The Q&A for Arcana Heart 3 seemed to be a calm affair, but then again appearances can be deceiving! Things quickly descended into chaos as the panel began to throw T-Shirts, posters, and even limited edition copies of Blazblue Continuum Shift into the crowd. People reverted back to their primal instincts to try and grab a freebie or two and it became hard not to believe that some cosplayers had truly become the animal characters they were portraying. Once it came round to talking about the game though, a hush quickly fell across the audience.
To kick things off, we were told that the reason behind the reintroduction of the series outside of Japan, was down to the success of the Blazblue and Guilty Gears series, which apparently have been going down a storm in the western world. Also, a petition for the game's release was signed and presented to the developers, so it seemed like a good idea to get it into the hands of its loyal fans.
Don't worry if you're coming into this one fresh, you'll pick it up fairly quickly, especially if you've played the Blazblue series. In fact, not only is the combat system an improvement on Blazblue's, it's definitely less intimidating.
This instalment of the series features the most characters of any Arcana Heart game, some of which are downright crazy, like Catherine who's sat firmly within the innards of a giant robot. Also, for those of you who've not played an Arcana Heart game before all the characters are female.
Once you've selected your character, you'll have to select their arcana, which are celestial beings that'll help you out during your battles, and you need to be careful to select an arcana that complements your character otherwise you could well be at a disadvantage. A little tip; new Arcana Heart players, should think about using Heart Aino, who's default Arcana is love. Your arcana can be activated once you've powered it up and they're pretty good for launching your enemies into the air, whilst dealing a tremendous amount of damage. Not everything's about dealing damage though, the ladies are also more than capable of defending themselves by creating a barrier capable of deflecting projectile attacks.
When it comes to getting around in the game, the standard fighter mobility controls are pretty much all present; forward, backwards, jump, double jump, and super jump. There's also a homing button that'll send your character flying towards their opponent, so that you can keep up your attack if the distance between you is starting to widen.
The story behind the game isn't linear, instead the developers decided to focus on the individual characters and their back stories, so you can expect end game cutscenes in a similar style to Tekken.
Online play will keep a watchful eye on your movements and it'll also gather a few statistics on you, in order to match you up to people of a similar skill level, which hopefully'll mean that you won't ever find yourself in a one sided fight.
Finally, somebody in the crowd asked if the developers would consider rereleasing the original two games in the UK if this one becomes commercially successful, and unfortunately the answer that came back was that it was undecided at this point in time.
Arcana Heart 3 will be out for PS3 and Xbox later this month!