Release Date: Out now
Developer: Arc System works
Publisher: Zen United
Splitscreen: yes, 2 player
Multiplayer: 2, 1v1 game type
It’s been quite a while coming for Blazblue: Calamity Trigger to make it onto UK soil, in fact its sequel (Blazblue: Continuum Shift) is being released this year in Japan.
Sadly Blazblue is simply not going to attract the mainstream audience unlike Street Fighter, it simply does not have the publicity to do so and that’s a real shame as fighting fans are going to miss out on one of, if not the best fighting game on Xbox 360.
The game is beautiful, I want to get that out of the way straight away, it’s stunning to look at, though many people may argue that the days of Sprites (2d models) are over as Street Fighter IV now uses full 3d models, well silence I say.
Blazblue uses an anime style art for each character and backdrop (which are full 3d) and they all look stunning as well as unique, giving the game a style all of its own and helps set it apart, though it hardly needs it as everything in Blazblue screams “unique” from each character looking well designed to there entirely unique movesets, styles and even gauges.
In fact, swapping a character in Blazblue is akin to relearning the entire game all over again thanks to the fact that each one comes with their own movesets, combo’s, specials and even gauges and bars to learn which is a good thing as Blazblue’s roster is only 12 strong which is smaller than the norm nowadays but thanks to each character feeling so different you wont even notice.
It certainly rewards players for sticking with a character and learning all their quirks, tricks and techniques.
But a flaw that many fighting games falls to is balance, it’s important in a fighter that no character ever feels at a disadvantage to another character or that they are at a massive advantage to others and Blazblue does this well, there are a few exceptions ( I’m looking at you ya giant useless red beast) but all together it felt very well balanced and each match simply came down to skill, knowledge of your chosen warrior.
Special mention must go to the fact that in Blazblue they have created a fighting game that works very well on the regular Xbox 360 controller, it’s built around using the analogue sticks and while there is still the occasional over rotation or mistake altogether it works extremely well and saves you from forking out extra cash to buy a fight pad or stick to play.
It’s easy to get into Blazblue as at first it seems simple enough, 4 buttons are all you really need to learn to start hitting people in Blazblue.
Light, medium and heavy attacks take up 3 of those buttons, combo’s are as easy as hitting light to hard to use basic combo’s so any new player can pick up Blazblue and be able to fight within minutes of picking up the controller.
The 4th button is known as the Drive button, these Drive attacks/powers are unique to each character, in many respects the Drive button is the “do something cool button) in the game allowing you to pull of something flashy or cool at the tap of a button but once you learn each characters ability and how to chain it into combos it becomes a truly fantastic system.
Each drive is unique to the character, Ragna for example can use it to steal health while Iron Tager can magnetize his enemies with it and the vampire Rachel can use it to control the wind, it gives them all very different playstyles and techniques and correct use of this magical button can turn the tide of battle.
Of course while this is all easy for beginners to pick up, Calamity Trigger is also there to appeal to the hardcore fighting fans out there, and appeal it does.
As you fight and dish out the damage (and get your face pulped) you fill the heat gauge, this is a super meter in effect allowing you access to the Distortion Drive moves and Astral Finishes.
Distortion Drives are a step up from the normal special attacks, use one and a portion of your Heat bar disappears but they lead to spectacular results and can usually be chained into combos so smart use of them is vital, be warned they can be blocked though so timing is everything.
The Astral Finishes are there more for show and flourish as they are not the best to use thanks to criteria that must be met before use:
-must be the final round
-must have a full heat meter
-the opponent must have 20% health or less.
These are more for show and to rub your opponents face in it, but they are unstoppable and always spectacular to use.
Blazblue also encourages players to attack instead of spamming the block by using a Guard Libra system, if a person over use’s the standard blocks this bar will fill as their opponent strikes them, once filled their guard is broken, this stops those overly defensive players in their tracks.
Along with regular blocking there comes several other options, examples include instant blocks which require precision timing (button mashing will not work) along with Barrier Blocks which cannot be broken, however they have a limited Barrier bar, while it refills over time using this overly much will result in the gauge becoming empty which results in you taking 50% more damage until the Barrier gauge half fills.
Finally Barrier Bursts allow you to shove the enemy away at the cost of your Barrier Bar, taking an extra 50% damage for the entire round and not being able to Barrier Block so while Blazblue hands you a raft of defensive options it also forces you to use them well instead of spamming them.
Counters are one of the more simple tactics for players to learn, it simply involves hitting an opponent while they are in an attack animation, this leaves them open to a combo.
The Rapic Cancel also adds a whole new dimension to combos by allowing you to cancel your characters animation after any attack, this costs 50% of your heat bar but allows you to jump into a different attack, strategy or to just back off at will.
It’s these options that make Blazblue an absurdly deep fighting game, while a beginner can pick up and play fighting veterans will have a game that rewards patience and familiarity with your chosen character.
It’s never going to get mass appeal which is a vast shame, but no true fighting fan should not have this game in their collection.
-it’s eye poppingly beautiful
-so balanced and fun to play!
-getting your ass handed to you
– story will confuse many people
-having to restart story mode!
Beautiful, the only reason it didn’t get a 10 was the occasional background detail being a little off. but only a little
Solid voice acting and a great soundtrack
Anime fans will be happy but for most people, you’ll be confused.
an incredibly deep fighting game.
Most people will finish the story and a few arcade battles and go online for a while. but hardcore fighters will find a home here.
Blazblue: Calamity Trigger is a fantastic, beautiful fighting game that entertains in every way