Blazblue: Central Fiction is the latest (and possibly last… for now) installment in Arc System Works’ long-running fighting series. Boasting seven new fighters, new game play mechanics, balance adjustments, new stages, a comprehensive story mode, multiple single player modes, updated challenge modes, and great online play, you cannot go wrong with this version.
What has changed since Blazblue: Continuum Shift: Extend, are the system mechanics. Central Fiction adds Active Flow and Exceed Accel. If you are familiar with playing Under Night: in Birth: EXE Late, then Active Flow will be familiar to you. Active Flow rewards players who are more offensive with a 10% damage increase. The other new mechanic is Exceed Accel. During a character’s Overdrive state, you can access a “hidden” super move which does not consume the normal super meter. However, once you use your character’s Exceed Accel, you will not be able to use the Overdrive state until it resets. The two new mechanics are refreshing for the Blazblue series, as it rewards players to take risks related to offensive strategy, changing the game’s “turtle” moments into a sudden high-damage rush down match. I would also like to note that the game’s speed has increased (not too fast, of course), as it adds to the game’s emphasis on offensive play. Compared to previous BlazBlue games, the button and combo leniency was also apparent, allowing newcomers the opportunity to jump into the game and learn the mechanics without focusing on combos themselves (i.e., Street Fighter IV series).
The game’s mechanics aren’t the only thing that was new to Central Fiction. While all the previous characters have returned in this version (the game’s expansive Story Mode explains how and why), the seven new characters added to the roster makes the game feel refreshing to play all over again. I tried out all seven new characters in both Training and Challenge Mode, and none of them felt exactly like a “copy-and-paste” style (e.g., Ryu and Ken from the Street Fighter series). One character which I picked up with ease was Hibiki Kohaku, a fast-paced character who wields two long detachable blades that can also be used as knives. Hibiki’s play-style gravitates toward reset damage set-ups to up-close pressure leading into moderate damaging combos. If you were concerned about the lack of character diversity based on previous versions of Blazblue, your chances on finding a play-style has drastically improved in Central Fiction.
The single player modes from previous BlazBlue games have made their return in one form or another, either by adding new options in Survival Mode (choose the enemies you want to fight based on “routes” instead of pre-set routes), or sticking to the to the traditional Arcade Mode (based on the arcade port of Central Fiction). If you’re curious about the game’s story, rest assured, as Story Mode alone will give players many hours of single player content. It provides closure to many unanswered questions, and raises new ones which could be answered if Arc System Works decides to make another entry (is Blazblue: Central Fiction really the last game of the series?). I focused mostly on Challenge Mode, as it was very refreshing. No longer does Challenge Mode throw you around from very easy to very difficult combo challenges. Instead, the game now has sections you must complete before you can have access to the later, more challenging combos. This is a nice feature, as the game is teaching you about the character you like little-by-little, (a teaching technique called “scaffolding”). Previous combo challenges build upon each other, giving you the ability to complete later challenges.
Finally, Network Mode is what you come to expect with Arc System Works games—top notch online matchmaking. Just like the previous BlazBlue game, players have the option to play Ranked matches, Player matches (unranked), creating your own room (which you can now decorate), and Lobby matches. I stuck with Lobby mode, as it had the most players available to fight against. Player network connections are based on a 0 to 4 rating; the higher the number, the better the connection the opponent has. Even when I fought players with a rank 2 connection, I rarely experienced lag or input delay. I was able to perform my combos and set-ups with ease.
I should note that while BlazBlue: Central Fiction has been out for a few months (via PS3/PS4 consoles), a PC (Steam) version is on the way sometime this year. However, if you cannot wait for the PC version, then either the PS3 or PS4 version will do just fine. Besides the PC port coming soon, rumors have gone around that Jubei, one of the Legendary Six Heroes in the game, will finally be added at some point. Of course, this is just a rumor at this time, but there has been evidence (through data mining) of the announcer’s voice calling out Jubei’s name (you can read about the rumor here). Regardless of the rumor, if you are looking for an excellent fighter with great online matchmaking, multiple single player modes, and a very detailed story, then pick up a copy of Blazblue: Central Fiction today!
[BlazBlue: Central Fiction was purchased by the reviewer and reviewed on the Playstation 3. The reviewer spent over 30 hours reviewing this game.]
[ AKSYS | Arc System Works | PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4 | $49.99/$59.99 ]
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