BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition Review
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
BlazBlue has come an incredibly long way since its first iteration, Calamity Trigger, entered the fighting game arena in 2008. Now, with over a decade's worth of updates to its diverse character roster, its accessible battle systems, and its convoluted story, BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition lands onto the Nintendo Switch as one grand collective that is a must-buy for any fan of the genre, both for the budding and the already initiated.
BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition breaks the convention of fighting games lacking in content by delivering a game package chock-full of modes that go beyond Arcade, Versus, and Online play. Players looking to dive into a story will be enthralled by BlazBlue’s fully voice acted visual novel-styled Story mode. Unfortunately, Arc System Works opted to only include Japanese voice acting in Central Fiction. Some catching up via YouTube is recommended as the story is a continuation of one that spans across every iteration of BlazBlue with some complex twists and turns along the way. Arcade mode also doesn’t lack in story flair. Each character has their own mini adventure with their own boss at the end of the gauntlet of the mode’s 10 bouts. All cutscenes and rival sequences are also fully voice acted. Additionally, for the player who’s looking for a single player fighting game experience outside of the norm, Central Fiction Special Edition includes Grim of Abyss mode which is an RPG-like single player experience. Players enter dungeons and fight opponents until they get to the dungeon’s boss. Through battle, Grimoires can be acquired and used at the Magic Workshop to improve a chosen fighter’s stats and skills, upping the craziness of subsequent battles. For the speed run and high score junkies, the game has Speed Star mode, where dispatching enemies as quickly as possible is the name of the game, and Score Attack mode respectively. Overall, BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition will not leave even the most casual of fighting game fans starving for single player content.
A big part of what makes fighting games appealing is the intense one-to-one battles which require some skill and finesse to be successful. In that respect, Central Fiction’s gameplay systems can feel complex to newcomers but fortunately, the game does include a robust set of teaching and training modes. Tutorial mode contains a robust set of practical lessons that range from the game’s basic mechanics to advanced 2D fighting concepts and strategies. ArcSys has a strong pedigree of delivering some of the best fighting game tutorials on the market and Central Fiction Special Edition is no slouch in that regard. To help further improve their skills, players can move onto Challenge mode which allows them to learn how to execute combos with the character of their choice. These combos start off simple and gradually become harder and harder, showing off little by little how each character can dish out the big damage and what combo paths can be taken in different situations. Finally, it wouldn’t be a fighter without the classic Training mode. Central Fiction’s training lab contains a wide variety of tools that enable players to practice nearly anything they want to achieve in battle that will allow them to have an edge over their opponents.
Online mode is where it’s at these days with fighting games with one of the most important factors being the netcode. BlazBlue has always had some of the best netcode in the business and that has thankfully continued to be the case with Central Fiction Special Edition. There were very few hiccups during our tests with the game which were more likely caused due to bad connections rather than the game itself. However, even at lower latencies, online battles ran smoothly with some minimum timing adjustment required when performing combos. The Lobby experience when playing against friends still seems to be unnecessarily convoluted in the way fight rotations work but beyond that, inviting and battling friends worked hassle-free.
From a graphical standpoint, BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition looks gorgeous. Characters and backgrounds are all colorful and beautifully animated. The game looks especially nice in handheld mode where the minimum pixelation that is typical with these types of graphics becomes indiscernible. Just by watching a match makes one wonder how this type of gaming art is slowly becoming a lost one. Regardless, Central Fiction Special Edition does well as one of its last bastions.
BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition is by a long mile one of the best fighting game packages to pick up on the Nintendo Switch. Its incredible replay value, both from single player content and multiplayer options, is nearly unmatched by any other fighter on the market at the moment. It's a strong and entertaining title that caters to fighting game players of all creeds which would make any of them remiss not to include it in their collection.