BlazBlue: Central Fiction (PlayStation 4) Review

By Eric Ace 08.11.2016

Review for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 4

BlazBlue: Central Fiction is the latest in the series of 2D fighting games by Arc System Works. The character design shows obvious overlap with Arc's original fighting series, Guilty Gear, including two main characters being near clones of each other. BlazBlue: Central Fiction takes place in the future, and unlike many others in the genre, the story is a major component as opposed to an afterthought. It is not for the faint of heart, and routinely deals with time loops, death and trying to break out of fate.

BlazBlue: Central Fiction is a continuation of a series that has been around since 2008, so a major question for anyone who has not been in the series is if they can pick this one up. The answer is that, despite the absolutely insane story that will be covered later, Arc System Works has done everything it can to welcome new players. Central Fiction is structurally solid, but does nothing amazing to separate itself from the pack.

There is a great tutorial that covers everything from simply moving to more advanced concepts. Like most games, the fighters have an HP bar and attacks slowly deplete it until one person wins. Each combatant is completely varied, ranging from close range specialists to those that prefer to stay far away and zone. One appreciable aspect is a type of 'newbie' mode, where just mashing the same button will do elaborate combos, but at reduced damage; it is a decent way to seem like the player is getting somewhere.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 4

Combos are strung together based on the previous simple attack, not an elaborate string of buttons that unleash some super move. There are special moves, to be sure, but most of them are nothing more than perhaps a half-circle before execution. This, of course, is a slightly mixed blessing; it is far more pick-up-and-play, but likewise, it takes a very long time to figure out mundane things like what the best move to follow up a quick jab with is, and the combos have to be created based mostly on timing windows, which are not obvious.

The signature part of the fighting is the "drive" of each character, which is basically their special powers. This is a very well done part of the variation. Ragna, the main character, for example, gets a type of blood sword that will regenerate part of his life if he hits enemies. In a complete contrast is the small vampire girl Rachel, whose drive is not offensive at all, but controls wind that helps blow her and her projectiles around the battlefield.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 4

It should be noted there are over 30 fighters, and they are all fairly deep in terms of their moves and what they can do. Something like this makes it hard for new players to really do anything against anyone else short of other new people, so expect a very real difficulty curve.

The last major thing that should be covered is the story. From the series' inception, the story was always a central point. To say it is complicated is an understatement. They go so far as to have a literal encyclopaedia within the game to look up everything from characters to words. Expect levels of sci-fi explanations where terms like "idea engine" and time loops are accepted as normal.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 4

As much time went into the story, the sheer depth of it might put any but the most hardcore off. There is even a warning as the story starts, asking if players want to hear a recap that takes 30 minutes. The story can be interesting at times, but the pure convolutedness of tying in over 30 characters, past time loops, amnesia and so on can be trying.

There is nothing wrong with BlazBlue: Central Fiction on the whole. For dedicated fans of the series, they will absolutely love the new characters and the huge story. For others, this might be a bit too hard to get into short of just button mashing with a friend. There are no major complaints, but likewise, there is nothing mind-blowing here, either.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

BlazBlue: Central Fiction does everything a continuation should: change nearly nothing and simply expand on what has worked in the past. There are more characters and a very complex story, but this game is not any different than any of the past BlazBlue entries. This works in that a fan can come in and everything will feel completely familiar, but it is not so good in that there is nothing revolutionary short of the most convoluted story in a fighting game ever. Purely as a 2D fighter, it works on all accounts, and the diversity of characters should deliver a long time of entertainment.

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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