The BlazBlue series has been a mainstay within the fighting genre for almost a decade now and the latest in the series Central Fiction boasts the same excellent combat and vibrant design of its predecessors. Only slightly stumbling by its slow, yet often engaging storyline and the lack of the usual English dubbing. The amount of content and different modes Central Fiction has on offer ensures that there is something for everyone that wants to scratch their fighting game itch.
The story of Central Fiction picks up after the events of Chrono Phantasma and acts as a conclusion to the Azure Saga. For those that hadn’t played the games that came beforehand and wanted to get up to speed on the convoluted story, there is an option at the start of the campaign that acts as a recap and takes about 30 minutes to get through. The story that Central Fiction’s weaves can often be quite overwhelming, although it is made easier for newcomers when in the beginning the cliché amnesia trope burdens our main character allowing for characters from previous games to be reintroduced. There are some great characters throughout the story and some genuinely funny dialogue as well. Frustratingly it took over 30 minutes, not including the recap, for me to battle my first opponent. This often made me want to skip through the incessant dialogue just so I could take out my frustration on the next punching bag in line. Pairing this with Central Fiction being the first BlazBlue title without the English dubbing allowed my attention span to frequently wander as all I was doing was reading for long periods all too commonly.
Just like the other BlazBlue titles that came before Central Fiction, the combat is quick and satisfying. Boasting two different modes of combat, Technical, aimed at fighting game veterans who are skilled enough to input the painstakingly lengthy prompts to pull off devastating combos as well as Stylish, which is for the more casual fighters, allowing players to button mash and still perform some pretty cool looking moves. The BlazBlue games have always been incredible to look at as well. Each of the myriad characters are vibrant and when all the hell breaks loose on the battlefield you will be in for an absolute visual feast.
Accompanying the hefty story mode are the classic Training, Arcade and VS modes that you would expect to see in most fighters on the market. Arcade mode is broken down into the 3 acts for each character, allowing you to learn about what was happening with each character you choose throughout certain points of the Azure Saga. The two modes that really stood out for me were Challenge mode as well as Abyss mode. Despite being so simple, challenge mode contains small training type sequences where you will be tested to successfully complete a combo, as you get deeper into the missions you will slowly build up to performing devastating attacks and it taught me to use them quickly when taking on enemies throughout the other modes. Abyss mode is similar to the Survival mode that you will often see in fighting games, pitting you against the enemy after enemy, only to regain a small amount of health between battles. However what sets Abyss apart from those that came before it, is the touch of RPG that is thrown in along with the usual. As you progress through each set of survival rounds your chosen character will level up, learn new skills and acquire Grimoires. Grimoire are items that can be equipped that increase your overall health, defense and damage output. They also have a 3 slots that different skills can be attached to, anything from increased damage output to a skill that I was particularly fond of named Soul Eater, in which whenever I dealt damage to my opponent, I regain a little health myself and this was all important when I was using the same health bar battle after battle.
Included amongst the bevy of modes is also a network mode that allows you to test your skills in the online arena, despite initially having some trouble finding people to play against, once I was matched the first time there didn’t seem to be any trouble from then on. This mode is a great way to challenge yourself once you have had enough of taking on the AI bots throughout the other modes.
Whether you have been with the BlazBlue series since day one, or are looking to dip your toes in for the first time, Central Fiction has something for you. A slow start to the campaign and the lack of the series usual English dubbing doesn’t overshadow the amount of great content in this year’s iteration. Countless modes to choose from and an online arena to test your skills will have you duking it out for countless hours.
This review is based off a review copy of the Playstation 4 version of BlazBlue: Central Fiction developed by Arc System Works and distributed by Aksys Games.
- Bevy of game modes
- Vibrant design
- Addictive combat
- Slow start to campaign
- No English dubbing