Game Name: Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm
Platform(s): PC via Steam
Publisher(s): Nyu Media
Developer(s): Yatagarasu Dev Team
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Played a PC with the following Specs: AMD FX-8350 4Ghz, MSI Radeon R9 380 2GB, 12 GB RAM, Windows 8.1 Pro
I’ve pretty much played fighting games for the majority of my childhood. From the original Virtua Fighter on the 32X to Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma and everything in between. One of my favorite games, however, was Street Fighter III: Third Strike, partly because of the soundtrack, but partly because the game was just so much fun to try and master, as complicated as the system was. Despite it’s lack of success financially, Third Strike was what could be considered a cult classic, and many people still hold that game in extremely high regard, longing for a game that plays relatively the same. Capcom and Iron Galaxy recently gave us an updated version of the game, but it wasn’t until 2013 when the creators of Yatagarasu decided to crowdfund the update to their original game, allowing for English-language localization and character additions.
Many people have said that Yatagarasu reminds them of Third Strike, but for me, it doesn’t just remind me of that game. I get a King Of Fighters/Garou MOW feel from the game, and believe me, it doesn’t necessarily disappoint, but enough about me. Let’s talk about Yatagarasu: Attack on Cataclysm.
When you get into the game, the first thing you’ll notice, if you are used to Capcom fighters, there is NO INPUT LENIENCY. No shortcuts, no nothing. Your execution needs to be largely on point, but it’s not really a requirement to even play this game. That being said, the game is pretty straight forward for a fighting game, with a stark exception. Instead of being a typical six-button fighter, Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm prides itself on a 4 button layout (two punches and two kicks,) with two additional buttons, reserved for low and high parries. One would think that the high and low parry buttons would make the execution of the game a little more lenient, but alas, it doesn’t, and that’s not a bad thing. You still need to be able to guess correctly, however, the “parry as a button” mechanic takes a lot of the thinking out of the parry game, which is a phenomenal improvement on previous systems (as much as I loved Just Defense.)
This game really walks a tightrope between the two games that I previously mentioned in Third Strike and King of Fighters. The game mechanics certainly borrow from King of Fighters 97/98 and Third Strike, and utilizes them extremely well. The finesse of Third Strike is present when you begin to bust out parries, but the raw offense that KOF 97 and 98 prided themselves on certainly makes for a fun game if you aren’t the most adept at combos and precise execution. Again, execution in this game isn’t extremely important, but at higher levels, you would benefit from it.
EX moves are also present, and much like the Street Fighter IV series, everyone’s EX requirements are the same, with 4 bars of EX meter, two per meter charge, maxing out at four. The Assassin Art system is unique. While you get access to both, whichever AA you select gets a special buff or property added to it, adding a dimension to the game that can change the game in critical moments.
It’s certainly a throwback to the 90s, even onto the default 640 x 480 resolution. This is definitely one of my biggest gripes with the game, considering that most people play on monitors that host a native resolution of no less than 1366 x 768. Setting the window at 2x zoom in the launcher should fix things, as should running the game full screen, but the lack of a 1080p resolution option is something that bugged me when I first opened up the game.
Despite this gripe, the 90s-style 2D graphics are fairly crisp, and the game flows smoothly, despite not being supported officially on Windows 8.1 systems. The system requirements are quite low, simply requiring a Pentium 4 3.0 GHz, Direct X 9.0 and 512 MB of RAM, so almost any computer made up to this point should be able to handle the game.
I’m also a fan of the diverse designs of the characters, Jet being my favorite, as a boxing fan. Aja reminds me a lot of Hilda from Under Night In Birth, and Kou has a simple look that will appeal to anyone. While diverse, the character designs are largely simple and not too over-complicated. The stage designs are extremely vivid and beautiful, and are diverse in their own right.
However, the Menu UI just blows. It’s too basic, not polished, and is a complete eyesore. In-game, however, the UI is pretty good, outside of the announcer pop-ups, which take up a chunk of the screen, and the flavor text which is too small to my liking.
The music is quite pleasing to the ear. There isn’t a bad track in the game. The hit effects are pretty spot on as well, from the sheathing and un-sheathing of a sword, to the landing of a punch, everything is clear and noticeable. You’re quite aware of what’s going on, and nothing is hard to keep up with, which I feel is part of the charm of this game.
The only gripe is that the announcer system is terrible. It’s not good, and it’s definitely not implemented correctly. Maximillian tries too damn hard, James Chen is…well…James Chen, and UltraDavid, while he provides some decent one-liners, ultimately contributes little. I usually turn it off, because it also causes a little problem with the announcer, where the Japanese and English voices will overlap with each other. I think Persona 4 Ultimax’s Navigator system does it better, and while I wasn’t expecting the quality of P4U, they definitely could have done better.
Replay Value & Netcode
The netcode is better than Ultra Street Fighter IV on Xbox 360…is what some people say. Playing a few matches, after the long and arduous set up (shoutouts to Juicebox_FGC for providing a video tutorial (which is posted above,)) the online play is just as smooth as offline. The lag is minimal, if there is any at all. GGPO support will be included later, but I worry that GGPO netcode wouldn’t be as good as the proprietary code. That’s telling, especially since I love GGPO as a netcode option.
As for replay value? It’s a fighting game. You’ll probably come back to the game once or twice a week to duke it out with your friends, off and online, and you should. This game definitely deserves the love it should get.
*Review copy provided by Nyu Media*
Gameplay - 9/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 8/10
Netcode - 10/10
The FGC gets the game they've always wanted
Believe me, I've been looking forward to playing this game since the Indiegogo was announced in 2013. It's been nearly two years, and we finally get the game in the Americas, and it's great. Despite all of the missteps that the Yatagarasu Dev Team took to get here, believe it or not, they came with a mostly polished effort. The UI sucks in most places, and the announcer system might be the worst, but that doesn't take away from the overall greatness of the game. The Assassin Art system is phenomenal, everyone getting equal EX meter keeps the game balanced, and every character having their own trait makes for a diverse game like none other. If Yatagarasu doesn't get the love that it should, we may never get a game like this again, and that's never good for the Fighting Game Community.