By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Melty Blood is an Anime-style fighting game that has roots in anime such as FATE/Stay Night, as well as the Visual Novel/Doujin Tsukihime. It’s high-octane, fast-paced fighting, with a lot of unique game mechanics [with equally unique and complicated names… While the Melty Blood franchise is pretty old, and has quite a few iterations under its belt, this particular title is the last in the series from what I understand. That, however, leads to one of my only complaints on this title. Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code has been out in Japan since 2011. [Dec. 31 to be exact]. We didn’t get it until April 19th, 2016. I love this game, and I spent many, many hours playing it in my youth in Community College, huddled around a laptop or desktop, swearing had by all. But, I’m more than a little bummed that it wasn’t touched up a bit or updated, even if it is a fantastic version of the game.
With a good 30+ characters, three combat styles, and an in-depth [read as: More insane and twisted than Blaz Blue or Guilty Gear put together] backstory, Melty Blood has something for fighters of all skill levels. However, I feel it pertinent to state that the people that are playing this game have been likely playing it for a very long time. Ranked Play might be pretty damn rough. Video Editor ColtronXL and I also put together a video review of this game where you can see some gameplay in action! We might even look semi-competent. That doesn’t mean we can hang with the bad boys online. Do you like Guilty Gear? Arcana Heart? Blazblue? If so, you’ll find something here to put work into. The controls are tight, the combos are very flexible, and there are several variations, or styles for each character. Which leads me to. . .
Moons! There are three Moon Styles in this game, which you may easily liken to the “ism” system of Street Fighter Alpha 3. Instead of Xism [One Super], Aism [Several Supers] and Vism [Variable Combo], the Moons change some of the special moves of a character, as well as how the entire character is played! We have:
Crescent Moon: This moon/style plays like a traditional Melty Blood game. Great combos, but the damage output is pretty low. It also has the most control over special Meter. They can’t charge Heat Gauge, but anytime it’s over 100% you can activate HEAT Mode. Crescent Moon has more abilities to dodge, parry or evade, with 2[Down]A+B as a dodge move. It also receives “Reverse Beat,” which is something Full Moon cannot do. Reverse Beat allows you to chain moves backwards. What that means, is you can cancel your slow attacks into quick jabs, negating the recovery time penalty. However, damage scaling is very high. Crescent Moon is what I imagine high-level players use more frequently.
Half Moon: Average Combo power, but fairly low damage unless extended combos occur. It also has the least amount of meter management, which is pretty dangerous. Unlike Full Moon, it can definitely Reverse Beat. They can’t hold Shield, but instead they have a healthy guard bar to make up for it. Unlike the others, they have a very nice combo follow up to extend their combos and get more damage: 6[Forward]AA after A to link more manly damage. The way it’s described in game it feels like an Easy Mode, similar to Marvel Super Heroes’ “Auto Mode,” but that’s not accurate. Not quite as fun as. . .
Full Moon: Power. POWER. Smaller combos, but lots of big damage here. My personal favorite! You can’t Reverse Beat, so combos are pretty simple. Think of them like Blazblue/Guilty Gear gatling-style combos where you generally go A-B-C with some restrictions on positioning. You get tons of meter [300%] and you can enter BLOOD HEAT Mode, which is similar to Crescent’s BLOOD HEAT; Full Moon gets all their Red Life back instantly though. They can’t dodge or air dodge, so you have to all-in and commit to your combos. You can’t EX Shield but you can use a successful shield block to cancel into a Special [or EX] or Shield Counter. It might seem they do less, but the canceling and simple combos can lead to big time damage. They can also charge their Meter with A-B-C, but that’s pretty dangerous to do.
So every character has 3 modes as you can see. And with 31 or 32 characters, three styles each, you can do insane amounts of things in this game. That makes it so hard to plan or plot for what a player will do, unless you know them personally. There’s so much going on here, and of course, there’s Online casuals and Ranked play, for those bold enough to step into the digital arena. And while we’re on the topic of buttons, there’s one important thing to mention! When you’re taking damage, if you time your button mashing right, you can reduce the damage you take! You see a little button pop up in the bottom of your side of the screen, above your meter. Great way to take less damage if you can time it right. This game [kind of] rewards mashing! Use this knowledge wisely.
Time For “Parking Lot Grand Finals”
Conclusion: Get It [If you’re into this sort of thing]
Melty Blood is a hard game to rate on our usual scale. It’s really a niche title. Anime Fighters are more popular than ever, and this one was never really in the forefront, with titles like Blazblue and Arcana Heart sitting around. But ArcSys has given us the gift they should have given us five years ago, with Current Code. I’m still miffed it hasn’t received any physical updates, or maybe even something new in the way of characters. But honestly? It has enough. This game will keep crowds happy without any effort. Coming up with combos, trying new styles and ways to play it, it’s definitely worth a buy. The $20 is worth it. Again, check out the Bottom Tier review to see what is going on under the hood!
It Builds Character, Bubbie:
+ So. Many. Characters. Nuns, Robot Nuns, Maids with Ladders, Vampires, Satan German Men with Chimera Powers, Naraku in a button-down, Schoolboys, Schoolgirls, Tag Teams, you name it, you got it.
- Perhaps too many characters, coupled with all the styles. It can be incredibly overwhelming to deal with for someone new to the series, and those new to fighting games will drown.
Controls as Tight as a Maiden’s <Censored>:
+ Controls are strong, combos are fluent. You can do really insane things like combo into command grapples, beat someone across the screen, juggles, you name it, it’s probably here.
- I don’t really care for there being three styles that are so grossly different. I went into a match, switching from Full to Crescent Moon and had all new moves, without even realizing it until it was far too late. . .
Ready to see Melty Blood in action? Catch our video review at MMOHuts!