Review: BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger

John Funk | 7 Jul 2009 13:00
Reviews - RSS 2.0

Indeed, the lack of traditional fireball/dragonpunch/hurricane kick characters - and the staggering depth of the rest of the cast - might initially make non-fighting-game-fans wary of picking up BlazBlue. The game actually manages to be surprisingly accessible thanks to the Drives. Hitting the Drive button will use an attack that involves every character's specific unique mechanic, and it's a way to let newbie button mashers feel like they're doing something cool without having to remember complicated button and direction combinations.

The Drives are easy enough to make inexperienced players feel like they're kicking ass, but possess enough depth to satisfy the hardcore. A new Taokaka player might use her Drive to leap at an opponent and claw their eyes out; a new Iron Tager will use his to blast the opponent with magnetic force. An experienced Taokaka will cancel her leap to mix it up with the enemy or continue a combo, and an experienced Iron Tager will take advantage of the magnetized enemy to draw them close for devastating close-range damage.

There's so much potential depth in the BlazBlue cast that it's almost overwhelming, and that's before you even get to (relatively) advanced techniques like the defensive Burst, counterattacks, and the Rapid Cancel - which, like Guilty Gear's Roman Cancel, allows you to combo any move into any other move at the expense of your super meter. The Limited Edition comes with a supplementary DVD with tournament-level players describing strategies for high-level play, and it can honestly be tough to just wrap your mind around the concepts at first.

If one were really looking for criticisms - the Story mode is boring and quickly devolves into "read block of text, fight enemy. Read block of text, fight enemy," and when the story is so confusing and convoluted, it's really not all that entertaining. Also, labeling the buttons A B C and D results in confusion when trying to explain to a friend how to play it on the Xbox 360: "X is A, Y is B, B is C, and A is D."

But really, other than some annoying English voice work, that's about it. BlazBlue is slick and stylish, with a surprising amount of depth under the hood. It has one hell of a rockin' soundtrack, gorgeous 2D graphics, an outlandish and imaginative cast of characters in a unique and colorful setting. What's not to love?

Bottom Line: BlazBlue is a faster, slicker, and more stylish breed of fighter, and gives Street Fighter IV a run for its money. It eases new players in with a friendly combo system and a one-button Drive attack, but has tons of depth beneath the surface that will satisfy hardcore fighter fans. The originality of the character designs get you into the game, the originality of their gameplay mechanics keeps you hooked. A treat to watch and to listen to, and more of a treat to play.

Recommendation: Did you like Guilty Gear? Do you like 2D fighters? Do you like fighting games at all? Do you even just like anime? At the very least, give BlazBlue a rental. It's worth it.


John Funk thinks that BlazBlue proves that anything with the word "Nu" in it is awesome.

This review was based off of the Xbox 360 version of the game. BlazBlue is available on both the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Comments on