Even if you are clueless to the BlazBlue characters and story, the game even provides an actual tutorial to get you up to speed. It’s kind of like in the Metal Gear series where you can read up on the history and lore of the game if you’re new to the series. BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma presents the backstory in a more creative way as you are a student while the tutor Litchi gives you all the details on what happened in the previous games. I only played the first game so this feature was neat as it told me everything that happened in Chrono Trigger.
The actual gameplay in BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is downright excellent as well. The pace is faster than in other 2D fighting games and it is very technical as well. If you play the game using the “technical” fighting style, you are unable to just button mash your way to victory. You really need to have good timing and know how to actually execute moves to succeed in this game. The controls are slightly complex because some of the special moves can only be done at specific times. Not to mention there are various combinations of rotations you need to do on the left stick. I had to dust off my old fighting stick I got from the first BlazBlue game to be able to execute some of the moves.
As hard as the game sounds on paper, beginners do have the option to flip the controls to “Stylish” mode instead. This is where you can button mash all you want to and you can dish out amazing combos. You can even do special moves by just pressing the square and triangle buttons together. The one thing that makes “Stylish” mode too easy is that the game automatically blocks for you if you don’t press anything. But, it’s a great feature if you find fighting games to be too hard for you.
BlazBlue has always had great characters and the selection here in Chrono Phantasma is as diverse as it can possibly be. There are 24 main characters in total and two that can be downloaded from the PSN. There are seven new characters in the game and they’re all pretty cool too. My favorite new character of the bunch has to be Amane Nishiki. Nishiki could be the first ever playable transgender video game character. He’s very funny to play as and I applaud Arc System Works for adding a character that goes outside of the norm.
The voice acting of all of the characters is highly commendable too. There isn’t one character that is acted poorly and all of the voices suit to the character’s personalities perfectly. I always loved some of the humorous banter that Taokaka has with the likes of Noel Vermillion and Ragna the Bloodedge. Nishiki’s voice actor nails the character perfectly too since he’s playing a transgender.
One other thing I liked about Chrono Phantasma is all the content you are able to unlock. There is a ton of wonderful artwork and posters you can view when you unlock them. There is also some great anime style cutscenes that you can get to watch as well. Each character also has their own ending you can view too. Let’s not forget about the in-game soundtrack. The fast paced heavy metal music has always been a fave of mine in the BlazBlue series and this game continues that tradition.
Overall, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is a darn fine 2D fighting game that any beat-em-up should not ignore. The 2D cel shaded graphics are the best in the business and the gameplay itself is just as good as its visuals too. There is a ton of likeable characters in the roster and the game has lots of tutorials to make newcomers feel welcome. There are only a few downsides, but they’re not big enough to ruin the overall quality of this fine video game.
[Editor’s Note: BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma was reviewed on the PlayStation 3. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Review,