Appearing for the first time on the PC, Arc System Work’s Arcana Heart is making an uppercut onto the PC. Experience 2D fighting in the same fast paced vein as Guilty Gear and BlazBlue alongside a slew of female fighters as they engage each other for supremacy in a fictional futuristic Japan.
Arcana Heart 3 is more than a simple fighting game. Containing several story modes including a “memories” section that almost acts in the form of a Visual Novel through the gallery option, characters are given a bit more depth instead of simply being different fighter skins with varied abilities. Now while the main story mode may not be the most fleshed out with multiple scenes being identical as it is only the protagonist that is switched out with the rest progressing the same way, there are still a variety of sub-scenes that can be viewed. These scenes progress that characters reasons for doing what they are doing and while short, are better than the same thing being done repeatedly making it worth it to go through each one. Including the Main Story Mode, there is also an After Story Mode, Versus, Survival, and other features leaving for a lot to do before even considering the high character count that the roster contains.
I have to be honest that fighting games are not generally my thing. It boils into a “it’s not you, it’s me” sort of situation which in reality really comes down to the two word of “I suck”. That being said I was impressed with Arcana Heart as it contains a well balanced system that allows even someone of a lower skill level to still be able to pass a few stages before getting utterly trounced and start to learn the higher level mechanics. Using some fighting standards such as light, medium, and heavy attacks to form the basis of combat, other more impressive maneuvers and abilities can be used alongside these in order to pull off some very impressive moves… if you know what you’re doing.
Alongside the normal attacks that can be strung together into effective combos, there are Arcana moves and even more special abilities that require perfect timing and memorization of their sequences if they are to be pulled off. Arcana moves, like the standard attacks, can be used to attack your enemies in different manners depending on the direction of the joystick which add to the basic set of moves available. More than being part of the moveset though, Arcana can also be selected prior to a fight or a story mode run in order to boost your character. Each Arcana has a different Attack and Defense attribute booster so careful consideration upon your skill and play style should be taken into account before selecting one.
Like the basic set of moves however, these can all boil into the more powerful maneuvers which can be devastating and require at times a segment of a meter than will fill up while blocking and attacking your enemy. The better you do, the easier it is to fill up the meter and use these abilities to your advantage in order to secure a quicker victory. Now while these moves really are effective and make fights that much easier, they aren’t always required as proper combos can still win the day! Thankfully because sometimes that was the only way I could win!
While Arcana Heart has a well designed fighting system for players of all types of skill, the presentation isn’t always the best that it could be. The interface and the character models can be a bit pixelated or blurry at times visually reducing the quality between menus and actual fighting segments. This degradation never affects the gameplay, but it can affect the experience somewhat as the distraction of the quality can sometimes lead to your enemy getting a good few hits in while you were paying attention to something else.
Arcana Heart 3 Love Max!!!!! is a solid fighting game that leaves itself open to players of various skills without ever being frustrating for being too hard to start off with. Even if it can take a while to develop your skills and learn the systems never are you penalized for it as the standard combos and base moves can also win the day until the rest is figured out. Combining the combat system with the various modes, story elements both as part of the fighting mechanism and visual novel approach, there is more than enough to see, do, and kick butt!
|Developer(s)||Arc System Works|
|Publisher(s)||Arc System Works|
Article by Pierre-Yves