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#1 Posted by Phatmac (5731 posts) -

On the latest bombcast the bomb crew was pretty harsh on brawler games in general. Do you think the genre is only exclusively good back in the arcade days or has their been enough good brawlers in this gen? The only one I've enjoyed recently was Scott Pilgrim v.s. The World. I found the combat to be fun even if I don't care about Scott Pilgrim. So what are your thoughts on the brawlers and their future?

#2 Posted by Ravenlight (8011 posts) -

I predict brawlers will make a comeback a la fighting games in the past five(?) years.

#3 Posted by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

No, I don't believe they are.

#4 Posted by BulletproofMonk (2738 posts) -


#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (36271 posts) -

How are we defining brawler?

#6 Posted by BaconHound (87 posts) -

I think they can still be great. Castle Crashers, for instance, is one of my favorite games of this generation. I enjoyed the demo of Scott Pilgrim, but I never got around to purchasing the full game. Will we see a successful RETAIL brawler? I'm not so sure...

#7 Posted by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

I think they can still be great. Castle Crashers, for instance, is one of my favorite games of this generation. I enjoyed the demo of Scott Pilgrim, but I never got around to purchasing the full game. Will we see a successful RETAIL brawler? I'm not so sure...

Dynasty Warriors, dude.
#8 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

The side scrollers just aren't as fun as they used to be as we've all probably played too much of them. I prefer playing them in an arcade where I know death will result in me having to pay money, that makes it more tense and kinda fun.

Also I think the 16 bit rough-ish graphics made them feel better than the HDified ones we get now. That genre just feels old and should look appropriate, to me at least.

#9 Posted by CookieMonster (2460 posts) -

No genre 'dies'.

#10 Posted by EuanDewar (5117 posts) -

Maaaan, I hope so

#11 Posted by Phatmac (5731 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

How are we defining brawler?

Side scrolling beat'em up brawlers I imagine.

#12 Posted by NoobSauceG7 (1270 posts) -

I don't think they will die because there will always be some forms of the brawlers but classic arcade brawlers like TMNT and The Simpsons Arcade are not fun in a modern game context. Yes if you wanted to play a game for 5 minutes it can be fun but those types of games can't hold their own next to other games. You can look at games like Bayonetta and DMC where they are like the evolution of brawlers but the classic types of brawler where you scroll to one side and smash on the buttons has been done for a while as a legitimate game. The only game in the past few years to be like a classic brawler and do well is Castle Crashers but besides that, I can't think of any.

#13 Posted by Demoskinos (15276 posts) -

I think games like DMC or Ninja Gaiden are the logical exention of that genre for modern times.

#14 Posted by CaLe (4072 posts) -

They are too easy to make to die. This is bad English no?

#15 Edited by That1BlackGuy (216 posts) -

Nah, I wouldn't even say that the genre is dead real spit, it's just relegated to a smaller niche cycle which is something all genres go through. A lot of games in this genre hasn't been produced but that doesn't mean we won't see more in the future or even in continued sustainability.

#16 Posted by JasonR86 (9738 posts) -

If I'm honest I've never really liked brawlers. Even when I played them it was more due to the fact that they were there, I was a kid, and I didn't have any other games to play. But now that I have choice I will never go out of my way to play a brawler game. They will always be boring to me.

That said the genre isn't dead because the nostalgia for these types of games will never end. Plus these games just keep coming out so someone somewhere is buying them.

#17 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11485 posts) -

No, I just think it's evolved into stuff like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry. Maybe that's a bit of a stretch, I don't know.

#18 Posted by GunstarRed (5540 posts) -

No, but I totally understand how they think the 2D side scrolling style is no good now. I liked Scott Pilgrim and Castle Crashers, but going back to a lot of those old arcade games is really hard.

#19 Posted by csl316 (9729 posts) -

Stuff like The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, Bloodrayne: Betrayal, and Dust don't let you walk up and down, but walking from side to side and hitting fools in those is as fun as ever. I played Streets of Rage 2 last week and that's still legitimately super fun, so the genre can still provide good times.

Just a matter of getting the feel and enemy variety right. And some good music helps!

#20 Posted by Bane122 (828 posts) -

No more so than the sidescrolling shooter or platformer. Meaning every now and then one will come out but the main chuck of the genre evolved into something new.

They nailed it in the bombcast this week, God of War, Bayonetta, etc. are the new brawlers. I've actually argued with someone about just that before so it's nice to hear others share that realization.

