For the last few days I've been picking up a lot of random games. I seem to have an infinite amount of free time lately, so I've just been trying random junk that I'd normally peruse over. One that caught my attention is a fighter on the PSP based on an anime series I'm currently following called To Aru Majutsu no Index (translated to be A Certain Magical Index). This isn't really the most balanced, competitive, well known fighter on the PSP, in fact it's pretty far from it, but I did manage to have some fun with it. Itís in Japanese only, so keep that in mind if you are interested in the story mode.This article was originally published in blog:
To Aru Majutsu no Index is a fairly popular anime, but for those unfamiliar with it, it revolves around a few main characters that go around fighting magicians and evil doers. The groups are quite interesting. For the main characters, we have Kamijou Touma, the main character, who's ability is to cancel out everyone else's abilities, and a nun named Index Librorum Prohibitorum (named after the List of Prohibited Books) who is a living collection of magical texts. Basically we have a few nuns, Touma, and a few magicians on the side of good, and every few episodes a new threat to the world appears in the form of a renegade magician, a severely corrupt priest or random people with misguided philosophies.
The fighting game is rather well made, and I think it could be because the anime series is the perfect setup for a fighter. Since the story tries to touch on "science versus religion" and "religion versus magic", we see huge varieties in the characters, whether they are shooting guns, using swords, spewing out flames or even just fighting with their bare fists. Despite being a rather shallow system, it's the variety that keeps it fresh and saves this game from mediocrity.
Most of the characters from the show, at least the memorable ones made it onto the game, there are 14 playable characters in total, so there aren't that many, but the play style for each one are quite unique. We have the obvious close combat or the ones that like to stay far away, but there are also characters that like to set up traps on the ground or rely heavily on teleporting left and right. Prior to a battle, you select a main character to fight, and then you select another from the cast of 14 and an additional 2 choices (16 in total) as your backup. Basically they jump in and do random stuff in the middle of the battle, much like an extra attack.
I'm not going to lie, the mechanics are far from deep and engaging. The game is 3D, so it uses the D-Pad or the joystick, unfortunately there is no jump option. The four buttons are given the task of blocking, light attack, hard attack or overdrive. Blocking is precisely that, you click and you stop the enemy's light attacks, or if hold the down button, it'll make your character jump back. Light attacks and hard attacks are all unique to each character. So again, this can involve summoning a ball of light or throwing a set of cards on the ground. If you simply click the button, you get the attack, but if you hold the up button while attacking, you get a slightly different move, similarly if you move left and right while you click the light or hard attack, you get another variation. Finally, the overdrive button, this button is only usable when a meter at the top is filled, when that happens, it's basically your signature move that deals roughly 20% damage. If you end a battle with overdrive, you get a nice little cinematic showing them roaring in anger and blasting their opponent. There are also the L and R buttons which will get your support or backup to pull off their own moves.
So why this game in particular? No reason really, itís not mind blowing or anything, but I think any fan of the series will appreciate that they actually did a decent job of making a game for it. The game has a lot of eye candy, they didnít just stick skins over the same character over and over, so thatís definitely a plus. The characters were also faithful to their source, for example, they could have chosen to make Index a fully playable character, but they chose to make her just a support instead since she doesnít really fight. But again, this isnít Dead or Alive or Mortal Kombat, itís still just a random fighter based on an anime, keep your expectations reasonable!