BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger is the latest fighter from Arc System Works and offers 12 wild characters who flamboyantly battle their way in glorious 2D. The story is rather unusual, but that shouldn’t stop you from wanting to kick ass. In the 13th hierarchical city, Kagutsuchi, the Librarium regulates the amazing power of “Armagus”, a fusion of magic and technology. Currently they are aft er a wanted criminal named Ragna The Bloodedge, also known as “Death”, who wants to destroy the Librarium. Due to Ragna possessing a powerful form of Armagus known as the Azure Grimoire, people far and wide are aft er not only his bounty, but his grimoire as well. This is where our story begins…and if you can follow that, then you’re most likely all set for this game.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger features the usual modes you come to expect from a fighting game which includes Arcade, Story, Versus, Training, Score Attack and Network play. The Arcade mode pits you against the CPU in a number of stages (10) until you beat the final boss at the end. The training is self explanatory and should be the first stop so you can practice one of the characters moves. Versus is a great mode for either battling a specific CPU opponent or better yet one of your friends locally. The Score Attack offers plenty of challenge versus tough CPU under set conditions with the aim of scoring highly. The most interesting and fleshed out of modes on offer is the Story where you can learn a little more of the 12 characters. More often than not the stories are totally out there and filled with dry Japanese humor but is a worthy mode if you’re interested in the personalities of the characters you’re fighting or playing. Expect to press the A button several times here as you progress various dialogue boxes.
The actual fighting is very solid and fast paced. Each character has a strong, medium, weak and drive attack as well as some special moves and finishers. By attacking and being attacked players can build up a ‘heat’ meter which once filled to 50% can then unleash a powerful attack and possibly end the rounds with a Distortion or Astral Finishing move. What’s handy here for less experienced players is the option to unleash special attacks via the right thumbstick. Now although purists are going to argue against the inclusion of this, at least it makes the game more accessible to beginners.
The 12 characters on offer range from large breasted glasses wearing doctor, to a cat woman amongst more regular and some more equally wacky characters. Each one has their own style and it’s really a matter of personal preference who you choose to master. If you’re to unlock many of the game’s extras then a mastery of the initial 10 is a must.
This is where the game shines, and although hasn’t made the transition into 3D, looks mightily colourful and well animated. The character designs, whilst unusual for the most part, are of an extremely high quality and have very distinctive features.The background stages are also colourful and well animated, although there could have been a few more to spice things up. For a 2D fighting game you’re not going to see graphics much better than what’s on offer here especially when the screen fills with colour as special finishing moves are unleashed.
The music is of a rock nature, although expect to be in awe of the menu music which seem to be a mix of classical and rock/dance. There’s a fair bit of tongue in cheek voice acting in the story mode which is more on the comical side, and during the furious bouts themselves you’ll get to hear attack phrases that are paramount to any fighting game, “hands off the panda!” being one of them.
For a fighting game there’s a fair bit to sink your teeth into across the various modes on offer. However the real longevity lies in the online community where you can battle it out versus experienced pros in ranked matches or go for something a little more subdued in player matches. The game boasts lag free matches which to an extent is fairly accurate. However, if you’re from the UK then be prepared to make lots of friends from other countries as there seemingly are few players online at any given time to play with. Aside from the competitive online play, gamers can strive to unlock the various achievements which range from the incredibly stupid to challenging and clever. There’s a fair bit to do here and should make you feel you’ve got your monies worth.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger is not a game to fully understand, rather, just a game to play. It’s got some weird themes, equally unusual characters but is vibrant and easy to get into. If you’re a fan of the old school 2D style then this is well worth checking out as the fighting itself is rock solid. If you’re after lots of competitive online play then you might find the dwindling community unsatisfactory, however, once you do get into matches with fellow humans the game can be a blast.