There is quite a few other non Capcom fighting games that came out this year. Stuff like Mortal Kombat, Blazblue Continuum Shift 2, and Arcana Heart 3 came around and made a splash. I didn't play or watch enough of these games to really have any worthwhile opinions about them though. Well, I will say that Mortal Kombat does appear to have a fantastic super meter system in place. That's about it though. There is one non Capcom fighter that I have been spending a ton of time on.
The King of Fighters XIII
I have been a fan of SNK fighting games since I first played KOF 2003 in a arcade. The crazy cast of characters, the huge variety of play styles, the momentum based gameplay, it all just clicked for me. I went back and played all the older ones soon after, and couldn't wait for more. And this was all before I even learned how to "properly" play fighting games. KOF XIII is the first one I'm really trying to put the time to learn on a deeper level. I am located in NYC and there is a small community here playing the game, but I have yet to get in on that. So that leaves me with the problem with the console release of this game. The online is one of the most inconsistent things ever. Atlus has come out and said that it will be patched, but until then, people without any local scenes for this game will have to put up with this.
What really makes this unfortunate is that the game itself is so damn good. Solid offense/momentum based gameplay mechanics in place, all characters can compete, all characters are able to take advantage of the HD meter (even if some are a little better at it than others), easy to learn BnB combos, and hard to master high damage combos. Simply put, this is not only the game that KOF XII SHOULD have been, but it's also the game that it NEEDED to be. SNK burned a lot of good will releasing a incomplete game in KOF XII during the peak of the fighting game resurgence. Now, fighting games are (arguably) on the downturn again, and we have this great game that was released as a follow up to a bad game, and it comes out with shoddy netcode.
The only other thing I'm worried about is the possibility of the balance getting out of whack with people finding new ways to use HD meter. DandyJ (DandyDLC on youtube) has some fantastic material if you want to learn the game. He also found some nasty little tricks that make already strong characters like K', even stronger.
Stuff like this has future potential to break the game's balance, but it can just as easily be something that all characters can end up taking full advantage of. DandyJ has also found some great ways to use the game's training mode.
So, going into 2012, 2 major questions about KOF XIII will be answered.
Will the netcode be worth a damn?
How will the game show at EVO?
If both things turn out positive, and I'm pretty optimistic about that being the case, KOF XIII has the chance to get the following that it deserves.