It’s been five years in the making although four since we first heard about Axel City 2, a sequel to a doujin fighting game released to Windows PC back in the early 00s. Among games announced for the exA-Arcadia platform, I’ve probably had more people ask when this one is coming than any other title. Well, the wait is now over as pre-orders have opened and the game will ship to buyers by the end of August.

If this is the first time you’ve heard of this game, it’s a 1v1 fighting game with hand-drawn art and a huge character roster of 40 fighters. This large selection is part of the reason it took so long; Each character has their own story and background and they have various fighting styles including “Grapplers, Zoners, and  Hard Hitters.” Per the pre-order page:

Each character is fully voiced with their own unique story in Arcade Mode adding to the anime style drama. Play through the challenging Fighting Mode to take on 25 CPU controlled enemies and learn more about each fighter along the way. Battle it out with opponents with a familiar yet complex fighting game system. Easily connect combos from footsies or normal attacks and then go for juggles with special or super finishers! Never miss a combo or punisher with exA-Arcadia’s maximum performance sub 1 frame response times!

There are three single-player game modes: Story, Fighting, and Training; Then of course Challenge where two people can go at it as you’d expect from a game like this. The Fighting mode is on maximum difficulty though, so it’s one that only hardcore players will want to tackle.

For how it plays, there’s this description:

Use Dash Counters to quickly close the gap with your opponent and launch an attack or fake them out. Play footsies to gain ground or High Jump out of traps. Combo from the ground to the air or vice versa to get the advantage and lay your opponent to rest!

Here’s video from the last time I saw AC2 in person, from Amusement Expo 2023:

As a kit release, this is available exclusively on the exA-Arcadia platform in cartridge format and is available through select distributors (depending on the region) – some areas you can pre-order/purchase from the exA website, where it is listed for around $1550 (not including shipping). This puts it in-line with other fighter releases on price; As some collectors seem to forget or intentionally ignore, everything about these are priced for arcade operators and not home consoles as the markets are quite different. That’s how the arcade market has always worked, it’s nothing new, but it won’t stop some from complaining. Of course the games themselves have been designed to appeal to hardcore players, especially this game.

As usual, every kit comes with an A1 size poster, A3 size instructions, instruction strips and a manual.

One interesting aspect about this is that it works in TATE (Vertical orientation) mode, which I believe all exA titles support moving forward.

This also joins Dynamite Bomb!! as something not available on PC/consoles, expanding exA’s library of full exclusive titles. This is the sixth fighter release for the platform but there are quite a few more titles in this genre which are on the way – announced stuff like Daemon Bride exAGAIN, Arcana Heart 3 Xtend, The Fallen Angels Revenge – as well as several as-yet-unannounced titles. One of those I played at Amusement Expo but it sounds like it will still be a little bit before its announced.

What are your thoughts on this one?

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