Fighting game connoisseurs have a robust buffet to choose from these days. There’s Marvel, Street Fighter, Tekken and Mortal Kombat for tournament purists, a new Soul Calibur has been announced, and a new Smash is on the horizon and the older games in the series are still played in some circles. Guilty Gear, which has always been quietly in the back of the lunchroom, was a mix of tournament and casual, so it stands to reason that its spiritual successor — BlazBlue — would mimic that notion.
BlazBlue arrived in the fighting game scene as a new entry in the portfolio of Guilty Gear developer ArcSystem. Taking what they learned from that series, ArcSystem improved upon the formula they’d created with gorgeous visuals, a rocking soundtrack and impressive gameplay options that ensure you’ll have plenty to do.
BlazBlue CSE starts off rather intimidatingly. From the beginning, there are quite a few modes to choose from. If you’re not informed, you might be a little lost trying to understand just where you should start. With a varied plate to choose from, at the very least the modes are interestingly designed and add value to an already-packed game.
The standout features, however, are the graphics and story. As with Guilty Gear, you’re getting a treat visually. The level of detail in each character and the backgrounds make the game worth sitting down and studying. If you’re into anime, the aesthetics were designed with you in mind.
The story is also worthy of comparison to most modern anime. It’s convoluted and complex and has twists and turns involving a multi-layered cast. There’s a lot about the searching for a savior and magic — which isn’t out of place for an ArcSystem game. It feels familiar but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s layered and deep.
Learning the mechanics for most fighting games is a mixed bag. Some games expect you to be able to jump in and master the basics as if you’ve done nothing but play fighting games all of your gaming life. Others like to give you a tutorial so that you’re not lost and quickly putting the game down, never to return. BlazBlue CSE is in the latter category: So concerned is the game about you learning to play and master all that it has to offer that it throws a surprisingly deep tutorial mode at you. It slowly increases the level of complexity and the mechanics are spot on and easy to grasp. All fighting games need the type of learning tool that’s offered here.
If you love Guilty Gear or if you just want a deeper storyline than what’s currently offered by the larger more well-known titles on the market in fighting games, BlazBlue promises to deliver a rich experience. It delivers on that promise with a commitment to extending beyond just the regular fighting game expectations.