I'm currently loving a lot of the stuff that is being produced by the indie scene of late, and Grand Class Melee 2 is no different. Its early access was released back at the start of February on Steam, and I lunged at the chance to give this pixelated four-player fighting game a first look.
Grand Class Melee 2 - Art
At first, the art style seems like nothing groundbreaking. The character sprites, while nicely done, are nothing new, though the different attacks are nicely animated, and it's good that there is a range of randomly generated and differently styled backgrounds for you to battle in. The same goes for the music; it's upbeat and fits in well with the game, but again nothing really to go raving on social media about.
Grand Class Melee 2 - A Distinct Lack of Story
With no story to speak of, the place where Grand Class Melee 2 really holds its own is in the gameplay. You can currently choose from 4 classes, Durable, Sprint, Arrow, and Scorch, each with its own range of special abilities. You start off with just one, but you build them over time, choosing one and discarding another, never to be seen again. The game is incredibly fast-paced, with matches likely only lasting around 30 seconds each before you move on to choose your next ability. To avoid problems like in the Smash Brothers series, where a player could happily wait out the match in the corner and out of harm's way to win by default, Grand Class Melee 2 offers points not just based on survival but on the number of kills and damage caused.
For me, the abilities are where the game really stands out. The steam page boasts over 60 different abilities, and after playing all the classes, I can see how this is the case. With an affinity for long-range attacks, the Scorch class was the only one for me, and I saw some of the most devastating attacks in the game, such as the much-talked-about Kai Beam, which, while slow, when accurate, can deal a devastating three hearts of damage. Teamed with the AfterLife ability, healing me slowly over time and bringing me back from the dead in a one-time only offer, I was pretty much unstoppable.
Grand Class Melee 2 - A Few Teething Issues
This led me to believe that the Scorch class was a bit overpowered, even if you do have to learn the specific trees in which collecting both of these abilities is possible. 4 classes also felt a little limiting, though it must be remembered that the game is still in early access and there is a lot more left to see.
With a mention of early access, this game is currently only playable against AI and/or local multiplayer, with people and PCs sharing your connection and their own copy of the game. The AI is smart enough to outwit you and will deliver enough of a challenge for now, but for more true replayability, and I would look forward to the full release, which promises to introduce online multiplayer capabilities.
The Final Thought
Grand Class Melee 2 isn't a game that will change your life. But for the $5 it is currently running at on Steam, I would say it might be worth picking up if only to see what all the fuss is about. It really is a game that rewards practice, and if you are looking forward to burning players to death online, you should probably get some rounds in against the AI now while it's in early access.
TechRaptor previewed Grand Class Melee 2 on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developer. This preview was originally published on 01-02-2015. While care has been taken to update the piece to reflect our modern style guidelines, some of the information may be out of date. We've left pieces like this as they were to reflect the original authors' opinions and for historical context.