BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger has been available in other regions already for quite some time but after a long wait we finally get to play it over here as well. The game got quite good ratings from the foreign press but is the gameplay after a full year still fresh enough to take on other fighters like (Super) Street Fighter IV, Tekken, Soul Calibur and many others?
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger is a traditional 2D fighter where two opponents love nothing more than punching each other in the eye. The game is ready to start with for newcomers to the genre and hardcore players will spend hours and hours in studying all possible combos and the ideal timing for blocking. Just like with other fighters you can play with arrow keys as well as analog joysticks. Forward, back, jumping, … it’s all so logical that a manual isn’t necessary. Blocking also is done the traditional way by just pushing in the opposite direction.
What I like most about the controls is the simple basic controls for attacks which exists of four buttons: A, B, C and D, where the D stands for Drive, a specific special attack which is essential for doing damage but is also just cool to perform. A, B and C are the three standard attacks which differ in power and speed.
Of course it’s not just pushing some buttons to get a combo. Those that previously played Guilty Gear, the other much-praised fighter from ARC System Works, will feel familiar, but still find something completely new. One of those things is the Barrier Block. By pushing the attack buttons A and B and pressing back on your D-pad/joystick you perform the strongest block which stops just about any powerful attack but be careful as you can only perform this move a limited amount of times. Next to that there’s also a Rapid Cancel which abruptly stops your attack by simultaneously pressing A, B and C. This does decrease your Heat Gauge which is responsible for your Distortion Drives (super attacks) and Astral Finishers (instant kills). It may all sound a bit overwhelming but the game has a training mode and you can also link special moves to your free right analog stick. Online this option is turned off though as we all want to have fair fights, no?
In the new BlazBlue universe you can get going with 12 characters with all their own looks and personality. The main lead is given to Ragna, Jin and Noel who as the story progresses get more linked to each other than you think. Before you start thinking the other characters are worth less: nothing is less true. From the spoiled teenage vamp girl Rachel to the ADHD-rich ninja Bang, and from the cat-like creature Taokaka to the Boobielady Litchi… they all have their own personality and story. Next to the storyline itself, each character plays different. The universal attacks remain but as soon as you go deeper in on the combos you’ll discover a completely different set of moves which deepen the gameplay enormously while remaining balanced.
The story in BlazBlue is pleasant for a fighting game, scores better than average and shows a bit more depth than we’re used to. In the beginning everything seems a bit complicated but as you progress you discover more and more and the puzzle nicely falls together. The story is shown by means of static anime images and spoken text in English or Japanese. Those that want to discover the entire tale will have to replay the game multiple times with the same characters as here and there you need to make choices which result in a different ending. The static appearance, however, will probably not manage to keep people interested long enough.
After having finished the Story and Arcade modes you can get going with Score Attack but the true fighter will probably move online quickly. Through a decent lobby system you can easily start up fights and look for opponents. Everything works perfectly without lag and the well-balanced characters make that people don’t constantly play with the same ones. If you constantly get beaten to hell you can save a replay of the fights and analyse them through the Replay Theatre. Watch at normal speed, fast forward or image by image and detect your errors.
Graphically this is without a doubt one of the best 2D fighters on the market. The sprites are finished up to the smallest points and filled with details. The background were made with similar love and combine 2D with a 3D effect which delivers a different view of depth here and there. Next to that they’re also filled with details and background characters which results in a pleasing atmosphere. The soundtrack is typically Japanese with heavy rock and opera-like scores.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger is despite its late release over here still not past its due date. Fans of the fighter genre can discover completely new characters and a depth that even many porn stars will be jealous of. The storymode may be a bit static and won’t please everyone, but it does deliver one of the best stories we’ve seen in a fighter. A game we can easily recomment to any fighter lover.