BlazBlue: Central Fiction – Review
Follow Genre: 2D fighting game/beat'em up
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: PQube
Platform: Playstation 3, Playstation 4
Tested on: Playstation 4 Pro

BlazBlue: Central Fiction – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Large character roster, accessible gameplay for new and experienced players, variation in combat styles and characters
Bad: Poor design choices, story can feel unstructured, no english dubbing
User Score
7.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

If you’re frustrated after a bad day at work and you need the perfect relief, than a good fighting/beat-em up title can do the trick. At least if you’re not planning to throw your controller through the window if you manage to lose. Lately, there is a large roster of fighting games available on the market ranging from well known titles such as Street Fighter, Tekken and Mortal Kombat to the lesser known titles such as Final Fight and Fatal Fury. BlazBlue floats somewhere in between there and just recently, they’ve released their newest addition to the series, BlazBlue Central Fiction. We’re curious to find out, if this IP can still hold its own among the wide variety of fighting games.

blazbluecentralfiction1Story

The story of Central Fiction continues where Chrono Phantasma left off and is supposed to be the final chapter in the Azure Saga. The situation is dire as the evil imperator has dissappeared and a mysterious black sphere called the Embryo has appeared high in the sky. Lord Kaguya calls for a meeting among the rebels where only kokonoe, Kagura, Hibiki and Tager are present. They plan to search for Ragna Bloodedge who’s unaccounted for after the events of him being taken over by the Black Beast, the evil entity that uses Ragna as his vessel. The rebels believe Ragna is the only one capable of taking down the imperator and the Embryo. Meanwhile Jin Kasuragi, Ragna younger brother, and Noel Vermillion are still recovering from their wounds after their fight with Ragna’s altered form. Jin has regained his memories of his past, after being controlled by the soul of his Nyx Nyctores(weapons with a will of their own), Yukianesa.  As Noel is close to full recovery, Jin orders her, as her commanding officer within NOL(Novus Orbis Librarium), to chase after Ragna in order to kill him and prevent the destruction of the world by the Black Beast.

BlazBlue Central Fiction_1The story succeeds in delivering an expansive, compelling storyline with convincing plot twists but requires a lot of foreknowledge of the former three installments in order to get a decent understanding of the complete story. As this might be a struggle for a lot of new players, the game offers the possibility to get a heads-up of what happened before through a thirty minute long recap and the use of a large, extensive library containing all the information about the lore of BlazBlue. The downside about this was that it felt unstructured and chaotic. As for the story itself, it’s presented as a visual novel that exchanges animated sequences and voiced dialogues filled with laughter and drama, in order to bring an unique experience that feels like reading an interactive manga or watching anime. The story is divided into 3 major acts and further on into chapters and episodes. That way, players can replay separate parts of the story and even unlock sub-episodes that contain events that take place simultaniously with the main story. Apart from the main storymode, you can also play through the individual stories of each character in the Arcade Mode and even enables you to play the storylines from the former BlazBlue games through 3 acts per character.

BlazBlue Central Fiction_2Graphics

The main visual style of BlazBlue is japanese animation and fits the game perfectly in every way. Everything ranging from colours, textures, animations in the story mode to the character models during combat, has been done perfectly. It feels like the thin line between animation and videogames has faded away. Although the game may look gorgeous, there are a few minor points such as the 3D models for the battle stages. The mix of 3D background with 2D animated sprites doesn’t fit well together and would’ve been better if they completely built it in either 2D or 3D. Another minor point is the poor choice and the look of the lay-out of certain menu’s as it doesn’t fit the overall visual quality of the game well.

Sound

The soundtrack is a mix of classical, electronic, rock, j-pop and metal. It may be a strange combination, but as every character and battle stage have their own theme music, it makes perfectly sense. As the music changes during the different moments in the story, it adds more emotional depth and an immersive experience while during combat the music is more uptempo. For example, when you give your opponent a serious beating, awesome guitar riffs and metal music is being played in the background  The voice-work is topnotch and as you would guess, the original japanese voices match and fit the characters nicely. The game offers Japanese audio and english subtitles, but lacks english audio. If you’re into anime and japanese, than it might not bother you to listen the japanese voices with english subtitles. But supposedly, there are always people who prefer english dubbing.blazbluecentralfiction2Gameplay

BlazBlue Central Fiction is mainly a 2D Fighter while the main story is built as a visual novel. As for the main story mode, the choice for a visual novel may be a strange one, but it draws a clear line between the gameplay and the storyline. This way, you won’t pause the story to implement a story-scripted battle and gives you a chance to enjoy the story without any interruptions. As for the core gameplay, BlazBlue delivers an excellent combat system that is accessible for both new and experienced players. When choosing a character, you can choose either for the “technical” combat modus which requires more precise button controls in order execute combo’s and special attacks while the “stylish” modus is perfect for beginners and need the minimal buttonwork in order to execute the same attacks and combo’s. The combat is really well balanced and offers a lot variation between the large roster of available characters, so not a single technique will feel the same. This grants each character his or her own personal fighting style and pushes it even further by putting variation in combat focus as some characters invest more in raw power attacks while others depend more on speed and finesse. As for the controls, they are nicely balanced and offers controls that are easy to handle, but hard to master. And if you need some practice, the extensive tutorial helps you master every technique and even offers separate tutorials for each character and his special attacks. These special attacks have different stages or overdrives called Distortion Drives and Central Fiction has added an even more powerful one, called Exceed Accel. The Exceed Accel Overdrive can easily be activated when you’re in Distortion mode and unleashes an extra powerfull combo attack. This grants the existing combat gameplay an extra layer of depth and can topple the battle in your favor when the need is high.

blazbluecentralfiction3Apart from the main story and arcade mode, the game offers a wide range of other modes to play. You have the classic vs(local multiplayer or against AI), online and score attack modes, while it also offers a speedster and Grim of the Abyss mode. The speedster mode challenges the player to beat a certain amount of opponents against the clock and with every critical hit, you gain extra time. As for the Grim of the Abyss mode, it’s a sort of survival mode combined with RPG elements and offers an unique experience to the classic gameplay formula. You clear stages filled with waves of opponents and gain experience for completing them. This way, you can strenghten your characters attributes, special attacks and weapons in order to beat stronger stages.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a decent fighting game to still your hunger, BlazBlue Central Fiction is your game. It offers well balanced, challenging fighting gameplay and a large roster of playable characters with each of their own fighting style. Except for a few slight pointers that needed a bit more attention, it’s really a great game.There aren’t a lot of fighting games with a complete story experience and the amount of depth which BlazBlue has to offer. So if you’re fingers are itching for racking up combo’s and challenging other players online, do not hesitate to try out this game.

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
BlazBlue: Central Fiction - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
JasuSakura
JasuSakura


Being over 30 years old, I've been playing videogames since I've exchanged my pacifier for a game controller. I've only recently started reviewing games and it's incredibly fun to do and educational as I get to know a lot of new stuff about videogames and the industry. My favourite game genres are RPG's(strategy RPG, J-RPG,...), adventure, platforming, simulation and retro.

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