Arcana Heart 2 Complete Disaster

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Fans of moe fighting game Arcana Heart have been disgusted to see the state of the PS2 port of this arcade title’s sequel, known as Suggoi Arcana Heart 2. The game normally enjoys fame for having loli sukumizu wearing characters and similar, but now trades that for bug induced infamy…

Horrendously aliased (pixellated) sprites compared to the arcade version are the major complaint, but command lag and control problems also apparently leave players unable to perform many specials.

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Quite a blow for a title which is essentially character design based.

The pre-release caps showed no such problems, leading many to suspect that the publishers deceptively included shots of the pristine arcade version instead (hardly a novel practice in game marketing, but still disappointing).

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There does not appear to be any convincing excuse for this, as the previous game suffered no such issues, and porting a 2D fighting game to the PS2 is hardly a technological challenge.

Those who wish to try the game anyway will find that it is on sale now.

Via Hachimaki.

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53 Comments

  • “and porting a 2D fighting game to the PS2 is hardly a technological challenge.”

    Actually, you’d be surprised. While this was pretty much true of games running on some arcade boards, the board that Arcana Heart 2 ran on was really just not very compatible with the PS2 hardware. Pretty much every other 2d fighting game ported to PS2 so far ran on Naomi board, which was more compatible with the PS2 hardware. Arcana Heart and Arcana Heart 2 ran on the eX-board, which is not nearly as such. Arcana Heart FULL might not have had as many issues, but it still had some (such as the ridiculously long load times if you didn’t own an HDloader). This is why you don’t see some shoot ’em up type games ported to PS2 or they get additional slowdown on PS2.

    Examu still sucks though, since the port isn’t the arcade perfect version anyways.

  • Alright i’m gonna post one last time in regards to Arcana Heart 2.

    I picked up a copy today and just finished training a while ago. I think it’s pretty obvious that there is some bias going around here. First of all there is absolutely no Arcana Heart 2 arcades here in Southern California therefore to tell fans of the game that the PS2 version is not in comparison with the arcade version when EXAMU probably had no intentions of making them equal in the first place.

    Believe me, i also thought Arcana Heart 2 would be as easy as playing Melty Blood for PS2 or Version B. The gameplay for Arcana Heart 2 on PS2 is the same as playing Arcana Heart 1 for PS2. That’s the impression i got anyway. I had no problem initiating any combos and super moves.

    I trained with the new characters Petra & Akane…..they gacv me absolutely no lag at all.

    The music had no lag either and i heard some pretty decent BGM play while training.

    The ONLY thing this article did prove is the fact that the pixellated sprites were horrid. But i do believe the graphics can be fixed if ATLUS does intend to ever license this game in America in the future. I didn’t mind this problem as much as some of you would but it would have been a major plus since the rest of the bugs were false.

    • The original Japanese article linked to a video that clearly shows the slowdown.
      Bias?
      You want to ask our SBO qualifier Arturo Sanchez for Arcana Heart 1 his opinion?
      You want to ask Heartnana in Japan his opinion?
      You want to to view the volumes of laggy PS2 footage?
      We have arcade boards here, we’ve played on them.
      We are not making shit up.

      You say you managed to play Petra with no lag comparatively.
      Compared to what, your imagination?
      Complete and utter bullshit.
      Try her 236 move, hell try her super, hell TRY any of her freaking normals with gunshots.

      You might be one of the rarities but the Arcana community as a whole is pretty much devastated at this travesty of a port.
      It’s not even 2.6, it’s 2.5 with several bug fixes that added in more bugs.
      We’re not alone, Japan’s reaction is more or less the same.

      Also, an added note.
      AH2 DESTROYS AH1 in specs.
      There is no way the PS2 could have handled this game correctly.
      The shortcuts they took and the lag that is still present completely indicates it.
      The dithering of the sprites on motion, the music cut-outs, the removal of stages in training and versus, all of it adds up to a company (Ecole) that was very obviously aware of the limitations of the console and trying to cut as many corners as they could.
      And they still couldn’t get it running at normal speed.

  • Hmm, if i recall correctly, the arcade board AH2 runs on 1gig of ram, so if the ps2 only has 32mb of ram, that would explain something maybe. 2d games are probably less taxing on the gpu and stuff, but it’s wrong to think that just because it’s a 2d game that it’ll run just fine. The resolution and effects used in 2d games use up different resources than 3d games. You can’t possibly believe that something like blazblue or the kofxii would run on the ps2 just because they’re 2d right? Remember back to the Saturn and the playstation and their differences. X-men vs SF didn’t have tagteam chars on the ps1 version (unless you picked your chars a certain way) but the saturn version, with the ram cart did. The ps2 is like, 10 years old now, it’s older than some of the children that play it.

    To the guy who thinks that some copies may have bugs and some may not, be prepared to be disappointed. I wouldn’t even call the slowdown and graphics bugs, but intentional, because the guys porting it didn’t care to optimize for the platform and just banged it out.

  • Not that i know anything about this game, but we cant just make assumptions. Its a good assumption to make that any 2d arcade game should run just as well on the PS2, and that 2d games are less demanding than 3d games, but this might not be true.

