BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger - A Binge Gamer Review
It looks like Guilty Gear. It smells like Guilty Gear. Hell, it even tastes like Guilty Gear. But it damn well ain’t no Guilty Gear.
But BlazBlue could have certainly fooled me (and it did— I want another Guilty Gear, damn it!). However, slipping the game into my console was the equivalent of opening a box of Lucky Charms—fully expecting Lucky Charms—and instead finding a bag of delicious Reese’s Puffs. Either way, it’s win.
Truth be told, you really can’t compare the two because each game’s play mechanics are so drastically unique. While they surely share some common elements, what fighting game doesn’t?
But for kicks, I’m going to go and compare them anyway.
- Both games rock some bitchin’ soundtracks.
- Both games have a very distinct animation style (anime FTW!).
- Both games offer fast-paced fighting action based on timing, reflexes, and judging the other player’s movements.
- Both games have a set of… er, unique characters to choose from.
- Both games were released in Japan before hitting the U.S.
- Erm… both games require a controller or arcade pad to play.
- Uh… both are games of the fighting variety.
Okay, so maybe I’m pushing it a bit here. Still, there’s no denying the games were birthed from the same parents (or at least one of them, anyway). But the greatest similarities lie in the character designs and fighting styles. The cast of BlazBlue is a sort of mish-mash hybrid between any number of the Guilty Gear characters I’ve grown to love, and this amuses me.
And of course:
But enough of that. Let’s take a look at the gameplay.
BlazBlue’s fighting system is based around a technique called a “dive attack”. This is triggered by hitting the D-button with the result varying for each character. For instance, Noel’s dive attack sets you up for an easy combo string while Ragna’s steals the soul of your opponent. This adds a lot of variety to the gameplay, as no two characters are alike.
Of course, atypical to the usual setup of the fighting genre where your character’s assigned a set of punches and kicks that vary in strength, BlazBlue approaches things in a new way. Along with your dive attack, you have three other ways to smack your opponent around: A = weak attack, B = medium attack, C = strong attack.
BlazBlue also refuses to reward button mashing, meaning if you hope to succeed, you’re going to have to learn to play. For instance, if you try to rapidly mash the B and C buttons to escape a throw, you’re going to get a message telling you your escape failed while your opponent slams you to the earth. I like this about the game, because it means that players who work to learn the game will benefit while those who simply hand-fuck the controller will be greeted with an extra-hefty serving of pwnage. BlazBlue demands your attention and forces you to think, which should prove to be a big draw to the hardcore fighter fans out there.
I experimented with the difficulty settings a bit, and I give the game my official seal of approval. I kicked things off on “Hell” (the most brutal setting since GGX2’s “Maniac”), couldn’t beat anyone, and had to downgrade to “Hard” just to progress through the story mode. BlazBlue is challenging, it is—and this I like.
Another thing I noticed is that BlazBlue leaves me craving an arcade stick. While I typically hate using the damn things, this game seems like it’d be perfectly suited for one. Definitely consider it if you pick this game up.
As far as gameplay modes go, BlazBlue satisfies. It’s an arcade fighter, so the replay value mainly stems from the player’s own desire to improve his abilities. Still, with Arcade, Story, Score Attack, Training, and Online modes (among other stuff I didn’t mention here), you’re sure to have a lot to do with your time playing BlazBlue (damn—rhymed).
Ultimately, BlazeBlue offers an epic storyline that’s so well-developed and thought out, you feel obligated to watch. I have to say my favorite part is how the game so shamelessly pokes fun at itself. Despite it’s “ENDOFTHEWORLD!”-esque themes, BlazBlue has a light-hearted tone brimming with boob jokes and ironic comedy. Shameless sexism FTW!
Of course, the art-style is beautiful, and the game runs incredibly smooth. The music is what one would expect from a Guilty Ge… I mean any awesome fighting game, and there’s no denying how gorgeous the character designs are. During the story mode, cutscenes are expressed using still drawings, but they’re damn gorgeous. Anime fans will drool over BlazBlue.
Oh, and the online play is fantastic. It’s so good I don’t even feel the need to go into deeper detail about it. But if I must, let me just say that it was when I hopped online that I realized how much I truly love this game. I’m sure this is where gamers will find the biggest replay value in BlazBlue.
Ooo, look! Gameplay (not mine, but it looks damn neat in HD).
The Final Verdict
If you’re a hardcore fighter fan, there is absolutely no excuse for you to miss this game. It must find its way into your library, otherwise you fail at life. Not even your own mother will be able to forgive you, and you will spend your days trying to work off your shame toiling in the rock mines, mining for rocks.
It’s a simple, mundane, BlazBlue-less existence for you. Don’t let it happen.
Of course, more casual fighting fans will likely be turned off by BlazBlue. On the surface the game seems simple enough. All of the moves are incredibly simple to perform, but that’s merely scratching the surface. While you won’t need to twist and contort the d-pad/joystick in fifty-million directions to perform a single aerial uppercut, you will have to memorize a dictionary of combos, pay close attention to your enemy, and learn your character inside and out to be anything close to decent at this game.
So no, it’s not Guilty Gear. Not at all. But you know what? I’m okay with that. It’s just going to take a while for me to remember I’m controlling Ragna the Bloodedge and not Sol Badguy the—er—Badguy.
I can’t wait to see what the next rendition of this game has to offer, because as it goes with fighting games, we’re sure to see about a dozen supermegaturbodeluxe+ editions before we ever see a sequel. Until then, BlazeBlue without the dozens of adjectives and modifiers will hold me over just fine.
Finally, if you do decide to dish out the dough for BlazBlue, I suggest you buy the super-cool Limited Edition that comes in a box with loads of extra crap you’ll never need, but will cherish anyway as it collects dust on your shelf.
Actually, there’s a really strong incentive to buy the Limited Editon—it’s the same price as the stand-alone game. It also offers a sweet IGN tutorial disc that will do its best to train your sorry ass to learn the characters you… well, don’t know at all.
Plus there’s a double-dosage of music CDs. Score!