|Dev: Arc System Works|
|Release: March 25, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Language, Mild Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence|
by Angelo M. D’Argenio
The BlazBlue franchise has come under quite a bit of fire for the sheer amount of times Aksys and Arc System Works have repackaged and resold the game. First there was BlazBlue Calamity Trigger, the first release. Then, there was the update, BlazBlue Continuum Shift. Then there were all of Continuum Shift’s DLC characters along with the Continuum Shift 2 balance patch. Then there was BlazBlue Continuum Shift EX, which included yet another balance patch, one new character, all the DLC that you bought already (yes, this meant you essentially had to buy them again to stay current). Now, there is BlazBlue: Chronophantasma, likely one of the last fighting game releases Arc System Works will have until they switch over to next generation consoles. When you add all of these releases together along with their retail price tags, you could easily spend more than twice as much as you spent on keeping Street Fighter updated to Super Street Fighter IV: We Have To Many Words In Our Title Arcade Edition Version 2012. Is it really worth doling out another $40 bucks just to stay current in the BlazBlue franchise, especially with other Arc System Works games like Persona 4 Arena 2 and Guilty Gear –XRD- on the way?
In almost every other situation I would cry out that this is a blatant cash grab by a fighting game developer trying to market a balance patch as a full game. Heck, I DID do that when I reviewed BlazBlue Continuum Shift EX. But there is a LOT of content here, and it’s not just “new story” or “new single-player gameplay modes.” Its new characters, new moves, new mechanics and more. The whole flow of the game feels completely different than it did in the past. Coming into Chronophantasma, I had to forget all the old skills and combos I knew and relearn new ones, so much so that my favorite characters changed drastically. Like it or not, BlazBlue: Chronophantasma actually is a worthy new BlazBlue title, and as painful as shelling out another $40 is to play a series that you have already been money squeezed on, trust us, it’s worth it.
The newest addition to the game is the new Overdrive system, which takes the place of the burst system of previous titles. For those of you who don’t know, Bursts basically allow you to knock the opponent away from you, even if you are currently getting it. It’s kind of like a “get out of combo free” card. In the first Blazblue, you had one burst per round which made you take double damage after it was used, and in the second, you started the match with one burst and got another if you lost a round at any time. In BB:CP however, your burst is now tied to a new meter called your Overdrive meter. It fills up as a match takes place and when it’s full, you can burst as normal.
However, there is another thing you can do with your Overdrive meter, and that is activate your character’s unique overdrive. Doing so gives your character a significant bonus to damage and grants their moves additional properties. Sometimes, they even get new moves that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Activating Overdrive is completely invincible, making it a good defensive move, and combos you do while in Overdrive are unburstable, making the damage sure to stick. The lower your health, the longer your Overdrive lasts, and characters in significantly low health will likely be able to stay in overdrive until the match ends. Most “install” type supers, which make your character go into a special kind of mode, have been changed over to a character’s overdrive and replaced with supers of their own. For example, Ragna’s Blood Kain is now his overdrive. Some characters even get bonuses that they would only otherwise get in unlimited mode. For example, Hazama gets his aura of life drain when he is in overdrive mode.
Another new system that has been added to the game is the crush trigger. By pressing weak and medium attack while standing, your character will perform a slow unblockable attack that costs 25 percent of your super meter. This greatly increases every character’s mix-up capability, but if noticed, the opponent can “barrier block” a better defense that costs meter, or simply attack the person who is performing it. Crush triggers usually put the opponent into a prolonged stun state, such as a float, hard knockdown, spin-out or crumple, which allows you to easily rack up huge damage off of a successfully landed one.
The old cast of the game has been greatly changed. Nu-13, for example, has elements of both her Continuum Shift incarnation, Lambda-11, and her original Calamity Trigger incarnation. Nearly every character in the game has new moves, especially characters that have had their old install supers moved to overdrive status. Combos have been shortened overall and the whole game has shifted to be more aggressive.