GAME REVIEW | Moé Fighting Extreme in Third "Arcana Heart"
It's been a while since Arcana Heart 3 released on the PS3 courtesy of Aksys, and finally the time has come for the game to arrive on PC in a LOVE MAX!!!!! edition. Handled by Arc System Works and developed by EXAMU, the development resulted in an actually pretty good port, albeit a straight one.
Arcana Heart 3 is about an evil organization trying to rule the world with the power of crystals, and the forces trying either to stop them or use their power for their own ends. It's pretty hard to follow if you haven't played the original game or its sequel, which never got released in the West in an acceptable form. However I imagine that even if you did play those, you still might be lost and confused. It's not very good, but it's there, and it's sometimes humorous.
Certainly it tries harder than Street Fighter, like the woman who reports the news in her bath towel. There is also an alternate story mode that serves as an epilogue for each character if players are still interested in their stories. Additionally completing a character's story will unlock mini-stories in the gallery that will flesh them out a bit more.
As for Arcana Heart 3's gameplay, it plays similarly to most of the flashy fighters that Arc System Works puts out. You can double jump, air dash, air block, forward and back dash, but you can also fly for a bit for more maneuverability. Melee attacks consist of light, medium, and heavy attacks, along with some throws and special moves. The twist here is that you can use support attacks with your chosen Arcana, which forms the basis of some special and super moves.
The fighting roster is pretty diverse, despite being only female. There's a girl in a swimsuit that controls a giant blob, another bearing an oversized sword, and even one that makes her drawings come to life. It's quite the eclectic cast, with pretty much all the characters from the previous games included.
Online play is great if you can even find a match, as the player base is sadly still pretty small. At least the net code is terrific, and I experienced no lag except for maybe some pre-fight stuff, which might've actually been intentional. The transfer to PC is good, meaning both fans of fighting games or of the Arcana Heart series can now play the game on another platform, so it's a decent recommend.
The Good – The fighting is solid, with the entire cast being composed of women.
The Bad – Story of the game is there, but it's a bit indecipherable as you may have to have played the other two games to understand it.
The Ugly – Online matches are hard to find.
SUMMARY: Arcana Heart 3 is a good fighter with some interesting mechanics like limited flight. Finding an online match that you can play, however, can be a challenge.
FINAL GRADE: 7.0 (out of ten)
Steam review code provided by Gail Salamanca via Strangely Compelling