Developer Examu is following the template of other fighting game developers by upgrading its own franchise’s sequel – Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! Fans of this franchise have come to attach themselves to the zany roster of female fighters with mystical special attacks. The story mode revolves around these ladies and their singular ambitions to either save the world or destroy it. If you’re a fan of visual novels and out-there anime storyline’s, this fighter’s Story mode may just keep you engaged. For everyone else though, you won’t care at all. The initial plot structure and even more empty “After Story” mode are not worth playing through at all, to be quite honest.
The visuals look as good as ever. The added presence of character icons and side barriers gives off the cool impression of players doing battle in an arcade. The anime-esque visuals are still a sight to behold (in a totally good way) and each female vixen’s personality is represented perfectly through their fighting styles. The bright, screen-filling Arcana attacks are perfect fighting game fare thanks to their amazing action sequences. There isn’t much of a difference between this version of the game and its predecessor in the visual department, but it’s good to see that they haven’t taken a downturn. The soundtrack also remains unchanged, so don’t look towards hearing any new tracks.
As with any upgraded fighter, Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! comes with a set of character rebalances. Each fighter comes with a host of changes that either make them stronger or weakens some of their more game breaking attacks. The more hardcore following of this fighter will notice who’s changed for the better or for the worst, but anyone stepping into this fighter as a casual fan won’t notice anything too different in that department. However, they will notice just how much faster the game moves. The quicker pace makes playing the varied roster an even more fun affair.
The Story modes within this game are nothing home to write about and the rest of the game’s mode offerings are pretty bare bones. Plus the newly added modes aren’t too convincing of the upgraded game they’ve been tagged to. At its core, Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! doesn’t feel like much of a huge upgrade. The fights themselves may be faster and still a joy to compete in on an local/online level, but an upgraded versions such as this should offer more. More characters, more Arcana elementals, better modes etc. would have been welcome here.
Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! is still a very fast-paced, accessible and fun fighter. The balanced roster and new graphical additions are two elements that strengthen this game, but the lackluster story modes and unfulfilling mode additions hamper this upgraded edition. The lack of new fighters, new Arcana’s, substantial modes of play and the additional elements seen in other fighters of this game’s ilk are too much of a disappointment.