– Andrew Charlton
I was uncertain about doing this review now, since Blazblue is a very unique series with each game containing two very distinct games. The story is hours upon hours of visual novel, with maybe one fight every four hours. The other half of the game is some of the most perfectly balanced, astoundingly pretty fighting on the market.
It’s for that reason that I’ve decided to review the two halves separately. Because there are plenty of people who play Blazblue for the fighting and ignore the story, and vice versa. They’re almost catered to two entirely different halves.
So here’s the review of the fighting side of the game (or, well really the game side of the game). It’s fantastic; the old characters have been reinvigorated with new life, as well as new moves.
The Exceed Accel gives people on the back foot a new way to regain their footing, while active flow helps the winners keep winning. Finally, the new characters are what a lot of people are here for and they’re a group of all-stars with only one dud. Almost all of the old roster has been changed significantly. A lot of old combos don’t work but a lot of new ones have been added in. Some people (thankfully) have lost a little damage, such as Kagura, whilst others have gained new ways of keeping their combos going.
I only have one negative comment about this aspect of the game. In the previous iteration, I spent an hour trying to master a single very complex combo as Amane, the scarf focused dancer. I perfected it. And now it’s been removed from this game. That hurts. It took quite a bit of my drive to play the character away.
Exceed Accel is something unique to Central Fiction. A new kind of super attack that can only be done in Overdrive, which lasts longer the lower your health — it gives people on the back foot a chance to unexpectedly to dish out a lot of damage. But against an opponent in Active Flow, they should fear their opponents Exceed far more.
Active Flow is a bonus given to a player who stays aggressive long enough; they get a damage boost and their Exceed Accel’s damage almost doubles. I’m not actually a fan of Active Flow to be honest, because as someone who’s often on the back foot, the game rewarding the aggressor just makes it even more difficult for someone playing defensively to make a comeback. I feel like it makes it too easy for someone to snowball into a victory without their opponent ever getting a chance to fight back.
The new characters are the big reason a lot of people buy the new game, and they certainly came through in this one. Naoto and Hibiki are my all-stars of the built-in new characters, an incredibly aggressive brawler who relies on dashing and blood lances, and a sneaky assassin who switches places with copies of himself he throws around the fight.
Nine, the Phantom, a mage character feels a bit of a let-down. She’s almost impossible to pick up and play, but once you understand her mechanics, she is by far the most overpowered character to date. That’s not much of a healthy balance.
Looking to the DLC characters, Es is okay if a bit stock standard — a girl wielding a huge sword that leaves stationary traps in the air in the wake of its swings. Mai is so easy to pick up and play she runs the risk of being as unfair as Nine.
Of the three Susanoo is a standout. A huge hulking monster, he starts with only one special move, and has to unlock the rest through clever use of his normal attacks. While incredibly strong, the fact that he starts out so weak and has to cut his combos short to get the moves he wants, balances him out. But if he starts strong he can go strong the whole game unless his foe finds a way to shut him down. He might be my favorite character of the game.
The only really big downer of this game is the fact that they didn’t release it with an English dub, only subtitles. With the weak excuse of having to delay the game a few months, this is a big letdown, as I really enjoy the game’s English cast.
But that affects the story players far more than those who’re here to fight, so don’t let it detract you from it. Blazblue Central Fiction is an amazing experience for fighting game players, both veterans and beginners. Whatever flaws it may have, it’s leagues above the competition and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Photo credits: Static4game, Dustloop and Siliconera