Saturday, July 19, 2008

Arcana Heart Review

This is a port of my review over at Gamespot:

This game is simply what redefines the term 'FUN' in 2D fighters. Just when most people thought 2D fighting games were long superceded by their next gen 3D counterparts, AQ interactive blasts on to the scene to resurrect the genre and bring back the fun and flair of old school 2D fighters.

Now a simple analysis of the cast leads us to realise that the game's selectable characters all have one thing in common~ they are all female, yes, whether AQ was specifically targeting a female audience by using an all female cast or simply smartly tickling the senses of the SHIM. They have managed to put together an interest line-up of all female characters.

The character designs are very original to say the least in the sense that there is a little bit for everyone to enjoy in this game. The games version of a 'Grappler' (Zangief type from Street Fighter) is a 12 year old girl, who uses a water sprite in which she rides to fight for her. Beware, innocence does not Piledrive you into the cement pavement :)

To add to the creativity of the characters are the colorful sonic effects generated by the characters performing their special unique abilities, the animations and sprites really bring this game to life, and needless to say the battle arenas and environments are generously colored and detailed to keep you engrosses in this 2D fight-fest. The environments are large and tall, that give the players the chance to launch their opponents skyward and perform devastating air combos mid-flight to further lay the smackdown to your unsuspecting FOE.

Interestingly enough, Arcana Hearts plays similar to most other 2D fighters, most players will reflect with games like Capcom Vs Marvel and the like. However, to add to the ferocity of an all out smackfest, they smartly introduced the DASH system. Hitting 'X' on the controller will allow the players to perform DASHES to intercept, cancel combat moves that would otherwise leave your butt open for a full-scale combo assault. In addition, to act as a cancel/combo starter. The DASH gauge consists of three bars that depletes when you use the DASH command. TO those anticipating, fear not, for when your character is not utilising this ability, the gauge will replenish itself so you may use it again and again. The best part of this mechanic is that it adds more strategy and intensity to the already fast paced battles you will partake in Arcana Heart.

The other aspect that turns heads in Arcana Heart, is the ability to customise your characters 'SUMMON' ability, each character is able to choose a 'SUMMON' ability that can be performed once per round in a battle, that acts as a super ability in addition to the characters individual special attacks. Each 'SUMMON' also has their own variety of special moves, so if your opponent is frying with pestering lightning attacks, or rooting you with the PLANT summon, there is no excuse for you not to select the same ability summon and join the fight with tide-turning abilities of your own. This game system further adds depth and customisability to what some may consider a limited cast of characters. You are likely to spend hours tailoring your characters play style with restrospective as its supporting ability, this adds really great replayability to an already enjoyable game.

The game itself has the same features as most 2D fighters, an Arcade mode, STORY mode, VS mode, Special features and Training mode. One of the few drawbacks to Arcana Heart is its lack of secrets to unlock and no unlockable characters, for those who loved the challenge of unlocking multiple characters like in the Tekken series, this aspect of the game may disappoint. However, rest assured the characters are likeable and more than well-thought of to deem the game very much complete.

The sound effects are more than decent and majority are 'OH so cute' the musical score is also enticing and plays very well with the majority of colorfully themed stages. All in all, Arcana Heart is a 'MUST' buy for FANS of the 2D fighting genre... Heck, even if your not a FAN its just so whacky and fun that most people will enjoy something about the game's overall flair for surprises. Definitely an IMPORT title, to watch for those 2D girl crazy fighting fanatics and those who do not shun or cry at the defeat of a 10 year old girl played by your middle-aged neighbor :P

Now this game is innovation brought to you from JAPAN, are we all not glad we got developers who have thought of everything :)

Thank you for reading :)


Please follow the links to buy the US release version at PlayAsia: - Your One-Stop-Shop for Asian Entertainment

And the Japanese Version here: - Your One-Stop-Shop for Asian Entertainment

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