Magical Battle Arena

Since I have some time before my next paper, I figured I’d take a short break from studying to blog about the MBA full release in Comiket 74.

I blogged about the first demo for this game two months ago, so I’d say this counts as an actual doujinsoft review, since this is the actual full game.

As I mentioned before, the amount of work put into the development of this game is amazing. Multiple characters, accurate 3D models, voice acting for all the characters (including Nanoha’s Raising Heart and Fate’s Bardiche), an opening movie (shown above, causes the game to freeze for a lot of people, but not me =P), moar music, and support for network play.

I can’t comment on the VA’s accuracy because I’ve never actually watched any of the anime before. That’s right, I’ve never watched Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and have only watched Slayers and CCS dubbed on TV when I was really young.

Yay. Now back to reviewing.

There’s also a story mode for all the main characters in the game, including the final two bosses. No doubt the text in the lower right of the character selection screen shows each character’s moves, but I can’t understand a single word of Japanese, so…meh.

Yes, there’s dialogue! No, it’s all text, but at least it’s better than nothing. I bet it’d be a lot better if you could understand what the hell they’re saying.

For this review, I played as Sakura Kinomoto, though I’ve already played through the story twice as Nanoha and Fate respectively. IMHO, they seemed a lot easier to play as, since I seemed to lose more matches with Sakura.

Sakura’s melee special (Fight Card) is by far her best move to me, since it has instant cast, so dashing around then using this special was one of my strategies in this playthrough. Her Firey Card (not shown here) requires you to charge it up before it can successfully fire, so it’s nearly impossible during 1/2 vs many battles, a common occurrence in the story mode.

Sakura’s normal ultimate is using the Create Card to spam penguin slides upon her enemies, and this is one of the ultimates I hate the most, since there’s a chance you won’t hit your enemy even if he/she stays perfectly still.

Her super ultimate (activated when there are no spare health bars left) entraps the target into a card, then releases them forcibly. I didn’t get to use this during my playthrough though, because the either the match ended before my health went to critical, or by the time I reached critical the enemies were already pummelling me to bits. >.<

And her tetiary special…it allows her to mimic other characters, probably using the Mirror Card.

I think this is where Sakura truly shines, since she’s able to use more moves than normally allowed, depending on her opponent. It only lasts for a while though, but during that time, if you’re able to use your ultimate move, you can use your opponents move against them. Particularly useful against bosses.

The story mode keeps throwing things at you, starting from drones to 5 clones of yourself at once, in which I kept dying since Sakura’s mimic ability had pretty much no use, and all the fake-Sakuras were either pummelling me or camping in a corner to cast Firey. I didn’t experience this difficulty with Nanoha or Fate though, since their ultimates rarely miss, and have a blast radius.

(Oh, and just so we’re clear, I enjoy using Fate more than Sakura, since her moves are a lot easier to adapt to, plus no pantsu shots for her.)

The first boss, Ruru, is hell on earth, by the way. She will begin pummelling your butt the moment  you kill one of the 5 drones already shooting at you (which triggers her appearance). I never managed to beat her on the first try; it takes a combination of skill, luck, and patience. Especially when Sakura’s involved; I can’t even pull off an ultimate move without the shield breaking prematurely.

The final boss, Nowel,  is relatively easy though, especially when Nanoha’s there to tank some damage for you and to cast her ultimate several times. It did take me a few tries to win though, since Nowel has the ability to freeze you in place, and her “Divine Buster”-esque attack travels way too fast for me to dodge sometimes.

Also, her ultimate covers the entire field in explosions.

Well, now I have 3 complete stories under my belt, and won’t be touching this anymore till after all my exams. I also have a few more doujin games I want to review, some of them released a long time ago.

The demo’s available here, and you can stay up-to-date via Fly-System’s (the developers) blog here.

Want a full copy? Look elsewhere, and please don’t post any direct links in the comments. ^.^

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