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Critical Reception: Aksys/Arc System Works'  BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger

Critical Reception: Aksys/Arc System Works' BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger

July 1, 2009 | By Danny Cowan

July 1, 2009 | By Danny Cowan
More: Console/PC, Columns

This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Arc System Works' 2D fighter BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, which reviews describe as "one of the most rewarding experiences you will play all year." BlazBlue currently earns a score of 90 out of 100 at

Ken McKown at ZT Game Domain gives BlazBlue a score of 9.2 out of 10. "[BlazBlue delivers] the spiritual successor to Arc System Works' Guilty Gear series, complete with over-the-top characters and a deep fighting system," he explains. "This time around though the team has managed to make this entry much friendlier to newcomers alike, plus seeing the game explode on the screen in glorious HD is enough to force fans of 2D gaming into a coma."

McKown finds that BlazBlue succeeds in providing an accessible experience, in contrast to the complexity that defined the Guilty Gear series. "BlazBlue does a great job of catering to both types of gamer," he says. "Special moves can be achieved by flicking the analog stick, but the more you play the more you learn about the intricacies of the combat system."

"It also helps that the game plays buttery smooth," McKown continues. "There is no lag between inputs, and pulling off super moves, even on the horrendous 360 d-pad, works flawlessly."

"If you have any interest in the genre, then BlazBlue is definitely a must have," McKown writes. "The sharp visuals and complex fighting system make this one of the most rewarding experiences you will play all year."

PSX Extreme's Arnold Katayev rates BlazBlue at 9 out of 10. "With both 3D and 2D fighters on their way this year," he notes, "BlazBlue is the first all new 2D fighter to enter this generation of HD gaming, and it brings to the table something that's both accessible and deep."

Katayev finds that BlazBlue stands out as one of the genre's best titles. "BlazBlue reminds me almost of Street Fighter III, as it boasts that same level of fluidity that made Capcom's 10 year old game so approachable and infinitely replayable," he says. "BlazBlue is simply the best playing 2D fighter to come out since Capcom's last 2D Street Fighter."

"[Combos] are free-flowing and intuitive," Katayev describes. "BlazBlue encourages creativity as its engine allows for juggles, air-combos, and so forth."

Katayev explains that BlazBlue's defense-driven gameplay keeps it from becoming unmanageable. "The action isn't chaotic to the point of being extremely frustrating," he says, "because at the core still lies a foundation that allows for proper defensive maneuvers, including counter attacks, which any skilled player should be able to utilize to his advantage against button mashers."

Though Katayev feels that BlazBlue suffers slightly for its small character roster, he otherwise finds the game to be a satisfying experience. "BlazBlue is one of the best 2D fighters to come out in the past decade," he assures. "Not since Street Fighter III have we been given something this quick, accessible, intense, fluid, deep, and so well done overall. Even though the character selection may not be massive, there is still more than enough to play and replay here."

Game Informer's Been Reeves scores BlazBlue at 7.75 out of 10, noting that its bizarre storyline is a big enough draw in its own right.

"A young vigilante boy who carries around a life-sized marionette he refers to as his sister," he begins. "A vampire whose talking pet cat morphs into an umbrella during combat. A tips mode entitled, 'Teach me, Boobie Lady.' If you were looking for proof that Japanese developer Arc System Works is insane, here it is."

Reeves notes that BlazBlue's visual style and strange characters are a good match for its fast-paced gameplay. "The real thrill here is the frantic one-on-one combat," he writes. "Anyone familiar with Arc System Work's Guilty Gear titles will feel at home here. This 2D brawler has some of the hottest animations, a host of outlandish attacks, and gorgeous mixed 2D/3D backgrounds."

"Unfortunately, mastering the combat system requires a fair amount of dedicated erudition," Reeves warns. "Blaz can be a fairly defensive fighter - a wide variety of different counters, cancels, and blocks complicate the battle system."

Though he praises its depth and complexity, Reeves feels that BlazBlue will be more enjoyable for elite players than for newcomers. "In the hands of an expert fighter this game is stunning," he notes in conclusion, "but joystick jockeys who are out of shape might want to start an intense training regimen."

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