Blazblue (pronounced “Bley-blue” officially) is a fighting game series from Arc System Works that’s been ported mainly to the PS3 and Xbox 360, although PSP and PC versions are also available. The first game was BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, and there is also a DSiWare called BlayzBloo: Super Melee Brawlers Battle Royale, which hasn’t been released in the states yet even though it has been rated by the ESRB.
This series is a spiritual successor to Guilty Gear, and there are many similar aspects between the two games (not even including character appearances). Both are considered combo-based fighting games, meaning that victory is determined mainly by who can best pull off the difficult button combinations. Both are also 2D fighting games, where the art is all anime-style and cel-shaded.
Other than having a continuation to the original story, the sequel contains a total of 7 new characters, 3 of whom are DLC. As the reviews below mention plenty, there are new modes included as well, such as the Challenge Mode, Tutorial Mode, Beginner Mode, and Legion Mode from the PSP port. Judging from the purpose of these modes and the comments below, it seems that BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is friendlier towards beginners.
Amazon.jp includes reviews for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the Limited Edition Box set (which has been set to release in Europe but not in the states due to time constraints) and the preorder special including the Drama CD, as well as the game without any specials. All of these are compiled in the graph and reviews were considered from each of the different sections. The Amazon.jp average is 3.98.
From an Explosive Perspective (5 stars)
Compared to the previous game, this one’s much more user-friendly and easier to play.
I played a little of the original game offline, but the system and combos were so difficult that I stopped because I couldn’t understand any of it. This time, though, there’s a tutorial mode that details meticulously about the basics of a fighting game, the system, how to stand your ground, how to feint and read feints, and the different control schemes for each character.
You can also practice everything from basic combos to more extensive ones to your heart’s content in Challenge Mode, and you can replay examples of easy combos, which I think will help eliminate the problem of not knowing how to follow up different moves.
I’ve often heard that the combos are hard, but I personally feel that even though they’re long, they’re easy to connect. It feels wonderful and cool when you can instinctively choose which combo to use after practicing a few dozen times. It’s very important to practice until you become used to it.
I haven’t tried to play online yet, but I’m pretty sure I’d be beaten to a pulp. But then again, that’s the essence of a fighting game, so I’m going to try my best.
Based on what I’ve said above, I feel this game was much, much easier to play. I recommend this game to those people who have always wanted to play a fighting game but could never understand how.
Take it Easy on the Box (5 stars)
The [Limited Edition] Box is made of something really soft. It’s much more fragile than the box from, say, the Metal Gear Solid boxed version, so be careful opening it or else it’ll just rip right apart.
Anyways, about the content. There’s a lot more volume in this game than the previous one. On top of the usual Arcade and Story Modes, there’s the Tutorial that explains everything from basic controls to cancels, the whole nine yards (it even goes into the basic terms of a fighting game); the Legion Mode that was added to the PSP version; the Challenge Mode where you can practice your Specials and combos, etc….
The story will also connect to the next game (rather, it seems like it won’t even end by the next game), so you can be sure to anticipate another addition to the series.
The only problem was that I wished that there was more variety to the combo training in Challenge Mode and that the third and fourth missions were easier…
Also, and I’ve thought this in the first game too, but I always feel like the creators are cutting corners in the anime sequences somehow… The animation company is Gonzo, but from what I can tell from Strike Witches, this problem doesn’t seem to be Gonzo’s fault. I think this then makes the bad touch-up Arc System Works’ doing (plus, Guilty Gear felt like it had the same problem).
It’s on the PS3 and all, so it would have been better if it had a better touch-up, especially with the character’s faces… It really feels like a degradation in terms of character art.
As for the online mode, there are absolutely no other players in the Rank Matches. At first I logged on at noon, and I thought, “Well, it can’t be helped. It’s noontime after all,” so I connected again at night. It was several minutes before I finally started…
Maybe there weren’t as many people as I thought who bought this game…?
There are Many Changes. Bask in the Glory of this Game!! (5 stars)
The characters were too specialized in the previous game, and it was pretty badly criticized for that, but with these corrections and new material, it’s gotten pretty good now.
Actually playing it, it was a very complete, fun experience on a whole.
As usual, I didn’t stand a chance against the strong players online, but if you take full advantage of the Beginner Mode and the Tutorial, even beginners can open the road to victory. That concept earned a gold star in my book.
However, the game is represented completely in cell animation, so it will probably be heavily subjected to personal preferences. I highly suggest looking up sample videos before purchasing this game.
<Thoughts on the bonus material>
- The box is covered with illustrations.
- The visual book is parted between left and right, either into a painted drawing and a monochrome drawing, or two line drawings. There’s one per page. The drawings are a tiny bit revealing.
- The script replica is the script used for recording at home. There are voice actor comments as well (word-processed).
- There’s a limited edition illustration on the disk label. (A 5-way stare-off between characters)
- The Nendoroid [mini-figurine] is 65cm, can wear a hat, and includes a stand.
- The drama CD is a preorder bonus. If you just buy the box edition over the counter, which was what I bought, you won’t get this.
<Thoughts on the game>
- There’s a Beginner Mode where you can fight by just button-mashing. (A portion of the moves is locked, though.)
- The Unlimited character bosses are strong.
- You can earn [PS3] trophies. You can also install the game. The loading is fast.
- There’s lots to remember, but the tutorial is detailed enough to even be fully voiced. However, the tips on fighting are a bit lacking. It would’ve been better if there were an illustrated book as well.
- The difficulty in Challenge mode is high. The Legion mode is the same as in the PSP.
- The character’s lines are fully voiced and in the scenario novel take up more than 28 volumes. Matching the lines up with the script makes it even more fun. The stage directions aren’t narrated.
- There are hidden alternative versions of characters, as well as a Gallery Mode.
