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225 - World Heroes 2

Best Games - World Heroes 2

Fighting games are intimidating. Four to six buttons, a dozen or more characters, different systems with split second windows of execution. The hardcore fighting game fan loves this stuff. Knowing how to do a launch a fireball or charge a flash kick is some sort of weird gamer secret handshake. As the years have gone on, each new game has catered to a ravenous audience that demands more secrets, more depth, greater complexity.
World Heroes 2 is played with one joystick and Three buttons. Of those three buttons, you only really need to use two.
This is the part where I could be expected to write about how approachable this game is. How, in a sea of complicated and intimidating fighting games, this one game is a great on ramp for someone trying to learn how to play fighting games.
World Heroes 2 is not that game.
It is as dense, nuanced and complex as any other fighting game, but it does all that with two buttons, and the occasional press of a third. World Heroes 2 holds its own in play style and mechanics against the Street Fighters, the Fatal Furies, the Samurai Showdowns, and the Mortal Kombats, but you only need to use two buttons. Not four, not five, not six. Two. Not only that, but World Heroes 2 introduced or refined mechanics not seen in most other fighting games. Throw reversals that predate Dead or Alive. A timed parry that came before Street Fighter 3. A deathmatch mode that has players competing in a tug of war type battle, sharing a single life bar between them. So far as I know, a feature exclusive to World Heroes 2.
If World Heroes 2 is just as complicated and impenetrable as other fighting games, then what’s the big deal about it only using two buttons? World Heroes 2 cuts straight to the heart of fighting games. Fighting games are all about timing, spacing, and finding, or forcing, openings in your opponent's guard. World Heroes 2 drops the finger gymnastics required by most fighting games, and focuses firmly on the real meat of the genre. Playing World Heroes 2 will make you better at fighting games.
With the notable exception of DiveKick, I don’t know of any fighting game that is better focused and more aware of what it is. In it’s simplicity, hides the depth of a truly incredible game. One of the best games.

This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.
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