'BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma' Continues Turning The Wheel Of Fate

March 28, 2014

The return of 2D fighters on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 helped bring about a new era for the classic genre. With a host of franchises that were revived, and even more that were newly created, it felt like the heyday of the 16-bit era all over again. Genre stalwart Capcom played a key role by bringing back Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom, and then releasing Super and Ultimate updates. While other smaller teams got in on the action as well with games like Skull Girls and Divekick, one Japanese developer helped fill the market with one solid release after another. While Arc System Works really established themselves working on the Guilty Gear series, they released some really amazing fighting games over the last few years including Arcana Heart 3, Battle Fantasia, and Persona 4 Arena. However, of all of their titles, BlazBlue was the one franchise that dug in for the long haul, and released a handful of games across multiple platforms - from the arcade to the DSi. BlazBlue has established itself as a worthy competitor in the fighting game genre, and its latest release, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, continues the series' tradition of beautiful 2D games that pack a serious punch.

Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games

Arc System Works have used their years of experience to create a true franchise with BlazBlue. Their time spent on the beautiful Guilty Gear series has been evident in BlazBlue since Calamity Trigger, but these games have grown into their own beast. With this series, Arc have created not only a bunch of gorgeous games, but also a complex fighting experience - one that the fighting game community has welcomed with open arms. The intricacies of the BlazBlue series have been crafted to appeal to even the most discerning of fighting game fanatics, and at this point, Chrono Phantasma is just another notch in their well-worn belt.

Since the beginning, the BlazBlue series hasn't been the easiest storyline to follow. From Ragna the Bloodedge and the Azure Grimoire, to the Novus Orbis Librarium and the 23 Hierarchical Cities, the ongoing story that has spanned BlazBlue from Calamity Trigger to Chrono Phantasma is really dense. However, for the fans that love diving deep into the series' fiction, Chrono Phantasma features an extensive story mode - so much so, that it's basically a visual novel. Whereas previous games have peppered their story modes with face offs, this time around Arc System Works stripped the majority of the battles out, leaving three separate story tracks for fans to follow. You can even catch up on the previous games with Litchi and Taokaka, if you want to get up to speed on anything in the past that you may have missed.

Outside of the story, the BlazBlue is all about the fighting. Overall, the gameplay has mostly remained the same, giving fans another fantastic 2D fighter to put their thumbs to the test. Players can battle it out in a variety of different modes, from arcade, to Abyss, to online, where they can perfect their skills, and then show them off. If you don't fancy yourself a skilled fighter, you can switch on the new Stylish Mode, where you don't need to know all the button combos to look like a professional, pulling off some of BlazBlue's biggest and baddest moves without all the hassle. With the addition of five new characters (and two more as DLC), Chrono Phantasma features the biggest roster in series history, so now it's even more likely that you'll find a character that fits your play style.

Chrono Phantasma will only be taking its artsy fighting to the PlayStation 3 for the time being. Retail copies are available now, with the PSN version and character DLC set to be released in the next few days. Vita owners will get to take Ragna and his friends out for a spin later this year, where it will feature with Cross-Buy DLC, and an exclusive island storyline (complete with bikinis) as an added bonus.

Chrono Phantasma is just what fans of the BlazBlue series can hope for from a sequel, and that's, simply, more BlazBlue. With an expanded roster, and an extensive story mode, Chrono Phantasma is the most immersive game in the series, and that comes at no cost to the gameplay. While the Stylish Mode opens the game up more to beginners, long time fans of the series can still appreciate the depth and complexity that this fighter offers. It's hard to have missed BlazBlue in the last few years, especially if you're into fighting games, but if you somehow have overlooked it, now is the perfect time to jump in.