BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend (PlayStation 4) Second Opinion Review

By Athanasios 14.01.2016

Review for BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend on PlayStation 4

2D fighters have a long tradition of being both the most beautiful and "hardcore" in the genre, and, as far as developers go, Arc System Works is surely one of the elites in the field, immediately evident from the popularity of its Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series - both deeply into the anime look, frantic action, and insane depth. The PS3's BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma was another great addition to the latter and, as is customary in the genre, it soon received an upgraded version, which reached the shores of the PS4 after a short while. The important question, though, isn't whether it's good or not - because it certainly is - but rather if it's worth purchasing for those in possession of the original.

It's hard for a fighter to stand out in an arena filled to the brim with long-standing and highly popular franchises, especially when it doesn't actually attempt to reinvent the wheel. Yes, the BlazBlue series doesn't really differentiate itself from the competition, yet it's so good at what it does that it doesn't really matter. What exactly is that? The answer is that it offers gameplay which is not annoying despite being very fast, accessible but highly technical, and enjoyable though very challenging - even for seasoned veterans.

Make no mistake, though, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma requires effort; namely, in the form of learning its various complex button combinations, or its more specialised mechanics, such as combo chains or "super" moves. The good news, however, is that the available training modes deal with every single aspect of the game. Furthermore, while certainly a hard nut to crack, fighting now feels far better as the AI is distinctly less cheap than before. Finally, Stylish mode is available for those who are completely inexperienced, enabling elaborate moves and combos to be performed with the push of a button.

In terms of content, few can compete with this fighting gem's abundance of modes and unlockables - even though the latter consists mainly of CG images, endings, and alternative system voices. Besides the various standard modes such as Arcade, there are some that are slightly more innovative, with Abyss being a particularly addicting one, a survival/RPG blend that forces the player to go through various dungeons, and collect/equip several items along the way in order to keep up with the increasingly tougher battles.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend on PlayStation 4

Surprisingly for a fighting game, the plot plays a very important part, with an insane amount of visual novel-style dialogue sequences, as well as a couple of well-crafted cut-scenes. The thing is, however, that the story has a very specific target audience. Those who are into anime-inspired, complex storylines filled with wacky characters are guaranteed to be pleased, while the rest will probably find that the whole thing slowly drags on and on (mainly due to the lengthy conversations), sometimes doesn't make sense, and that the tons of anime clichés can get annoying - high-pitched squealing voice-acting included.

Note that there isn't much focus on individual characters, as instead the story has been divided between three different factions - quite reasonable, given the size of the character roster. While it's somewhat hard to get invested in the various events and characters without playing a previous title, there are some optional summaries that can get newbies up to speed, although many will prefer to just check an online wiki.

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is simply fantastic, but - of course - not for everyone. Some won't like its flamboyant anime look, the crazy, over-the-top characters and their constant quips, the bizarre and complex plot, or the highly technical gameplay. The real problem, though, lies elsewhere. The only question that truly matters is whether this revision gives any justification for purchasing it. For those unaware of the series, the answer is a big, loud 'yes' - for the rest, though, it's not particularly worthwhile. The graphics are marvellous, but have begun to show their age on the PS4, and while this version has applied several gameplay tweaks, it's not exactly worthy of spending such a large amount of money.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

What is BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma? The answer is a very fast, complex, but also surprisingly approachable and rewarding fighter, with great attention to detail and a large amount of content. What does the Extend update add to the package? A few new bits of plot, a handful of previously DLC-exclusive content, and a nice tweaking and rebalancing of the gameplay. The only problem is that, unless a newcomer to the series or not in possession of the original (or a very big fan), there's no real reason to try this out - at least, not before the price drops a bit.

Developer

Arc System Works

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Fighting

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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