Developed by FK Digital and published by Arc System Works, Chaos Code has finally made its way over to the US PSN store. Our fellow gamers in the East have been playing Chaos Code in arcades for over two years now. There's a story behind Chaos Code, what it is though I couldn't tell you because I'm not even sure. Fighters have gathered together and are punching each other in the face to find something call "Chaotics" which is a device that can grant the wielder immense power, enough to rule mankind. That's what I've picked up through the little information given anyway.
Chaos Code comes with your standard fighting game modes of Story, Versus and Practice mode. There's no online multiplayer, which comes off as an oversight, but FK Digital has stated that it will be coming soon after release. The biggest problem that Chaos Code has is the lack of a tutorial mode. The only way to learn things is through trial-and-error and a lot of effort on your part. Your skill as a player and your knowledge on fighting games directly affects how well you can learn Chaos Code without a tutorial mode. In that sense, casual players will have fun messing around but most likely will have trouble picking up the advanced mechanics the game has to offer.
Chaos Code holds the basic formula for 2D fighters with a few innovations. The game uses 8-way directional movement and a 4 button attack layout (weak and heavy punch and weak and heavy kicks) much like the ever popular Marvel Vs Capcom 2. However, you can use button combinations to unleash abilities outside of punching and kicking. Some combos include throwing, guard breaks, tactical guarding and dodge rolling à la King of Fighters. The game also offers ways to make a comeback should you feel pressure from your opponent. "Exceed Chaos" allows a player to enter a state that removes combo limitations and thus allows for even greater damaging combos. "Chaos Shift" allows a player to cancel moves at the loss of an entire bar of meter. Using chaos shift on an enemy who blocked your attacks will allow you to protect yourself from being punished. Using it on an enemy who has been successfully attacked lets you keep your combo going or gain a potential mix-up opportunity.
Like many 2D fighters nowadays, Chaos Code gives players energy meters that fill upon attacking and/or getting attacked. Every character, except for bosses, gets 3 bars of meter that allows players to use Super Moves, called Ultimate Chaos. For an even more damaging Super Move, players can unleash their "Destruction Chaos". This move uses all 3 bars of meter but can remove up to 50% of the opponents' health making it an extreme high risk/high reward maneuver. Unlike other fighters, Chaos Code allows players to "customize" their fighter at the character select screen by allowing them to add two additional Special Moves and Ultimate Chaos, one of each or even two of the same. Players can also choose their dash type, whether they want their character to "Run" or "Step". Run gives the option to put pressure on the opponent and is best suited for players who like to rush down their enemies and tend to lean towards aggressive play. Step is for players who love to dash-cancel and play it safe when things don't go their way.
Chaos Code isn't pushing any graphical boundaries but that doesn't make it look any less amazing than it does. Character models are drawn very well and there is a heavy anime look and design involving everything within the game; and the dynamic backgrounds are something to see when you're not too busy fighting. Hit collisions sound a bit cartoony but you won't be paying attention to it anyway because the heavy rock music soundtrack will be blasting its way into your ears and the fast paced music fits the pace and style of the game so well. Because the game is a straight port of the arcade versions, there are no English voice actors, so unless you understand Japanese, you probably have no clue as to what's being said. But that's fine because the static cut scenes have English subtitles. While you may find a few typos, the English translation is pretty good.
Chaos Code is a good fighter, a great fighter in fact. The only thing that's holding it back is the lack of online multiplayer (it is coming) and no tutorial. With the help of Arc System Works, it's truly surprising that the tutorial is missing. With a roster of about 12 characters, each with their own way of fighting, Chaos Code has a unique and fast-paced style along with a deep combat system. If you're looking for a new fighter to jump into, then you could do a lot worse than Chaos Code. I give it 3 TOV stars out of 5.