FEXL continues to evolve, and reach out towards its potential on PC.
Fighting EX Layer has finally released on PC, and will soon find an entirely new audience to further ARIKA’s roadmap of development. Fans have been calling for the ability to play on PC, and now they finally have their opportunity to see what Fighting EX Layer is all about. Everything that makes Fighting EX Layer great has made the transition to Steam, and with its continued growth and free updates, it certainly warrants being experienced for yourself.
Five months later:
Its been nearly half a year since Fighting EX Layer originally released on the PlayStation 4, with stellar gameplay and a colorful cast of eccentric characters. While at the time the title was a tad lacking in content, consistent updates and character patches have kept the game growing. With the addition of arcade mode (with an additional arcade port in Japan), extra characters Pullum Purna and Volcano Rosso, and a roadmap promising additional content and characters, FEXL is promising an even more vibrant future.
Arcade mode, while simple enough of a game mode, pits players against seven opponents in the standard fashion. The order of the characters appears to be the same every time, and certain characters end up being played against twice, like Hayate fighting Sanane at the beginning and end of arcade mode. There are three difficulty modes to conquer as well, with special victory screens to share and high scores to compete with others for. It’s definitely a welcome game mode, and one that I hoped for during my time with the PS4 version at launch.
Pullum and V. Rosso add much-appreciated variety to the already diverse roster, mixing in even more over-the-top eccentricity in playstyles. The fact that they are free of charge is even better. It will be interesting to see if ARIKA continues this trend of free character updates, or if they will begin to charge for fighters once the title gains enough steam (no pun intended), but with one of the main drawbacks of the title being its high asking price, as long as sales continue to grow and new players join in, ARIKA might be on the right track already.
The power of PC play:
The PC version includes all of the most recent updates made to the title, which means it has all of the new characters and modes added thus far. In my review of the original PlayStation 4 release, I discussed the need for additional content to make the game feel more complete. The game also comes with all available Gougi decks, so there’s no need to worry about needing to pay for additional buffs. Hokuto comes included as well, so you’re definitely getting the full package. While there is certainly still room for improvement, ARIKA has been doing all they can to further Fighting EX Layer into something truly special.
One of the biggest pulls for Fighting EX Layer on PC is the ability to play the title in full 4K resolution, promising a drastic improvement to the visual fidelity of the title. While the animations are still a bit choppy, I feel its grown to become part of the identity of the title, channeling the ’90s fighting game titles of yore. Fighting EX Layer even plays well on lower-end graphics cards, albeit at a lower resolution; the quality gameplay and art design still follow through nicely.
I couldn’t really test the online aspects of Fighting EX Layer on PC due to an incredibly small pool of players receiving the title before release. Hopefully, there will be plenty of quick matches found at launch, and that there is not a repeat of the experience I had on PlayStation 4 — but only time will tell. Now that there is an arcade mode players can hone their skills in actual combat, as opposed to training mode which was the only option at launch — aside from the matchmaking screen, while waiting for an online opponent.
One small change I would like to see in future updates is a place for Kumite mode at the main menu. Kumite is a really fun option for players seeking additional challenge against a never-ending onslaught of CPU opponents, while maintaining your health bar from match to match. It’s fast-paced and has no loading whatsoever — once the fight starts it’s on until your meter reaches zero. Adding more emphasis on this mode would show there’s even more to experience. Color packs are on the way, but it would be nice to add some customizing options, while perhaps leaving out exclusive palettes or designs to the paid DLC packs.
Heading towards the future:
Fighting EX Layer has come a long way since it was originally showcased as an April Fool’s Day joke, releasing with a rocky start due to divisive pricing, and then pivoting in reaction by offering free content updates and discounting the title for an extended period of time. FEXL has already become the fighting game of choice for many devoted fans, and with the PC release its bound to only increase its fanbase.
With three more characters on the horizon (one of them being The King of Fighters character Terry Bogard), the most recent appearing to be Sharon, it’s fair to say things are looking up for the little indie title that could. The limitless potential of the Gougi Deck system, the well-designed characters, a rocking soundtrack that channels ’90s fighting game OSTs, and dedication from both the developers and the fanbase makes Fighting EX Layer stand out amongst the crowd.
There is even a new balance patch coming out for the title today across all three platforms, bringing them all to version 1.1.1. Fans in Japan will also be able to get their hands on a physical copy of the game as well, starting on December 6. Expect additional information from ARIKA to be shared on December 14, where the developer will discuss their 2019 release schedule.
All in all, Fighting EX Layer has proven to be a worthy title to add to anyone’s fighting game collection on PC or PlayStation 4. My opinion of the title has only grown more positive since its release, and ARIKA has been handling the title very well. Stick around for more impressions on the PC version’s online functions, the upcoming characters, and everything else FEXL right here at SRK.
My PC specs:
HP Envy Laptop
Intel Core i7 Processor 6500U 2.5 GHz 2.59 GHz
16 GB RAM
2 GB Dedicated Nvidia 940MX graphics
While I wasn’t able to personally enjoy the 4K fidelity of Fighting EX Layer on PC, the title was able to maintain a cool 60 FPS when played in 720p with my PC setup without issue. There were no significant moments of frame drops and there are a variety of adjustable visual settings that can make the game run better on your computer.
ARIKA provided Shoryuken with a review code for Fighting EX Layer on Steam.