Yatagarasu: Attack on Cataclysm (PC)

Yatagarasu01Yatagarasu: Attack on Cataclysm is an original 2D fighting game developed by 3 passionate former SNK/King of Fighter developers. The fighter has been a long time in the making existing in some form or another before it was successfully crowdfunded 2 years ago through the Indiegogo scene. So can this long awaited title live up to expectations? There’s no doubt that at its core is a solid, fun fighting experience it’s just a shame the presentation feels like it’s been thrown together haphazardly.

A previous version of the game simply called Yatagarasu was released some time ago and featured a roster of 8 characters. The original contenders are all nice and varied each bringing in their own unique fighting styles from your boxer, grappler, ninjas and sword wielding sister duo. This new version throws an extra 3 contenders into the fray bringing the total up to 11 and includes the agile and speedy Kotaro, the heavy hitting sword wielder Aja and the “Merciful Maniac” Azure bringing a familiar blue fireball technique to the proceedings. Even with the addition of these new characters the roster still feels small but it means you can experiment a bit more with each character and after only a couple of fights you can easily find the characters best suited to your particular playstyle.Yatagarasu04

This anime fighter utilises a six button scheme with 4 offensive actions (high/low punches and kicks) and two defensive to make up your high and low parries. Most combos are fairly easy to pull off so button bashers can pick up the games controls easily and of course pull off the odd supers with relative ease. So what about the hardened fighting veterans? Well they can certainly explore the different mechanics in a lot more depth but the key feature this game encourages is the parry system. Successfully pulling off these can give your next attack a boosted damage effect. Fail and it’ll land you in a world of hurt. Yatagarasu’s gameplay has a nice, fluid feel to it and fights are usually fast-paced. Instead of taking the route where you’re slugging it out for ages trying to wear-down opponent’s health-bars with weak combo inputs, this game focuses much more on quick bursts ofdamage.

One disappointment is the lack of modes on offer. While there are two arcade modes listed on the menu one is actually a story scenario. The big difference between the modes is that arcade lets you experience each characters individual scenario while the main story offers a more all-encompassing scenario although both are comprised of a series of 8 fights. Also on offer is your standard versus, network versus and training modes but beyond that there are just simple records and config menus. This is a game that’s focus is on online multiplayer without it the game simply does have enough content to keep solo players entertained for long. The online mode itself can be a bit mixed as you can enter fights which playout smoothly with no issues and then you can run into others where the lag is so bad that your fighters operate in slow-mo and you have several seconds to plan each punch.

The games soundtrack is superb right from the off with the catchy, upbeat intro theme and it just gets better with the rest comprising of Japanese rock, pop and electro. While selecting your character you can also select a commentator to help cheer you in during fights. Now these commentators aren’t just generic characters you get in other fighters, instead we get the likes of Jchensor, Ultra David and Maximillion big players in the fighting game community. The idea is a pretty nice idea, unfortunately they sound rather wooden and it doesn’t take very long for you to hear everything they have to offer and instead turn them off completely.

Of course the main inspiration for the game was Street Fighter III and this is probably clearest in the 2D pixel art. Character portraits are nice to look at and give them an extra charm and during fight’s their animations look very impressive and have that fluid quality. Now for a game that is brimming with outstanding character designs, environments and sprite animation the UI elements are, unfortunately, largely underwhelming. Even when in arcade and story mode character portraits are placed over a bland, grey backdrop. This could have simply been improved by placing the level select portraits in the background to catch players eye more or just to help give players a sense of how the modes are progressing forward.

If you’re a fan of fighters then this is definitely a game that shouldn’t be missed. The games fighting mechanics all feel nice and fluid and the simplified controls and combos at your disposal means it’s easy for new players and button-tappers alike to it pickup quickly while also leaving enough depth for veterans to exploit. It’s just a shame that more time could have gone into the games overall presentation as it looks very unpolished and lackluster.

7
Positives
+ Solid cast of characters
+ Top-notch fighting mechanics
+ Great sprite animation
Negatives
– Off-putting HUD and UI design
– Pro-player commentary

This review is based off a review code of Yatagarasu: Attack on Cataclysm provided by Nyu Media.

This review was originally published on the site GamersFTW which unfortunately has now been taken down. It’s been published on my personal blog, DanielVaughanReviews, out of respect for the developers/publishers that were kind enough to give me review copy of their game.

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