BlazBlue: Central Fiction is an excellent addition to the long-running 2D fighting franchise. The complex combat systems are back, rewarding players willing to put the time into mastering the game's mechanics. If this is indeed the final chapter in the series, it is going out on an incredibly high note.
Arc System Works has been branching out into developing games in quite a few different genres, but at the end of the day the talented development team is best known for their flashy anime-styled 2D fighting games. Most popular among these are the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue titles, the latter of which I have been a huge fan of since near the beginning. Given the many years I have been on that journey with the characters in this universe (both in the fighting games and the visual novels), BlazBlue: Central Fiction is a bittersweet sendoff for the series, because I will miss it if indeed things come to a close with this release, but Central Fiction does so many things right and it is a joy to play.
The story of BlazBlue is a pretty convoluted one, I am not going to kid you. The story mode here is the highlight of the game, with tons of excellent art, lots of interesting character interactions and more. It is almost like a mix of visual novel and fighting game, and I am absolutely alright with that. If you need to bone up on the narrative, there is an excellent primer you can watch before delving into the proper story mode, and running at about half an hour, it is actually a lot of fun for returning fans while incredibly informational to newcomers. Everything looks slick, with stylish anime visuals and a great soundtrack. The one overwhelming disappointment from my perspective is the lack of English voice acting, which is a curious omission for a game that obviously put a lot of effort into its story. Especially since English narration has been around since the first game, so why cut it on the series' final sendoff? While not a deal killer for me by any stretch of the imagination, I did find this to be a complete letdown as I would much rather listen to a metric ton of dialog than read it, especially when my eyes would rather be taking in the graphics instead.
In terms of options and content, BlazBlue: Central Fiction is almost daunting at first glance. With seven new characters (one is unlocked, two are DLC - I have to say I am not a fan of the large number of day 1 DLC items) that push the roster count to an impressive thirty-five, these new combatants offer some great visual and combat variety to the mix. You have a lot of the usual suspects for modes, with the aforementioned story mode, but also arcade, speed, alliance and more. If you are a fan of the game and its fast and fluid combat, there are a lot of reasons to keep coming back to it thanks to all of this content.
Now, speaking of the combat, let's just say that BlazBlue: Central Fiction is the best, most polished release in the series to date. Small quality of life improvements such as counters to let you know how long an Overdrive has left. Active Flow rewards aggressive gameplay and makes matches more exciting than they might otherwise be as players who turtle excessively will find themselves at a disadvantage. Exceed Accels are a goofy way of saying 'Super Move' that ends your Overdrive state, but in often spectacular fashion.
There is a great deal of visual flair to be had here, and while the portraits look great in the story mode cutscenes, the real star of the show is how buttery smooth the combat and stages look. BlazBlue: Central Fiction benefits from the power of the PlayStation 4 as it has never looked this gorgeous on the previous PlayStation 3 and Vita platforms. Characters have a wide range of fast, smooth animations while the arenas are gorgeous, bursting with detail, movement and color.
Considering you can spend about thirty hours just on the story mode alone, there is a lot to do and take in with the latest and greatest BlazBlue title. Part of me finds it unlikely that BlazBlue: Central Fiction will be the absolute last version of this game to release. This has been a very high quality series for a number of years now, and if this is indeed the sendoff of the BlazBlue universe, we are fortunate that it is such an excellent one.
Arc System Works
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Article by Nick