Recently, as a requirement for a resume submission to a game company, applicants were requested to write up a mock game analysis/review for one of their latest favorite games. I’m not sure if they had just wanted a single paragraph analysis or a full on article, but I went for the latter option in my submission. I figured maybe a couple of you would enjoy the read, since the game I focused on was BlazBlue
, which comes out for PS3 and 360 in just a week from today, for those of you who have forgotten (This is a review of the arcade version, so sorry to those folks who clicked on this review expecting a fleshed out review on the console's story mode!). I tried to keep the review focused on Blazblue
as a standalone game, and not compare it to Guilty Gear
too much, in hopes that it will provide a decent enough view of the game for people not familiar with the GG
franchise. Hope you enjoy.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (Arcade)
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games
Released: November 20th, 2008
Have you ever wondered what the outcome would be if a gun slinging femme fatale of a world governing organization went toe-to-toe with a Lolita clad descendant of Dracula? How about a warped manifestation of a Hayao Miyazaki creature going up against a lycanthropic cat-girl with claws that put Wolverine’s to shame? Of course you have, why wouldn’t you wonder about those scenarios!? So it must be good to know that all the answers to them can be found in Arc System Works’ latest fighter, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
. Sporting a 1-on-1 battle system against either a computer or human opponent, BlazBlue
is the spiritual successor to Arc System Works’ well known 2-D fighting franchise, Guilty Gear
. While it may be similar to its predecessor in some aspects of gameplay mechanics, BlazBlue
stands out on its own for more reasons than one.
Graphically, the game sets a new standard for 2-D fighters. The anime inspired designs of the characters give each a unique and instantly recognizable look both in and out of battle. During matches players are graced with high resolution; hand drawn sprites loaded hundreds of animations, making every action performed in battle a beautiful display of incredibly fluid animated carnage to both observers and players alike. Outside of matches, during combatant selection and character interaction scenes within story mode, players will find vividly detailed artwork of the insane crew of BlazBlue
. However, the cast of the game isn’t the only thing that shines graphically; pseudo 3-D backgrounds seen during battles are another sight to behold. Not only are the backgrounds gorgeously rendered and aesthetically pleasing, but some even respond to actions performed by the characters in game.
Rachel Alucard VS Ragna the Bloodedge in Rachel’s Rose Garden stage
(Image taken from Gamespot Japan)
A perfect example of the background response to character actions is the Lolita vampiress, Rachel’s stage. Set in a field of roses with gothic architecture littered about in the background, the roses of the stage will sway according to the direction of the wind created by Rachel’s ability “Sylphide”. This ability isn’t executed like the ones you would typically find in any other fighter however, it’s activated with the simple press of the D button. “D” in this case is the button allocation corresponding to the usage of each character’s individual ability known as a Drive. Each Drive is unique; Rachel has her manipulation of wind with “Sylphide”, whilst her target of odd interest, Ragna the Bloodedge, has the “Soul Eater” ability, allowing him to drain his opponent’s life with every successful hit.
Aside from the Drives, each character has their own set of basic, special, super (known as Distortion Drives) attacks and even One-Hit K.O. “Astral Heat” attacks. While these attacks all sport their individual looks and uses as well, none are as unique as the Drive abilities (some attacks serve similar purposes, I.E. projectiles being used to keep distance between the player and opponent). With a wide array of attacks in hand, each character can string certain attacks into one another, allowing the player to unleash devastating combos that may seem endless to his or her opponent. In addition to these combos, BlazBlue
also features more advanced techniques such as countering, ukemi tactics, and attack cancelling, which to used practically in battle present a fairly steep learning curve that may scare away some of the more casual players. But, for those willing to put forth the time and effort, they’ll find much reward in learning how to use these techniques to their full advantage.
Ragna unleashing his “Carnage Scissor” Distortion Drive against opponent Jin Kisaragi
(Image taken from Game.Watch.Impress)
Although the advanced level of play may divert some more casual players, there are still aspects of the game that many of them will find incredibly enjoyable. Aside from the animation and artwork, the audio is equally, if not more impressive. The OST for BlazBlue
is composed by Daisuke Ishiwatari, most well known for composing the Guilty Gear
franchise’s soundtracks. The songs in BlazBlue
are incredibly diverse, ranging from heavy metal guitar riffs to operatic robot hymns. Not only does every character in the game have a unique theme song; but the menus, loading screens and parts of the game where the soundtrack would otherwise go unnoticed, have memorable themes as well.
’s elements make for an incredibly entertaining experience that even veterans of Arc System Works’ previous star franchise will find enjoyable. With a cast of 12 characters, multiple endings, and incredible levels of depth that go into learning each character, the replay value of BlazBlue
is amazing, and grows even more when competitive play against non-computer players is factored in. With so many possible tactics, combos and mind games that can be utilized by human opponents, the replayability becomes insurmountable. BlazBlue
is a “must play” for any fan of the fighter genre and is worth a look even for those not knee deep in the world of Fighters. After all, who can pass up a chance to discover the conclusion of a brawl between a 10-year old, mechanical maid wielding puppeteer going up against a ninja-turned-superhero with a 6-foot tall nail for a weapon?
Side Note: For those who didn't get the joke of the title, I was attempting to take a pot shot at the arcade elitists that try and correct people when they call it "Blay-ze Blue". Sunnyvale Arcade goers here, anyone?