Review: Battle Fantasia (PS3)


Title: Battle Fantasia
Publisher: Aksys Games
Release Date: December 22, 2009
Price: $19.99

With two well-respected and well-received fighting franchises under their belt, Arc System Works knows a thing or two about fighting games. Thankfully, Battle Fantasia does not disappoint. It may not look like much at first glance, or even first play, but stick with it for awhile and you’ll probably find it’s not just another throw-away Street Fighter clone. That’s actually a pretty good comparison because Battle Fantasia plays quite a bit more like Street Fighter than either BlazBlue or Guilty Gear. It also features 3D graphics on a 2D plane just like Capcom’s Street Fighter 4. Gameplay is pretty standard fireball, dragon punch and charge motions for all the characters. You have 4 primary attack buttons and pressing combinations of them (or assigning a combination to another button) lets you throw, use a parry-type maneuver or activate your character’s Heat Up Mode for a short time. The Heat Up Mode is basically Battle Fantasia’s gimmick and works differently for each character. Some get enhanced special moves, some get entirely new moves and little Marco even get a helper dragon on the screen that attacks opponents. Once you really understand how your character’s Heat Up Mode works you’ll find it really adds to the depth of the game.


Graphically, Battle Fantasia is pleasant looking. The 3D isn’t quite up to this gen’s standards and doesn’t stand up next to the big guys like SF4, Tekken 6 or Soul Calibur 4, but is forgivable for a downloadable title. The whimsical, storybook look to it all helps quite a bit and fits the style very well. There are subtle RPG references that add to the fantasy theme such as displaying a number labeled “HP” under your life bar and Watson can even “Level Up” during a fight. These things are cosmetic at best however and it’s a shame since some sort of RPG-like additions could potentially have been cool. The character portraits and dialogue scenes are all drawn in a very loose, sketchy style that looks both unique and like something straight out of a fairy tale. Character designs are a little off the wall, something Arc System Works is known for, but these are tame in comparison to some of the stuff in Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. You’ve got the youngster wannabe knights, a pirate with a giant hook, a catgirl, even a wizardly rabbit thing. With only 12 characters to choose from, the roster isn’t huge, but you’ll probably be able to find at least one character that fits your play style.

Battle Fantasia features quite a few modes to keep you busy. The standard Arcade mode pits you against the other fighters until you get to the final boss just like any other fighting game. Of more interest is the Story Mode, unique to each character and features extensive dialogue voiced in Japanese and subtitled in English. The stories themselves are pretty nonsensical, but it’s still a pretty cool addition to fighting game and you’re rewarded for finishing them with unlockable art and other goodies. You’ve also got the standard Time Attack, Survival and Practice modes to keep you busy. Of course the big thing in this day and age, is the online mode. You can choose ranked or unranked and have several options for searching for or creating a match against a single opponent. Online worked fairly well for me. A good number of the matches I played started out a bit laggy, but ironed themselves out after awhile. Unfortunately, the online community for seems to be lacking at the moment. I managed to find unranked games without waiting too long, but I have yet to find a ranked match.

Overall, Battle Fantasia is an unassuming yet solid fighting game at a fantastic price. If you’re looking for something new, but somewhat familiar in a fighter, I highly suggest a purchase.


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Written by Mark Senger

Glenn’s second co-host on the podcast , Mark graced the airwaves from late 2007 to early 2010.

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