Blade Arcus from Shining: Battle Arena

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Blade Arcus from Shining: Battle Arena Game Poster Image
Formulaic fighter that's lacking some depth, punch.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Overall theme of good vs. evil, as well as smaller themes such as value of friendship, working together to overcome obstacles.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Diverse cast runs gamut in terms of personalities, motivations. There are genuine heroes fighting for a cause they know to be right, villains who simply want to watch world crumble.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, characters only have a small number of special moves to remember. Game also features both "Easy," "Very Easy" modes to further reduce difficulty.

Violence

Combat, violence in which fighters use swords, bows, arrows, magic, even an umbrella. While game is violent, animated style doesn't show any blood, gore.

Sex

Many female characters sport provocative outfits, appear in poses during dialogue. 

Language

Minor language such as "dammit" in the dialogue.

Consumerism

Spin-off of Sega's Shining series, specifically the tactical RPG games Shining Blade and Shining Hearts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blade Arcus from Shining: Battle Arena is a downloadable arcade-style fighting game spin-off of recent Japanese tactical RPG games Shining Blade and Shining Hearts. The game is relatively simple to pick up and play, specifically including both "Easy" and "Very Easy" difficulties to ease newcomers into the experience. Violence is par for the course, as characters fight each other with a variety of weapons, martial arts, and magic abilities. Parents should be aware that there's some minor language in the game's dialogue, and many female characters are presented in suggestive outfits and poses.

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What's it about?

BLADE ARCUS FROM SHINING: BATTLE ARENA is set in a fantasy world with a creative history. Since time immemorial, the Dragon Shrine has sealed away the power of the seven sacred orbs. When Ryuuga, a young guardian of the Dragon Shrine, is tempted by the power the orbs represent, he shatters the seal, releasing the orbs into the world where they seek out the strongest warriors of the world. Should one person manage to successfully gather all seven orbs in one place, he or she will be given an audience with the Great Dragon, and their deepest desire will be granted. Drawn together by the power of the orbs and by those who seek to control it, battle lines have been drawn. Friends and strangers, allies and enemies, all will come together to test their their mettle in combat with nothing short of the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Is it any good?

Some games offer something original that strikes a chord and makes for a unique fan experience, but this is a cookie-cutter game that borrows liberally from its peers and lacks real substance. On paper, it should be a great fighter. The game takes many of the elements of popular fighters and tosses everything into the mix. There are Force gauges for charged-up special moves, Support gauges allowing players to call in for help from the sidelines, a variety of fighters using different styles and weapons to stand out from one another, and a Story mode meant to tie everything together into a cohesive narrative.  While it has all the pieces to make for a pretty strong fighting game, those pieces never quite fit together right and leave lots of empty holes.

The problems start with those Force and Support gauges. Despite being used to charge up and add extra damage to special moves, even the heaviest-hitting Force attacks feel underwhelming in power. And as far as Support is concerned, the run-in attacks barely scratch the opponent and, at best, provide a sort of human shield to absorb one of the enemy's hits. Although there's a bit of diversity among the fighters and their styles, the problem here is that each character only has a couple of special moves. Most of the combos just involve basic attacks. There's simply not a deep moveset available. And as far as that Story mode is concerned, it's little more than a couple of dialogue bits interspersed between a couple of the matches. Making matters worse, the endings are weak, with many leaving players more confused than fulfilled. If there's one shining point in Blade Arcus from Shining: Battle Arena, it's that the artwork is gorgeous. Everything looks like it was ripped straight from an anime. Even this falls short, though, as the minute the characters start to move, it looks more like a flip book than fluid animation. Ultimately, this ends up being a case where the whole of the game is not greater than the sum of its parts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. How does fighting in video games make you feel about violence in real life? Does the animated and fantasy style take away from its impact?

  • Talk about personal motivations. What are some of the desires and ideals that drive the game's characters to act as they do? What are some of the positives and negatives of their reasoning?

Game details

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