Blazblue is one of the best fighting games of today, it is Street Fighter’s biggest rival. Blazblue is brought to us by Arc System Works who created the Guilty Gear series, Blazblue is set towards a new generation of gamers, although if you’re a fighting game veteran, you will enjoy this fighting game very much. Extend is the perfect one to start with too as it has a remastered version of Calamity Trigger’s story, new stories and modes added into Continuum Shift, as well as that, the much-needed balance updates that we need to keep up with the Arcade players.
Being one of the best fighters of today, Blazblue offers nothing but enjoyment, there is a variety of modes to play, for a fighting game, it has one of the most in-depth stories created, it even has manga books to give players more of the background, it also has one of the most smoothly working online systems, complete with a ranking and PSR system. You will hardly come across any lag in this game as it looks for the best connection for you, it is also one of the more competitive online experiences, due to all of the characters being unique to each other, you are most likely to see every character being played online.
The audio used is really good, sure it may reuse a lot of the tracks from the first game Calamity Trigger, but there is really nothing to improve in that area, Daisuke Ishiwatari who is well-known for tracks such as Awe of She from Guilty Gear offers Blazblue the same treatment when it comes to audio, it is a rock styled soundtrack. Each character has their own theme, including special versus themes, in Extend, there is a new track for Tsubaki VS. Jin fight, which is available with or without lyrics. Players can also choose which track they want to use in Versus modes.
As well as that, players get the option to choose voice language, whether they want it in Japanese or English is up to them, this affects online too, where if a player is using English and the other is using Japanese, there will be two different languages used in that match. You’ll hear phases like Noel’s “Hands off the panda!”. The exact same voices are used for Story Mode, which there is a lot of, although the option I would really like when it comes to this is choosing Japanese for certain characters and choosing English for others, while some voices are done well in English, others aren’t done so well, as in they don’t really suit that character.
Blazblue is a 2D fighter, so it is HD sprites we’re seeing here in action. They are done well, the animation is quite fluent, attacks animate smoothly, attacks like Astral Heats come out really nice in these graphics. The backgrounds of the game is semi-3D, they have 2D NPCs, ones such as Hype Dog that will bark the entire match, or just an audience, depends on the arena if it’s one that is based somewhere that would have people in it, there is also some creatures from the Blazblue series make appearances too.
When out of in-game graphics, in Story Mode we see hi-res artwork of each of the characters, including non-playable characters of the Blazblue series. These are used for when it comes to talking, whichever two characters are having a conversation, we will see them and they’ll put on different expressions every so often, lips move to make it seem like they are talking too, so it isn’t just a plain drawn character, there is still some animation there. And at some points during story, we see even better art used, and example of which is seen on the first image of the review, these are used to describe an iconic scene, these aren’t animated however, it’s just nice to see once in a while.
For anything big in Story, or just the opening, this is entirely anime, although, they don’t really last long, but it is helpful for explaining some parts of the story.
Most fighting games barely have stories, this is where Blazblue is different. The story of Blazblue is one of the most in-depth, it can even rival the likes of RPGs, Extend is perfect if you want to play mainly for the story, it includes a remastered version of Calamity Trigger’s story, while it has been a bit cut down (characters don’t have separate stories, it is all just one thing), it still serves it’s purpose which is giving people who haven’t played the first game, the story of it, which is, if you want the hope of understanding Continuum Shift’s story, you are going to need this.
It also includes the story of Continuum Shift with all of the characters playable with their own stories, along with four extra stories for the four new characters and two extra side stories.
Before the events of Blazblue, all of humanity was threatened by a creature known as The Black Beast, using the Ars Magus, six legendary warriors defeat the Black Beast saving the lands and making life peaceful again for the inhabitants, about several years after all of this, Ragna, the main character of the series is on the run, because he destroyed many of the bases of the new order placed on the world, so he is a top wanted criminal. Most of the other characters either work with this order or are vigilantes, out to hunt him down for the huge bounty on his head. That being said, the main character sounds more like a bad guy, lets just say he’s an anti-hero type, he’s doing the right thing, while everyone else believes it’s wrong and well, he honestly doesn’t care if he’s going to have to kill off some of the vigilantes after him.
