Genre: Action 2D Fighter Anime
Developer: Studio Saizensen
Publisher: Studio Saizensen
Release Date: Jul 28, 2016
Fighting games are one of those genres that have a diverse and rich player base, catering to both the simple player just seeking a good time with friends to the hardest core of veterans who want to show their skills on the leaderboards of ranked matches; sometimes however, a game tries to offer both when it should focus on one and pays the price in the final product, this being the case of Blade Arcus. Blade Arcus from Shining: Battle Arena is an anime 2D fighting game that was developed and published by Studio Saizensen, and while having some unique characters and simple move list, suffers from some smaller issues and a nearly dead online mode.
Prepare your weapons and don your battle gear as the story for Blade Arcus takes us all around the worlds of both Shining Blade and Shining Hearts. We, the player, play as one of sixteen characters from the Shining Blade and Shining Hearts worlds during an event where the seven soul orbs, magical orbs that are supposed to grant the wish of anyone who gathers them, have had their seal broken. Now a hunt begins around the world to gather the seven orbs and protect them from the forces of evil – but as you expect, each character has a different wish to be filled and it is up to you as the player to see them all. That is where the story truly ends as the story mode, while engaging and a good time for one run for each character, does fall short in length and replay value.
While the story was a nice change of pace from a more traditional fighting game, I did have one issue with most modes of the game, that being the move list is very limited. I am not sure if when they were going for an easier to pick up game when developing it but it hurt the final product in my eyes as I felt like I was not really given a challenge to master any one character at any point in time. Mix this with a limited color system for each character and, while I can admire the work that went into the game, it does feel lacking compared to other anime 2D fighters out on the market.
It’s time to strike hard as we dive into the battle system and various modes the game has to offer in its offline and online kit. For all purposes, I will be covering the battle system first as there is one important part of it that affects all modes, this being the partner system. The partner system is something, while not unique to Blade Arcus, is different as it works on two levels. The main portion is in battle where you can coordinate with your partner character to pull some extra damaging moves, but the portion unique to Blade Arcus is the swap system, where you can between rounds switch to the support character for that round by pressing the correct button and swapping your current character into the support character role. I found this to be a great tool as it gave you a chance to change your strategy between rounds.
Following this up will be the offline offerings, something I am sad to say is very lacking in this game. Besides the story mode which is eighty percent of the content, you are only left with a versus mode which can be fun with friends and the occasional silly challenge, or the training mode which is as it states is just there to help you practice a character and their moves for the online mode. The online mode, however, at this point based on my experience is non-existent. The online mode consist of a causal setup where you can fight a person in a room just for fun or sport and the ranked mode which locks in the traditional rules for the game and lets you fight to earn both player xp and character xp. Both of these options are dead to my knowledge as during the twelve times I attempted to get any form of an online match, no one showed up – even after ten to fifteen minutes of waiting.
Anime is the name of the game when it comes to the complete package of Blade Arcus, both with its visuals and to some degree, its music, but with a twist. Visually, Blade Arcus is very well put together with its beautifully executed backgrounds, cutscenes and character models, an aspect I personally loved. The backgrounds show a depth and detail you expect from the fighting games of today, yet allowed the characters to standout on their own against the colorful backdrops. The cutscenes, while not many in the game, do standout on their own as well rendered and placed to explain story. The characters however, have to be one of two elements I say make this game stand out from other fighting games. The fighters are done in a 2D style, which makes them stand out against the very animated backgrounds, but their movement is so well setup that you could swear they were made for a 3D game.
Wake up to the sound of wind and horn instruments as Blade Arcus is rocking a soundtrack that sets it apart from other fighting games. Musically, Blade Arcus pulls away from the traditional piano style and lends it ear toward the horn as its choice for most piece. I found it clever and well place when you hear the trombone play a main role in a soundtrack, adding to a memorable soundtrack as a whole. The sound effects are here as well, giving the traditional fighting game flair.
Overall, I found Blade Arcus from Shining: Battle Arena – while a well designed, composed and mechanically put together fighter – is lacking in the availability of modes, and with no presently active online, really kills the game’s replayability. The multiple character stories, number of characters, support character system, ability to switch between rounds, beautifully designed backgrounds and characters, and one of the most memorable soundtracks make this fighter worth a look but maybe, not for a stay.
- Sixteen different character stories to play through
- Sixteen different characters to experiment with and learn
- The support character system
- Able to swap character between rounds if needed
- A beautifully designed game with backgrounds and characters
- One of the most memorable soundtracks to date for a fighting game
- The limited move list felt like a handhold
- While there, the color system was not anything special
- Lack of offline modes available in the game
- The dead online mode is a complete killer for replay
DarkLunarDude gives Blade Arcus from Shining: Battle Arena a Drastik Measure 6.5 out of 10.0 (65)
For the price of $29.99 USD on Steam, Blade Arcus is good time for those wanting a quick one hundred percent title but I can only recommend it to those seeking a quick achievement game or those who enjoy fighting game for the story; though I do recommend waiting for a price drop as while the game is beautifully designed with visuals, music and gameplay, the lack of content does not justify the price.