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Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is ready to beat up the competition

A character punches another to the ground in Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves.
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

The fighting game genre is going through something of a renissance right now. In the past year alone, we’ve gotten several mainstream hits in Street Fighter 6, Mortal Kombat 1, and Tekken 8. That’s not to mention the games filling in the cracks between them, from Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising to Multiversus. Is there a seat at the table for one more competitor? You bet there is, and its name is Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves.

I went hands on with a new demo build of the upcoming 2D fighter at this year’s Summer Game Fest. While we were already impressed by it when we got a taste of it in March, SNK’s latest has only bulked up since then. Its signature rev system makes for a more cerebral fighting game that’s just as fun to watch as Street Fighter 6.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is a traditional 2D fighting game where two players duke it out with stylish moves. Each face button controls a limb, pressing back on the control stick lets players block, and there are tons of combo strings to learn. It’s a hardcore fighting game that rewards expert players with flashy combo strings that can really punish a novice. When I first jumped in, the computer-controlled characters wiped the floor with me as I learned its intricacies on the fly.

And there are a lot of intricacies to speak of. The big hook here is Fatal Fury‘s rev system, which makes it stand out among the competition. Certain actions, like special moves, build up rev. A meter at the bottom tracks how much has built up via a percentage. If that meter hits 100%, players will overheat and lose access to those extra actions until the meter cools down over time.

A character dropkicks another in Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves.

It’s an ingenious touch. It forces players to make brainier decisions rather than just spamming blocks and powerful moves. During my matches, I’d find myself thinking a lot more carefully about my actions rather than just blocking and hitting a few key moves. I took advantage of my dash button to put distance between me and my opponent, letting me cool down a bit before I could come back with a more aggressive offensive attack. That creates some potentially exciting dynamics that should make it a blast to watch. If someone comes flying out the gate firing on all cylinders, you know they mean business.

That exciting system is complimented by its playful visual style, filled with bright colors and quick combo animations. Street Fighter 6 comes to mind immediately, and that’s a style that really works for the genre. Those visuals also help bring more personality out of its eclectic cast of characters. In addition to fighting as Terry Bogard, I tried out fighters like Marco Rodrigues and the newly revealed Vox Reaper. Preecha has already won my heart with attitude and lightning-fast strikes that can let me juggle my rival in a long series of kicks.

None of this should come as a surprise to fighting game fans. While the Fatal Fury series doesn’t have the same mainstream recognition as franchises like Mortal Kombat, there’s a reason that SNK’s series is a fan favorite. City of the Wolves feels like a strong return to form, but one that’s not just coming back for the sake of nostalgia or keeping an IP fresh. The rev system, and other systems like it, make for a brainy fighter that’s sure to get the crowd going at Evo.

Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves is set to launch in 2025 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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