BLAZBLUE CENTRALFICTION originally released for consoles in 2016, and now its Special Edition is making its way to the Nintendo Switch. It was developed and published by Arc System Works. The original game was met with a lot of good reception, with Metacritic listing the game at a 84/100. The quality of the game is obvious, despite the few major and many minor details that could be improved upon. The game released for Nintendo Switch on February 7th, 2019, and it costs $49.99.
The story in BLAZBLUE CENTRALFICTION is a step down in many regards. It’s very dry for the most part. The main story will take you around 8-10 hours to complete, but only less than an hour of that will be actual game play. The story really isn’t worth it unless you’re a fan of the series. The lore is very confusing and convoluted, and while it does offer a thirty minute recap in the first episode for the entire series, it isn’t a total explanation. If you’re a fan of the series, them seeing the end of this story will be worth it for you. Push through the very dense and non-animated cut scenes.
The story is mainly about Ragna the Bloodedge, as it was with the other games in this series. He awakes with amnesia. Doesn’t know where he is, who he is really, or anything. This is a very common trope. His history as being the biggest baddest criminal with the biggest bounty to back it up, while seeming like a rather decent yet mysterious guy, made me think I was watching Vash the Stampede from the anime series Trigun. From there, we also see the soldiers of the Libranium attempting to locate Ragna, and a strange entity referred to as The Embryo slowly sucks the life from the world, to only leave “The Chosen” in its place. That’s all covered in the first episode or two, so we’ll stop there to prevent spoilers.
One complaint for the story that I would like to expand upon, is the lack of playing you do. Most episodes (there are 12 total) only have one fight in them. Some have none. You’re sitting through hours of cut scenes for a handful of thirty second fights. There’s nearly one hundred chapters that compose those episodes and way more than half don’t even have a single fight in them,
Action Packed 2D Modes
The game does fortunately have a lot of awesome game modes that are a lot better, and more challenging than the story mode. Those Modes are:
- Arcade Mode
- V.S Mode
- Grim of Abyss Mode
- Score Attack Mode
- Speed Star Mode
These modes offer a lot of different challenges. Arcade Mode lets you play through all thirty six characters individual stories. Since they aren’t nearly as dragged on as the main story, this is a fun mode that combines good story telling.
V.S. Mode is what you would expect. It lets you battle your friends or computers in various difficulties. You choose the characters, maps, and even songs that play. It is a great mode for testing out characters and becoming more familiar with them.
Grim of Abyss Mode has you enduring waves of enemies. You can collect skills and grimoires as you go. Your goal is to reach the bottom of Kagutsuchi by clearing various dungeons and defeating the bosses that await you. Since you don’t heal after every fight, this is one of the most challenging modes for single players.
Score Attack Mode has various courses you can fight through. How fast and how well you defeat each enemy adds higher scores to your run. So, you complete a quick chain of fights, and can go back and replay them to try and top your previous scores.
Speed Star Mode is self explanatory. Try and defeat all the enemies you can, as fast as you can. It does amp up special finishers for some extra intensity.
The combat system is great. By far the best I have experienced in a fighting game of this style. It is super smooth, intense, and easy to learn. All of the characters are very unique in their weapon types, movement speeds, and so on. It makes playing as a new character feel like its almost a new game, despite the buttons being used for each being nearly identical. Fighting game fans at the pro and casual level should enjoy this game a lot. Its various special move types and finishers are also rather exciting.
It also has two different play styles. The Technical play style is for veteran players. It’s less intuitive which adds more difficulty to the game. There’s also the Stylish mode. Meant more for casuals, it’s BLAZBLUE’S way of accommodating players who are not comfortable with or used to the game’s play style. It doesn’t detract from the fun though. Which is very fortunate.
The multiplayer is fun. It takes quite awhile to find a match, but is fun regardless. You have two major modes. Ranked and Player matches. In ranked you have a player level and rank, and your wins/losses effect these. Its much like most ranked modes. The better you are, the better opponents you will face. Ranked also has a strict rule set for fairness in determining who is better.
On the other hand, Player Matches are more casual. They have various rule sets that will effect the game play. You can also create custom rooms where you create the rules for you and your friends to play in. The only downside to the online multiplayer is if you leave the network mode option screen and start looking through other modes, it doesn’t disconnect you from the multiplayer. So, you could accidentally get pulled into a match you didn’t want to play.
The game does utilize Japanese style artwork in the anime fashion. And it typically looks pretty great. The character designs are really awesome for the most part. There is some unneeded over-sexualization, but its a 2D Japanese fighting game, so that’s expected. Since not all of the fighters are human, or even humanoid, it allows for some pretty creative designs. Makes me want to play characters just because of how they look. They also have around two dozen different skins each. While they’re really just color variations, it does add a nice bit of customization to the game.
The only part the art is kind of meh in, are the cut scenes. Almost every cut scene in the game isn’t fully animated. They use stills of backgrounds and character portraits with moving mouths. While the art isn’t bad, it just isn’t very impressive either. It looks like a dumbed down version of the game when compared to the stunning animated cut scenes.
The audio in the game is good. The music is awesome. It is pure intensity that matches up with the fighting game mechanics very well. It manages to mesh the fantasy and sci-fi aspects of the world together very well too. BLAZBLUE is know for its soundtrack. They manage to impress beyond its reputation with this game. Plus the added options for many modes where you can choose your tracks prevents songs from becoming over played. The music also stretches across multiple genres to get the job done. Meaning there’s a little bit of everything, for everybody. And even the menu music is beautifully composed. A lot of time and effort went into the creation of music for BLAZBLUE.
One downside is that there is no English dub. While the announcer is done in English, for the story you’ll have to read the subtitles. It may not seem like a very big deal to most, but the story is again very long, with very little to break up the reading. So it is a lot of reading. The voice acting is good though, so people who are turned away from subs may still want to give it a chance.
This entry in the BLAZBLUE series is overall, a very good one.While the story mode is very disappointing in many different ways, its backed up by many good game modes. There is a wide variety of ways to play this, most of which are very fun. The characters are unique, but easy to learn, and fun to use. You will definitely get your BLAZBLUE fill. It brings everyone back from the previous game, while adding many new characters as well.
While it doesn’t seem to have a lot of extra content to justify a Special Edition, if you’re looking for a great 2D fighting game that you can plug hundreds of hours into, then this game was made just for you. Keep an eye on that price too. For a three year old game it still packs a $49.99 price tag. If you’re not absolutely certain about picking up this game based on this review, it might be best to wait for a sale.
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- THE GOOD
- Great Combat
- Easy to Learn
- Great Music
- Awesome Artwork
- Diverse Game Play
- Many Game Modes
- High Replay Value
- THE BAD
- Story is Very Long With Little Game Play
- No English Dub
- Most cut scenes aren’t animated
- Matchmaking issues
- Little reason for Special Edition
BLAZBLUE CENTRALFICTION Special Edition is a fantastic 2D Fighting game. Although a bit pricey for its age, a great game nonetheless.