As the fourth entry in the Blazblue series, Central Fiction grants access to over thirty playable characters, several modes with upgraded features, and a story section that brings a grand conclusion to its very intricate plot. This iteration of Blazblue is unlike the rest, in perhaps, a good way for most, and represents a fantastic arcade fighting game experience.
Blazblue Calamity Trigger was released in 2010, by Arc System Works, as a Japanese arcade game under the fighting game genre. It featured 12 characters in a brand new system. With the console release, several various modes were barebones at best, with the story mode being the most fleshed out, featuring side stories and the main storyline in full voice-acted appeal. With this and despite the flaws, the game showed promise. Outside of the technical aspects of the game, the music was different, but exciting, and the characters had a charm that appealed to certain audiences. During the time, the game looked visually stunning with sprites and backgrounds at HD resolution. The plot was a little standard of the anime variety, featuring time loops and a visual-novel framework in which the main characters worked for a resolution to end said time loops for a happy ending. All of these created a seed of interest in both the casual and competitive communities.
From Calamity Trigger, to Continuum Shift, to Chrono Phantasma…
Here we are with Central Fiction. The game series underwent a number of changes. The story mode is a bit more linear in this iteration, similar to Chrono Phantasma, in which you follow most of the characters at once in a pretty chronological order. It features both voice-acting and animated cutscenes to give more life to the world of Blazblue, just like in previous games. It also nicely ties up the plot and tries to clarify any of the past events that may be confusing to the audience. You are forced to play as story characters to proceed, but the battles are generally very easy with the AI set to very low difficulties and the game even offers you to control your characters in “simple mode” to help you defeat your computer-controlled opponents in the case they are too tricky to fight and you just want to progress through the story.
The game features a glossary and gives more background information on specific characters with the game’s story with the arcade mode- which offers the traditional single player experience (in three! Acts, or chapters for the prologue). In terms of gameplay, it is full of complications and mechanics but the game does very well in explaining all of them in the tutorial mode. Which by the way, has a section for guiding the player through specific character’s exclusive actions and game plans. In classic Arc System Works fighting game fashion, the game is very self-aware in its own depth and shows great effort in displaying all the fundamental information for new players and veterans (who may need a review or a quick-check) alike. The game does offer a training mode chock-full of switches and options to present diverse situations for those who need to practice. I was personally really satisfied with all the tools I was given with this version! Unfortunately, what Arc system Works did for Guilty Gear Revelator where they offered a mode for practicing to defend or react in certain important situations and matchups, did not show up in this game, which is a shame considering how most other things were done similarly between the two games.
Game play-wise, the balance feels right. A bit looser than the past iteration, but still feels like any character can win. There’s a new feature in this version that’s called “Active Flow” that encourages players to defend well and create good offensive plays. In addition to that is “Exceed Accel” that allow characters to pull off a flashy damaging move that works as reversal or a combo ender. Both of which are nice refreshing additions to the game in a competitive sense, and provides some hype for spectators and casual players. Everything feels nice and responsive, the new characters provide for unique experiences despite there being so many in the game already. So it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll find a character right for you!
Besides the traditional modes in this game, there’s also things like Abyss mode which allows you to build your characters in an RPG-style with grimoires/skills and play them against powered-up computer-controlled opponents. Network mode allows you to play online with people from all over the world. There’s both public lobbies open internationally so that people can play on virtual cabs, and private and public player-hosted rooms (that can be decorated with items purchased with in-game currency!). You also get a nice player card and avatar like in previous versions of the game where you buy accessories and aesthetics with in-game currency. The same currency can be used to purchase in-game art from its gallery as well as character alternate colors, songs and stages from previous games for use in actual matches. The game is full of things to do!
If you are looking for an anime-based fighting game that represents the real Japanese arcade experience, I highly recommend Blazblue: Central Fiction!