There are two schools of thought when it comes to fighting games: on one side, the two dimensional purists who believe that true pugilistic contests should be conducted on a flat plain, with none of that girly sidestepping, and on the other, the new breed, (by new I mean less old) who cherish every delicious polygon and every sweet dodging duck into the background. Or the sideground. Some games try and bridge the gap, including the awe inspiring Street Fighter 4. Others, however, are staunchly single minded when it comes to choosing their camp. BlazBlue, for example.
You see, the thing that usually defines two dimensional kicking and punching games is a style, pace and look set three notches up from utterly bonkers, and BlazBlue is no different. Developer Arc System Works has created a one on one brawler with all the visual grandeur of Capcom and SNK at their maddest, mixed in with the sort of new and intuitive fighting system that fighting fans have been waiting for. Fighting techniques allow you to sacrifice defence for attack in pretty spectacular fashion, and special moves, known as Distortion Drives, unleash the sort of holy hell usually reserved for weapons of mass destruction.
It’s not reinventing the wheel, but this is a wheel that doesn’t need any sort of tampering, save for a splendidly OTT lick of paint and a few tweaks in the metaphorical spokes. The cast of characters are immediately iconic, with some real stand outs, and the fluency of the battling is second to none. There are all sorts of fancy named techniques and special blocks to master, but beginners will find plenty here to get their teeth into as well.Why You Should Be Excited
2D fighters have seen a renaissance in recent times, with the digital releases of Marvel Versus Capcom 2, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix and the upcoming Tatsunoko Vs Capcom on the Wii, and BlazBlue is destined to ride that wave all the way to the big games party in the sky. Graphically delicious, with exactly the sort of swagger that appeals to fighter fans the world over, Arc System Works, the developers behind the Guilty Gear series and the recent Battle Fantasia, has built a game that rivals even Street Fighter 4 in terms of sheer, bloody minded fun.
Already released in America and Japan, BlazBlue has been gaining the sort of praise that should have any traditionalist pricking up their ears in excitement, as well as catching the attention of any 3D-ite willing to take a punt on some flat smackdown. The game offers the kind of action that any self respecting videogamer should be clamouring for, and presents it in a retina bleeding panoply of sprite based delight.
If you’re from the good ol’ US of A and haven’t picked this up yet, then I urge you to hot foot it to your nearest game retailer or, you know, the Internet, and grab a copy as soon as you can. If you’re not lucky enough to live on t’other side of the pond, then you’re going to have to wait, I’m afraid, but not for that much longer. BlazBlue isn’t a retro throwback; it’s a modern, fast paced, crazily addictive thrash, smash and crash ’em up with stunning visuals and an interesting take on the 2D fighter that deserves to sell just as well as any 3D trundler you care to mention.