There was a dimensional distortion that
occurred in the Kanto region, caused by the primordial being known as Angelia
Avalon - The international Holy Spirit Institutions suffered harshly after the
"Great Kanto Incident", but restoration has begun and about two months
have elapsed. In this time, a family had received technical
assistance during the war in Europe. Now the family has created "The
Drexler Institution" to resume its activities around the world. The Drexler
Institution was hiding in Japan. Western Europe was devastated by the Office of
the Holy Spirit led by Mildred who had since defected. The West Branch of the
Holy Spirit Rosenberg Agency had to be completely reconstituted.
Shortly thereafter, a large number of
dimensional distortions were observed throughout Japan. "Drexler" is a
little unusual and unnatural with its authority behind the scenes too. Japan has
embarked on a convergence of the Holy Office to gain control of the situation.
They are looking closely into part of an area in Japan that educates several
"Maidens". A "Maiden" has begun her activities from the
branch in Rosenberg. This newcomer has been given the ability of a
"Maiden." With the authority acquired from Drexler, a major order has
been given: .... To the sinking of Japan, after seven days.
Arcana Heart 3's character
selection... 23 anime chicks.
The majority of 2D fighting game fans
probably haven't played a localized
version of Arcana Heart since the original title debuted on PS2 in April of
2008. Exactly 3 years later, Arcana Heart 3 finally made it's way
overseas and to next-gen systems. This installment introduces three new characters
to the franchise: Weiss, Eko and Scharlachrot, making for a total of 23 playable characters. Arc System Works
brought several new features to the console version,
including: Story Mode, Online Mode, HD anime cut-ins during super moves, "Simple Mode" for
beginners, and to compensate for the game's original 4:3 aspect ratio, cool animated borders featuring all of the
game's characters fill the screen with extra eye candy.
Besides Blazblue and King
of Fighters, there aren't many fighting games around these days with
"old school" 2D graphics. Keeping things traditional, Arcana Heart 3
presents large, well-animated 2D sprites and huge 2D backdrops, all hand-drawn. Arcana Heart 3's
main draw is it's
wide variety of
colorful female fighters, each a variation of the moe archetype (AKA a popular
style of character in anime/video games). After choosing a character, players
then choose an "elemental alignment" AKA Arcana. On top of a solid selection of special moves per
character, each Arcana offers it's own unique set of special attacks and
abilities for the character, in addition to affecting a fighter's overall
stamina and power. With 23 girls and 23 Arcana, there are obviously a ton of
combinations available (529 to be exact).
Scharlachot is your new
badass evil chick archtype.
Arcana Heart 3 sets itself
apart from many other 2D titles thanks to it's unique combo system and
air-dashes. Each character has an air-dash that tracks their opponent wherever they are on
the screen, presenting a distinctive style of 2D fighting that distinguishes itself
from games like Blazblue and Guilty Gear. All in all, the gameplay
system is solid and because the series has seen it's fair share of sequels and
patches, you know you're getting the most balanced characters possible. As a very casual Arcana Heart player,
I can't notice very much difference in the gameplay mechanics since playing the
original title and, more recently, Arcana Heart 2: Suggoi. However, I did
notice some differences in how certain characters play, which is more or less
the most significant change in this sequel.
If you're not familiar with the character roster of Arcana Heart, you
might be in for quite a shock. Not only are all of the characters girls, they're
also adolescents. Yes... this must be a Japanese game.
The character designs are most definitely a diverse bunch, each presenting
fighting styles that have very little in common with other fighting game
characters. There are a small handful of fighters who seem inspired by classic
icons in the fighting game universe, but the majority can be described as
"obscure" and are guaranteed to turn heads. Eko, for example, fights with her own crazy
drawing that constantly changes shape, and Kira fights with a giant blob that
can grab her opponents and perform pro-wrestling moves on them.
roster is certainly a mixed bag and you're guaranteed to either find them
vividly entertaining or mildly disturbing... or
possibly a little of both.
Select Eko for instant
"WTF moments"... ^o^
Arcana Heart 3
is an arcade fighting game to the core, meaning it doesn't contain
many modes or extras. The simply designed main menu features: Story, Versus,
Score Attack, Training, Online, Gallery, Replay and Option. The console-exclusive Story Mode is really more of a glorified Arcade Mode than anything else.
