Some of the the screens look nice and colorful, don't know about this fighter though...
SOURCEBattle Fantasia is extremely quirky, just like ARC System Works' other fighting game creations. Before we spend too much time musing over the colorful cast, let's cover the basics. Battle Fantasia is essentially a 2D fighter because combat plays out on a single plane. However, the character models and backgrounds are all 3D models. Although we've seen this type of approach before, the art style is what really elevates this game to incredible heights. The characters are crafted in such a way as to give them an "animated" appearance, despite the fact that they're full models. Seeing the game in action is like seeing an anime that has simply popped into the 3rd dimension.
The color pallet is also incredibly appealing. Characters are drawn with a whimsical style reminiscent of bright watercolor paintings. Included in the collection are two young sons of a swordsman, a flag-bearing princess, a hooded gunman, a steam-powered mechanic, a pirate, a dark knight, a cat waitress, a magical bunny astronomer and a young male cleric sporting Daisy Dukes. Only ARC System Works could come up with this stuff.
Combat in Battle Fantasia seems much simpler than the developers other efforts, though it's not without a challenge. Battles are a bit slower-paced and less frantic than the Guilty Gear franchise, for example. Characters move and execute attacks more deliberately, but things can get pretty fast when dealing with a skilled opponent.
Unlike other highly technical fighters, Battle Fantasia doesn't appear to have too many systems to learn and exploit. Your character can move around, duck and jump as you would expect -- and guarding plays an important role as well. The only special elements of battle come from counters and your character's Heat mode. Countering can be done with the push of a button, making your fighter perform a very brief animation during his or her neutral position. If you're hit during the beginning of this animation, your character will perform either a parry or a direct counter -- depending on directional input.
Heat mode, on the other hand, puts your character in a more powerful state but gobbles up charges from your energy gauge. Depending on the character, Heat mode can have a variety of effects. Some fighters are literally changed as a result. For example, Olivia, the princess, is surrounded by white birds which attack along with her. Marco, one of the young warrior boys, is accompanied by a dragon which can be commanded to charge forward or breathe fire. Each character's move set is also boosted during Heat mode activation. For example, certain techniques can be strung together more easily or executed in the air.
Other than these two mechanics, the combat engine seems very familiar. Every fighter has a number of normal attacks assigned to the face buttons. Using a double down-to-forward motion on the D-pad executes a super move which also drains your energy gauge. Lastly, move cancelling is always a big aspect of ARC System Works titles and it returns here in some fashion, but we haven't mastered it yet.
What we have been able to see right away is the bustling personality of each fighter and his or her gameplay style. Urs, wielder of the flaming chainsaw, can pull off some great attacks. The details show up in things like a character's idle animation or his victory pose. For example, win a round with Urs and he transforms his chainsaw into a steam-powered hover bike and jets off the screen. Or, if you're feeling crazy, you can definitely get some laughs out of the cat-tailed waitress Coyori who carries a tray of tea around with her during the match. She even attacks with a broom.
Battle Fantasia will sport several game types as well. Arcade, Story, Survival, Time Attack and Practice modes are all there as well as a standard Vs. CPU. You'll also be able to battle your friends online, which should be a very welcome feature. We also tried out Battle Fantasia's Story mode and were admittedly surprised at the amount of detail that was put into the dialogue. The opening narration speaks of four heroes that united to rid the land of darkness, but that darkness has returned once again and must be faced by a new host of warriors.
Rather long conversations are featured between the characters during this mode, which definitely brings even more personality into play. During these dialogue scenes, eye-catching, animated character portraits are displayed on screen, with a pretty impressive attention to detail. This is clearly an evolution of the now standard "two static character images facing each other" dynamic that has been used in JRPGs for years. Although fighting game enthusiasts may not be in it for the story (it didn't sound overly original in the beginning), it's nice to see that some effort was put into the affair.
This title has really impressed us thus far and we're eager to see more of it. Although Battle Fantasia has only been announced for the 360, perhaps we'll see a PS3 version one day in the future.
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Wow, another interesting looking game. It is always nice to see 360 has this type of game regardless it will sell or wont.
ive got the demo of this
not entirely sure if i like it, its a bit clunky and the character models are a bit ulgy sometimes
love the art though
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