    As i said, i dont know anything about this game, or the arcade system it originaly ran on, but i do know a little about the PS2. The ps2 only has 32mb of ram, thats tiny. Animation frames stack up in file size, what if the original arcade machine had a tone more ram? they would need to optomise away a lot of the memory requierments of the original build, that would probably mean havily compressing the sprites.

    If it is the case that the PS2 was very differnt from the original system, it dosent seem to me to be the best business decisison to port to that console.

    This is all speculation on my part, but you never know 🙂

    • PCSX2 runs better if you have a good computer, but it looks even worse.

      I’d just use the PS2 version to practice combos, an arcade near me has the game so I’ll just play it there.

      Also silly Sankaku, I thought the game was famous in Japan for it’s gameplay, which is actually really good. It’s on the top ten list of fighting games along with Melty Blood Actress Again, BlazBlue, Tekken 6, Street Fighter 4, and others. It must be doing something right other than OMG SOME CHARACTERS R LITTLE GIRLS.

  • I was anxious to this game.

    However, Artefact — not to sound conspiratory — this may have been planned all along. They released a patch in the first game to correct problems. “In mid-April 2007, a patch was released for Arcana Heart called “Arcana Heart FULL”. The patch fixed a variety of issues, toning-down overly-powerful characters and “buffing up” weaker characters. A controversy arose, however, due to the fact that the patch (which is physically housed on a single custom chip) costs ¥78,000 each, whereas similar patches for similar games have been released for free (such as the patch for Melty Blood: Act Cadenza).”

    They may have been planning to profit even more, with a future patch…

    • Anonymous says:

      Character buffing and nerfing is standard for fighting game patches– completely fixing the laggy input and sprites is not. In addition, the 78,000 yen is for a patch for an arcade cabinet’s ROM board, and not for a single copy of a console game.

  • Nooo. A game perfect in its moe qualities that actually also had a nice system, ruined…

    What would you say this does for chances of localization? I’m not sure how well the first Arcana Heart did here nor have I heard any talk of localization of the second, but I don’t know that this bodes very well. If only the quality were better it might constitute an import but I just couldn’t bring myself to import something that looks and plays like that.

  • the huge difference in sprites can be epically discribed as a million facepalm @_@ i mean from good line art to sudden pixels…. i know the arcana heart 1 could have done better than this

  • Wow, how the hell did they f-up a freakin 2D-sprite fighting game? I hope this gets fixed when localized to the US. Not sure if they made any announcement of a US release though…Anyways you are not missing much from this subpar game(though I liked how you could switch Arcana to add varieties).

    • y’know, i bet that’s most of the reason — they probably just rushed the ps2 port out since by and large people have moved on to other systems. what a shitty move for a small company whose top priority should be pleasing their fans.

      • Actually Sony is known for being very stringent on the types of games that can be released on their systems. That is the case for PS3. They would probably not have green-lighted a PS3 port because this game utilizes NO 3D components(SNK were denied a few times even on PS2). Also, the cost of developing a PS3 port is gonna be higher than a PS2 port. The active user base of PS2 is very still large in Japan(this game is not really meant for Westerners). I think their business strategy is very well justified.

      • Not really – many, many games still come out for PS2, to be honest. And as the other anon said before, it is not like the PS2 cannot handle a game like this. There would be little point in releasing it on PS3 instead.

    • Unlike the next generation consoles, PS2 actually has a quite lot of eroge ports from PC, as well as PS2 only graphic novels. If you are a high level otaku you need to be able to access those games. So yea there is a still a market out there. PS3 is backward compatible anyways. Might as well cash in from both PS2 and PS3 owners. PS2 is more than adequate to run these games, it is really a waste to play it on my PS3…

  • Hmm, itd be interesting to know what exactly happened there. Are the blurry sprites triggered after doing something specific? or is this right out of the box? If its the latter, well, perhaps they plan to sell an unlocker as dlc for 5 dollars… (yes, i know its not the case, but that seems to be quite the craze lately)

  • It’s not about input lag as much as it is, you do a move and the entire game runs at like 20-30 FPS rather than 60. The graphics and sound errors are just like another kick to the face.

    Sad, because it’s actually a really really good game regardless of the cuteness =(

    • See, I have major issues with lag on consoles. I’ve seen my friends play Odin Sphere, and even though it looks like a fucking kickass game, I’m not sure if I could get over the mere fact that it lags, even though it doesn’t seem to hinder gameplay like what you’re saying would.

      • well tis a late reply but odin sphere lags for the very reason PS2 cant handle the layers of sprite the engine has to render yeah LAYERS of SPRITES assuming if your talking about odethe’s boss fight which as her base has like about 5-6 layers then put in mobs and then you character layer and background layer of course it will lag

      • In a fighting game where you have things like 2-3 frame windows for combos, the slightest bit of lag is going to throw a lot of things off. Could you imagine playing Street Fighter or MVC2 or Guilty Gear with the game moving in slow-mo? Thats what this port is like. In a game like Odin Sphere, the lag is mostly just annoying. On this game, it makes it damn near unplayable.

        Like i said, it’s sad because AH2 is a good game, but this port is fucking terrible. Examu’s fucking horrible for even putting this game out like this.

        • I have to agree. There are some games that a little ‘lag’ is okay for: FPS, Role-Playing, etc….. NOT for a fighting game, where as you said, you have a VERY small opportunity to perform combo moves and have to be VERY exacting in some cases to do the combos.