It's a slow day, so I am going over the vast VAST amount of unfinished video game thoughts I have written about various titles. If they are in a relatively comprehensible state, I'll polish them up a little and post them here.
Arcana Heart 3 is here, and with it the Pokemon curse has been lifted. Now, instead of having animals fight, we are having women fight. Oh geez. I, hmm. Ahem.
Okay. I own Arcana Heart 3 now. Grabbed it off of a nice CAG deal. Thanks OP. For the many of you who do not know what Arcana Heart is, from the best I can understand, the creators of Guilty Gear and Blazblue created a game in which Sakura (of Street Fighter) was the main character (I know that is sort of the premise of the fantastic Rival Schools/Project Justice series, but that's another article). We have the titular 'Heart' a young, short haired, incredibly deadly teenage girl, complete with school uniform. She is the Sakura which the game more or less revolves around. The roster is filled out by 22 more characters. All female, and ranging from the surprisingly cool to the incredibly ridiculous.
I began with story mode, and I was quickly lost. I guess that '3' is in the title for a reason. If you have played a fighting game before, you know how unimportant yet absurdly convoluted storylines can be in this genre. For this game specifically, it appears Japan is going to blow up, or sink, or something. It's up to the twenty-three women (and girls) to either prevent, or allow this to happen, depending on level of evil.
Some of these characters have really interesting character designs, well others, don't. Rest assured, you are not buying this game for the storyline. The boxart should have told you that. Normally a fighting game wouldn't lose points for a bad plot, but ARC is behind the mind warping storyline of the BlazBlue universe. Maybe the writers of Arcana should go peek at some of the notes the BlazBlue guys have, it would really kick this game up a notch above generic anime storyline.
The game is fun, I played it a lot. Very addictive, especially with friends of course. There are interesting mechanics, and combos, cool things I would like to see implemented in other fighting games (Homing button holler!). But, admittedly, it's a little hard to focus on that since there is something else that needs to be addressed.
I received the package in the mail, in a simple cardboard casing. I tore it open, and came face to face with the collectors edition boxart.
Nope, I don't see any sexism here.
The bonus review category for this game is sexism. So is this game sexist, or not? I honestly don't know what to think. On one hand, the costumes are not as bad as expected, but what I expected wasn't much.
As you can tell.
Though by percentage, it seems the worst offenders are no more than the normally male dominated character line ups of other fighting games. So even though the amount of female fighters in this game is larger, the amount of scantily clad ladies is generally the same. So it seems clear that if Arcana Heart 3 is sexist, it is about the average level of sexism in fighting games.
In essence, all the masculine character archetypes from other fighting games are just females now. That does mean that you get a very diverse cast of women in the game. Of course one could also argue that ARC just gave all the male characters breasts as shameless pandering.
The characters do get back story, as I mentioned earlier, and that only complicates matters. One of the characters went to MIT at the age of ten, so go women right? Although this character also dresses as a playboy bunny when she fights inside her giant mech. She's smarter than I am, who am I to judge what an MIT graduate wears? It's all very confusing.
For instance, that scantily clad woman, Mei-Fang, in the picture above. She's actually a robot! Is it sexist to expect a robot to fit a stereotypical gender role if she was built as a specific gender? Then you have to consider she was built by female scientists as well. Are we talking about sexism still, or are we too far into robot country now?
See, it's as if the creators skirted the issue by filling the game with insane Japanese nonsense. I guess in the end, the sexist connotations in this game aren't particularly relevant. I think women have bigger things to worry about, like that whole getting paid less than a man for the same amount of work thing. I will state that I believe that every fighter, man or woman, would do best to just wear something practical in battle.
So, for having to make me weigh the arguments for and against this game being sexist and likely making myself look sexist in the process, and for giving me a headache, this game owes me a bottle of aspirin. So this game gets a 4.99 (the price of said aspirin) out of 10.