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Axel City 2 – Revival of the Arcades of Old!!!

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Axel City 2 – Revival of the Arcades of Old!!!

Figure 1. Axel City 2


Oh, how the times have changed, In the early '80s and '90s you couldn’t be a true gamer if you didn’t spend multiple coins trying to either beat Contra or got beat yourself by a middle schooler in Street Fighter 2 Alpha Turbo. But after the metaphorical rise of the internet and home consoles, the arcades kind of fell off from the mainstream. Nowadays the only people who talk about arcades are either fighting game fans who grew up on it or collectors. The same is true for game developers as many have moved away from developing games for the arcades and some of the most iconic brands of the era have also gone bankrupt such as SNK the developers of King of Fighters. 

But in recent years with the rise of indie games with older 16- and 32-bit graphics we have seen a resurgence of gamers who want to witness the so-called glory days of gaming as many put it. This is why companies such as exA-Arcadia are now gaining traction from the mainstream media as they are developing arcade game dev kits and a prime example among them is Axel City 2. Yes, you heard me right the iconic fighting game from the early 2000s is getting a whole new sequel developed for the Arcadia arcade systems.



Axel City 2


[Image: axel_city_2-2_characters.jpg]
Figure 2. Axel City 2 Massive Roaster


5 years in development by the Arcadia team, Axel City 2 tries its very best to not only evoke the feelings of the old fighting games but also does its best to incorporate the new quality of life aspects of modern gaming. This results in a fighting game that feels and plays like a classic from the early days but has all the bells and whistles of a game released in 2023. The developers also went above and beyond in the characters as it features a massive roster of 40 characters, and all of them are wholly unique, with separate kits, playstyles, and even story points. Speaking of the story the game abandons the nonexistent plot of the first game in favor of a more fleshed-out narrative which believe it or not manages to incorporate the entire cast into it. While yes this might be a first for a fighting game in which the entire cast is involved the drawbacks of this decision start to appear more frequently as we progress the story as the pacing slows down to a snail's pace. Aside from the pacing issues, the game's narrative serves its purpose of making characters fight perfectly.

[Image: axel_city_2-3_gameplay.jpg]
Figure 3. Axel City 2 Gameplay

Gameplaywise the game feels as if it was plucked straight from the arcades of the early 90s, as it has all the features of a classic 2D fighter and more. Such as each character being a certain class and having counter plays for other classes built directly into it. Also, the game features a minuscule 0.3 input lag time, in layman's terms meaning you can't blame the controls or the game for losing a match. With this low input lag, you can rest assured that each move will be registered, which allows players to weave massive strings of combos on their opponents. Said combos can be freely practiced in the training mode which has been designed specifically to get new players accustomed to the controls and characters.



Conclusion


[Image: axel_city_2-4_menu.jpg]
Figure 4. Axel City 2 Menu


To wrap it all up, I just need to mention that the game is technically only an arcade release meaning you can't buy it from online stores such as Steam or Epic. It is also a massive financial investment as the software kit of the game costs around USD 1,543 (Separate from the arcade needed to play it), which might seem ludicrous to a casual gamer, but might as well be pocket change for the collectors and arcade owners who are the target demographics of the game. And who knows with its final pre-order copies being shipped out at the end of August you might be seeing it very soon in arcades near you.



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