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Ever heard of a fan disc? A fan disc is a usually released as supplemental content for popular visual novels in Japan, acting as an epilogue or additional viewpoint of events to a popular game. While Aksys is billing XBlaze – Lost: Memories as a sequel to XBlaze – Code: Embyro, and thus another prequel to the BlazBlue series as a whole, it’s really more of a retelling of events of and epilogue to the previous game.

 

To start, XBlaze – Lost: Memories really only has three "new" characters. One is "Me," the pink-haired, yellow-eyed protagonist who shares a resemblance and voice actress with a certain famous figure in the BlazBlue canon. She’s journeying through a place called the Phantom Field with a mysterious, grey-haired girl named "Nobody" as they search for "Younger Sister," "Me"’s brown-haired, brown-eyed little sister who again resembles and sounds like the little sister of the BlazBlue character alluded to above.

 

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We don’t get to learn too much about them, however, because "Me" loses her memories upon entering the Phantom Field. The entirety of the game is spent searching for memory fragments and crystals depicting the life and times of Es, Mei, Kuon, Yuki, Hinata, and Toya from XBlaze – Code: Embyro. The main memories, shown as "Me" and "Nobody" search for "Little Sister," are Es’ perspective on the events of the previous game, while the Memory Fragments found in the field provide additional information about Toya, Mei, Kuon, Yuki, and Hinata. Eventually, more is learned about the three heroines, but they’re secondary stars. Es is the main focus. Totally new information on all characters eventually comes to light, but the first half of the game focuses on Code Embryo. 

The length of XBlaze – Lost: Memories lends support to the argument that this is more of a fan disc. This is the sort of visual novel where you don’t really make decisions. The game has a story to tell, and for the most part you’re going to hear it. Viewing memories from characters who aren’t Es or "Me" is optional. Gameplay is padded by having "Me" explore floors in the Phantom Field to find additional fragments or participate in "Nobody"’s barely-relevant quizzes to proceed to the next level. You don’t have to, though. You can collect the minimum number of Memory Fragments on each one, if you wish, and be able to go on your way.

 

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If these elements weren’t there, someone would be going from one novel segment to another, with no introduction to the characters in the TIPS section until after they’d appeared in a memory. I imagine it would take half the time necessary to beat the game had these been organized in a menu without the hide and seek and "are you paying attention" tests. The Phantom Field’s floors get to be meandering and monotonous, providing no real challenge so long as you pay close attention.

There’s no penalty for failures in XBlaze – Lost: Memories. Fail one of "Nobody"’s four question quizzes from one floor to another? That’s no problem! You can immediately retake it and will still receive the same number of memory crystals once you do pass.

 

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Monsters eventually begin to appear in the Phantom Field as "Me" wanders around, but that’s not an issue either. They move slowly and area easily avoided. Even if "Me" does run into one, there’s no consequence. There’s a momentary flash of her distressed, but no Memory Fragments are lost. There’s no health to worry about. "Me" isn’t sent back to the beginning of an area. They’re barely a nuisance as someone traverses all 8 floors.

The resulting product is something only people XBlaze – Code: Embryo will feel compelled to play. XBlaze – Lost: Memories holds little appeal for people who have played every BlazBlue or never encountered the series. Even fans of the series may find it difficult to keep going, since the appearance of the two very familiar faces acts more as a carrot on a string than actual opportunity to unlock a wealth of information about them.

Jenni Lada
Jenni has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, CheatCC, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.

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