Before the events of BlazBlue,
humanity was on the verge of extinction from the "Black Beast", a
creature of Darkness. The world was saved by six heroes who wielded magic. They
helped humanity create "Armagus", a fusion of magic and technology, to
defeat the Beast.
After the war, the
Novus Orbis Librarium Armagus (the Library for short) was created to govern the
world with the use of Armagus. A great deal of dissent was caused by the
Library, partly due to Armagus' use in nearly every facet of society, and the
widening socioeconomic gap between those who could and couldn't use Armagus.
This dissent would eventually form years later into The Ikaruga Civil War, when
the Ikaruga Union openly rebelled against the Library. After the war, the
Library imposed a harsher rule on the world, punishing any rebellion against the
Library with the death penalty.
On December A.D.
2199, several years after the Ikaruga Civil War, a branch of the Library was
utterly destroyed by an SS-class traitor named "Ragna the Bloodedge"
also known as "The God of Death", in an attempt to destroy the entire
Libary. The Novus Orbis Librarium Armagus, hoping to stop him, immediately put
the largest bounty ever for anyone who could capture him. Interestingly, Ragna
possessed a powerful form of Armagus known as the "Azure Grimoire" (Grimoire of the Blue in Japan), also known as the BlazBlue. This led to the
Librarium, as well as the Ikaruga Union and other fighters, to be after not just
his bounty, but also his grimoire.
Any freeze frame of Blazblue
is practically a work of art.
on Tatio's Type X2 arcade board, Blazblue is Arc System Work's newest 2D fighting
game franchise. It has nothing to do
with the Guilty Gear series as far as storyline goes, but both
gameplay & character designs are closely reminiscent of Arc System Work's
previous fighting game series.
Blazblue launches with a respectable 12
characters (each with 12 different color variations), a nice variety of gorgeously designed stages, and a
soundtrack that (thankfully) exceeds the guitar-thrashings of Guilty Gear's...
some of the BGMs are actually quite
catchy (which makes the collector's edition soundtrack a sweet
addition to the home package). Unlike the arcade version, the home versions of Blazblue introduce
a multi-path, fully-voiced Story Mode (with English or
Japanese voiceovers) for each
character, Online Multiplayer, and
an all new animated intro by anime studio GONZO.
Like the long-running GGX series, Blazblue's
blistering fast. It takes some getting used to, especially if you've been
playing the likes of Street Fighter IV (which
came out a few months before Blazblue). On that note, Blazblue is a very different kind of 2D fighting game
and is as far from "traditional" as it gets... of course the staple
life bars & super meters are present, but that's where the similarities abruptly
Think fighting game
designs are losing their "unique" factor? Think again.
First, you have to wrap your head around the bizarre and intricately
detailed anime-style character designs... they are a unique bunch indeed. Seems like
Arc System Works put every ounce of effort to make the characters of Blazblue
stand out as "original" fighting game characters in every way
possible! Each character has a distinctly different playing style, and make for
a very diverse and balanced roster. Some characters can attack from tons
of different angles, which allows players to really "mix-it-up"
creative with their attack sequences.
Blazblue has 4 main attack buttons...
Weak Attack, Medium Attack, Strong Attack, & a fourth "do-something-cool" button that greatly
differs depending on the character. For experienced & non-experienced
fighting game players players alike, it's easy to jump right in and start
pulling off epic looking special moves & even combos, almost making it look
like you know what you're doing (even if you don't).
Taokaka for instance, can fly all around the screen using only one button
and holding the directional pad in a specific direction. Comparatively, in games
like Marvel VS Capcom 2, you actually had to
"know how to do" that sort of stuff.
With Blazblue, air dashing & triangle jumping seems like child's-play in some cases.
Blazblue's user-friendly control scheme and fairly straight forward movesets
makes it a game that players of all levels can enjoy, but offers a much deeper
experience for higher skilled players.