The story can be done in two ways, either by playing Arcade or playing the actual Story mode, playing Arcade gives you similar stories which you would get in other fighting games, it isn’t as in-depth. While if you were playing Story Mode, you will get a much more in-depth story, which includes good endings, bad endings and gag reels, which are just funny extras. The story is laid out like a visual novel would, you sometimes get different choices, and depending in how you finish fights and so on. Not every character’s story is ready for play as soon as you start, you will have to play whatever is there first and this will unlock more.
Blazblue is one of the most enjoyable fighting games out there, anyone can pick it up and have fun, it is suitable for both beginners and veteran players, it is easily the best fighting game for many players, being Street Fighter’s top rival in the genre.
It has a variety of modes to play, there’s Arcade, Story, Score Attack and Online. While Extend adds in a new mode called Abyss, which is similar to Guilty Gear’s Survival Mode if you’re familiar with that, it’s a Survival Mode but with a bit of a twist, players can also buy upgrades for the characters within it.
There is also modes like Tutorial, Training and Challenge mode, all of these are to get the player into Blazblue’s system, Tutorial explains the base mechanics of Blazblue as well as giving the player the choice to do individual tutorials of each character. Training is a mode where the player can go in and practice combos they have read off the internet, or just to get the hang of a certain character. And finally, Challenge mode learns the player how to do combos and pulling them off correctly, to me, these modes are better than Training as they can tell you where exactly you go wrong with some things, it will take a lot of patience to actually complete all of the challenges, but if you do, you will be a master at the game then.
Blazblue is also easily picked up for beginners, it has a Stylish Layout where you can have easier access to combos and some of the super moves, although playing this mode gives the player a bit of a disadvantage, for example, if another player gets you into a loop combo, or just an overall long combo that can easily drain your health, you’ll have no way of getting out of it as you have no Barrier Burst in this layout, so the price for easy combos may not be worth it for some, as well as that, the player also doesn’t have access to the entire move list of that character.
Technical Layout is the layout players should practice, while it doesn’t offer easy combos or lets you pull off supers with one button, it doesn’t keep anything from you, you have barrier burst, you can block without using up your barrier and you also have a wider range of moves to choose from, therefore meaning more combos, you will have to practice with this mode to get good with it, but that’s what fighting games are about, you will be constantly practicing and learning new techniques in them. Players who have played a wider range of fighting games will be faster at learning than others, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely impossible to beginners, beginners should start with Stylish, learn how to play first, then move into Technical when they feel they are ready.
The characters of Blazblue are all unique which makes it really fun to play, I main two of the characters of the game, and you can main whoever you wish, for those of you who do not know what main means, it means the character you mostly use, the character you can mostly win with, players can have as many of these as they wish, actually, they can main the whole roster if they want to put the time in! Not one character plays the same, so matches are a lot of fun in Blazblue, especially when it comes to online. I’m not much of an online gamer, but Blazblue is one of those rare communities that I actually enjoy, you will get spammers, but this seems like a minimum to Blazblue, compared to Capcom fighting games, hardly no one spams in Blazblue, mainly because it doesn’t work.
As for gameplay, in Extend we get the latest balances added, these are things that are to get rid of the glitches or exploits in the past versions, if you are a tournament player, you definitely need to know of these as they can sometimes easily wreck the character you main, meaning you’ll have a bit of learning to do before playing as them in tournaments or online. Balances don’t only take away, but add things, such as combos, sometimes a move can be made to work in combos, while it didn’t before, or players can now input moves in the air, an example of which is V-11′s Calamity Sword that could never be performed in midair before.
Extend also adds in new distortion drives, and any DLC that the previous game had, is now available to purchase in the gallery at no extra charge.
Well, is Extend worth it? It most certainly is if you want to give the series a shot, with the story of the first game there and every available character that there has been in the Blazblue series, it is the best to start with. It is also worth it for previous players, I have played every Blazblue to date, and I find this really improved from Continuum Shift, if you never purchased the DLC characters of the last game, you also get them, plus any other DLC that was in the previous game, then this makes it even more worth it, it is at a bargain price too and now that it’s been out for a while, I’m sure it’s even cheaper.
Overall it’s an excellent game and a good one to pick up if you are thinking of getting Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R or the upcoming Persona 4 Arena, which are both made from the same developer, so they will follow similar mechanics, I know, from playing it, that Blazblue bothered a lot from the Guilty Gear series, so it’s really good to pick up if you find the need to get into some fighting games, Blazblue is easily picked up by beginners, so it’s a fighting game I always recommend to friends wanting to get into the genre.