Only a devout, hardcore and super devoted fanbase of anime followers will know what all the fuss is about.
For everyone who regards Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Yu Yu Hakusho or Fist of the North Star as their favorite anime’s, here’s an anime staple that should also be in your favorites list - Saint Seiya.
For the uninitiated, Saint Seiya’s premise revolves around five mystical warriors who are bestowed the powers of various zodiac signs. Following the story arcs of these five mystical fighters and their long list of allies/adversaries means there’s lots of flashy fights, passionate screams and extraordinary finishing moves to keep track of. This one-on-one fighting game takes a huge majority of the anime’s warriors from three separate arcs: the Sanctuary arc, the Poseidon arc and the Hades arc. The story mode bits manage to explain the connected plot points and major battles that make up the bulk of the show. It does tend to get boring though, as you’ll do nothing but watch two characters talk and proceed to fight it out a number of times. The story mode is simple and gets straight to the point, but it increasingly grows tiresome after a while.
What’s also quite simple about this fighter is just the way it plays. Each character has access to a weak and strong melee move, two separate special moves and one massive Big Bang super attack. Along with these offensive options, there’s opportunities to dash around the battlefield, dodge combos and enter into an overpowered-like state. The fighting mechanics here are what you’d expect from an anime fighter – easy to learn and master, but just not deep enough for any serious expert play. Each fighter may have different maneuvers, but pulling each one of them doesn’t present any feelings of individuality amongst the cast. The combo controls amount to bashing on the light and heavy attacks with reckless abandon.
Saint Seiya’s gameplay isn’t anything special, but its overall anime aesthetic is definitely a standout feature. Fans of ’80s anime will no doubt rejoice at the game’s remarkable resemblance to the visuals seen on the show. Each of the 50+ characters that you’ll be able to choose from retain their manga/TV show appearances. Everything looks fantastic. The heroic tunes that play during menu navigation and climactic battles stay close to their source material as well.
Fighters that focus on a particular anime usually come with a huge collection of series standby’s to choose from. The character select screen can seem daunting as you unlock various Saints, Mariners, Gods etc. The only factor that kind of cheapens the huge roster selection is the fact that some of the characters are merely different versions of an already existing one. I’m sure the many different variations of Pegasus Seiya that take up so many roster spots could have been relegated to one character with different outfits. Even with this issue of single character variations, there’s still exciting character options (like Aries Mu and Hypnos) to choose from.
Besides the aforementioned story mode, there’s many other single and multiplayer modes to indulge in. Solo players who just want to collect as many cool unlockables as possible can complete tournaments. Your usual offering of offline and online versus modes are also here to feed your competitive edge. There are some cool win-game factors that can change up the flow and freshness of the action, which is a welcome feature that keeps fights feeling new after every bout. Much of the fun will also come from keeping track of all the awesome collectibles there is to unlock. Saint Seiya fans will no doubt get a kick out of all the collectible cards, action figures and character portraits that are in the game. And for the players that want to alter their favorite characters, there’s an orb customization mode to get acquainted with.
This fighter may not be as deep as some current traditional fighters, but the abundance of play modes and fan service help keep this downloadable title above water. As the first Saint Seiya game to be released here in the States, Brave Soldiers can be best described as a solid effort. Only the most ardent fans of the series will truly appreciate this fighter. Casual fighting game fans will only be slightly amused. All in all, this anime fighter is still worth busting out some Big Bang’s for.
Rating – 6.5/10