Hands on with BlazBlue: Chronophantasma at TGS: I’m terrible at this
C. Custer | On September 20, 2013 at 5:30 pm
This article is part of our coverage of TGS 2013.
I have to put something out in the open right away: I’m pretty terrible at fighting games. Growing up, I always preferred platformers to fighters, and although in my adulthood I have dabbled in the fighter genre from time to time, I’ve never gotten good at it. Or even close to good.
This information is relevant because we’re about to talk about BlazBlue: Chronophantasma, a Japanese fighting game developed by Arc Systems and coming to the Playstation 3 in Japan on October 24. It’s the third game in the BlazBlue series, which is known for its anime-style 2D graphics and its rather deep fighting system. Observing the game from a distance, it has always looked interesting to me, so I took the plunge at TGS and tracked down Arc Systems’ booth to give the new game a hands-on preview.
Things started off fairly badly, as it took me several tries to navigate through the game’s menu (which was in Japanese). Once I figured that out, I picked two random characters (Chronophantasma contains seven new characters in addition to many of the series regulars) and a random stage to battle it out on.
The result, which thankfully I have no photo or video of, was an embarrassing two-round thrashing in which the computer-controlled character savaged me with intricate combos as I fumbled along, managing to land precious few blows as the screen exploded with color. Blazblue is fast-paced and there’s a lot of stuff on the screen; it can be pretty hard to keep up with for first-time players, and it was clear from my experience that button-mashing does not work. By halfway through the first round, I knew I was hopelessly outclassed, and I spent the remainder of my fight hoping that none of the passers-by were watching and enjoying the colorful, over-the-top visuals.
Fans of the series will find few surprises in Chronophantasma; the game is as flashy, complicated, and unforgiving as ever. It’s also as pretty as ever, and it must be a joy to watch when two skilled players are going at it. I may never know what it’s like to be a good BlazBlue player, and I don’t think I’d buy this game because I have no need to purchase things to embarrass myself with in my free time, but if you’re a fan of fighting games, you owe it to yourself to check this one out. Japanese PS3 gamers can enjoy it starting on October 24; American gamers will have to wait until 2014.