Million Arthur Arcana Blood

Year: 2018
Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer: Square/Enix
Genre: Fighting
Review Date: 2/20/20
Rating: ***

The premise of the "Million Arthur" series is that there are a million King Arthurs and a million Excaliburs, and they're all fighting each other to unite a mythical Britain. This game is a 2D anime fighter that reminded me of "Blaz Blue" more than anything, although the arcana element is reminiscent of "Arcana Heart." The fighting mechanics are fairly straight forward with the standard weak, medium, strong, throw, and special attacks. Where the game gets really crazy is with the arcanas, which are three support characters that provide over-the-top special attacks. It seems like any game that has "arcana" in the title is overly complicated, and you can choose from 31 different support characters (knights) with various abilities and elemental alignments. The customization is overwhelming, but the game allows you to choose from three default sets if you don't want to bother with managing your team. Although, checking out all of the knights is a fun exercise, as several of them are completely absurd.

The roster contains 13 playable characters and 2/3 of them are female, which is a ratio that I appreciate. Three characters are guests from other game series, including "King Of Fighters," "Tales Of Vermillion," and "Trials Of Mana." I have no idea how they fit into the story continuity. The character animation is excellent and the game maintains a super smooth frame rate. However, load times are annoyingly long and can test your patience. It's a full featured game with a Story mode, Episode mode, Versus mode, Time Trial mode, Online mode, and Training mode. Story mode incorporates the standard "talking head" narrative paradigm, paired with static high-res character art. Unfortunately, conversations are overly long and drawn out, and become quickly tiresome because none of it is translated. Episode mode is even worse, although it features some amusing interludes. Sadly, the game's biggest drawback is the lack of an English localization, which can dampen your overall enjoyment. Fortunately, the main menu is in English so you at least know which mode you're playing, but everything else is in Japanese, which makes for a lot of guess work. That said, I didn't find the characters compelling enough to dive too deeply into the game, and I lost interest after a couple of hours. It's a solid and attractive game with a nice set of options, but in a market that's already flooded with anime fighting games, "Million Arthur Arcana Blood" does little to differentiate itself from the pack.