‘BlazBlue’ Blazes Expectations

“BlazBlue Chronophantasma” is the next huge step forward for the “BlazBlue” series. After three and half years of playing “Continuum Shift” in increasingly refined forms, the third game is here to finally provide major shakeups to the formula with seven new characters (two are DLC), new and improved fighting mechanics and the next chapter of the story mode.

“Chronophantasma” significantly expands and modifies the gameplay while maintaining the core fundamentals that make “BlazBlue” an excellent fighting game. “BlazBlue” is my favorite modern 2D fighting game series, because even though it looks complex it is actually one of the most approachable and enjoyable fighting games to pick up and master.

“BlazBlue’s” biggest strength is its diverse roster that is entertaining both on and off the battlefield. All 26 characters brim with personality and are completely different from the next in terms of play style and unique mechanics. Once you’ve found a few favorites, it’s easy to learn the mechanics of the game one by one over time.

Like its predecessor, “Chronophantasma” has excellent tutorials and training modes that other fighting games should aspire to. The challenge mode in particular has seen significant improvements such as the number of challenges being doubled and a new stream of inputs that is displayed even during the example videos.

When it is time to fight in some real matches, the changes to combat become readily apparent. The guard primer system introduced in “Continuum Shift” is completely gone in favor of a more straightforward guard crush move that keeps matches moving along.

The biggest change is the new Overdrive mechanic, a new offensive option that grants a unique buff to each character that lasts longer the less health you have. Some of the old characters’ moves have been reassigned as their Overdrive (like Ragna’s Blood Kain) but others are entirely new such as Makoto’s ability to always have her charged punches be at max strength. Since Overdrives use the same gauge as the combo interrupting green bursts it is tricky to know when to best employ them.

All of the returning characters have been overhauled significantly in “Chronophantasma” thanks to the introduction of some new moves and the addition and subtraction of some of their combos. The seven new characters are obviously the main attraction in “Chronophantasma,” since they each bring new incredibly unique fighting styles to master.

My favorite new character is the super buff and intimidating Azrael, whose main gimmick is creating weak spots on a character that can be punished with his special moves. What really pushes him over the top for me is his unique style of dashing. He doesn’t move very far forward with his teleport dash, which seems lame until you realize you can teleport behind opponents to confuse them.

The final piece of “BlazBlue” content is the new story mode. The story of “Chronophantasma” is more linear compared to the first two games, which is ultimately good because it tells a much longer story that is all canon with the new structure (joke endings aside). Unlike “Continuum Shift,” “Chronophantasma’s” story is not approachable to newcomers because it does not care to explain itself once it hits the ground running. The story is great for fans though since there are surprising encounters and developments around every corner.

“BlazBlue Chronophantasma” reinvigorates the series by introducing a ton of new content that will keep it entertaining for years to come.

 

RECOMMENDED: All 2D fighting game fans need to play “BlazBlue Chronophantasma.” It’s one of the best games in the genre.