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Cat-people, soldiers carrying massive swords, large ogre-looking men with tiny cellphones and a boy who races into battle followed by the spirit of his sister inhabiting a clockwork mannequin. For fans of the BlazBlue series of fighting games, everything I just said made perfect sense. And now the already off-the-wall brawler is ready to take the fight to the next level, as BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma finally releases for the PlayStation 3.
For some folks, the fighting genre is limited to only games bearing the words “Street Fighter” or “Mortal Kombat” in their title. Aksys has been bringing over lightning-fast fighters of their own for years now, however, including the beloved Guilty Gear series from last gen (Or I suppose that’s last-last-gen, as in PS2 era, now that the new consoles have all launched). Throughout the past half-decade, the developer has been delivering on a new IP, however, called BlazBlue, carrying over many of Guilty Gear’s quirks including bizarre characters, stunning locations and a story that’s so absurdly anime, there’s no real point in trying to unravel the knot of plot points it tangles together.
Chrono Phantasma is actually the third (Or is it fourth now? I’ve lost count at this point) take on the original BlazBlue game, but don’t think that means you’re getting just a slightly updated version of the game. Each iteration of the series includes new fighters, new modes, new campaign content, re-balances and tweaks and more. Maybe not enough to be considered a full-on sequel, but always more than enough to warrant a full release rather than just a bunch of DLC updates. The game is also sold at just $49.99 so, again, plenty of bang for your buck considering the fact that some fighters charge 10 bucks for a bunch of costumes.
As for the continuing story, well, I’ll just let Aksys’ press release do the talking and you can feel free to just nod along as if any of it makes a lick of sense.
“With the Cauldron shattered and the cycle broken, Ragna the Bloodedge begins his final mission: Hunt down the villainous Yuuki Terumi,” reads the statement. “BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma features a new fighting system, new characters and network mode upgrades.”
Okay, that second sentence certainly came through loud and clear. As for that new fighting system, longtime fans don’t have to worry that it means everything they’ve learned about the game is changing. Instead, each character is being given a new “Overdrive” mode, that allows you to dish out some extra punishment. Overdrive becomes more powerful the lower on health you are, too, so brawlers caught on the losing end of a battle might actually stand a chance of getting back into the fight.
The game will also add a big seven new characters, including four standard, one unlockable and two more that will be added later as DLC. If you’re a fan of the series, then you’re likely already rushing off to the store to pick up your own copy. As for newcomers, this certainly appears to be the most complete take on the IP yet and, given the console cycle shift, might actually prove to be the last BlazBlue to hit the PS3.
BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is available now in stores and through the PlayStation Network for the PS3. Look for the Vita version to arrive this summer.