February 4, 2015

A break from RPGs but not stories – Blazblue’s story verse

Posted in video games tagged , , at 7:59 am by riulyn

Who decides to buy the first few of a series of 2D fighters in order to play their story mode? That would be me…

To be honest, Blazblue’s story mode in Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift Extend is actually quite enjoyable for me. Especially in the latter (so you can totally skip Calamity Trigger if you want). The story is pretty much visual novel style. Talking heads interspersed with fights and very few animated cutscenes. Branching paths and multiple endings. It’s a little more obvious the different paths in Continuum Shift and there are less endings/character in it. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time with Calamity Trigger, but I feel like the branching points happening earlier and causing majorly different endings is the better way to go. Especially when it leads to some hilarious gag endings.

Fighting-wise, it seems relatively simple. Calamity trigger felt easier to play than Continuum Shift. Maybe it’s because I still haven’t figured out how to do distortion finishes in the latter. Even so, I feel like blocking and jumping are more necessary in Continuum Shift. I play both on “easy” mode and I have a much wider variance in success rates in battle in Continuum Shift dependent on how well I can predict the opponent’s moves. I still have a hard time with the fact that pushing the forward direction with the left stick while hitting attack buttons does not make your character continuously move forward while attacking. It’s a habit that I have to break from my linear Tales battle system days…

Blazblue is such a Japanese anime-ish game that I decided to start with Japanese voices and English text, and now it’s hard to go back to English voices. Especially now that I understand enough Japanese to see some of the differences between what is conveyed in Japanese and what is conveyed in English. It’s definitely a case of “localizing” the script. Sometimes entire sentences are absent or added to the Japanese versus the English. The sentiment still comes across the same…eventually. But in general it seems that the English text was increased to make the dialogue sound more colorful/full. I’ve already completed Calamity Trigger’s main story, so right now I’ve set it to English voices and German text, and the German seems to follow the English pretty well. The English VAs seem fine so far, but a certain enemy character is amazing in Japanese, so I’ll have to see if his English VA keeps up.

I don’t play many fighters so I can’t say I recommend Blazblue over any others. I just think it actually has a decent story for a fighter. Sometimes there’s a bit of awkwardness where you feel like the characters are being ultra aggressive just so the game can have a story fight. Otherwise, the characters are varied and most of them have interesting background stories and conflicted motivations. I also think the game has, so far, dealt with it’s time/space/universe thing quite well. It doesn’t shy from making it complicated yet so far it seems like it holds together. Of course, there are like two more games after this to complicate things further, right? By the time I get to them, they may be <$20 too.