System: PS3, Xbox 360, Arcade
Release: Arcade November 2008, Console June 2009
Blazblue is a 2D fighting game by Arc System Works. Their previous work on the Guilty Gear series gave me high expectations for this new game and I was not disappointed. Blazblue takes the core gameplay of Guilty Gear, and adds new mechanics, new characters, new…well new everything. Players familiar with Guilty Gear will find welcomed similarities between them, but each title is its own beast.
Blazblue offers numerous game modes for both on and offline play. Arcade, Versus, Training, Score Attack, and Online Play are all pretty standard game types that can be found in any fighter. The new Story mode, however, attempts to give players a little more background into each character. The cut scenes have limited animation, and offer the occasional choice that dictates your next destination. The style is reminiscent of old JRPGS. In between all the dialogue is the occasional one round fight. The result of the fight also affects the plot. To complete the entire story for one character players have to win and lose against the entire roster. This doesn’t sound so bad until you’ve watched the same opening for the umpteenth time. Fortunately the traditional game modes are less tedious and more awesome.
Arc has once again produced a well balanced and polished 2D fighting experience. Each round is presented with a solid frame rate and little to no lag for online play. No one fighter dominates the roster, and each character has a unique attack that defines their play style. Carl, for example, has an android that players can control with a press of a button. Rachel can summon powerful gusts of wind that will push or pull her enemies, and Jin can freeze his opponents. These “drive” abilities help distinguish Blazblue from other fighters—including Guilty Gear—and produce intense combat encounters. Adding to the overall presentation are the beautiful 3D levels. I would, however, have liked to seen more player interaction in each stage. One thing I like about Street Fighter IV was the various reactions from the crowd watching the brawl.
Like most fighting games Blazblue is at its best when two humans pick up the sticks. The single player Arcade and Score Attack can be fun, but after so many fights against AI things get predictable. I’ve spent most of my time playing Versus with friends, and Online Play with those creepy talented internet strangers. Even when I’m getting my ass kicked this game is fun. I don’t have the knowledge to give the in-depth nerdy details, but trust me…Blazblue is better then Street Fighter IV. There I said it.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, fighting games is not my forte. I enjoy the action, competition, and even the occasional adrenalin rush. I rarely win against anyone with a smidgen of talent, but I always have fun. Those with “mad skills” can produce an amazing spectacle, and really show the full potential of a game. An example of this is the video below. The grand finals at the Arcade Infinity Blazblue Tournament put Mike Z (Iron Tager) against Goryus (V13). I’ve talked with and played against Mike Z a couple of times. His lightening reflexes, and in depth knowledge of fighting games makes him a dangerous opponent. Can he pull off another victory?
A part of me was sad when Mike Z lost. He is a really nice guy, and was a pleasure to work with on LOTR:Conquest. Another part of me was happy to see him loose. This was the angry bitter side that couldn’t get his health below half when playing against him. Annnnyyyyy whhhooooo Snerts Snazy Score for BlazBlue is a solid 4.8 out of 5. It would have been a perfect if it wasn’t for that dam story mode.