Within Story Mode, character
voiceovers are in Japanese, but luckily there are subtitles on most dialogue
spoken in the game. Even though Arcana Heart 3 will look and sound
foreign to most people, it has a certain appeal that
only a genuine Japanese game can offer. One of the things I liked about Story Mode is
being able to select your opponents. You have a choice between 5
different characters to fight against in the first few rounds. There's also some
character specific dialogue before each fight and while most of it
might fall under the "anime nonsense" category, it has a certain charm
to it... especially if you can make out a few words of Japanese.
The overall presentation is modest, but the "Japanese arcade
fighting game feel" proudly comes through. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is a bit tinny,
random, and sometimes sounds like it could come from a 90's television kid's
show. Also, the
incessant high-pitched sound of young Japanese girls
squealing and crying
may cause you to lose a few brain cells over time, and thus, can become quite
annoying; that coming from someone who greatly admires the Japanese
language. Thankfully, there are a few "badass" gals with deeper voices
which help to break up the monotony. Finally, the boss of Arcana Heart 3
is a huge mech called Ragnarok who (more than) fills the screen and it will not
be an easy battle... Ragnarok is one of the more exciting and challenging
fighting game bosses I've fought against in recent times.
Visually, Arcana Heart 3 doesn't shine quite as much as Blazblue
or King of Fighters XIII due to it's smaller sprites and lower resolution. To compromise, the console version's exclusive animated borders
help to create an absorbing visual experience. The in-game characters are portrayed in all
of their anime-ish glory on each side of the screen and feature an impressive
amount of animations which actually correlates with the action! If the borders aren't to
your liking, you can also play the game in widescreen mode which also looks surprisingly sharp
on an HDTV considering the lower resolution. The hand drawn backgrounds are exceptionally sharp, massive, and
noticeably alter & acquire new details when Arcana abilities are
activated. The art directionis obscure and screams "Japan,"
and if you give it a chance, it can grow on you.
An update to the arcade version, titled Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!!
(holy shit someone wants attention )
first released in arcades on May 8th, 2013. The update includes
the same number of playable characters from the original, but features
rebalanced gameplay and new modes, including: Survival Score Attack, After Story
and new Training Modes. It was discovered after the launch of AH3: LOVE
MA!!!!! in North America that the game lacks cross-region netplay... a rare absence
for a fighting game of this era. Aksys also stated that there are no plans add
cross-region netplay via an update or patch.
Arc System Works
Arc System Works
Playstation 3, PSN, Vita, Xbox 360, PC
Jan. 13th, 2011
Apr. 19th, 2011
Aug. 19th, 2011
May 8th, 2013
Arcade - AH3: LOVE MAX!!!!!)
May 29th, 2014
PS3/Vita - AH3: LOVE MAX!!!!!)
Sept. 23rd, 2014
PS3/Vita - AH3: LOVE MAX!!!!!)
Sept. 29th, 2015
(Steam - AH3: LOVE MAX!!!!!)
Arcana Heart 3 makes a solid downloadable
fighting game for next-gen systems. I'm not sure AH3 would fare very well
as a disc-based title against the current leaders of the fighting genre, so
going digital was a very smart move by Examu.
While it doesn't offer the best 2D visuals
in the genre, Arcana Heart 3's obscure and vibrant cast of female fighters and
fast-paced gameplay style should
warrant a purchase to any 2D fighting game enthusiast who has a keen taste for
Japanese games. And for the modest price of $29.99, it's even more appealing.
I know I'll never play Arcana Heart 3 "seriously," but
thankfully it's a game that can be enjoyed on a casual level. On the flipside, the gameplay
engine is clearly smooth, deep and satisfying for players who want to put the time
and practice in. While it
might not be everyone's cup of tea, Arcana Heart 3 offers a simple and
straight-forward Japanese arcade game experience.
One more thing worth mentioning is the obvious stigma that may come with playing
Arcana Heart. Girls have nothing to worry about, since Arcana Heart
seems like it's meant to appeal to 12-15 year old girls (or perverts). lol.
However, if you're a straight male over 18 and you're going to play a fighting
game with a roster made up of adolescent girls in public, it's probably
beneficial to your reputation to have a steady girlfriend and have her
sitting next to you at all times.
True Story: After my girlfriend watched me play a few rounds of Arcana Heart 3, I
jokingly asked her, "What if I was an Arcana Heart player instead of a
Tekken player?" Her abrupt response was "You would be gay and
we wouldn't be dating."
I guess that about sums up the stigma part. lol.