Sunday, 8 February 2015

TV Animation X: Unmei no Tatakai (Playstation)

Although the advent of online play has made it pretty clear that I'm actually not very good at them at all, I've always loved fighting games, and the Psychic Force series found its way into my heart during my teenage years, as it put the actual licenced anime fighting games to which I had access at the time to shame: while Dragonball GT Final Bout offered vague approximations of well-known characters having slow, awkward battles in boring, lifeless arenas, Psychic force offered cool-looking original characters in flight, dashing around firing energy blasts at each other in a variety of cool-looking stages. The reason I'm talking about Psychic Force is because Unmei no Tatakai is essentially Psychic Force 3 in all but name and characters.

Not only does this game have the same concept and mechanics as the Psychic Force series, it even reuses a few graphical effects and fonts. But it's not just a simple re-skinning of Psychic Force 2/2012, it is a true sequel, with numerous tweaks and new elements. The biggest all-round tweak relates to the dash system. The Psychic Force games have two main kinds of dashing that can be done: a dash that goes in a straight line in any direction that's used for travelling around the arenas, and a semi-circular dash that's intended for dodging attacks at high speed and quickly ducking behind opponents. In the earlier games, dashing was executed by pressing both attack buttons at once, with the type of dash determined by the direction pressed, but Unmei no Tatakai has dashing mapped to the right shoulder buttons, R1 for the straight dash and R2 for the curved dodge.

Obviously, the entire cast is new, being taking from CLAMP's pre-apocalyptic saga X, but two of the characters in particular bring interesting new ideas to the table. Sword-weilding Arashi Kishu stands out from the rest of the cast by being a melee specialist, with vastly fewer projectile attacks, but with better range and power on her melee attacks than any of the other characters. Yuzuhira Nekoi's gimmick is hard to describe in text, but she comes accompanied by a large dog, and most of her projectile attacks are delivered in the form of that canine companion launching itself at her opponent like a missile. The difference this makes mechanically is that Nekoi and her dog are not always in the same direction in relation to the opponent, who can find themselves coming under attack from all directions.

The game's presentation is also worth writing about, as not only is it easily the best-looking 3D fighting game on the Playstation, with some really breath-taking stages which manage to be varied despite all being set in Tokyo, from a skyscraper encoiled by a huge electric dragon, to a peaceful shrine at night, to the misty, moonlit ruins of post-apocalyptic Tokyo in general. The character models all look pretty great, too, with plenty of detail, even close up. It doesn't stop with the graphics, either, as the soundtrack is also excellent, with some amazing music providing perfect accompaniment to the exciting, fast-paced super-powered battles taking place.

You've probably already worked this out, but TV Animation X: Unmei no Tatakai is an incredible game, that I strongly recommend without reservation.

1 comment:

  1. Personally I always hated the Psychic Force games as I found them cumbersome and unexciting. Can't beat the immediacy of a 2d fighter in the end. Still I suppose they deserve credit for trying something different.

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