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E3 2013 Preview: Blazblue Chronophantasma

Fighting game players rejoice! E3 2013 brought us yet another version of Blazblue. Counting Blazblue Calamity trigger, Blazblue: Continuum Shift, Blazblue: Continuum Shift 2, and Blazblue: Continuum Shift EX, Blazblue Chronophantasma is the fifth version of Blazblue to release since the game’s debut early this generation. Aren’t you excited to purchase Blazblue for a fifth time!?

As annoying as it is to have Arc System Works pushing another Blazblue down our throats when Gulity Gear Xrd was recently announced, I have to admit that BB:CP is far more than just another balance patch. The game comes with six new characters — Bullet, Azrael, Amane, Izayoi, Terumi, and Kagura. In addition, Relius from BBCS:EX will also be making another appearance.

The systems of the game have also been greatly changed. For example, the burst system has been totally overhauled. Instead of having two break bursts which you can just use over the course of a match, BB:CP’s burst system has been changed into the new Overdrive system. Characters have an overdrive bar that fills as time goes on. When it is completely full, players can use this bar to either burst out of a combo as per normal, or activate “overdrive mode.” Overdrive mode is essentially a normally usable unlimited mode for the character. The character gets new moves, new abilities, and vastly increased power for as long as overdrive lasts. he lower your HP is, the longer Overdrive lasts, which has caused some fans to draw parallels to Marvel vs Capcom 3’s X-Factor.

There are also plenty of new balance changes in BBCP as well. Tager can now charge his sledges, for example, allowing him to break guards and go through projectiles. Ragna has new combos off of a successful uppercut. Taokaka even has new loops to try out.

In general, the game feels a lot more aggressive. Characters have tons of new moves that create new mix-up opportunities, but combos themselves score lower damage than before. As a result, there is a bigger focus on oki and resets than there was in previous Blazblue games. Overdrive is, unfortunately, not used nearly as much as the creators probably thought it would get used, as a “get out of jail free” card for combos is still far more powerful.

The new characters are also quite interesting. Azrael can set up weak points that can then be hit for increased damage and hit-stun. Bullet is a high speed grappler, somewhat like El Fuerte from Street Fighter. Amane fights from long range with a scarf that turns into a variety of objects. Izayoi builds a special meter up by playing a zoning game and then uses that meter for aggressive techniques like teleportation. Kagura is both a stance character and a charge character and can switch between his stances mid combo. Finally, Terumi has a special ability to build meter easily. He is one of the first characters in fighting game history to have more super moves than special moves.

Overall, Blazblue Chronophantasma was a lot of fun to play. It’s a worthy successor to the Blazblue franchise and it reminds you why gamers liked Blazblue in the first place. It’s unfortunate, then, that so many BB players probably won’t give Blazblue Chronophantasma a second look merely because they have purchased prior versions of the game so many times before. Hopefully this one will eventually find its audience.

Blazblue Chronophantasma is expected to launch in early 2014 for the PS3.

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