#21 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

I'm impressed nobody mentioned The Warriors. It was the perfect adaptation of the brawler genre to the modern times. The genre suffers because the formula was done to death, it's a short game where you walk around punching people. It's a fun formula, but i understand why people get tired of it. The genre could use some innovation. Innovation is not a guarantee that the game will be good, but some tries would be nice.

#22 Edited by SuperPickle (28 posts) -


and fucking sleeping dogs is a fucking side scrolling brawler it has already been updated over and over again. Take sleeping dogs or any other game like it slap double dragon and street of rage and battle toads on it and you have the same thing in 3d.

#23 Posted by Firecreed17 (52 posts) -

It will take a new Battletoads to come out for the genre to make a comeback. In all seriousness though they evolved into the God of War style gameplay, to me though, something was lost in that evolution. I don't really enjoy today's brawlers at all. I still play the old traditional ones but I know my nostalgia is playing against me on that. Everything is reciprocal though so it will make a comeback someday.

#24 Posted by ShaggE (6809 posts) -

Nope, there are too many good ones from recent years to call the genre "dead". It just needs overhauled, is all.

#25 Posted by Ben_H (3468 posts) -
@Bane122: Your avatar gets me every time. 
I hope the genre doesn't disappear. I would be down for more Castle Crashers.
#26 Posted by SomeDeliCook (2341 posts) -

We need more games like The Warriors

#27 Edited by Soapy86 (2625 posts) -

I really don't get where the GB crew are coming from. I've played the Neon trial a few times now (waiting for the online co-op patch before I buy) and I think's it's fantastic. Old brawlers, when nothing is really done to update them can be kind of a drag sometimes, but modern ones like Castle Crashers and Double Dragon: Neon are great.

Also, I don't think things like Bayonetta and DMC are the "new" brawlers. I think God Hand and Max Anarchy have much more in common with old arcade brawlers than those other games do.

#28 Posted by ninnanuam (288 posts) -

@MikeGosot: Fuck Yea The warriors was awesome...too bad my disk is fucked and I cant play it no more.

#29 Posted by Clonedzero (4196 posts) -

no genre is dead, there are downturns in them. a couple years ago people were saying point and click adventure games were dead, now they're making a huge comeback.

#30 Posted by louiedog (2335 posts) -

No, but they can't keep making and remaking the same exact style of brawler that worked in arcades in the early 90s.

#31 Posted by huntad (1969 posts) -

I call them beat-em-ups and no.

#32 Posted by Little_Socrates (5731 posts) -

I liked Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim quite a bit, so I wouldn't say the genre is "dead."

However, I didn't finish either of those games due to a severe lack of variety. If that specific version of the genre is going to continue, the gameplay experience needs to evolve dramatically. I mean, look at how Dust managed to improve combat in the Metroidvania style; beyond just having a combo system, that level of speed and verticality hadn't really been achieved thus far in the genre. In classic Metroid and Castlevania, height is actually used as a measure of difficulty, something that makes bosses like Kraid and Granfaloon difficult. Dust took a much more laissez faire approach to the verticality by letting the Aerial Dust Storm fly so damned high in pursuit of flying enemies along with letting you move so damn quickly across the map, making that game feel like something of a revelation for the genre.

2D brawlers need a similar evolution to happen to really be memorable. Less stand-still moments and higher speeds would be one way to go; alternatively, turning a brawler into the fist fight from They Live could be the best thing ever.

#33 Posted by Gaff (1924 posts) -

Until someone comes up with a definition of Brawler / Beat-Em-Up that accurately describes the games of yore instead of lumping them into the same category as Metrovanias / Platform Adventure or the DMC / GoW / Third Person Action Adventure... Yeah, they're dead.

#34 Edited by BisonHero (7259 posts) -

@Hailinel said:


I think they can still be great. Castle Crashers, for instance, is one of my favorite games of this generation. I enjoyed the demo of Scott Pilgrim, but I never got around to purchasing the full game. Will we see a successful RETAIL brawler? I'm not so sure...

Dynasty Warriors, dude.

No More Heroes 1 and 2 were fairly straightforward 3D brawlers, though I'm not sure that NMH as a series was all that successful at retail.

#35 Posted by GunstarRed (5540 posts) -

I was playing Anarchy Reigns last night. It's totally still alive.

