amazing how two fighting games (make that two comic book inspired fighting games) can be so unique and different, yet still offer such a fun and competitive amount of gameplay. As far as fighting games go, these aren't my favorites - I think Soul Caliber still holds that title...but these are certainly some worthy contenders in the fighting genre...especially if you're looking for a game that doesn't require a lot of time commitment.