Bloody Roar 3 has been out in Japan for a couple of months now, and its reception has been a warm one. The series has established quite a rabid fan base for itself with its pleasing mixture of 2D and 3D fighting principles, over-the-top special characters and attacks, and the ever-popular Beast Rave Mode. The most appealing aspect of the game, this feature enables characters to transform themselves (accompanied by significant visual splendor) into their (considerably more powerful) alter egos, including a giant wolf, a voluptuous bat-woman and a big bad beetle.
The backstory is short and sweet; the Tyron Corporation and Liberation Battlefront have gone the way of the dodo, and lycanthropes — who have just begun to find understanding and compassion from the public — have a new problem. Seems that some of them are afflicted by unpredictable shapeshifting, and a subsequent loss of control over their more bestial natures — naturally, someone’s got to put an end to this, and we all know how that’s handled.
Fans of the series will be happy to know that several favorites make their return; of course, a couple of new characters are thrown into the mix. Bakyru and Kohryu (mole-men, in regular and iron editions) are two of the new contestants.
As before, the action takes place in a series of industrialized 3D environments, including the deck of an aircraft carrier and a cityscape with trains criss-crossing in the background. While they’re impressive enough, and feature some environmental interactivity, don’t expect the same depth as DOA 2 Hardcore and other more intricate fighters — these are still fights in the ring.
Arcade, versus, practice and survival modes make up the initial menu, but expect some hidden modes to make an appearance within the game. Players make use of traditional 2D (a la Street Fighter) moves as well as the more complex maneuvers featured in such complex fighters as Tekken. For fans of either genre, BR3 could offer a nice mixture of the two. Throws are kept to a minimum, as the real abuse comes from the Beast Drive attacks — once transformed, each character has two of these, each featuring simple joystick and button combinations.
Visually, the game looks quite nice, with the requisite fantastic CG work and in-your-face character design that’s so popular. The standard character models aren’t so pretty, but once transformed they’re quite impressive — not to mention the animations that accompany said transformation. Nice texture work, lighting and transparency are all in effect here; one of the only problems is that it’s looking a little stepped.
Still, fans of the series’ first two installments will likely not care — we expect the final product to be a solid fighter with an inviting challenge, neither too simple nor too hard. The game’s slated for a June 30 release; we’ll be back shortly with updated screens and movies, so get ready to get in touch with your inner beast.