Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 15.10.2015

Review for Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! on PC

Featuring an all female cast, Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! attempts to forge its own identity in a fairly cluttered 2D fighter scene by providing a unique and distinct experience. Developer Arc System Works has a wealth of expertise in this field, with a sizable back catalogue as proof, but has the team done enough here to rise above the competition, or is it just more of the same? After a review of the PS Vita version, Cubed3 now checks out the new Steam release.

Unfortunately, Arcana Heart 3 doesn't quite do enough to elevate it above its peers, although it does have a number of small improvements that are a definite step in the right direction. Given the slew of anime-flavoured 2D fighters littering the marketplace, it's hard not to feel like the genre is starting to stagnate to the point where the quarter circle/forward move is almost as well known as the Konami code. It's a formula that few developers seem willing to deviate from.

Having a cast consisting entirely of women combined with a unique "arcana" system helps give a good first impression, although cracks do start to appear with continued play. Newcomers might struggle getting to grips with some of the basic concepts, as there is little in the way of explanation on how the game works. Like most fighting titles, each character possesses its own unique set of moves and playstyle, although these can be further augmented by selecting an arcana, which can dramatically change up the proceedings in any number of ways.

Screenshot for Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! on PC

Sadly, this is both the Arcana Heart 3's strongest and weakest point, as trying to figure out just what each arcana does is a very daunting task for a beginner to the series. To grasp just how each one affects the player would require 23 different playthroughs. Does this add depth? Possibly. The more experienced out there should be able to sit down and figure out some unique and interesting combos with some experimentation, but it also means that the entire pool is the "deep end" without a "shallow end" that eases in gently.

Story-wise, there is a convoluted and varied plot at play, which isn't as strong as some of the higher profile fighters with multi-branch storylines, although it does its job sufficiently well enough. Selecting the next opponent from a set of options limits the ability for a straightforward narrative, so while the story is fairly lengthy, it's not always easy to follow.

Screenshot for Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! provides an enjoyable experience for the most part, but it's let down slightly by the storytelling side. Given the oversaturation of similarly styled fighters in the genre, it struggles to find its own identity, although fighting fans that enjoy a fast paced arcade style brawler could do much worse than picking up a copy of this. It might not stand out from the crowd, but it's very competently executed.

Developer

Arc System Works

Publisher

Arc System Works

Genre

Fighting

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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