Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code (PC) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 30.04.2016

Review for Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code on PC

Melty Blood is a series of 2D fighting games and Actress Again is the finale. Originally a PS2 release in 2009, published by Ecole Software, it was then brought out as an arcade fighter, redubbed Actress Again Current Code in 2010, before seeing a couple of updates and finally being published on PC by Type-Moon in 2011. Now, in 2016, Arc System Works has released a localised version to western audiences via Steam.

Actress Again features a large roster of 31 characters, each with three different combat styles. This includes Ryougi Shiki from Garden of Sinners (or Kara no Kyokai), one of the first Type-Moon novels that was adapted into a fantastic set of movies by Ufotable. Each character has a visual novel style story interspersed with fights. The writing is emotive and engaging, if a little sparse, and the art work is very nice, with plenty of personality in each character design. The character art is reminiscent of the older Type-Moon Fate games.

Control-wise, the combat is well handled. It pays to use a controller to play (preferably with a good D-pad), as the keyboard layout is bizarre. First of all, each player needs to pick a fighting style, each with advantages and disadvantages. There are full moon, crescent moon and half-moon modes. Full moon is a power-based mode where offense is the only defence. The characters hit harder, but slower than in the other modes. Crescent moon is a speed-based mode similar to the previous entries in the series, whilst half-moon is a beginner oriented mode where some combos are automated to try and relieve the difficult slightly.

Speaking of difficulty, this game pulls no punches. The initial rounds in arcade mode are a fair challenge, but it quickly devolves into the usual arcade niche of extremely frustrating boss battles. It's as great as ever beating a boss and letting that feeling of satisfaction sink in, but it can be frustrating to the highest degree. The difficulty doesn't harm the spectacle, though! Each boss is brilliantly designed and massive, with screen-filling attacks and vibrant avatars.

Screenshot for Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code on PC

The style is great and, in general, the backgrounds and sprites haven't aged badly. With the variety of screen and character filters, the visuals hold up well even in higher resolutions. As this was developed around about the time that games were stopping 4:3 ratio support, it offers simple borders around the centre that show the game's title and logo (akin to how the arcade machine would display it). It doesn't detract from the action, but a wider field of view would have complemented the action as the screen scroll would have been eliminated.

The animation is terrifically fluid, which helps the combos feel like they are flowing well. It also shows off the power of the art style when combined with trailing weapon effects, despite the generally aged aesthetic. Musically, it fairs well, with some generic rock riffs and genuinely beautiful vocal tracks. The theme tune is particularly strong. For a fighting game, the atmosphere can be ramped up pretty high, offering an almost horror-like experience. This is especially true during Ryougi's story scenes, which have a similar feeling to the Garden of Sinners series.

As a bonus, it supports two-player local co-op and online modes. This gives the versus mode a lot more worth, as well as elevating the game from the PC's usual lack of local multiplayer. When played with friends it's a blast. The online mode suffers from quite bad lag sometimes, which may be attributed to the original release back in 2011, as server technology has changed since then. In the local mode, it is as smooth and fluid as ever, and if both are seasoned fighters, the battles can get quite heated, as the balance is well thought out for playable characters move sets.

Screenshot for Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code is a well-crafted title that highlights the best features of Japanese style arcade fighters. The simple, yet complex to master, systems keep the game rewarding. With the inclusion of online and offline VS modes, this stands out against other anime-style 2D fighters available through Steam and its lifespan is increased tenfold.

Developer

French-Bread

Publisher

Arc System Works

Genre

Fighting

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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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