I haven’t played the original release so this review will be covering the full-fat experience of Central Fiction from a non-competitive standpoint. A good place to start is inclusion. With such a massive cult following bundled with a need for technical prowess, BlazBlue can make the most seasoned tournament competitor as red as Ragna’s trenchcoat.
A N00bs Option You Say?
For newcomers to the series, like myself, a Stylish mode is available which plays in a similar fashion to Cross Tag Battle. All the front without the loss of a digit or two by allowing players a simple button press to perform specials. Lovely!
For those who have been lured in by BlazBlue for the honour of beat ’em up pride, players won’t find a more satisfying system. Whilst I would hardly say I mastered the mechanics, I became competent (offline) after 3 hours worth of fighting. Online, I just didn’t bother, but there weren’t any issues with lag or frame rate drops, nor did I have to struggle to find a combatant.
Once players find they’re confident with basic commands, a characters overdrive bar can be manipulated by performing ‘Exceed Accel’ (Smashing all four face buttons at once to perform a special attack that deals massive damage but cuts a players overdrive window short, dependant on its use).
Finding Your Flow…
Another useful mechanic for offensive players is ‘Active Flow’. Active Flow activates when players make a series of attacks, this refills their burst gauge as well as regenerates health. It’s also worth noting that the metagame makes great use of countering and dodging, which can make Active Flow a tough state to trigger in some competitive circumstances.
Speaking of playtime, BlazBlue is famous for is Shonen Jump style anime cutscenes and stills, so much so that the recap of the previous game alone is a 30-minute task. The overall character development in Ragnar’s definitive BlazBlue title is amazing and was craving more near the end. Everyone has a backstory, most also have a motive that intertwines them within the narrative of Central Fiction.
Central Fictions story mode can be likened to a visual novel with instances of 2D technical fighting, which is quite an accurate description. But, if by some strange twist of fate players buy BlazBlue just for the competitive scene side of things, there are some alternative modes for that!
Miles and Miles of Modes!
All available from the get-go, BlazBlue Central Fiction features the following alternative modes:
- Practice modes: Tutorial, Training and Challenge
- Story Mode: Complete with a glossary (I found this very useful)
- Arcade Mode: A mode familiar approach for arcade fighter enthusiasts. Light story and all the action!
- VS Mode: Fight against AI or a physical opponent.
- Grim of Abyss Mode: Create Grimores, attach them to a character and clear dungeons.
- Score Attack Mode: Points Scored appear in online rankings
- Speed Star Mode: Extra time is given for dealing high damage or finishing on a special move
- Network Mode: Online VS, which scares this reviewer
In terms of the port itself, it’s a clean one with zero third party mud smear in docked and handheld mode. ARC’s stylized anime character models and levels still pop and deliver silky-smooth yet over the top blows and finishers. And in no way is that depressing!
The soundtrack is an amazing J-Rock, J-Pop Shonen mashup that is no stranger to setting the level of gravitas at any given moment. The voice acting across the board expresses the relevant emotions very well and add to the stories immersion. Kotoko’s title track ‘TRUE BLUE’ is a perfect example:
Overall Score: 9/10
BlazBlue: Cental Fiction is a title I should have picked up back on the PlayStation 3 in 2016. Do not miss this opportunity to catch not only the pinnacle of the BlazBlue story arcs at the time of central fiction but also a brilliantly competitive game that has options for casual and enthusiasts alike.
Format: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3
Price: £34.99 (eShop)
Developer: ARC SystemWorks
Age Rating: PEGI 12+
Release Date: 08/02/19
Review copy provided by publisher