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Review: Blade Arcus from Shining Battle Arena

by onJuly 30, 2016
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There’s a whole world of Japanese games out there that I know little to nothing about. I recently added the Shining series to that list, when I found out about it through this game. Essentially, Blade Arcus is a fighting game that takes characters from those two RPG’s and pits them against each other in a 2D brawler. While this is great news for fans of the series, it’s not really a big deal for most fans of fighters.

Story wise, the game seems to revolve around collecting a series of orbs, and each character has their own motivation for collecting them. The game’s story is pretty barebones (as is the case with most fighters) and I can’t help but feel like the characters are more familiar to fans of the original shining series. You get some idea of their motivations and central driving forces, but there’s just not that much here to show you what’s going on with them. In terms of diversity, Shining doesn’t seem to do a great job in terms of diversity. It’s anime stereotypes 101, with cutesy girls, femme-fatale and gruff but loveable dudes sharing space with handsome, slightly evil types.

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The diversity also doesn’t translate well into the fighting roster, as most characters have pretty similar movesets. The one arguable difference is that each character has his/own blade. Whether it’s a long sword, a katana or those wolverine blade thingies, the fighting just doesn’t feel that different.

As a fighter, Blade Arcus is pretty average on the whole, and lacks its own selling point. The fighting mechanics feel somewhat clunky, chaining combos together isn’t easy at all, and the game doesn’t have its own unique mechanic to help it stand out in the ocean of 2D fighters or even the growing lake of Weeaboo fighters out there. It has the sword combat, and it has the system where you pick two characters instead of 2, but everything has been done at this point and so the game really has to rely on its polish and physics to stand out. It doesn’t really have much by way of either of those things, so sadly it ends up feeling lacking as a fighting experience. I slogged through and tried a couple different characters, but I just didn’t find myself enjoying it. In terms of gameplay content, the AI isn’t great and the game’s waning popularity means online isn’t really a viable option either.

Visually, the game is that awkward mix of 3D and anime 2D, and the UI’s and menus suffer from the usual problem that Japanese PC games have (looking cheap and tacky, namely). If you’re somehow a fan of this JRPG series from the PSP, then maybe Blade Arcus will appeal to you. Otherwise, it’s a clunky fighter that doesn’t do enough of its own thing to stand out and appeal to fans of 2D brawlers.

Blade Arcus from Shining Battle Arena was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Studio Saizensen. Game was tested on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published

What we liked

• Energetic music
• Local co-op that allows for four players
• Variety of difficulty settings
• Some creative character designs

What is not fun

• Menus and UI feel barebones
• Combat is somewhat clunky and doesn’t stand out
• Limited roster that lacks variety

Editor Rating
 
Concept
7.5

 
Graphics
7.8

 
Sound
8.0

 
Playability
8.0

 
Entertainment
7.5

 
Replay Value
8.0

Final Score
7.8


Our final verdict
 

A middle-of-the-road fighter that will probably appeal more to fans of anime and the Shining series than it will to fans of 2D Brawlers

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