Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code for Steam was released for the first time in the United States last month by publisher Arc System Works. The original series of Melty Blood dates back to 2002 and this sequel was actually released for PC in 2011 in Japan. Five years later, it’s finally local.
Actress Again is the third and final installment of the visual novel/fighting series. For full disclosure: I haven’t played the series before, but who needs to to enjoy a fighting game?! However, because of this lack of background, I may have not understood some of the finer details, especially the story.
The original story of Melty Blood was about discovering the cure for vampirism. The outcome of the fights determined the story and ending of the game. Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code also moves the novel through fights and there are plot threads in some of the characters that continue the original story line.
The story itself is well written and interesting, but not having played the original games, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. The dialogue was actually quite fun though!
The graphics and animation are absolutely smooth. The developers paid extra attention to the unique characters and even the arenas and attacks are richly detailed. However, lower end computers may have issues with more intense battles on their normal settings. Note though, that this is an older game just published for the US. Its graphics are a bit more pixelated than we’re used to but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.
Aside from the fighting itself, the quirky, fast music absolutely makes this game. I was really getting into it. The audio itself is interesting and the voice actors, though I cannot speak Japanese, sounded amazing. The fights’ sound effects really draw you in.
There are several choices for gameplay in Melty Blood Actress Again. If you’ve never played it before, I’d recommend starting on Training. It lets you learn simple moves and combos against the CPU who is essentially a dummy. This is important though: the game doesn’t actually teach you how to play. It just throws you into the arena and you’re to learn on your own. Once you’ve got the hang of the controls, if you want to learn the story, head over to Arcade. You’ll learn each character’s plot through a series of battles and visuals.
For PVP, choose either Versus or Network. Versus is for battles with friends or against the CPU. I was only able to play against the CPU. I did fairly well, but it’s definitely no walk in the park. I found it a bit more difficult than other fighting games I’ve played in the past. The Network option was recently overhauled for the Steam version. Previous versions had an abundance of bugs. Ranked is – you guessed it – against ranked players. There’s also Player matches, which allows you to set up rooms for friends. I did give ranked a few tries, but found the game lag to be nearly impossible to contend with most of the time. I might as well have been a dummy for the other players. But who knows; I was 0 ranked, just starting out. They might have kicked my butt anyway with or without lag.
So, let’s get into the actual fighting. There are THIRTY ONE characters to choose from and on top of that, three different fight styles: Crescent Moon, Half Moon, and Full Moon. Each one is for a different playstyle and difficulty of controls. This setup gives you a ton of different options and attacks for each character. Three buttons are for attacks, one is for defense. With well timed combos and the way the game chains attacks, you can really have your opponent on the ropes.
As previously stated, the fighting isn’t as easy to learn as in other fighting games I’ve played. It definitely takes some practice, but the controls are easy and intuitive. If you’ve played similar games in the past, you’d have no problem picking this one up.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, this game IS several years old. It’s just the first time the game has been introduced in the United States. While Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code has a lot going for it, it would do well to bear that in mind if you’re interested in purchasing.
If you’re wanting story you can understand without playing the previous games in the series or only “sort of” into fighting games, Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code probably one you want to pass on. But if you enjoy a straight fighter with a lot of variation and don’t mind the older graphics, go for it. This game is just for you. It has a following for a reason!