11th May2020

‘Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe’ Review (Switch)

by Phil Wheat

2D fighters are my gaming bread and butter, having been weened on to them at an early age thanks to side-scrolling efforts such as Double Dragon and Streets of Rage and discovering the grand-daddy of 2D fighters, Street Fighter 2 at an arcade in Majorca back in the 90s. Since then I’ve played them all, from classics such as Final Fight and the King of Fighters series to more obscure fighters such as Spectral vs. Generation, Waku Waku 7 and Groove on Fight. So the release of any new 2D fighting game always gets me a little over-excited… even moreso when it comes from the current kings (IMHO) of fighting games, Arc System Works.

Why Arc System Works? Well they’re the company behind the Guilty Gear and Blazblue franchises AND they’ve had a hand in a myriad of other fighting franchises, either as developer or distributor since way back in the 80s and their port of Double Dragon to the Sega Master System (BTW, Arc System Works now own the Double Dragon franchise, that’s how well respected, and HUGE, they are in the genre).

Like the majority of 2D fighters on current-gen consoles, Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe looks fantastic, with gorgeously rendered characters and backdrops that are a throwback to an earlier era of gaming and titles such as King of Fighters and Garou: Mark of the Wolves and their pixel-perfect sprites. Outside of the actual gameplay itself the game, stylistically, looks very much like your traditional anime-inspired fighter, with beautifully draw character designs and cut scenes. Thankfully the Switch port also keeps all the original audio too, making this feel very much like the import games of old – which gives, at least to me, Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe somewhat of a nostaglic feel.

Now as a fighting game fan one of the things that gets my back up is beat ’em-ups that are just too damn easy. Which is NOT the case here – well not if you don’t want it to be. The difficulty system is perfectly balanced to allow both casual gamers easy entry in the title by playing on the easier difficulty modes, yet satisfy those “veterans” who want a more difficult experience; cranking up the difficulty gives the game a level of challenge that requires you to learn moves, and the satisfaction that comes with beating a game with such a challenge.

Apparently developers FK Digital have announced that they are no longer producing new games so it looks like – for the foreseeable future – this is the only Chaos Code game we’re going to get, which is a damn shame. As a fan of Guilty Gear and Blazblue I thoughtChaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe stood up there with the best from those franchises and I for one would love to have seen the announced and now cancelled sequel come to the Nintendo Switch. Hopefully developers FK Digital and distributors Arc System Works have plans for the series, if not the characters, going forward (Hell, I’d accept more updates to this game like the BlazBlue series, with incremental changes and new sub-titles a la Continuum Shift / Continuum Shift Extend etc). I’d love to see a King of Fighters style game where all of Arc’s games and characters came together – after all it worked for SNK, spawning a whole new franchise out of Fatal Fury et al., and I’m sure it will work for Arc titles too.

If you’re a fan of 2D beat ’em ups, retro games (to some extent), or fighting games full stop, then Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe is an essential purchase. It is available on the Nintendo eShop now.


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