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Published on July 25th, 2009 | by Daniel David

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Review

Developer: Arc System Works
Release Date: November 20, 2008
Platform: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], Xbox 360

Blazblue is a 2D fighter from the makers of Guilty Gear and they have hit the ground running. The game boasts beautiful 2D sprites, gorgeous 3D backgrounds and personally my favorite fighter this year.

If you played any incarnation of Guilty Gear then Blazblue will feel familiar, you could call this a spiritual successor if you want but that doesn’t mean Arc system played it safe. It doesn’t have the biggest cast of characters but Blazblue features 12 of the coolest characters I’ve seen in a fighting game and each character plays a lot different from each other.

The biggest change from Guilty Gear in BlazBlue is the drive attack. Drive attacks can range from the hulking Iron Tager’s magnetic punch which magnetizes the opponent allowing him to suck them in to be grabbed or Carl Clovers puppet which he can move independently of himself. Knowing how to use each character’s drive properly will tip the fight in your favor especially for some of the harder characters to use. Arc Systems also implemented easy specials which you can pull of a special move simply by pushing the right stick in any direction. This is really good for casual fighting fans and people who have trouble performing special moves at first.

After the drive attack you have things like the rapid cancel, counter attacks, just blocking, barrier block, barrier burst, and super moves called Distortion drives. If you meet the right conditions you can use Astral heats which is a very flashy and punishing way to end the match. Blazblue can be a bit intimidating at first because of the big difference between characters and some advance techniques but you’ll get the hang of it in due time and depending on how serious you are hardcore fans will find a lot to tap into.

I have to mention how beautiful this game looks. The 2D sprites are well animated and just look great on any TV. The backgrounds in rendered in 3D and are as diverse as the cast of characters, put simply this is the best looking 2D fighting game on consoles right now.

With this being a fighting game I was surprised at the amount of stuff you can actually do in this game. It has a really good story mode for those interested in characters of Blazblue which is actually pretty time consuming. The story mode is not going to be for everybody but I think the Japanese and American voiceovers are about even.

Aside from the Story mode you have the standard Arcade mode, Time attack and Online play. The online play for this game is fantastic and Arc System deserves a medal for their net code. Very few matches I played had lag, this game runs as smooth as butter online and the voice chat comes in crystal clear.

Online features both ranked and player matches which both net you points to level up. Naturally a Ranked match gives you more points and depending on how good you fought you’ll get more points, you never lose points which is something that I didn’t like in Street Fighter IV.

In Player matches you can create or join a room of up to six people. You can simply be a spectator if you want to or you can throw down. In created rooms you can set conditions such as players fight at random, next person plays winner or loser, unlimited characters turned on, easy specials, Astral heat turned on, etc. Online play in BlazBlue gives you the complete package.

One of my favorite features of the game is the ability to download and watch replays. This will show you how the best players in world get down in BlazBlue. Along with plenty of trophies/achievements and gallery items to unlock you’ll be playing BlazBlue for a while.

Like I stated in the beginning of this review BlazBlue currently is my favorite fighter this year and I can’t recommend this game enough to fighting fans. It’s the best looking 2D fighting game right now and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed picking this game up.

It may not be the case now but the Limited Edition of the game was the only version available when it launched which was only $60. You got the 2-disc soundtrack and a DVD/Blu-ray tutorial video showing you combos for each character. Hopefully the limited version is still available if you are interested in the buying the game.

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