AquaPazza is a game that I really decided to buy on a whim. It is a 2D fighting game with random anime characters, how could this not be epic? Well, the story mode is unfortunately very bland and the gameplay is rather lackluster which makes this one a bit of a miss. It is still a good game purely thanks to multiplayer, but there is so much lost potential here that it is quite scary. Seriously, the series that the characters are coming from are either the most bland ones ever or the writers just didn’t understand them. I can say with confidence that even if I did not know who the characters from Dengeki Bunko were, I would have still enjoyed the story quite a bit more.
As for the gameplay, it is your average 2D fighter, but it is simply not as smooth. The gameplay can be very choppy. This seems to be due to how slow the gameplay can be at times. After working on some trophies for a while in vs. mode and score attack, I grew a little more fond of the game. Not enough to say that it beats any other big anime fighting game, but I suppose it will still be a positive in the end. It is cool to see that every character has a fully animated super attack. That is a solid amount of dedication and work from the game.
Unfortunately, this game is also a prime example of cheating A.I. programs. The semi final boss/ final boss both have incredibly high attack power. This means that you can be winning the whole match only for you to die in one super attack. The opponent also gets to rewind time and get a full health bar back. It took me many tries to beat the semi final boss and I didn’t want to burn another hour or two on the next one so I just left by that point. The trophy was all that I needed, but I do think that the attack power was too high. If I had been playing the mode for fun, I would have definitely been more upset.
The story is as bland as you can imagine. A comic relief witch unleashed a spell that merged all of the worlds somehow. As a result, the heroes have to join forces and stop her. Unfortunately, the characters are not interesting. For some reason, none of them are intense characters. None of them are overconfident, tough talking heroes like I would have wanted. It is possible that a different story would be more interesting, but after the first one I knew that I was done with it. I even tried out the second story for the initial character, but it was not any better. Story isn’t too crucial in a fighting game but every pebble ends up hurting the final product a little more.
There is a decent amount of replay value to be found here. You can probably forget about getting the Platinum since nobody really plays online anymore, but you can still get a lot of the other trophies in the game by learning how to pull off some rather advanced combos. I grabbed quite a lot of them and someday I’ll go back to get a few more. It is definitely rewarding to pull them off. You can also work on clearing score attack and both stories with each character. That should definitely take quite a while and vs. Mode itself should add quite a bit of time to the overall length.
I didn’t really go into the specifics of the gameplay earlier, but each character has around 5 super attacks and one ultimate move. They all take up meter so you can choose to wait for the ultimate or go for a lot of supers. You also have an assist character at the ready who will jump in to help when you summon him/her. Some are better than others since they are vulnerable to attack so you probably want long ranged assist. As mentioned earlier, it is a little slower than most other fighting games. Getting close to the opponent can be tricky as a result since neither side will really want to approach as a result.
At the end of the day, I am still surprised that the character models are so bland. Most anime games are hype because the characters look really cool. Only a few of the characters have interesting designs in this game and most of the movesets could use some work as well. It is a PS3 game, but it is not even close to being as polished as Dengeki. I don’t see this one getting a sequel, but I’m sure that it would be able to improve most of the complaints that I had with this one.
Graphically the game holds up rather well. The animated attacks look sharp. The character models aren’t bad either and the stages are all right, although they can be a bit bland. The soundtrack is also on the generic side. I believe that I only particularly liked one theme and it was for the final boss or the semi final boss. The rest of them weren’t bad, but I certainly forgot them. I could use the time to compare this to Dengeki again, but by now you can the general idea. Anything AquaPazza can do, Dengeki can do better.
Overall, AquaPazza is a decently good fighting game, but that is where the buck stops. The story and characters aren’t all that great. Some of the designs aren’t bad, but the personalities just aren’t there. That being said, it is not all that strange for this to be the case in a fighting game. To an extent, this was the situation in Virtua Fighter and King of Fighters. That being said, Virtua Fighter had the clearly superior graphics and gameplay on its side. It was also more interesting due to how you would rise in rank as you fought stronger and stronger opponents. I’m very early in the King of Fighters series so that title still has time to improve as well. If you’re looking for a solid action title to last over the weekend and play with some friends, this could be a good purchase. Otherwise, you are better off….just buying Dengeki Bunko.