I am Mostly Satisfied Other than with the CPU Super-Response Time (4 stars)
I bought the PS3 version of the sequel to BlazBlue, Continuum Shift.
The characters’ abilities and balance have been upgraded. I won’t be including them in this review.
Added in this game are the Tutorial Mode, where you can study up on basic movements; Challenge Mode, where an extremely large range of combos – from the most basic to the super hard ones that practically no one can complete – are recorded; and the Legion Mode that was included in the PSP version.
The aforementioned Tutorial Mode and Challenge Mode are very convenient for learning about the basic actions and the fundamentals of each character.
There’s also a Beginner Mode for those who aren’t used to the controls. This is pretty convenient (although it’s not so convenient when you want to freely use a character you’re already used to), since as long as you continuously press buttons, the characters will automatically dish out combos. This way, even players not used to the game can fight, and they won’t have to suffer in the Story Mode either.
(I’m probably better with Rachel in Beginner Mode than anywhere else (laughs))
The Story Mode also has new plot development in this game, which was really interesting.
The story itself is great. With the previously mentioned Beginner Mode also exists, so you can somehow work your way through even with the characters you are horrible at and just enjoy the story.
Also, this time, because you don’t have to lose to get 100% completion rate, you don’t have to worry about purposely losing, which was really annoying.
If your network connection is working, online battles are extremely fun too.
There were parts I wasn’t satisfied with, such as the unreasonably high response time of the hard CPUs; the unreasonably difficult Arcade Mode boss Hazama, even in Beginner Mode; and the slightly bad animation quality (when I first saw it, I felt that the Ragna vs. Hazama fight was the worst); but I’m completely satisfied with the fun of fighting other people and the incredibly interesting story.
Fun! (4 stars)
The foundation isn’t different from the previous game, but the volume has increased quite a bit.
There’s the Tutorial (that makes Ueda Kana-san [Rachel Alucard’s voice actor] cry tears of blood), and even a separate control scheme for beginners to make it easier for them to hold their ground.
On top of everything else, I was happy that there was also a Challenge Mode where you can learn about combos.
Two characters who were from the Arcade Mode are now usable, as well as an all-new character μ, and Makoto is also usable as DLC.
It’s much better than in the previous game, though there are still a few concerning balance issues … but love makes me ignore all that!
As for the story, it’s a shame but I have no idea about the people that appear in this game. (Then again, there are people like me who had no idea in the previous game too, even after having played the whole thing…)
Everything is fully voiced, so the volume is extremely large.
On the topic of the fighting part of this game, the Barrier Boost’s name was changed, and even the effects were changed as well.
At any rate, the effects and motions were cool.
The animation seems to be even lower quality than it was in the previous game. Was the picture quality reduced…?
The character’s sprites’ and the packaging’s art style have changed quite a bit. I wonder if the artist had changed?
This is very subjective, so there’s nothing I can really say about it.
As for the online function, I was very happy with the ability to just wait online for someone to come.
How are they online? Really, really, really really strong… It’s not like a “bargain sale on strong players,” but there are still quite a few.
There are some monstrously strong characters wandering around.
There are some times when I get discouraged, but let’s work hard together! If I meet you online, I promise to go easy! (laughs)
Overall, the game was very fun.
It’s irresistible to people like me who like humor, and I believe people who love fighting games will enjoy it too.
Degradations in Various Areas (3 stars)
- The menu is now easier to read.
- The story is even more interesting than before (although at least one more game is guaranteed).
- Character graphics (both on the packaging and in character selection)
The art style changed along with the artist. Rachel and Noel aren’t even comparable to before. I want the old artist back…
- The Matching function
Because searching for an opponent in the Rank Match takes a lot of time, you don’t really use it other than for Player Matches. I wish that they had made it possible to make a custom match or to search for room names.
- The difference in character abilities
The difference in abilities will show no matter what you do, but perhaps they’re planning to update the game and fix it later? It was quite some time before they put this game out, but did they just release this without fixing anything…? This difference is too obvious, no matter what others say. Rachael…
There’s some downloadable content, but it probably would have left a better impression on the consumers had they announced it after the game was released.
As usual, the battle speed is incredible. By the way, those planning on starting with BlazBlue with this game should know that this is a combo game. The combos are long, and the players may get irritated being beaten upon continuously by their opponent.
Also, online, there are lots of strong people in the net battles (when will the excitement die down…?), but there are also many who are fairly used to this game. You should think of it this way. Even if you enter a room marked for beginners, there won’t be too many beginners there.
If you don’t either play high difficulty Arcade Mode or practice your combos until you can use them in Challenge Mode, you’ll get kicked around. It’s not really fun.
They’re Charging for Things this Difficult…? (3 stars)
Other reviews have written a lot about the contents of this game, so I won’t touch upon it.
The difficulty settings are unfair.
It’s great that equipping the game with Tutorial and Beginner Mode makes it a lot easier to play, but…
The difficulty level of Score Attack Mode is unchanged.
Then there’s the Unlimited character versions.
The manual writes that they’re the ultimate powered-up characters, but you can only get them by clearing Score Attack Mode, which is really difficult.
It’s impossible for a beginner.
Plus, to be able to use it for all the characters, you have to clear everyone’s route.
What about the beginners then?
I can’t believe that they’re offering a way out so long as they charge you.
It’s like the difficulty level was set there just to make beginners pay money.
[You can purchase Unlimited character forms as DLC.]
At the very least, if it’s written in the manual that it’s the true power of the characters, then I wish that anyone can be able to use it if they try hard enough.
It’s like they’re saying, “If you’re a beginner, please pay money to be able to use the true form of the characters.”
The whole thing is basically just a bonus that uses money to segregate beginners from the rest of the players.