Arcana Heart 3 Livens Up Boring Borders

By Spencer . November 18, 2010 . 7:10pm

Arcade to PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 ports often have borders around the game area. Companies try to cover up the dead space with wallpapers. Arc System Works has a more innovative solution. Arcana Heart 3 fills the space with ring animations, moving pictures of characters reacting to the fight. Players can customize their sidebar by picking standby, attack, and damage animations.


Arcana Heart 3 also has gallery images to collect… Record of Agarest War-esque gallery images. Just a warning before you click play.


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  • thaKingRocka

    I prefer the dead/negative/blank space. Thankfully, Cave and some others recognize that some of us feel this way.

    • May I ask why, though? I have always found it really distracting/aesthetically unpleasing when half the screen is just a big black void. If there’s all that space, it should be filled with something, even if it’s just a static image.

      • Code

        I figure it’s just preference, I figure if people were playing competitively they’d stick to black borders just because your eyes are less likely going to dart to a blank space compared to even a static image, especially if it’s uses the same colors or has the same tint as what is on the active portions of the screen.

      • thaKingRocka

        Black is the only color that does not distract from or conflict with the images on screen. Border art is only acceptable on an arcade cabinet as far as I’m concerned. Even then, it’s unnecessary. I find nearly all of the borders to be distracting/aesthetically unpleasing. I think that the artwork often detracts from the artwork that is the game in motion on-screen, and this AH3 border work is definitely the most detrimental, distracting and obnoxious border work I’ve ever seen.On a TV, the on-screen images have more pop and they are easier to focus on when there is no border image due to the contrast. SotN compromised with a border image that was actually far darker than anything on-screen. It wasn’t too bad, but I still would have liked to have shut it off. I have passed on so many XBLA games because of the inability to remove the border, but a far greater offense is SNK’s imposition of filters. I don’t understand why anyone would want to blur the pixels, and I don’t understand why a company would refuse to allow us the option of seeing the game as it was meant to be seen.

        btw, Garou:MotW was the previous holder of the crown for worst borders with

        and TriggerHeart Excelica retains the crown for best compromise

        • Well, I usually turn on the filters in any games that allow them, because I really think the pixels are just ugly. I understand, though, wanting to recapture the original essence or whatever and I think they definitely need to allow you the option to play the game in its original form. I just would rather smooth out the rough edges myself.

          • thaKingRocka

            Though we are diametrically opposed in our preferences regarding visuals, there is no reason these companies shouldn’t be able to take both my money and yours.

        • Joanna

          I’ve never had to play a game with borders, but I think I would be on the same boat as you since throughout the whole video, my eyes were more focused on the fancy border than the actual gameplay….and I could see that becoming really really distracting if I were to actually play this game….I also have a bad habit of reactively looking at something at the side of my vision if it suddenly moves…and that would very much be the case with these borders.

    • PurpleDoom

      I don’t mind dead space, but I don’t mind a wallpaper either.

  • Code

    rar, those are really nice and all — but considering the game has wide screen support this seems like something that’ll rarely ever be used.

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      Seems like eye candy for bystanders more than the actual players. But they do seem to have put quite a bit of effort into this despite potential low usage. Those portraits are way more animated than I thought.

      Thumbs up for trying rather than using a lazy wallpaper. Double thumbs up for widescreen despite knowing it will render their extra work useless.

      • Code

        Yeah true, although I figure most players would opt for more screen space over portraits for bystanders >w<; But I guess really, for arcade purists and specific players, will want 4:3, so it might be of use for them. Also wide screen will change the dynamics of fighting on some level. For example with more space trapping or locking down characters will be potentially be harder, and dodging, and mobility will have higher priority with more screen space to move in. So I guess there could definitely still be players who might find this useful.

    • mikanko

      Competitive players will use 4:3. 16:9 is not how the game was designed, ie: there are a lot of moves that bounce off walls whether it be jumping, or launching projectiles, and the game will play differently from how it is in arcades/competition.

      From what I know I don’t think there’s been any announcement on how this will be handled online as playing 4:3 might be the best way to go if you want to find more people to fight against online.

      • Code

        Yeah I immediately thought of that right after wards — it’s really hard to say which way they go because if online is defaulted to widescreen then that could really make it more of a toss up. But yeah people looking for the true arcade experience/competitive play would go for 4:3 — although borders likely won’t be used for competitive play either opo;

        • mikanko

          I sort of doubt it’ll default to one or the other, since it’s based on Blazblue’s lobby system/netcode, it’ll probably be a filter option of some such. It’s tough to say which will be more popular, and will kinda suck to split the potential player crowd if it ever becomes hard to find matches.

          I think the hardcore crowd, and certainly the people used to the game in Japan arcades would take the 4:3 option since the game will play a bit differently from what they’re used to. Hard to say, because it will change some character balance around depending on characters who excel at zoning etc.

          All I really know is the yen/USD exchange rate is pretty awful atm, and I’m not so sure I’ll be picking this up. Hoping aksys or someone can grab it.

