Game Review: BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend (PS Vita)
17/12/2015 Leave a comment
The BlazBlue franchise is one of those few games that has been ported from Japanese arcades to numerous consoles, including both handheld and PC, for many years now and so with this being said what can be expected of the latest instalment known as BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend – well let’s find out!
Originally released into Japanese Arcades in 2014 BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend is the ‘extended’ version of the original BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma fighting game, which coincidentally was also released into Japanese arcades a year previously, that sees numerous characters once again do battle against each other in 2D Sprite form but alongside this is an expansive story that transcends both time and space… or so they say at least.
Unfortunately however this is where the first problem of BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend arrives; as upon loading the game-up this ‘promised’ storyline is nowhere to be found. Instead the story content has to be downloaded onto your console; and it arrives as a hefty 2.6GB add-on. Sure enough this only effects the PS Vita versions of the game so those opting to get the PS3, PS4 or XB1 variations of the game will not encounter this issue; but it’s an issue that shouldn’t have existed in the first place; especially when the game has an install size of around 3.2GB already (if downloaded from the Playstation Network Store).
I assume the lack of story mode from the get-go is due to size restrictions with the PS Vita Game Cartridges; but it’s still surprising how the additional content is a separate add-on. In regards to the story itself then it sees the events of the original BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma game played out – which was previously released as a digital download only on the PS3 – with extended scenes and new gag scenarios. Furthermore alternative story-related inclusions, such as events that revolve around Bullet, Kagura Mutsuki, and Kokonoe, have been added as well as a new storyline event that focuses on BlazBlue: Remix Heart, which in this instance is named Remix Heart Gaiden.
With so much story content on offer its easy to see why it has been included as an add-on; especially when you factor in that it contains the original story, the extensions and then several new story segements that will offer hours of additional gameplay. So how is this story played out exactly? Well pretty much like a visual-novel – for the most part it’s about reading the dialogue, making choices and then fighting characters and winning the match in order to proceed with the story. Of course if you’ve played BlazBlue before then you will already be familiar with all of this.
Story aspect aside BlazBlue is known for its fighting mechanics and while i am terrible at this game, trust me its incredibly difficult for newcomers to the franchise, there is lots on offer and lots to learn. For starters simplistic additions such as Arcade, Time Trials, Multiplayer and Practice are all included but then the game beefs it up with an extensive list of alternate gameplay modes. For starters there is Score Attack, Abyss Mode, Unlimited Mars Mode and Highlander Assault mode – all of which retain the traditional fighting gameplay but change it in some fashion; for instance Score Attack will see you attempt to score as many points as possible while Unlimited Mars will challenge you to defeat a string of opponents without failing.
In terms of fighting mechanics than BlazBlue is your traditional fighter, with light, medium and heavy attacks combined with special and unique abilities being available for use. Anyone who knows how to play a fighting game will easily become adjusted and if not there is the inclusion of a ‘very extensive’ tutorial mode that explains and demonstrates everything you need to know about the game. Why extensive you might add; well after an hour of playing the tutorial only the basic fighting elements were taught – and even then there was still plenty more to learn about the game. The combination of tutorial and practice is key to progressing forward with BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend and those unwilling to put in the effort will no doubt loose at every turn – and here is the games biggest flaw; it’s difficulty setting.
Every single gameplay mode i tried i failed to get passed the third, if not first, opponent – even after adjusting the difficulty to beginner level, playing tutorial and practicing a few moves in practice mode i could still not beat the game – which is extremely concerning for those wanting to get into this type of game. This is not only disappointing but frustrating; for starters the previously released BlazBlue Continum Shift Extend i managed to beat both story modes and arcade modes with relative easy – but here i found it extremely difficult. Getting the right balance in difficulty is key to a games survival; and sadly BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend is just too difficult for the average fan or newcomer, especially when easier alternatives are available – such as the splendid Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax.
Overall BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend offers an extensive fighting game package – be it for the handheld or home console – and while the visuals and gameplay mechanics feel the same as those released over the years the amount of content packed into the game is extremely surprising. For a BlazBlue fan this is an ideal game worth picking up; but for those looking to ‘experiment’ with something new then this might not be the game for you.
BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend is now available for the PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. An Exclusive ‘Collectors Edition’ bundle is also available to purchase at Rice Digital. You can also save 5% on your order by using the discount code ABRUK5.