#36 Posted by wewantsthering (1617 posts) -
#37 Posted by CatsAkimbo (649 posts) -

The big problem I have with 2/2.5d brawlers is that enemies seem to take way too much damage. It's really awkward keeping your character next to the enemy while mashing the attack button.

I think it'd be more fun if enemies fell in just a good hit or two, you had very little health but a good doge mechanic, and enemies had a good way to show when they're about to attack. Big bosses can have multiple stages and places to attack, but like if i need to take out the leg in stage one, I don't really want to wail on it for 5 seconds. It'd be just as/more satisfying to dodge an attack and end up next to the leg, swing and take out the leg and move on to the next part.

#38 Posted by CornBREDX (6244 posts) -

I think it needs innovation. They haven't really gotten over the quarter feeding hump of what brawlers used to be. It needs a new spin that will make it fresh. One could argue, though, the simplicity is what makes a brawler though. So I don't know if that is solvable.

#39 Posted by BlackLagoon (1502 posts) -

The core gameplay of the Yakuza series is pretty much a modernized Final Fight/Streets of Rage style brawler.

#40 Posted by kgb0515 (405 posts) -

I like them at the right price. I can't see myself spending more than $10 for a game like Castle Crashers in the future, but the multiplayer on that game was really fun. I could even play it with my 5 year old son and have a blast even though some of the violence may not be appropriate for youngsters. I thought that the top down shooter was dead too until I downloaded Zombie Nation for free when that PS Network outage fiasco went down, and I play that damn game for hours at a time when I have the itch.

#41 Edited by BonOrbitz (2285 posts) -

Nope. Although it has evolved into God of War and Bayonetta, the titles in the classic style that are a ton of fun to play are Streets of Rage Remix, Castle Crashers, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, it's inspiration River City Ransom, and Turtles in Time on the SNES.

Classic arcade fighters like Final Fight, TMNT, X-Men, and The Simpsons can be fun with the right group and mindset but tend to get old quick if you aren't the nostalgic type and by yourself.

#42 Posted by Jrinswand (1713 posts) -

Yeah, I definitely think it's dead. I haven't been interested in a brawler since I was a child.

#43 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1956 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

I think games like DMC or Ninja Gaiden are the logical exention of that genre for modern times.

Pretty much this.

#44 Posted by JakeLogan (221 posts) -

@CookieMonster said:

No genre 'dies'.

This. Genres hibernate for variable periods of time, but it's inevitable that old will become new again and brawling becomes the hot new flavour.

#45 Posted by Lukeweizer (2785 posts) -

They definitely bore me on a home console. Even Castle Crashers didn't do it for me.

#46 Posted by Masakari (72 posts) -

It's not dead, but hanging in there. That particular style of game worked well on arcades, apart from a few exceptions it doesn't translate well to the home setting in this day and age, where their evolutionary brothers and sisters (stuff like GoW, DmC, Bayonetta) are popular.

Still, there's also a case to be said for the skill and craftsmanship. I feel a good brawler is much harder to do than it might seem at first glance. Quite a few "classic" brawlers have been produced or republished this generation, and there are a few which were successful - Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim come to mind - however, those are also highly rated. I don't remember any brawler getting good reviews and not getting sales.

I try almost all XBLA releases, thus I've played most of the brawlers there, and most of them just aren't fun, they are very stiff, unimaginative, and by-the-numbers. Yet, Castle Crashers, Scott Pilgrim, and the Streets of Rage games are still great fun. You really have to nail down interesting, fun gameplay in this genre.

#47 Posted by cannonballBAM (617 posts) -

@Phatmac: It is like Patrick and Jeff said in the bombcast, they have evolved. Games like Sleeping Dogs and Rocksteady's Batman have taken it to the next logical level.

I still enjoy a run through of any Konami classic and some Double Dragon though.

#48 Posted by Brodehouse (10239 posts) -

It's given way to character action and action RPGs. If you took Diablo and replaced shooting magic at demons with beating the Sex Pistols to death with your bare hands, you'd have a brawler. Especially with the multiplayer focus.

#49 Posted by jakkblades (403 posts) -

Has anyone played over ten hours of a brawler in the last week? Name names and platform. Modern games only. This is a pretty hardcore group, so if the genre's not dead, someone's bound to have put that much time into a NEW brawler.

#50 Posted by nick_verissimo (1406 posts) -

It's not dead, it's just evolved. For real though, Double Dragon Neon is a terrible, terrible game. Far too slow, not responsive enough and just is not fun.