Skullgirls 2nd Encore+ is the final version of the 2D tag team fighting game developed by Lab Zero for PS4, PC/OSX/Linux, Switch, NESiCAxLive, Vita, and PS3. Since its initial release in 2012, six characters have been added along with many gameplay updates, with the final patch released in 2017. One of the defining traits of Skullgirls' battle design is the plethora of options it gives to the player via custom assists, the ability to pick your team size, and a flexible combo and reset system. The latter is achieved by ditching a hitstun deterioration mechanic entirely in favor of a unique undizzy system. Undizzy serves a dual purpose of providing strategy and preventing undesirable traits such as infinite combos and low resource touch of death combos. Pressure is powerful and the mixups are crazy, but the set of universal defense mechanics and strong reversals provide options to deal with offense. As the game was patched, the developers took an approach that considered player feedback and discoveries. The result is a very robust, fine tuned set of mechanics.
- Gameplay traits
- Versus style team game: Assists, DHCs, tags, snapbacks, recoverable health, lenient chain rules, and air blocking
- Custom assist: Choose your assist from any grounded non-super move in a character's move set.
- Variable team size: Choose your team size of 1, 2, or 3 characters, independent of what the opponent picks. The less characters, the more health you have and the more damage you deal, but less utility provided by team mechanics.
- Undizzy and infinite protection system (IPS): These two mechanics allow for flexible combos while keeping combo length and damage in check. If certain conditions are met during a combo, determined by either IPS or undizzy, the opponent is allowed to burst out. Bursts, which are ultimately up to the attacker to give the opportunity to the opponent, can be baited to whiff and be punished. These mechanics effectively replace the role of hitstun deterioration, of which there is none in Skullgirls.
- Focus on resets: Resets, where a combo is cut short for a quick mixup, are the primary way to maintain momentum. The undizzy bar incentivizes doing shorter combos into resets, and makes doing max damage combos into a reset less rewarding. Working within the limitations of the system to execute unpredictable resets on the fly is a necessary skill at a high level.
- Strong defense mechanics: While offense is very oppressive, there are multiple defense options to help lessen the pressure and turn the tables. Pushblocking is a very strong universal defensive tool not just because it pushes the opponent away, but it’s also tied to two other mechanics: pushblock guard cancel and absolute guard. An alpha counter / guard cancel is also an option for teams of 2 or 3 characters. For character specific tools, all characters have at least some kind of reversal option in their move set. Most characters can combo off their reversal, usually at the cost of 1 bar or a DHC. Some teams can also use DHCs to make reversals safe.
- Diverse cast and condensed tiers: Despite being a team game, the characters have an amount of depth comparable to other fighting games where only one character is picked, and will continue to challenge players even after sinking in many hours of playtime. Each character in the roster is unique, and there are even strong zoning characters. On top of that, every character in the cast can compete, and most are flexible in the role they play on their team.
- Visuals: Each frame of animation is individually hand drawn at a high resolution. They're also shaded in real time, meaning hit effects and different stages will affect the sprites.
- Netcode: Online play uses GGPO rollback netcode, which means 0 frames of additional input delay. In most situations, connections from US coast to coast are playable and sometimes even overseas. If the ping is too high, additional input delay can be added on for smoother gameplay.
- Training mode: The training mode is one of the best in any fighting game, complete with reversal playback, frame data and hitbox display, and frame by frame advancing on the PC version.
- Player friendly: Inputs are generally only as complicated as they need to be, with the majority of special move motions requiring only single quarter circles or dragon punches, and supers being a motion plus any two punches or kicks. While execution difficulty is subjective, all of the character's combo routes are within reason to execute with practice, and there are many buffers in place to prevent extremely tight links. Two macro buttons can be mapped to any combination of buttons, as well as analog stick assist macros on top of that for pad players. So, pad players can have two assist macros, plus two other macros of their choice, such as dash or throw. Lastly, a detailed tutorial mode gets new players up to speed with both general fighting game concepts and Skullgirls specific details.
- UI design: On top of quick and intuitive menus, there's also a tournament mode which forces button config on the character select screen, returns to controller select when a controller is unplugged after a match, and has a longer hold to pause timer.
- Dual audio: Both English and Japanese voices are available, with the option to set the language per character.
|Skullgirls 2nd Encore+|
|Help||FAQ • Controls • Glossary • UI/HUD • Training Room • Frame Data • Hitboxes • Team Building|
|Characters||Filia • Cerebella • Peacock • Parasoul • Ms. Fortune • Painwheel • Valentine • Double • Squigly • Big Band • Eliza • Fukua • Beowulf • Robo-Fortune|
|Mechanics||Movement • Attacks / Hit Effects • Defense • Team Mechanics • Combos / Damage • Advanced Mechanics • Esoteric • Frame Data & Hitboxes|
|Other||Community • Videos • PC Launch Options • Patch History • Extra|