Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Think BlazBlue Is a Really Good Game Because... [BlazBlue Impressions]

Forgiveness please for the writing assignment title.

There are a number of unabashedly enjoyable things in Guilty Gear's spiritual successor.

Noel's ground string (forward B > forward C > down C > down forward C > down, down C > dash in, forward C > neutral Drive) was learned within a few attempts, though the timing on the last three hits is pretty tight. This leads to her Chain Revolver combo for nice damage or into an air combo (j.A, j.B, jump, j.B, j.C, Revolver Blast or Air Distortion). Revolver Blast alone is a stylish special attack to note, as it builds Heat gauge while completing the aerial rave. As a character, Noel is hard to compare. A little baby Cable, I'd say, and her Chain Revolver easy combo seems familiar, though only the forward special of the Fire Emblem characters in Smash rings a bell.

Abandoning Guilty Gear's suave gentleman vampire Slayer, Blazblue introduces Rachel Alucard, a young vampire princess with de riguer bat and cat familiars. She plays a zoning game planting electrifying bat rods, and uses wind gusts to manipulate the positions of her opponent, herself, and her projectiles. Then she can wind dash in on a shocked opponent with a rushdown style reminiscent of Dizzy. Her simplest damage dealing move is her wind dash spin (forward, forward D, forward C) which mutates a short range command attack into a visceral screen-crossing assault.

The Red Devil of Sector Seven, Iron Tager stands in for Potemkin as the game's archetypal grappler, though his Drive ability to magnetize an opponent and attract them into grabs significantly alters the traditional tactics of closing in.

The complexities of the cast as a whole are a confirmation of the intricacies of character design and gameplay. Even the most familiar characters (Ragna ala Sol and Jin ala Ky) are given a new dimension by their Drives. And hell, don't get me started on Arakune... It's like Testament and Venom (Marvel) had an abortion.

All in all, a really fresh, engaging take on 2D fighting in the same furious, technical vein as GG and MvC2. As much as I like the classic, clean mechanics of SFIV, there is definitely an appetite for this kind of advanced, hyperactive direction.

I'm hoping I can cajole some interest out of Legoman. Don't know why he's so stuck on Bang Shishigami...

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