Blazblue: Central Fiction Review

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Posted November 4, 2016 by Bryan Boshart in Video Games

Blazblue: Central Fiction

Release Date: 11/01/2016

Publisher: Aksys Games

Developer: Arc System Works

Available on: PS3, PS4(Reviewed)

Blazblue: Calamity Trigger was one of the first fighting games I started playing seriously. As such I’ve been following the tale of Ragna, Noel and crew for quite a while. Nearly a half dozen iterations have led to the finale, Blazblue: Central Fiction, so I was interested to see how the story ends.

The story Blazblue: Central Fiction picks up right where Chrono Phantasma left off. Despite fending off Take-Mikazuchi, the world ends for everyone, except the heroes. The roughly eight hour story is mostly told through cutscenes with the occasional fight. The story starts with everyone sucked into the embryo, which constantly changes implanting the heroes with new, and mostly false memories. For the first few chapters, everyone functionally has amnesia, this leads to allies fighting amongst themselves until they eventually figure it out. If all this sounds pretty complicated, Blazblue was kind enough to provide a dictionary that helps explain what’s going on. As you hit the later chapters of the story, it becomes a more combat filled. This leads to destined fights/meetings between certain characters. Possibly my favorite things about Blazblue are the side stories and gag reels, though there aren’t many as I would like. As the final(supposedly) entry in the Blazblue series it does tie a nice bow on the world. Overall, while the story does drag, especially at the beginning, it picks up at the end and made me want to keep playing.

If you’re new to Blazblue, it’s a four button fighter where each character has a light, medium, and heavy button. Additionally each character has a unique Drive button which is based on their character. Ragna heals a bit when he hits with a drive; Tager’s drive magnetizes a foe and helps you pull them close to get powerful grabs. The drive function makes every character feel unique even if they’re different versions of the same character. Blazblue’s combo system is based around pressing buttons of increasing strength, such as light-light-medium-heavy-special move. The game is very fast paced and rush down oriented.

Blazblue offers a few non-story single player modes. The standard arcade mode appears, and actually gives you up to three different stories for each character. The character-centered stories are a fine supplement to the main story mode. Grim Abyss mode is a variation to the Abyss mode that’s been around for a couple of games. Picking a grimoire and some skills, you descend down in a survival mode format. Advancing through boss characters, you gain new, more powerful items to help you in the harder areas. Score attack mode returns and is as hard as ever. A new mode Speed Star which is a time attack style mode where you have unlimited health, but have to beat a large number of enemies in a set amount of time. This mode grants more time as you do things like counter throws, do large amounts of damage, or get counter hits. While there is a nice variety to the modes, there isn’t a whole lot to them. You’ll likely find yourself mostly playing the arcade and training modes.

More than thirty fighters to play

More than thirty fighters to play

The training mode in Blazblue has always been quite good. I appreciate that with the press of a menu button I can set myself with various charges of each character unique meter. That would be a hassle to try to work out situational combos otherwise. Central Fiction does offer a tutorial mode. While it technically tells you everything, it doesn’t often go into practical uses of certain features. Learning how to properly use techniques like Rapid Cancel is very difficult, yet left entirely up to the player. At the very least, series veterans should check out the tutorial to learn about certain new featutes, such as Exceed Accel. Exceed Accel lets you cash in what’s left of your overdrive mode for a single big damage hit. Challenge mode is back and will help you quickly figure out how to execute simple combos for each of the games thirty three characters.  

Like most fighters, much of your time will be spent in versus. The network play for the most part is solid. Once you get past the intros, which can chug due to the two opponents syncing, I haven’t seen any heavy online lag. Ranked takes a page from games like Overwatch and gives you a few placement matches before it throws you to the wolves. I’m a huge fan of having a separate ranking for each character, as it encourages experimentation. The lobby is my favorite feature of ArcSys games. Lobby puts you in a 32 player room where you can chat, run around like an idiot(me), or walk up to an arcade cabinet and play someone else in the lobby. It’s a feature I’d certainly like to appear in other fighters.

blazblue-lobby

Blazblue’s online lobby is one of its best features

Central Fiction introduces a few new characters. Nine the Phantom is probably the most unique. Instead of having a standard ABCD combo system, her A, B, and C buttons use elemental magic that stocks. Pressing her drive (D) button will use a different spell based on what combination of spells you have saved. Her attacks also have massive range, but are very slow. Her style seems to be the antithesis to your standard Blazblue rushdown character. Naoto is very similar to Ragna, both in gameplay and story. He’s a pretty straight forward rushdown character with relatively fast attacks and an uppercut. Hibiki, Kagura’s right hand man, is a rather interesting character. His drive sends out a shadow to attack, which he can replace himself with letting him move around the screen with relative ease. Izanami, the goddess of death is playable and is one of the harder to pick up characters. She has the ability to levitate in mid-air, letting her perform ground combos in the air. There are two other console exclusive characters, ES and Susano’o, who are free DLC (at least now) and story unlockable respectively.

blazblue-astral

One of the first things you’ll notice about the new Blazblue is that it’s completely missing English voices. I’ve never been a fan of using the Japanese voices in fighting games, but I was stuck with it. While I don’t know much of the language, I did eventually grow accustomed to these voices, and thought they were actually quite good at conveying the situation. That said, I can’t help but picture Ragna’s gruff english voice or Hazama’s delightfully evil voice. Aside from my minor issues with the voices, the sound is very good. Blazblue’s music is top notch and varies in style from Metal (Ragna), Japanese classical (Hakumen), to whatever you would call Makoto’s theme. In addition to the newer versions of character themes, the original Calamity Trigger versions are available for purchase with in-game currency. The battle sounds are solid and effective at making the hits feel powerful. Visually the game is as impressive as it’s previous versions. The hand drawn environments and characters are pleasing to the eye.

Central Fiction doesn’t change a whole lot from its predecessors, and that’s fine. With its entertaining combat system and solid online play, its one of the better anime fighters on the market right now. Despite the mediocre tutorial system, the game warrants a look for any 2D fighter fan.


About the Author

Bryan Boshart

Hey, I'm Bryan. I write video game reviews here at We The Nerdy. In my spare time I mostly play fighting games, but play almost anything.