Skullgirls: 2nd Encore - PlayStation 4

Release Date:

22 July 2015

Also on:

PS4 PS Vita

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.


Skullgirls 2nd Encore on the PlayStation 4 is a fast-paced 2D fighting game that puts players in control of fierce warriors in an extraordinary Dark Deco world. Each of the 14 wildly original characters features unique gameplay mechanics and with plenty of personality. Casual players will enjoy the fully voiced story mode, animation and soundtrack by Michiru Yamane, while hardcore players will appreciate its balance, cross-platform multiplayer functions.

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Technical Information

  • Required Disk Space:
    • 2GB Minimum
  • Supported Video Output:
    • 1080p
  • Game Format:
    • Digital Download
  • DualShock Compatible:
    • DualShock 4
  • Average Playing Time:
    • 36 Hours
  • Remote Play:
    • Supported
  • Engine:
    • Proprietary
  • Number of Character(s):
    • 14
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As a 2D fighter in the next generation, Skullgirls faces a crowded playing field which has been done to death. The genre itself hasn’t 'gone over' but it is full of such stiff competition that Lab Zero Games is truly fighting a battle that they aren’t likely to win unless, of course, they make something truly inventive. Now we never got our hands on any other work by Lab Zero Games and the fact that this was only made thanks to an Indigogo campaign makes us a little leery on its viability. Still, it’s our duty as a gamer to pick up titles that could be hidden gems.

Skullgirls: 2nd Encore on the PlayStation 4 exists in a place of quiet comfort and familiarity. Everything here oozes something to hearkens to something else. The user interface work reminds us of some great PS3 games, like BioShock, while the soundtrack seems ripped straight from the Pokemon games. In any event, what you have here is a game that tries to appeal to people in several different and subtle ways.

The core of what you try to do in Skullgirls revolves around an ancient item of power known as the Skull Heart. This Skull Heart, like the dragonballs we suppose, has the ability to grant a wish given to it by a woman. If the woman has a corrupt heart then her wish will be tainted and the woman will be corrupted completely by the Skull Heart and in doing so become the Skullgirl put in the title. The game opens up in a city facing ruin that is run by corrupt officials and violence in the street. The newest Skullgirl is here and it is up to a small group of tough fighters to put her away for good.

Our first impression upon booting up Skullgirls: 2nd Encore was that the game is meticulously crafted but unfortunately scaled down. Everything here says that the game was built on the sly. There isn’t as much content available when compared to other current gen titles and the artwork itself is even lacking. What we do have is a roster of 14 fighters that each have their own fully voiced storyline. You can play through each individual character to get a slightly different experience. Lab Zero Games put in their best work when they compiled the different available fighters. Rather than sticking to the cliches, Lab Zero opted to make some pretty interesting and vibrant characters. You have grotesque looking fighters, musically themed fighters, and much more.

What we found really appealing from the get go was how smooth the entire experience was. The animations were wonderful despite some of the artwork looking amateur. All of the moves in the game are crisp and the way the cut scenes blend into the matches was super effective. The color palette runs the gamut and makes for something that is both iconic in its own right while being constantly interesting to look at. Not to mention that the sound throughout the game is consistently excellent: there’s a wonderful mix of music, solid voice acting, and well directed screenwriting. The game embraces its quirky side while never quite giving up on itself completely. It’s a nice balance that more fighters should strive for. We understand that the core of beat em up games will always be cheesy but that doesn’t mean that you have to lose all gravitas in the process.

Now that we’re done saying nice things about the game we can start to talk about some of its greatest shortcomings. While the action on the screen looks great it is almost impossibly hard to actually get into the swing of things. Unlike the classic fighting games we’ve all grown to love, Skullgirls: 2nd Encore opts not to include a single move list in the game or instruction manual. Seriously. The game does try to teach you moves by telling you to hit the 'P' button, which makes sense on a fighting pad, but that doesn’t help you when you look down at your PS4 controller. So while you are trying to learn combos via button mashing you also have to deal with the brutally difficult AI. These two obstacles make it almost impossible for new gamers to get into the swing of things without first going through a broad range of pure and awful frustration.

Once you are past the frustrating section of the game you can start to actually enjoy what you are doing in Skullgirls. The matches themselves are taught and frantic once you understand how to ring together combos while blocking off your opponents strikes. There are a ton of tactics at play here and with all of the characters having their own unique moves there is plenty of depth if you want to change things up. Once you get used to fighting with a character they will start to feel like an extension of yourself and the fluidity that follows is rarely matched in even the best 2D fighter. We suggest that you keep your eyes online and look out for move sets as they will help your initial entrance into the game. You’ll have a ton more fun once you realize how to actually play the game.

The coolest aspect of the game is the variety of moves that are available to you once you cycle through the roster. Every fighter has their own selection of powerful moves and they all have personality traits that lend themselves to specific playstyle. The ability to play teamed matches with up to three total characters allows you to string together the perfect team when utilized together.

Skullgirls: 2nd Encore isn’t a perfect experience and there are some inexplicable issues with the core game. Still, after getting through those struggles you’ll find an elite fighter inside.

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Oct 11, 2015
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