I play a good amount of fighting games. Now, I won’t say I’m an expert at them- I’m far from it, but I have played my fair share and like to think I know a good amount about the genre. Almost out of nowhere, a not so well known developer, FK Digital, releases a port of an arcade fighting game for the PS3 called Chaos Code. With numerous influences from other titles, it has some good things going for it, but there are a few small items as well as one big issue that keep this fighter from being great.
Chaos Code is like most traditional fighters. It has a four button layout much like King of Fighters. In fact, there are a good amount of similarities to SNK’s series throughout. Even some of the characters look like they were torn from it. Each of the 14 characters look, feel and play differently from the next. With standard light and hard punches and kicks, players can create combos with button presses and special moves with simplistic motions like quarter circle and double quarter circle moves. In this sense, it feels much like a Street Fighter game.
The first thing players will see is the aspect ratio is set to 4:3 throughout the game. It made me wonder when exactly this game released in arcades in Japan. Well, after a quick search, I discovered it wasn’t that long ago, 2011 to be exact. The visuals and animations are a bit of a mixed bag. The movements look fluid enough but I constantly saw pixilation in the sprites and even though I know it’s not possible, for a spilt second, could have sworn I saw scan lines. Of course, this is all nitpicking. This is a fighting game and everyone wants to know how it plays. It’s actually very sound.
As stated above, the mechanics are a mixture of Street Fighter and King of Fighters with the complexity of a BlazBlue or Guilty Gear. At the character select screen, players not only choose a specialized fighter, but also two extra moves to take into the match with them. They can choose between two special and two super moves. So for example one player may have an extra two special moves or two super attacks, or even a combo of both of them. It offers up a constantly changing dynamic to the formula. They can also choose to have a dashing or full run mechanic. So, depending on the player’s style there are options galore to accommodate them.
The game utilizes a growing super meter that allows for EX special moves and super attacks. What the player uses determines how much of the meter is used up. There are numerous cancels that can be performed in between standard attacks, special moves and super attacks, and learning them all is a challenge in and of itself. Even with all these mechanics set in place, the game is still very accessible. Veteran fighting game players can have some fun and the totally lost guy can also throw down with ease.
The game has a story, versus, survival and training mode. Training mode is a bare bones deal with just an AI bot to beat up. No real tutorial and rundown of the move list are available. The survival mode is just that. Survive as long as I can while taking on character after character. The story mode is broken into numerous fights with short dialog instances in between. I also have to note how broken some of the translations are in these dialog scenes. It was laughable at times. Finally, the versus mode lets players fight with each other locally just like every brawler has done before it.
Of course, everyone is thinking, “This is all well and good, but how’s the online play?”. Well, I will tell you. It’s bad. It’s so bad that it’s not even in the game. Yes, you read that correctly. A fighting game that was developed in 2011 and then ported to the PS3 in 2013 has no online multiplayer. That right there is a deal breaker for many possible. The fact that I have played the story mode multiple times and trained with a certain character for hours means absolutely nothing because the game doesn’t allow for me to try out my skills with other people. As a solo game player in my house, this is a bad bullet point. Now, I have done my research and the developers have stated that they hope to one day patch in online play. Well, as of right now, that patch hasn’t hit, and it may be a good ways off if it even does happen.
That’s it. Fighting game fans that are really hardcore into the genre and have some friends that would like to play this locally are really the only ones I could recommend Chaos Code to. Yes, it plays good, and the fighting mechanics are as deep as they are accessible, but with the omission of online multiplayer, there aren’t many people that will want to just play against the AI over and over again. This is a sad realization due to the fact that this is a good fighting game that I think a good number of people would really enjoy, but until online multiplayer is added, it’s pretty much a lost cause.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.