Arcana Heart - hands-on

The levels themselves are huge with extremely high ceilings, providing lots of room for epic air combos. The game%26rsquo;s homing technique allows you to automatically rush towards a soaring opponent with the push of a button, making the mid-air fights easier to set up. A conventional gauge system, which charges as you deal and take damage, also allows you to perform super moves for huge combos and extra damage.

We were expecting a fair amount of mangled translations in the game%26rsquo;s dialogue and story because let%26rsquo;s face it, no one plays a fighting game for its story. But fighting fans and purists should be pleased to hear that even in our early preview build of the game, the dialogue was flawlessly translated with a lot of genuinely funny moments and comments in the story mode. The sass talking, world dominatin%26rsquo; 12-year- old mentioned earlier has no qualms breaking the fourth wall as she angrily orders you to pick up the controller and press start at the continue screen. Yes Ma%26rsquo;am!

Because punching a girl in the face with a regular fist just isn't enough

Unfortunately, Arcana Heart still looks and feels a little rough around the edges and lacks the fluidity you%26rsquo;d expect from a sprite-based game on a fairly modern console. The graphics aren%26rsquo;t awful by any means, but it does seem like characters could use a touch more polish. Still, this shouldn%26rsquo;t kill your interest because as soon as you%26rsquo;re in the heat of the fight you%26rsquo;ll be too busy to be picky about how you%26rsquo;d like the developer to maybe toss you a few extra frames here and there.

Arcana Heart is clearly not trying to revolutionize the fighting game world, but it appears to be a solid entry in a genre that has a definite lack of contenders to begin with.

Arcana Heart is scheduled for U.S. release on April 8th.
Click here for pics of hot girl on girl action!

March 11, 2008