Arcana Heart 2

Earlier in the week I wrote about the lack of innovation in fighting games and their sequels.  Most of my grievances stemmed from the fact that sequels scarcely seek creativity in their games and focus upon building up the established system.  Most of the time arcade sequels just include a new character, new moves, and / or occasionally a new gameplay tweak. 

The creators of Arcana Heart knew this, and attempted to build a game from the ground up that would avoid the monotony of stale characters and moves.  The other interesting thing is that the developers are fans of all types of fighters, from popular arcade fighters, to fan-made doujin fighters.  Did I mention there's absolutely no male characters present in the game? 

But where the game really shines is the amount of depth offered in the individual arcana's.  After you select your character, you get to choose an arcana that will dictate the special and super moves for that character.  The Arcana also determines the passive abilities, ranging from floaty air jumps, to additional "clashes" that will add extra hits in dash moves.  On top of that, you can activate the Arcana (a move that helps you get out of combos) which will add even more passive abilites that can regain life, stop the clock, or poison the opponent.

There's probably not a single game out there in the market that even comes close to the amount of flexability within the game structure.  The first game offered 12 characters and 12 arcanas, totalling 144 (zomg, 144!) staggering combinations.  Arcana Heart 2 now has 18 characters and 18 arcanas, effectively doubling the amount of combinations available from the previous game!

Personally, I really like the fact that there's practically no tiers (e.g. characters who are inheritantly stronger than other characters) in this game due to the arcana system.  Alot of games typically have a small group of characters who are just too overpowered that the weaker characters simply can't compete.  Thanks to Examu's foresight, this aspect of the game has been effectively neutralized, truly allowing players to find the playstyle that suits them the best.  This is probably one of the best 2D games out there, and I highly suggest it. 

If you're interested in further reading, I would also recommend these highly in-depth articles:'s review of Arcana Heart
In-depth forum post with a plethora of healthy links
Super informative wiki page on Arcana Heart

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4 Responses to “Arcana Heart 2”

  1. 1 Travis June 28, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Now is it that there are really no tiers or that there are too many characters (considering a character being the actual character + arcana) to really effectively rank them?

  2. 2 patapete June 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    There are tiers, but with the amount of variations you can make, its easy to choose a counter character or even a combination that has its own strengths that are better. But this usually rests upon the ability of the player, and less on the skill set itself.

  3. 3 .cloverbell August 5, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Chick fiiiiiiights!This looks soo cool. =D

  4. 4 patapete August 5, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    It is very cool; its my favorite game of all time 🙂

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