BlazBlue Calamity Trigger


Written by Chris Price
12 Monday 12th April 2010

Premise is simple. Two battling factions compete one-on-one in 2D fight action. Broadly split into enforcers and rebels, they are divided over a socio-economic gap; those who use magic to further their own ends and those who don’t (social commentary ahoy!).

Each one follows a unique storyline dependent on opponent, in search of the all-powerful ‘Azure Grimoire’ (the BlazBlue of the title). BlazBlue is a luxurious piece of code. Initial impact comes from a grandiose sensory overload, with orchestral overtures that soundtrack each bout. Industrious Burton-esque 3D anime arenas depict anime worlds created with care and attention.

It’s immediately accessible. Battles are breakneck X and Y axis steeple chases. Taking more than a few leaves from the Marvel Vs. Capcom book, battle is easy to pick up utilising the tried and tested ‘jump, attack, defend’ formula, but they are tough to master. Special attacks are delivered via repeated control pad rotations, meaning vertically ascending linked combinations become second nature in a matter of hours. Full character mastery is possible in half a day, and looking flashy is easy.

Immediate mastery of battle is simple, but go head to head with a real person, and the fight engine displays enough subtle nuances to allow development of a personal fight style. Offensive techniques come from exploiting the mechanics of the genre itself. ‘Rapid Cancels’ and ‘Counters’ work both offensively and defensively by interrupting the animation of the character – feigning in your opponent, countering to stun and leaving them wide open. Basic defence protects from most moves. Advance techniques include ‘Instant Block’ to fight back from a flurry, ‘Barrier Burst’ to repel incessant opponents and a ‘Guard Barrier’ to defend against specialised attacks. (A practice mode is available to hone your skills before going online and getting your ass handed to you by a seasoned international).

Viewed as a package, BB offers an open hand gesture to a European audience. BB is a spritely Japanese theatrical affair. It’s one that’s shaken off the ‘fanboy keepsake’ trappings of its spiritual predecessors - not quite to the international levels of Dragon Ball or Naruto, but an assured first step. There is a sequel in the works, the first of many more.

BlazBlue is available now for XBOX 360 and PS3

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