By Steve Baltimore / November 11th, 2014
|Title||Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!!|
|Release Date||September 23rd. 2014|
|Platform||PS3, PlayStation Vita|
Reviewers note: I played this game mostly on the PS3. I did however check out the Vita version as well, and though it does play basically the same as the PS3 version, there is a bug that makes you unable to complete the game with certain characters. There is a patch to fix this incoming, but it has not been released at the time this review was written.
I had always been interested in the Arcana Heart series, so when Aksys Games announced they were localizing Arcana Heart 3:Love Max!!!!! I was very interested. Being a fan of 2D fighters, it seemed this one was right up my alley. Did it hold up to my expectations, or fall flat? Let’s find out.
The story takes place a few months after the conclusion of the previous game, where something called the Kantou Incident took place. This is where Angelia caused quite a stir trying to bridge the dimensions. While this was going on, the Drexler Institute, a group with ties to demons, began running experiments. Soon after many dimensional rifts appeared, and now a group of heroes only have six days to stop the destruction of Japan.
The story scenes in the game are pretty interesting, but I had a hard time following some of it since this was my first time playing the series. In addition to the main story there is also an After Story and a Memories section which follows the events that happened in the Arcana Heart: Card of Glory mobile game. These stories will unlock as you complete battles with each character. Even if all of this is a bit confusing, it is still entertaining and I really enjoyed the characters interacting with each other. There is even a hot springs story. Completing these modes and the training modes will also unlock a ton a artwork in the gallery as well.
Graphically, everything looks very nice. There is some great sprite work here, the special move effects are nice, and I really loved how they used the scale boxes on the side to put in animations for each character. All of the animations are smooth and the frame rate never slows down a bit. The action here is fast and furious to be sure. If you have a big enough TV you may notice a few jagged edges on the characters, but this is very minor and you need a pretty big TV to even notice it.
There are lots of different types of music to be found here, from somber slower music for sad event scenes to hard rocking battle music for fights. All musical genres are represented here very well. I found several of these tunes to be catchy. All of the voice work is in Japanese and fits the characters nicely. The sound effects are pretty standard fighting game affair. They get the job done, but I can’t say anything really stands out about them.
Now let’s get into the gameplay, which is the core of any fighter. The basic controls work like any run-of-the-mill 2D fighter out there, but there are a lot of special moves and attacks to spice the battles up. First off, if you press the A, B and C attacks in succession you will get an Arcana Combo. These simple combos can be changed up by adding directions on the D-pad or throwing a special move into the mix. If your Force Gauge (located by the health bar) is full, then you can perform an Arcana Burst which will knock your opponent back and make you invincible for a short time. There are bigger super special moves that will consume your Arcana Gauge and a Critical Heart that consumes your entire gauge, but it just might save your ass in a pinch. The other very interesting aspect of this is homing. When you pop a character in the air there are plenty of homing moves you can do to chase them through the air. So when they say air combos, they are not joking in the least.
Though I found some of the battle mechanics a bit complicated, I feel this added plenty of depth for more experienced fighter fans. There are plenty of difficulty options to choose from and a simple mode for those that are not very skilled with controller combinations. This game can be picked up and played by just about anyone and they can enjoy it. The only beef I have with the Vita version in this regard is when you are missing R2 and L2 it can be a bit of an issue. They should have let map buttons to the back touchpad or the touchscreen. It’s not a horrible problem, but some players will likely find it annoying.
All in all I had a great time with Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! It’s a solid 2D fighter with great depth and plenty of content. Though the story and some of the moves were a bit confusing, there is still a lot of fun to be had here. I had fun playing this one online with friends where it runs fantastically, and offline playing the CPU. If you’re not a fan of 2D fighters like this there is nothing here that will change your mind; but if you are a fan, then you should pick this one up for its asking price of $39.99 without any hesitation and spend the 20 or so hours unlocking everything.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Aksys GamesArcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!Examufighting