Important Importables: Arc System Works

March 17, 2012 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: Arc System Works

There’s just something about a great 2D fighter. 3D fighters are great and all, but the look of a well animated and designed 2D game is just something special. A lot of companies still make these kinds of games, but Arc System Works is undoubtedly king of them all. The developer and publisher works on other kinds of games, but fighters are what set them apart.

So in honor of the recent release of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend and Persona 4 Arena, Hot Japanese Imports is taking a look back at Arc System Works and recommending some of the company’s best games.

So what’s up with Arc System Works?

While mainly associate the name Arc System Works with fighters now, that’s not how the company got its start. When Arc System Works first began in 1988, it was developing action and racing games. It’s very first project was Rolling Thunder, a side-scrolling action game for the NES. It then went on to develop beat’em ups (Double Dragon for the Sega Master System), racers (Road Spirits for the Turbo CD), puzzle games (Minesweeper for Game Boy and Turbo CD), simulations (Wizard’s Harmony for Saturn and PS1) and even Genesis and GameGear ports of Battletoads.

It wasn’t until the release of the original Guilty Gear for the PS1 in 1998 that Arc System Works broke onto the fighting scene. The success and acclaim from that creation lead to 12 differentGuilty Gear games, counting main entries, updated entries and spin-offs. Arc System Works then took everything it learned from creating those PS1, PS2, PSP, Wii, Windows and Xbox 360 games and put it to work in its next major fighting series, BlazBlue. There are currently six BlazBlue games available worldwide, with many entries being updated ports the sequel BlazBlue: Continuum Shift.

Arc System Works does more than just develop games. It also publishes them in Japan. It began doing so with Exector, a shooter developed for the PS1. While it initially only published its own games, it’s since gone on to help other developers out. Some of its most recent endeavors include publishing Fishing Cactus’ Shifting World (3DS), Gaijin Games’ Bit.Trip (Wii) games and Killaware’s Another Time Another Leaf: Kagami no Naka no Tantei (DS).

These are the Arc System Works games you should be playing.

The good thing about Arc System Works games is that they’re very import friendly. That happens when a company tends to focus on fighting and puzzle games. As long as you can understand the basic premise or are familiar with the core mechanics of those genres and own a system that can play region-free games, you’re set. Of course, that isn’t too much of an issue since Aksys does a pretty good job of bringing over Arc System Works’ best.

Still, here are some particularly awesome Arc System Works games to try.

  • Arcana Heart 3 (PS3, Xbox 360). It’s a fighting game that was released worldwide in 2011. Arc System Works only published it in Japan.
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows). It’s a fighting game that was released in 2009 in Asia and North America and in 2010 in Europe and Australia.
  • BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend (PS3, PSV, Xbox 360). It’s a fighting game that was released worldwide in 2012.
  • Fist of the North Star (PS2). It’s a fighting game that was released in Japan in 2007.
  • Guilty Gear (PS1). It’s a fighting game that was released worldwide in 1998
  • Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus (PS2, PSP, Wii). It’s a fighting game that was released worldwide over the last few years. PS3 and Xbox 360 ports are supposed to be in development.
  • Hard Corps: Uprising (PS3, Xbox 360). It’s an action game that was released as a download worldwide in 2011.
  • Hoshigami Remix (DS). It’s a strategy RPG port of MaxFive’s Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth that was released worldwide in 2007.
  • Persona 4 Arena (PS3, Xbox 360). It’s a fighting game that will be released in 2012 in Japan and North America.
  • Shifting World (3DS). It’s a puzzle game that will be released in 2012 in Japan and North America.
  • Wizard’s Harmony (PS1, Saturn). It’s a simulation game that was released in Japan in 1995

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports talks about Sega’s Shining series.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports looked at online Japanese shopping services

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