Arc System Works is known for being associated with great anime style fighting games. Titles like Blazblue not only have a deep, yet easy to pick up fighting system, but also beautifully rendered characters and backgrounds. The backstories that Arc System Works make really compliment the fun fast paced gameplay of the fighting. However, this isn’t the only fighting game that Arc System Works has made. Chaos Code, a fighting game once popular in Japanese arcades, has been released for download on PlayStation 3.
The game features fourteen playable characters, each with their own back story related to the Chaos Code universe. The main plot revolves around everyone fighting for possession of one scientist’s creation to harness energy called Chaotics. None of this back story is fully explained within the game however, as only bits and pieces of it are given as you play through each character’s story in Story Mode. This could be because most of the information about Chaos Code’s story was put on the arcade cabinets in Japanese arcades, or online for everyone to read up on, but this should have been presented easier for players to explore. Having a more cinematic approach for the console version of the game similar to that of Blazblue would have been a major improvement.Fighting in Chaos Code is similar to what you would expect from any other 2D fighting game, especially those who are veterans to games like Blazblue or Guilty Gear. The main difference in Chaos Code is the ability to choose not only specific special and super moves before each bout, but also the ability to run or dash in battle. Each character has their own special attacks and unique abilities, giving a nice diversity among all fourteen fighters. The designs of each fighter are outrageous and exaggerated, something typically found in many anime style fighting games, but no one character really stands out of the cast as memorable. There isn’t a whole lot of personality found within any of the characters despite their appearance being out of this world.
Choosing a mode to play in Chaos Code doesn’t offer a whole lot of variety. Much of the time spent playing Chaos Code will be playing through each character’s Story Mode and the typical fighting game Survival Mode. Some artwork opens up when you use each fighter in Story Mode, but there isn’t much to see outside of character designs, group shots, and the Japanese arcade cabinet promotional material. It would have been interesting to see anything along the lines of how Blazblue featured easter eggs and extra content based off the universe or side-stories. There just isn’t enough to warrant playing Chaos Code for an extended period of time.
The biggest crime committed by Chaos Code is the lack of any online mode. The standard for most fighting games released on modern consoles is to have online matchmaking so players can compete with each other online. There is a local Versus Mode for Chaos Code, but that is about it. No other online modes like lobbies or matchmaking are available. Most gamers now play their fighting games online with other people, making this a huge missed opportunity for Arc System Works. Because of this, there isn’t any sort of incentive to continuing play Chaos Code once you finish exploring the Story Mode a bit. A game like this needs an online versus mode to not only extend the longevity of the game, but help overshadow the other shortcomings it has in single player content.
Chaos Code is a port of an arcade game that should have been given a better treatment than it received. The exclusion of any online modes for a fighting game is flat out inexcusable in this day and age. The rest of the game only includes enough to hold anyone’s attention for a short time and doesn’t offer much outside of the meager fighting game basics. There are way too many other fighting games out now that provide much more content and replay value than what is found in Chaos Code, some of which are made by the same developer. Had there been an online versus mode there may have been more reason to dive into Chaos Code. As it stands now though, the game is just a big misstep, even for fighting game fans.