Back in 2006, the first edition of Arcana Heart, developed by Examu Inc, was released in arcades across Japan and featured arcade style 2D fighting with an all female cast. It gave the player multiple options in the way of characters AND the choice of an “elemental alignment,” or Arcana, which determined the players special move set.
Now here in 2011, Arcana Heart 3 has hit the major consoles in America and is ready for fans of the series and fighting games alike to test out their skills and enjoy. But can the game keep your attention for long and worth shelling out the money for? We’re about to find out. Here are the Hots and Nots of Arcana Heart 3.
The fighting mechanics in Arcana Heart 3 are easy to pick up and run with from the get-go. That being said, they are challenging to master but that just makes your hard work that much more satisfying when you are pulling off crazy combos left and right. The addition of the Arcanas to your character allow for some boosts to your attack and defense that make the combos that much more difficult to string and flow. This is part of what gives the game it depth. If mastering various fighters is your thing, and you like the challenge that goes along with it, then you will feel right at home here. If it isn’t, however, then know for you casual fighter fans there is a choice between a simple and normal fighting mode.
Arcana Heart 3 contains a decent variety of characters, modes, Arcanas, and arenas to choose from. For those of you who want actual numbers to go along with these things, there is a total of 23 characters, 23 Arcanas to boost your stats, 12 stages, and 5 modes to choose from. The 5 modes you can choose from are: Story, Versus, Score Attack, Training, and the Online Mode. There is also a gallery and replay theater to pick from at the main menu to replay fights and view unlocked artwork.
It’s nice when a fighting game has a good story to go with the action. It is not nice, however, when that story is hard to follow and contains information from past games. The story for Arcana Heart is just that, hard to follow. I found myself completely lost in the first 5 minutes trying to read subtitles for the Japanese voices. So for those of you who love some story with their fighters, you had better be a fan or a good researcher because there is definitely a huge deal of referencing from previous titles. From what I read and understood, the game has you trying to save Japan from imminent doom and evil. So yeah, sounds like your typical “save the world by smashing faces,” only with an all female cast this time.
The music in Arcana Heart 3 sounds like your typical arcade music with the same repeating guitar riffs and all that jazz. It’s about as interesting as listening to paint dry. The voice work happens to be all in Japanese with English subtitles with no hope of changing it. I understand this is Japanese fighting game and all, but at least slow down the scroll speed so I can read what they are saying.
To wrap this all up in one neat little package, Arcana Heart 3 is a game that only fans would truly enjoy. Sure the fighting mechanics and nice selection are great, but if you are looking to get this game for story or you aren’t too keen on a learning curve, you won’t be too happy with what you get. The music in the game seems uninspired and unless you can read quickly you will miss out on a hefty chunk of stuff.
[Editor’s Note: Arcana Heart 3 was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]