Discovering BlazBlue: Central Fiction
Date Published: 12 December, 2017
As somewhat of a casual observer throughout the years, I knew very little about the BlazBlue fighting game series, and going in, I had low expectations for enjoyment, and based on my past experience with the BlazBlue franchise, I also harbored preconceived notions about BlazBlue: Central Fiction (BBCF).
However, considering it is the latest iteration in the franchise, I decided to give BlazBlue: Central Fiction a test drive, and while many things have remained the same from previous iterations of the series, my overall feelings about the game have certainly changed.
The two things that immediately impressed me with the game, were the absolutely fantastic soundtrack, as I could not find a single tune that was not enjoyable to listen to, and secondly the depth the series holds, not only from its gameplay, but its character lore and overarching story.
As a newcomer to the series, there is certainly a lot of catching up to do if interested in understanding the canonical role and significance of each character, however BBCF’s library is a great resource for getting to know more about the nuances of the series as well as its history.
The gameplay in BBCF is relatively similar to most other anime fighting games, especially those developed by Arc System Works, although there are some defensive adjustments and input familiarity that is somewhat specific to the BlazBlue games that newcomers should keep in mind.
However, the gameplay aspect of BlazBlue: Central Fiction that did overwhelm me a bit, was the number of characters that hold a unique playstyle with regards to special meters, modes, etc. That very element of vast versatility across the roster speaks volumes with regards to the game’s depth, but is also a factor that can be quite the hurdle for new players when attempting to learn specific match-ups.
My main reason for steering away from BlazBlue in the past was due to the fact that unlike my most played fighting games series—Persona 4 Arena and Tekken, BlazBlue never had a character I considered to be that perfect fit for both my visual and playstyle preference, and as a consequence, I could not fully enjoy and stick with the series’ past iterations.
Though despite that, I decided to be a bit more open to my selection of a character in BBCF, and going with what is fun, rather than what is the perfect fit, adhering to my own advice in Fighting Games 101 – Character Select.
By going through with this character selection process, I managed to narrow down the character select screen of roughly 35 cast members, to a handful of characters that immediately piqued my interest visually.
Upon identifying the five characters I thought looked interesting, narrowing down became much easier after testing out their move list, and overall playstyle, as only one character stood out from the rest—Tsubaki Yayoi.
After becoming more comfortable and familiar with Tsubaki as a character, the game immediately became more enjoyable, as it had elements of the freedom and speed I enjoy so much in games like Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (P4U2), as well as featuring technical gameplay with a bit of complexity that I’m so fond of in games like Tekken 7 (T7).
Personally, my biggest surprise was the fact that my preconceived notions of the game were proven to be somewhat incorrect, as I previously had an idea that the BlazBlue games were a bit too reliant on fan-service and lackluster humor that many other anime franchises tend to fall a victim to.
However, upon further inspection and consistent time with BBCF, that statement is no longer one I can wholeheartedly say is true, as while there is still fan service in the series, it isn’t enough to misdirect or distract from the overall scope of the game.
Lastly, while I still don’t quite see myself becoming an active player of the game, considering all of the catching up I would have to do. In the time I spent with BBCF which was a little less than a week, I did gain a newfound respect and appreciation for the BlazBlue franchise, as it certainly proved me wrong with its undeniable depth and quality.