Posted by: opphiucus | August 31, 2008

Magical Battle Arena

After another long absent of update, I bring you another review (yay!). The euphoria of Comiket is over and I’m still lamenting the fact that I was still unable to attend it. But thank god mankind has invented the internet so I can get my hands on one of C74’s most anticipated doujin game. Although I’m not a mahou shoujo fans, I must admit this game looks interesting to spark my interest.

MBA is Fly System‘s most overhyped game not only because of its nice graphics but also the mahou shoujo theme as well as good music and voice acting. But first thing first, the gameplay.

The gameplay is nice and simple and the control isn’t too hard. There are two kinds of attack, melee and ranged. You can also set up a barrier but it sorta consumes your energy gauge. There’s also dash button because it’s a must-have for a game like this. Combinations of some attack and defend buttons can unleash super attacks. You can also enter hyper mode by pressing defend and dash button at the same time. During hyper mode you can use hyper super attack (that’s what I call them since it sounds AWESOME). Sounds easy right? NOT! The easy control doesn’t compensate its insane difficulty. Defend is easily breakable by strong attacks and its a bit difficult to aim your shield against incoming attacks. The situation can also become very brutal once you’re knocked down. Just be ready to be spammed by various attacks before you can regain control. Of course you can also do this to your opponent but the computer can do this numerous times to you that it’ll drive you nearly crazy. If you want to make things easier, it’s very recommended if you just keep your distance and spam a certain attacks before you can pull out a super move. The AI can also move more agile than you but maybe this can be solved if you often train with your character movements.

Putting control and difficulty issue aside, there are four modes in this game (story, versus, training, and network gameplay). The network gemaplay is a nice touch if you want to face another human opponent. There are 11 playable characters in this game. Five are available since the beginning, three can be obtained from ver. 1.01+ patch, and the last three can be unlocked by finishing the story mode. The characters span from various anime series and from Fly System’s previous games. Most of them are well-known among otaku community which can also explains the high expectation. There are Nanoha and Fate from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Sakura from Cardcaptor Sakura, Lina and Naga from Slayers, and Kukuri from some anime that I forgot what its title is. Kirara and Sarara are two characters from previous Fly System’s game and Ruru and Nowel are two original characters for this game who also serve as the game’s boss. There’s also one omake-ish character, the Gadget Drone from Nanoha SuperS (which doesn’t have hyper super). So far my favorite character is Nowel followed by Nanoha. Kirara and Fate are also fun to use since they’re good with melee while Sarara is also a nice character if you prefer ranged attacks.

Now to the graphics. It’s quite nice if you remember that this is supposed to be a fanmade game. Some movements might look a bit strange but I think it won’t hinder the gameplay. The camera can be a bit strange but it’s still passable IMO. Still, extra point for showing us the girls’ panties.

Another strong aspect of this game is the music. The BGM is awesome and there are several vocal tracks available as BGM including its opening song. There’s also a trick to set your own BGM from your music collection although I haven’t tried it yet. The voice acting is nice considering they don’t use the original seiyuu but several characters can sound strange such as Sakura.

Overall I can’t say this game is as spectacular or live up to the hype around it. It’s a fun game but that’s all. The gameplay is nice, the music is good, the graphic is good, but the difficulty is ridiculous. Some people might find this game to be a bit bland but it seems Fly System can expand this game more. This game is might be a must-play for some hardcore fans of mahou shoujo genre but for everybody else this game might not be too appealing. BTW the drill loli, Ruru, is so annoying to the point where I think Fly System made her just to piss me off.

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