Chaos Code is a fighting game that was published by Arc System Works for the PlayStation 3 back in 2013, which was a port of the arcade game developed by FK Digital for arcades. A big criticism of the game back then was its lack of online versus modes, which has become a huge aspect for many other popular games in the genre. A reworked version of the game, titled Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe, addresses this issue while subsequently adding new characters and modes not found in the original console release. However, the game still feels outdated despite the inclusion of all the new content.
With this new version of Chaos Code, there are two new characters that were absent from the previous release. Lupinus is an android with an assortment of special moves involving her mechanical arms, while Ray is an imposing brute that uses hard hitting attacks to overpower opponents. Both characters play differently from each other and stand out from the rest of the cast. However, their inclusion does very little to make the roster of fighters any more exciting or interesting, rather than feel like inspirations from other fighting games.
A lot of the fighting system feels similar to older King of Fighters titles from SNK, even going as far as to use the same four button layout for punches and kicks. Special moves and super attacks don’t even feel as exciting however, making the fights look and feel very underdeveloped.
Visually, Chaos Code looks as dated as it feels to play. A lot of the backgrounds and character animations feel as if they were pulled right out of the mid-90s, but not in a good way. Everything on screen looks pixelated and can’t be smoothed out with any filters or adjustments from the menus. Background animations look twitchy and not as smooth or detailed as what other games have done in the genre.
This wouldn’t matter so much if everything didn’t look so low resolution on screen, especially when a lot of the unlockable artwork and character profiles look much better compared to the in-game sprites and backgrounds.
The online network mode is still a big issue with Chaos Code, but mainly due to the lack of players online to get matched up with online. Most of the time, you’ll be stuck in menus trying to find a match despite opening up all of the search criteria for matchmaking. In the time we spent playing Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe, we couldn’t find anyone to play a complete match in Ranked or Player matches through the game’s matchmaking.
When we did find someone to play against online, the game would disconnect us from the match before entering the character select screen. We tried to tinker with the settings in matchmaking to get connected with anyone and have at least one complete match online, but this did not work out at all. It’s because of this we definitively can say the online modes for Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe are terrible.
The extra modes in Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe are only mildly interesting. Mission Mode has over 50 different challenges that require some finesse and thought to complete. Other modes like Survival and Score-Attack give exactly what anyone would expect for a fighting game and only offer a small variation of what you ultimately get here.
The most interesting additions is the Custom Color Mode and Collection, which allow you to edit the colors of each character and view unlockable artwork and endings. Completing Arcade mode with each character gives you money (called Chaos Coin) to unlock more items in Collection, including EX versions of characters and a small mini-game called Rui’s Farm. The unlockables are good to have, but some feel like they aren’t really worth the time investment to unlock.
Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe may be an updated version of the original game, but the complete package feels very outdated. The fighting draws a lot of inspiration from classics in the genre, but everything else about it doesn’t look or feel great. The online mode is nonexistent and the extra content doesn’t provide enough to keep players invested. This may be a budget title for fighting game aficionados, but there are many other games that already have everything Chaos Code does, only executed a lot better.
This review was based on a digital review code of Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe for the PlayStation 4, provided by Arc System Works.