Replay Value: 8.4
The Bloody Roar series has certainly come a long way hasn't it? If you're going toe-to-toe with games like Tekken 2, Tekken 3, Dead or Alive, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and you're still seeing sequels of the game then you know the developer is doing something right to attract gamers. Bloody Roar was originally released back in 1998 on the Playstation, it was a one of a kind fighting game that featured humans transforming into their animal counterparts. One would transform into a wolf, another tiger, another lizard and another rabbit. The fighting was quick, furious and never slow paced, this already looked like a title that would soon see a sequel. Indeed it did, Bloody Roar 2 took what the original did and multiplied it by two. The visuals were improved the gameplay was even quicker, and best of all the game was a ton of fun! But the Playstation's fighting library was quickly rising and Bloody Roar 2 didn't get the success it deserved, with games like Ergheiz and Street Fighter Alpha 3 being the two top sellers at the time, BR2 was almost left out in the cold. But now it's a new generation, a new console, and an all new Bloody Roar. Activision has finally unleashed the 128-bit beast known as Bloody Roar 3, and the result is quite surprising.
Although this is nothing to brag about, the visuals in Bloody Roar 3 are incredibly good. They aren't Tekken Tag, but let's face it, what is? Bloody Roar 3 is designed to run exclusively on the Emotion Engine, mostly because the arcade version runs on System 246 hardware, which of course is powered by none other than Sony's visual component. Bloody Roar 3 looks awesome, the character detail is composed of thousands of gorgeous polygons, and the overall look is simply stunning. The characters have very realistic facial animation -as some of these screenshots show-. As always I like to estimate polygon numbers per character, and I believe that each character is utilizing at least 2000-3000 polygons each. The detail on the characters is simply phenomenal, that's about as much as I can say about that. Now although Bloody Roar 3 doesn't offer huge environments like those in Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore, all of the arenas are interactive and then some.
Like every previous Bloody Roar game you can knock your opponent out of the ring as the coup de grace finish. But in Bloody Roar 3 you will notice the caging, or whatever the surrounding, get damaged before it finally gives in and you are sent soaring through the air. Another thing, in some stages there are multiple levels in which you will fight, so you may start out in one place, but when it's over be in another. For instance one stage will have you fighting in a small square at first, and if you're fighting hard and there are many falls, the floor will eventually budge and you'll both be sent plummeting down 40 feet. It's a lot like the drop in the snowy mountain stage from DOA2: Hardcore. Aside from environmental interactivity, the environments themselves feature something to talk about. For instance one stage has you on a ship naval base where jets are taking off right in-front of your eyes and air traffic directors are running on the scene as well. In addition to the overall pretty visuals, is also the amazing lighting effects and eye-candy special effects, as these 100+ screens of the game show, BR3 is certainly filled with a ton of eye-candy.
As disappointing as it sounds, Bloody Roar 3 plays almost identically to the Playstation sequel released last year. The developer hasn't touched a single aspect of the gameplay, but you know what? I ain't complainin'! As shallow as I may sound, but it seems that the Bloody Roar 2 formula still hasn't over stayed its welcome. The easy combo link system is sure to get almost any gamer into this frenzy fighting game. This game is incredibly fast, and because it's incredibly fast, it requires an incredibly effortless combo system that works like a dream. Bloody Roar 3 prevails here, that effortless combo system will have you creating chains in no time. Contrary to some "other" critic's belief, the super attacks will not instantly kill an opponent, nor will they even take a quarter of their life bar away. The beast attack isn't so engagingly powerful that it washes away the life bar, not by any extent. Although a beast attack is also good means of replenishing some of your life bar, so it's not only an offensive maneuver, but it can also save you from a danger point at the end of a battle.
Bloody Roar 3 features a cast of nearly 14 fighters, (12 default and 2 secret) almost all of which have their own animal transformality. The only two characters who feature the same beast transformation are Long and Shen-Long, think of them as the Ryu and Ken of Bloody Roar 3. Rest assured every characters super attack looks downright awesome, the background will fade and turn into an intergalactic-like atmosphere, meanwhile your character is completely pulverizing the opponent. There are various modes of competition which include, Survival, Story, Versus and Extra. As inexperienced as I may sound right about now, for some reason Bloody Roar 3's shallow arcade flow got to me, and eventually addicted me. Although other fighting fans who are into the complexity of brawlers such as Tekken and Soul Calibur should avoid Bloody Roar 3, but a rental for those folks is suggested. The casual fighting fan, or gamer, will definitely enjoy Bloody Roar 3, despite what you may hear from a few other sources. Aside from just pure gameplay talk, I want to mention that Bloody Roar 3's characters actually have story lines and good endings. These endings are very like Street Fighter 2 Turbo's, and I believe that strong endings make a better fighting game!
Frankly I feel as if I'm getting used to acid guitar rock in games, or maybe it's just that Bloody Roar 3 actually had some decent tracks. Whether or not that's the case, I was more heavily into the loud sound effects and the kick ass fighting noise, rather than the music. Make note that Bloody Roar 3 features a lot of 'whoosh, slash and scratch' sound effects, after all you are playing with animals that have sharp claws. BR3's barrage of never ending sound effects surely makes it one of those games that you should turn up the volume, but if you're turned off by the soundtrack, lower the sound.
As I mentioned earlier, because of the game's easy combo link-age system pulling off strings is very simple and incredibly fun. Too bad the analog sticks aren't supported in any way, because I would've surely preferred analog usage over digital. But much like a few other fighting games out there, I'll have to live with it, and after a while you'll forget you are using the digital pad. The control layout is quite good and is pretty much identical to the one in Bloody Roar 2. L1 is to use your Hyper Beast Drive attack, L2 and R2 allows you to sidestep (excellent feature), meanwhile R1 is guard, and the face buttons feature the punch, kick, grab/throw and beast button. I should also mention that aside from just combos and super attacks, players should attempt to perform Street Fighter like moves, because each character has at least 4-5 different special attacks. Overall the control is great, it would have been much higher if only had Hudson/Eighting implemented analog control, otherwise tight control.
In the end my personal experience with Bloody Roar 3 turned out quite positive, as of course you can see I gave the game a solid 8.3, and it certainly does deserve it. Bloody Roar 3 is an excellent visual showcase for the Playstation 2's particle effects production. Bloody Roar 3 is one of the most pleasing eye-candy experiences I've come across. Other than that the game plays furiously fast, the action never skips a beat and is flowing continuously. It'd be stupid of me not to recommend Bloody Roar 3 as a purchase, because this game is simply fast and fun, casual fighting game fans will enjoy it, but those who swear only to Tekken will not. If you're being skeptical, at least rent the game to see for yourself.