          • Code

            yeahh xpx; importing right now is definitely not recommended — I just got through importing a J360 TmT it hurts so badly. Hmm seriously though the thought never cross my mind that people might play 4:3 over 16:9 — I know it sound silly but after Blazblue I’m pretty spoiled for widescreen, 4:3 definitely lacks breathing room that I’ve come to enjoy x_x’

          • mikanko

            The problem is the game was balanced and made around a 4:3 playing field. The one compliment I keep hearing about the game is that it’s supposed to be one of the most well rounded and balanced fighting games in Japanese arcades right now. There’s no real indication if they’ll change how stuff like ground to wall bouncing projectiles will still land combos the same way considering the walls have been pushed back. Since Arc Sys is doing the port while Examu waits in the background, I wonder how they’ll handle any gameplay updates or tweaks.

            Hopefully this is a one time thing and AH4, should there ever be one, is made with 16:9 in mind. ^^;

  • The 4:3 aspect ratio is what’s closer to the arcade version; the 16:9 widescreen version changes many things like projectiles and the way movement works. Also, you can change the settings so it displays a static image of your character on the borders instead of the link animation.

  • It’d liven up this border if it got released over here.

    • … I see what you did there. Clever clever~

    • Arcm

      I agree

    • Agreed(and I see what you did there :3c).

  • I felt ashamed of myself watching that video.
    Edit: So I’m assuming that this is Japan only? I wanted to buy the second but it never came to NA.

    • Code

      At least from the sounds of things it’ll be importable, otherwise it does seem like it could potentially find release here given it’d be very inline with the pool of games Aksys can draw from.

      • If that’s the case I would like the second game then this one.

        • Yeah, but the second game only came out for the PS2 in Japan, so you’d either have to mod your system or get a Japanese PS2 to play it. With this one, it’s on PS3, so it’s region-free and import friendly. If you want to play the second one, there’s some work you’re going to have to do, as I don’t see it coming out here at this point.

          • PurpleDoom

            To add to this, the PS2 version of the second game was apparently a horribly laggy mess, so many recommend just skipping it altogether. I certainly don’t get the impression it’s worth importing a PS2 for.

  • Aoshi00

    That’s really cool, the side animation feels like Puzzle Fighter’s super moves and taunting. I only played the first Arcana Heart but I’m not good at fighters at all..

  • Testsubject909

    Day 1! I mean… Yeah, no, yeah, okay. Yeah, I’m a pervert.

    But there is an actually interesting and decent fighting game that’s pretty focused on aerial combat (at least from the first one) and if it still has the same arcana system in place, it leads to some very fun and intricate customisation for a fighter.

    I’d enjoy seeing it come to the western world again but… Yeah, it has that highly distinct japanese feel that will probably make many retailers go “ugh”, which in turn will cause the publishers here to go “hmm…” and ultimately ends up on whether or not the more niche focused companies will consider the payout worth it.

    • superdry

      I might have to break down and pre-order the limited edition….

      I wonder if we are going back to the days of when box artwork radically needed to be changed when a Japanese game was localized for US release. Sucks that retailers don’t want to stock games with cutesy or anime box artwork.

      At least with DVD case, a company can print the original artwork on the reverse side of the insert.

  • PrinceHeir

    ahaha i love those side borders. though i still wish it has a 16:9 option so you can toggle the way you want.

    please release this on the West, i couldn’t give a shit what other people think just release this game since it has alot of depth than it meets the eye.

    i heard it was like this. there’s like 26(im not sure about the number please correct me if you do) Arcana’s that you can choose for each character. Arcana’s are like special abilities(to put it in layman terms “perks”) some arcana’s involve faster recovery time, regenetive health, while others have elemental abilities like fire and ice. since it has 26 arcanas to choose from.

    you can have at least 26 playstyles in 1 character. im sure there’s at least 24+ characters in the game. that alot of you think about it. what kind of character you want it to be? a rush down character? defensive character? or balance character?

    that’s how awesome this game is :)

  • Pichi

    Like that they put some effort into to borders so that it doesn’t appear to be lazy. After watching that trailer though, chances of this coming overseas just dropped quite alot. Hope I’m wrong though.

    • I still cross my fingers for Aksys grabbing this piece of work.

  • If this comes to the States, I will pick it up.

  • I’m a huge fighting game fan (Started playing fighting games 11 years ago with KOF 98) and I thought the gameplay of Arcana Heart looked interesting.However, due to my insecurities, after watching the video, I can never pick up this game.

    • Code

      Could always look into buying online or importing >w< I think the game looks interesting, I'm still unsure if it's really within my taste for fighters though (I seem particularly picky about them this generation), it looks like it could be though.

  • NeoTechni

    I dislike the beach ball breasts.

  • raymk

    Day 1 for me just hope there a-lot of online competition in japan when it releases

  • I’d buy the Xbox 360 LE if it was released in the U.S. for sure. I liked the first game on PS2, decent 2d fighter. Wish they’d release the 2nd game. Maybe XBLA? Ah… one can dream.

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