Traditional fighting games have been a rarity in the ID@Xbox program. The only title reminiscent of the genre is Divekick Addition Edition +, and even that isn’t fully traditional. As such, Battle High 2 A+ is a welcomed addition to the ID@Xbox library. Interestingly enough, Battle High 2 was originally a title available on the Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) market. Having not played that version, though, I’m judging purely on the merits of this new A+ edition. What is this game’s story about? Other than super-powered students fighting each other for some reason, I have no clue. But it’s the mechanics that shine in good fighting games, so let the fight begin.
Here’s what I liked:
Nostalgic feel — It’s immediately apparent that Battle High 2 A+ was influenced by many classic fighting games. It reminds me most of the King of Fighters series, with the character Khai coming off as a mix of Robert Garcia and Joe Higashi, and Mai a blend of Kula and Athena. Unfortunately, King of Fighters was never known as the most beginner-friendly series, and Battle High 2 A+ lands somewhere between Street Fighter and King of Fighters in terms of ease of use. Still, it’s a good feeling to play an actual fighting game that knows what it’s doing mechanically.
Fluid — To be very straightforward, I am not great at fighting games. I’ll leave the fun combo videos to the more experienced players. However, I am proficient enough to complete most (and soon to be all) of Battle High 2 A+‘s challenge mode, which is a series of challenges with button combinations strung together in one combo sequence. For anyone with recent fighting game experience, think of them as this game’s version of Street Fighter 4‘s Trial mode, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3‘s Mission mode, or King of Fighter 13‘s Trial mode. The moves in some of the longer strings work very nicely for the most part. When a move is supposed to hit, it hits and leaves a nice impact. (Disclaimer: these challenge combos are almost never ideal for meter resources). The hitboxes and character animations are not perfect, but it’s a lot better than I expected it to be.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Graphics — I am a firm believer that graphics do not dictate a game’s quality. That being said, these graphics are not pleasant to look at. I’m not sure what it is, either; it might be a little of everything. The color contrast and art design are not appealing. The playable characters get lost within the busy backgrounds and blend in too much, and there aren’t enough details put into the art, which feels strange to say as character animations have plenty of details for movements, attacks and hit effects.
Voice Acting — Mattrified Games gets an A for effort for its attempt at an authentic experience by giving voices to these characters. However, the voice actors’ delivery is cringeworthy at best and unintelligible at worst. Most of the times, the moves the characters call out come out mumbled and hard to distinguish. These characters would have been better off as the silent type while making vocal noises while attacking.
Battle High 2 A+ is a decent amateur fighting game. However, the graphics and voice work detract heavily from the immersion and leave a constant reminder that the game could be so much better. The main feature that may heavily deter many would-be buyers is the lack of online functionality. A shortage of budget and/or manpower was likely the reason it was not added in, and I can sympathize with that, but that justification won’t stop anyone from being turned off by the exclusion. Mattrified has built a good fighting game for those looking for a Friday night fighter with a few local buddies who aren’t trying to get too serious. The single-player experience is limited to an arcade mode that will probably get old quickly. Still, there are enough positives here to encourage giving Battle High 2 A+ a look.
Score: Try It
Achievement notes: The Achievement list was not available while playing pre-release. However, the Achievement list finally went active on release day as I was writing this review. Most players will not be happy that every Achievement is based off completing all journal entries of a specific character. That means players will have to be skilled enough to complete the Challenge mode with a character, and some are far from simple. Seasoned fighting game players will breeze through, but others will walk away with 0 Gamerscore.
Battle High 2 A+ was developed and published by Mattrified Games. It released on December 15, 2015 for $4.99. A copy was provided by Mattrified Games for review purposes.