BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Blue Action

The BlazBlue franchise has come under quite a bit of fire for the sheer amount of times Aksys and Arc System Works have repackaged and resold the game. First there was BlazBlue Calamity Trigger , the first release. Then, there was the update, BlazBlue Continuum Shift . Then there were all of Continuum Shift ’s DLC characters along with the Continuum Shift 2 balance patch. Then there was BlazBlue Continuum Shift EX , which included yet another balance patch, one new character, all the DLC that you bought already (yes, this meant you essentially had to buy them again to stay current). Now, there is BlazBlue: Chronophantasma, likely one of the last fighting game releases Arc System Works will have until they switch over to next generation consoles. When you add all of these releases together along with their retail price tags, you could easily spend more than twice as much as you spent on keeping Street Fighter updated to Super Street Fighter IV: We Have To Many Words In Our Title Arcade Edition Version 2012 . Is it really worth doling out another $40 bucks just to stay current in the BlazBlue franchise, especially with other Arc System Works games like Persona 4 Arena 2 and Guilty Gear –XRD- on the way?

Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh yes…

In almost every other situation I would cry out that this is a blatant cash grab by a fighting game developer trying to market a balance patch as a full game. Heck, I DID do that when I reviewed BlazBlue Continuum Shift EX . But there is a LOT of content here, and it’s not just “new story” or “new single-player gameplay modes.” Its new characters, new moves, new mechanics and more. The whole flow of the game feels completely different than it did in the past. Coming into Chronophantasma , I had to forget all the old skills and combos I knew and relearn new ones, so much so that my favorite characters changed drastically. Like it or not, BlazBlue: Chronophantasma actually is a worthy new BlazBlue title, and as painful as shelling out another $40 is to play a series that you have already been money squeezed on, trust us, it’s worth it.

The newest addition to the game is the new Overdrive system, which takes the place of the burst system of previous titles. For those of you who don’t know, Bursts basically allow you to knock the opponent away from you, even if you are currently getting it. It’s kind of like a “get out of combo free” card. In the first Blazblue , you had one burst per round which made you take double damage after it was used, and in the second, you started the match with one burst and got another if you lost a round at any time. In BB:CP however, your burst is now tied to a new meter called your Overdrive meter. It fills up as a match takes place and when it’s full, you can burst as normal.

BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Screenshot

However, there is another thing you can do with your Overdrive meter, and that is activate your character’s unique overdrive. Doing so gives your character a significant bonus to damage and grants their moves additional properties. Sometimes, they even get new moves that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Activating Overdrive is completely invincible, making it a good defensive move, and combos you do while in Overdrive are unburstable, making the damage sure to stick. The lower your health, the longer your Overdrive lasts, and characters in significantly low health will likely be able to stay in overdrive until the match ends. Most “install” type supers, which make your character go into a special kind of mode, have been changed over to a character’s overdrive and replaced with supers of their own. For example, Ragna’s Blood Kain is now his overdrive. Some characters even get bonuses that they would only otherwise get in unlimited mode. For example, Hazama gets his aura of life drain when he is in overdrive mode.

Another new system that has been added to the game is the crush trigger. By pressing weak and medium attack while standing, your character will perform a slow unblockable attack that costs 25 percent of your super meter. This greatly increases every character’s mix-up capability, but if noticed, the opponent can “barrier block” a better defense that costs meter, or simply attack the person who is performing it. Crush triggers usually put the opponent into a prolonged stun state, such as a float, hard knockdown, spin-out or crumple, which allows you to easily rack up huge damage off of a successfully landed one.

BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Screenshot

The old cast of the game has been greatly changed. Nu-13, for example, has elements of both her Continuum Shift incarnation, Lambda-11, and her original Calamity Trigger incarnation. Nearly every character in the game has new moves, especially characters that have had their old install supers moved to overdrive status. Combos have been shortened overall and the whole game has shifted to be more aggressive.

The new cast of characters is actually quite unique. Relius, from BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend returns, and has gotten a few new tricks up his sleeve. All the DLC, including Mu-12 from Continuum Shift , also is included from the get go. The brand new entrants include Amane Nishiki, an effeminate young man who fights with pink scarves at range; Bullet, a scrappy young girl who uses quick command throws; Azrael, a hulking bruiser who has the ability to hit and strike opponents weakpoints; Izayoi, the true form of Tsubaki who can fly, teleport, and perform several Marvel vs. Capcom trust; Kagura, a man wielding a giant sword who uses Street Fighter style stances; Terumi, the true form of Hazama whose drive gains you super meter, and who has more super moves than special moves; and Kokonoe, an incredibly powerful zoning character that has multiple unblockable setups.

BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Screenshot

In addition to the incredible amount of new gameplay changes, fans of the BlazBlue story are going to love all the single player changes. No joke, you are looking at 30-40 hours of single player gameplay. This includes fully voice acted stories, along with hand drawn cutscenes as well as anime cutscenes. You can lose yourself for ages simply looking for every ending that the game has to offer.

Everything else in the game we have basically seen before. It’s pretty much the same online mode, same arcade mode and same training mode that we have seen in the past. The challenge modes are a bit more involved and do a lot to teach you a character’s base mechanics and combos, but even they aren’t much different than what we have seen before. The most notable change here is a tone that tells you the correct timing of your combos.

Even though we are basically just seeing the same game again, the main draw is still the versus mode and online modes, it feels like it’s a money squeeze and it damn well might be, BlazBlue: Chronophantasma is very very worth it. Seven new characters, tons of new stages, plenty of new music, a 40 hour long story, a huge balance patch and reworking and more make this title well worth the $40 price of entry, ESPECIALLY if you haven’t purchased it in the past. So grit your teeth, bite your tongue and shell out the cash because this is one great fighting game… even though we will likely forget all about it when Guilty Gear –XRD- comes out.

The sprite based graphics are starting to show their age, especially considering GG XRDs amazing graphics. 4.5 Control
The game is more responsive and interesting to play than ever. 3.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The English voice acting could be better, but it does well enough. 4.5 Play Value
It pains me to say it, but this copy of Blazblue is worth the money. 4.3 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • New Characters – Chrono Phantasma will introduce five new characters and two new downloadable characters, bringing the roster list to 25!
  • New Moves – All characters from the series have been redesigned with new moves. Watch all the action as they unleash powerful attacks never before seen on the BlazBlue stage! Re-master your old characters and tear your friends apart!
  • Modes for Everyone – With an amazing tutorial, gripping story and a variety of other modes, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma offers hours of gameplay for everyone!

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