BlazBlue: Central Fiction (PlayStation 3) Review

By Thom Compton 10.12.2016

Review for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 3

BlazBlue: Central Fiction is the end of the long running BlazBlue series, which for those who may not be familiar, is an anime 2D fighter. With the likes of Battle Fantasia and Guilty Gear, these kinds of games have a hardcore fan base, one that understands the inner workings of all of its favourite titles. This can lead to outsiders feeling like the barrier of entry is just too high to overcome. Outsiders should definitely be paying attention. After a glowing report for the PlayStation 4 edition, should those with the older generation PlayStation 3 check out the version released on that format?

BlazBlue: Central Fiction is really a collection of games, focused around the same framework. While all of the characters bridge all modes, and it's all really a fighter, each mode seems to tweak the formula enough to feel wholly different and satisfying. Including a Stylish Mode means even newcomers to the genre can enjoy the game's flair while they work on their button combination skills.

The tutorial will walk even the most inexperienced novice through grasping the controls, and there's a lot to understand before breaking into the other modes. From Story to Arcade, from Grim of Abyss to Speedstar, there are quite a few interesting ways the fighting has been stretched to add additional value.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 3

The stand out mode is Grim of Abyss, which adds minor RPG elements to the 2D fighting. Levelling your character and unlocking new skills is a nice touch that makes it stand out so much. Along with other modes, like Speedstar, which is sort of an endurance round, and Arcade Mode, which gives the player ten enemies in a row to contend with, there's plenty of anime style fighting to be had.

Even beyond the different play choices, the game controls remarkably well. The movements are well mapped, although sometimes jumping feels a bit like reminding yourself to breath. In fact, a lot of the moves are completed by doing certain things quickly on the same buttons, but that's part of the fun for hardcore fighting fans - learning the language of the game and becoming fluent in speaking it.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 3

The story is largely what fans of anime would expect, and may drive people who aren't as interested away. It's deep, often confusing, and requires knowledge of the big picture instead of just the moments within. The characters are anime archetypes, and range from interesting to blah to just plain boring. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, but the story may drive newcomers very far away from experiencing what Central Fiction has to offer.

The biggest sore thumb is indeed this narrative, which feels as much like a visual novel as it intends to be. Each chapter can be replayed, but the cut-scenes cannot be skipped. Instead, the speed of the text can be sped up, or, if pressing R1, the scenes will play in a fast-forward speed that seems sort of out place. Instead of just jumping to the next fight, the game forces you to at least watch the story fly by.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 3

Unfortunately, there's a lot of story to watch unfold, and it's boring if not interested in it all. Of course, many are only clicking on the story mode for this feature, so it's not something that should hold people back. It's mostly just a heads-up, as if you find the story boring, and really want to jog through the mode, it's something that will need to be dealt with.

Beyond that, the other shortcomings are fairly minimal. Configuration options seem somewhat pointless - the option to turn on the feature that shows a character's name while they are talking, for instance, which seems weird. The biggest actual complaint is the difficulty. While there is the Stylish option, the game doesn't start you on this. Again, one of the biggest draws to fighters is the complex interface. While BlazBlue: Central Fiction has this level of complexity, it's honestly not needed much early on. It's possible to get through the first four chapters by button mashing the entire time. After this, the difficulty cranks up enough that a good understanding of the mechanics is necessary, but it's annoying how little of your knowledge seems to be needed even four chapters in.

Screenshot for BlazBlue: Central Fiction on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

BlazBlue: Central Fiction is a welcomed treat for long-term fans and welcomes everyone else to join in, as well. While many fighters have a steep learning curve, this game has figured out a way to draw newcomers in and keep them there. There's so much to explore, but some minor hold-ups keep that level of accessibility back somewhat. Still, sometimes you have to get used to the minor drawbacks, and there aren't enough here to keep anyone, either novice or expert, from diving in.

Developer

Arc System Works

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Fighting

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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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