BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma at AX 2103 Impressions

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AX 2103 was a memorable event, and for the general public it also was the first time BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma was available to the hands of the general public for play. Released in Japanese arcades last year in December, this AX was the first time America was able to try the latest edition of ArcSystem Works stylish anime fighter. Bringing an unfinished console build to the showroom floor, I was able to try it out thanks to Aksys. Featuring all new characters, new stages, remixed or redone songs, new characters, new moves, a story mode that continues the events from the previous games, and more, Chrono Phantasma is a game stacked with content.

For starters, the game looks absolutely gorgeous. The HD 2D sprites look as good as ever, and each character getting new voice tracks and moves adds some freshness to the game. The menu screen looks nicely organized and the redone character select screen, complete with new character art and character colors, the game looks fresh and exciting.

Gameplay wise, rebalanced mechanics further separate it from its predecessor. Picking Hazama, my familiar old time favorite, I sat down and tried to familiarize myself with his new handling. The general speed increase of the game threw off all of my old muscle memory timing. With his normals changed and his drive tweaked, playing Hazama again was fun. For those who haven’t played the game before, drive is a character specific system that is vastly different for the entire cast. Hazama extends a chain used to catch enemies across the screen and pull himself around the battlefield, while Jin’s can freeze his opponent. The game, I’m happy to report, was a blast to play.

New to the game is three new characters who were playable at the AX show room floor: Bullet, Azrael, and Amane. Bullet’s drive allows her to lock on to the opponent, and go into a “Heat-Up” state which allows her to track her opponents farther and do some massive damage. Azrael applies weak points, and by attacking those weak points with his drive again he can do extended damage combos, giving him some scary mix-up opportunities with he flash step type dash. Amane uses his long scarf to attack from afar, and his drive allows him to build up a drill meter to use on the opponent, destroying their barrier gauge or chipping them out. Out of the three, Bullet got a lot of play, but Azrael is the strongest.

A tournament took place and a very strong Hakumen user took first. The game was streamed at twitch.tv/jyosua, with the archives still available.

With new modes, more story, a netcode being enhanced for better online play, more characters, more moves, more music, more everything, Blazblue Chrono Phantasma is a fighter to look forward to. With a recent announcement of two additional fighters to be unlocked, it’s a game well worth your money. It comes out next year of the first quarter.

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Mark Marquez
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