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Blazblue: Calamity Trigger

2-D Fighter by Arc System Works, the creators of Guilty Gear

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Intensely Interesting

  • Sep 21, 2011
  • by
2008 was definitely the year of the fighter.  With games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Street Fighter IV and Soul Calibur IV (among others) hitting the shelves it was going to be a great year for fighting fans.  At one point during the time, however, a small game called BlazBlue came around.  For the most part it was familiar to how the fighting genre used to be, while also having quite a bit to offer.  Of all the fighting games released in recent memory, BlazBlue certainly stands out primarily for it's visual flair and aesthetics.  But nevertheless it's also just ridiculously fun.

For a fighting game, BlazBlue certainly offers one hell of a story.  The fighting genre is not particularly known for telling stories.  It has some that have characters and a world worth learning about (Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat come to mind) but for the most part I've always thought people who buy a fighting game for the story are suffering from a bad case of brain damage because most fighters just aren't big on storytelling.  BlazBlue, on the other hand, has a strong narrative.  Each character adds a part to the story and playing through every characters scenario helps to unearth the ENTIRE story.  And it's complete with giving characters back story, development and relationships with other characters.  And it has its own themes and plot twists.  But more than that the story is actually not so bad.  It is, however, extremely wordy at times.  Very much so.  There are passive moments where you'll read characters internal thoughts or prose as though it should've been comprised in a novel.  Whenever characters speak, however there is actual spoken dialog. 

For the most part much of the story is actually well written.  Though not always natural, the dialog isn't too hokey or cheesy.  Most of it holds up rather well.  The only big thing is... there's just so much of it.  When doing certain parts of the story it's easy to wonder when you'll finally get to the fighting. 

If there's one thing BlazBlue has going for it... it's that there is A LOT of content in it.  Tons of galleries to view.  Not only is the story mode deep and exhaustive but the Arcade Mode is just as fun.  So is the Score Attack mode, which can be strangely addictive.  There is also an extensive online mode that is actually a lot of fun to play because you can customize it to your liking better than most other games.  It's odd but BlazBlue is actually a beast in the amount of content it offers.  In this day and age it's important to have a lot to keep the player coming back and it's perhaps the one thing that the fighting genre has had troubles in.  That is, providing a decent single player experience.  Fighters are mostly multiplayer affairs where if you don't have someone to play with or a group of friends to get together... why on earth are you playing it?  BlazBlue isn't quite like that.  That's not to say it isn't fun without someone to play against, however.

The actual fighting is impressive because each character behaves in their own unique manner.  There are no clones here and mastering one character will certainly not help you get the hang of another.   Every character has weak, strong and medium attacks, but they all also have drives which are their special attacks.  Utilizing drives is what will ulimately help you master the characters.  There are tons of different combos and moves you can pull off through this as well.  On the surface it doesn't seem like much (when viewing the moves list) but the action is quite intense on screen.  Button mashing will only get you so far in BlazBlue.  If you're playing against someone who knows the in and outs of the fighting mechanics... then button mashing is about as useful as a piece of sheet metal in a lightning storm.  And BlazBlue will throw you right in.  There is (thankfully) a practice mode, but even on the easier difficulty settings newcomers will have to take a few battles to find their footing.

Using the various drives and combos there are tons of meters as well.  There's the barrier gauge which you can block attacks with and there is also your Heat Gauge which, when it has enough can allow you to perform distortion attacks.  Usually using 50% of the gauge.  Or, you can fill it all the way (by causing and taking damage) and use an Astral Attack to perform Astral finishes. 

It's a surprisingly addictive game.  One where you can you lose yourself.  There might also be fights that last longer than one might expect.  The only thing holding BlazBlue back is that it doesn't have a very diverse cast of fighters.  There are only about twelve characters to play as.  Each are unique with their own fighting style but you can't help but notice that it's a tiny roster compared to other fighting games.  The various modes, addictive gameplay and diversity among the characters makes up for this... but after a while you'll wish you had more than just twelve fighters to choose between.  Looking at the glass half full, though, it means you're more likely to find a character to get attached to because BlazBlue is big on developing its entire cast.

Visually BlazBlue is astonishing because it's so detailed.  2D fighters are going the way of the Arcade but when you see a game with detailed 2D sprites it's hard NOT to get a little excited.  BlazBlue's characters are all hand drawn and have an absurd amount of moves and over the top animations.  BlazBlue is pretty in your face with it's style.  If you're not one to fall in love with anime or the over the top nature that some animes can have then BlazBlue is definitely not for you.  The good news is that it's so in your face you'll know within minutes whether or not you'll enjoy it.  It's high energy, flashy animations and addictive combat will keep you coming back for more over and over again if you're into this. 

One of the best aspects is without a doubt the soundtrack.  The music really gives it an arcade feel and, like the visuals, make no bones about what it's supposed to be.  The music compliments the art style beautifully and is strangely addictive to listen to.  The voice acting is another thing.  Sometimes it's good.  They've got the right voices but haven't always the right tone to match.  The English dub isn't too hard on the ears.  You CAN listen to it in Japanese if you wish or turn them off completely.  The only thing that is likely to drive you insane is the number of times you'll hear the game announce: "Counter!" in each match. 

On the whole, if you're a fighting enthusiast then BlazBlue is a must to check out.  It goes so far as to give games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tekken a run for their money.  It's a fantastic game in its own right.  If they had only thrown in more characters it would be perfect.

What did you think of this review?

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September 21, 2011
I am with Joseph, and from the creators of Guilty Gear? Heck yeah. I am a fighting game nut and I was really into Tekken and Soul Calibur....Thanks for this, Sean!
September 21, 2011
The presentation is complete with good descriptions of the major features.
More Blazblue: Calamity Trigger reviews
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
An amazing HD fighter, with sadly only a few characters, but said ones are far deeper than any character from the mainstream fighters! Very unique play style for every character, interesting VN story style, with a lot of funny moments, the "Teach me Miss Litchi" is probably the most amazing introduction into the game world I have ever seen, the design is very well made and innovative, the online mode is smooth and brings a lot of fun, the best thing is probably the soundtrack, it just never disappoints …
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Very fun game. each character is unique in their own right. No clones in this game. Story is unique for its time and pretty engaging.
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Fantastic 2D fighter. Despite the small selection of characters (only 12), the gameplay is incredibly fun and the numerous modes can keep you occupied for a long, long time.
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Fun fighter that I just go into a few weeks ago. I'm excited for the release of Continuum Shift 2, albeit a long way off (relatively XD)
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger is a two-dimensional arcade fighting game by Arc System Works, the staff behind the Guilty Gear series. It was released on November 19, 2008 in Japan and November 20, 2008 in the United States. It was released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on June 30, 2009. It is a spiritual successor to Guilty Gear. A playable demo was presented at AOU 2008. The game is currently released for the Taito Type X2 arcade system board, with a 16:9 ratio and 768p resolution.

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Video Games, Ps3, Playstation 3, Fighter, Arcade, Arc System, 2d, Blazblue, Guilty Gear, X Box


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"Intensely Interesting"
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