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Universal Fighting System: Penny Arcade» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A surprisingly good game. rss

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Barry Figgins
United States
Woodland
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Games based on licensed properties are usually horrible - so a game like the Universal Fighting System, which promises that you can pit any licensed character against any other, has got to be awful, right?

Surprise, it's good.

Learning the rules for the first time is a bit of a hurdle. Unlike Magic, there's no cost to play a card - instead you have to make a control check, which is turning over a card of your deck and checking its number against the difficulty of the card you're playing. Every successive action in the turn is at +1 difficulty.

This is pretty confusing, as you may have cards on the table, but they aren't really active until the end of your turn, when the combo completes and they go into what's called your staging area. The increasing difficulty adds a lot of tension, though, and some good decisions. Do I lead off with a strong attack, since it's easiest to do early in the turn, or lead with a weak attack, so at least I'll know I got one blow in?

The game also supports a lot of the fighting game cliches - high/low games, going defensive, soul charging or focus, etc. It really does feel like a back-and-forth fight, especially between the two demo decks, Taki and Chun-Li. They seemed well-balanced against each other.

I did have a few complaints, though.
Foundations seemed strange, in that once they're in play, they're pretty much permanent until the end of the game. This is in no way a problem, it was just a little unusual.

The demo decks are only 30 cards. If you follow the printed rules, you'll never finish a game. You see, if you run out of cards, you reshuffle your deck, but remove the top 10 cards from the game. Well, with only 30 cards, they disappear fast. I recommend, if you get the demo decks, to just play without removing cards from the game.

Third, making this game a CCG seems awkward. There's too much text on the cards, and I know the 'high level' game is going to come down to finding broken combinations to pull. With so many different abilities, there's probably some infinite combos possible. I would much prefer to see the game pacakaged like 'Brawl' - a bunch of different decks, where each deck is a different character.

Overall, I was very impressed with the UFS. I plan to pick up some sets, but the collectability is a turn-off for me, so I think dropping $20-30 into this game will be enough.
 
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Adam Kouzmanoff
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Champaign
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If you only want to drop 20-30 dollars in the game, they have a Penny Arcade (based on the popular webcomic) set, with two full decks and nice deckboxes. I just got mine today.
 
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Andrew Brannan
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The PA set is nice, but they tinkered with the rules a touch. The PA set, as built, ignores the icon restrictions that the "regular" game will have.
 
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