Jin is slightly overpowered...
watch out for the ice car. -__-
Blazblue is indeed an
"all new" fighting game to most of
us who picked it up on PS3 or 360, since it didn't exactly have a widespread
North American arcade release. The special move commands are familiar
enough to get a hold of rather quickly, but learning how to combo, cancel, and actually use each character effectively takes some dedication. Some of the more
dynamic gameplay mechanics include offensive & defensive techniques like Rapid
Cancel, Instant Block, Barrier Block and Barrier Burst. Not all of these techniques
have to be mastered to enjoy the game casually, but there is a ton to learn if
you're a new player and want to jump online without getting destroyed.
Each character has a solid variety of super moves (called Distortion Drives) and also an Astral Heat, a flashy instant-kill move that
can only be used in the last round of a battle. To use an Astral Heat, your
opponent must have less than 20% of their life left, and your Heat Gauge must be
Blazblue looks amazing both in motion and
standing still. Proudly showing off 2D sprites even larger than those seen in the Guilty
Gear X series, Blazblue
currently holds the title for the "biggest 2D sprites" to ever appear in a 2D fighting game (or video game for that matter). The character sprites in motion are also
more fluid than
their GGX predecessors, and animate much smoother as well... Arc System Works really stepped their
game up in the animation department! The 3D stages with 2D elements also look
outstanding, each stage featuring an intro as the camera "scales
back" to the plane that the fighters are on... an impressive effect that
nicely shows off the high-res sprites! Blazblue is truly a work of art in motion, and is an improvement over
in almost every way... truly one of the best looking 2D fighters of all
30+ hours to complete
story mode... whew!
The attention to detail in Blazblue does not go
and I'm not only talking about the graphics. Fully-voiced character-specific dialogue
before the fight in character intros, during the fight with their
special moves, and even after the
fight in each characters win quote takes character
interactions to a new level. Blazblue's characters really seem to have
relationships with one another, which is shown in even more detail in the multi-path Story Mode
(which takes a good 30+ hours to complete). The voiceovers in the Story Mode are done exceptionally well both in English &
Japanese, and the slow pacing of the story really contrasts the game's insanely
It's nice to step out of the game for a while and take a
breather with the story element, as this is something most fighting games don't
offer at all. Blazblue's actual story is a mixed bag. Some moments are slow & boring,
but others will make you laugh out loud. In any case, the
artwork within story mode (and in the entire game) is stunning I might
add. Blazblue packs some of the
best "in-game" fighting game artwork I've seen in quite some time.
The Network Mode is actually one of the best fighting game online
modes to date... Blazblue's solid netcode keeps lag to a minimum, and
sometimes non-existent all together! The staple Quick Match, Ranked Match, Custom Match, &
Player Match are all there to mix things up online. The Ranked match is a strict two players per
session, where you'll go up against a random opponent (which makes sense,
stopping the potential cheaters). With Player match, up to six players
can join one room and there are even quite a few room options such as:
Voice chat on/off, easy specials on/off, match rotation type, connection quality
'importance', astral heats on/off, etc!
Another appreciated feature is the
Replay Theater... Along with being able to record your matches & your
friends' matches after every online battle, you can even download replay data from
players! Each online player also has a slick ID card, which shows your online
rank/level, your win/loss record, and even the two characters you pick the most.
Even though I wouldn't consider myself exactly "skilled" at this game,
it's been a blast playing online... there's definitely some tough competition
While not nearly as conventional as other 2D fighting games of 2009, Blazblue
offers an exceptional gameplay experience in its own right. Visually, Blazblue
is what I'd call a "role-model" next-gen 2D
fighting game, proving once again that 2D fighting games are here to
As a "casual" fan of the Guilty Gear X series, I must
say I've actually enjoyed playing Blazblue considerably more than its predecessor. There's something
I like about the characters, though Blazblue's characters are what you could
call "gimmicky" in terms of play styles. As designs, they're slightly
"over-designed" and definitely won't float everyone's boat.
The "out-of-control", yet controllable-with-practice
gameplay is a
is intriguing enough to try to learn, but overall a bit too off-the-wall for my
fighting game purist tastes. That said, its likely not a game I'll ever be
"serious" about, but it's still pretty fun to play casually.
In any case, a bold new franchise like this among a year of
"sequels" is refreshing. Needless to say, Blazblue was a successful
start for a major new series by Arc System Works... and something tells me we're
going to see a sequel or two. ~TFG