Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
Now you can take BlazBlue with you wherever you go in this great port!
on March 12, 2010
Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore BlazBlue. It was easily my favorite fighting game of 2009 (possibly my favorite game period of 2009), and is right up there with the Guilty Gear series as my favorite fighting game of all time. That being said, I was overjoyed after hearing that a portable version of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger was heading for the PSP. The idea of being able to take BlazBlue with me wherever I go was an exciting thought. So now that I actually have my copy of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable, I can in fact say that my excitement was justified.
If you've never played or even heard of BlazBlue before, it's a fast and complex 2D fighting game featuring a cast of 12 highly unique characters. Even though the size of its character roster is often criticized for being "small", the characters contain more depth and personality than other fighting games with twice the roster size.
All the modes from the console version of BlazBlue make a return here in the portable version: Arcade mode which is your standard "fight a ladder of 10 opponents", Versus mode which lets you battle against the AI with the stage and background music of your choosing, Score Attack which makes you face the entire cast of characters in a row to aim for a high score, Training mode which gives you several different options to try out combos and tactics on a customizable AI opponent, and even the entire Story mode (including the hilarious Teach Me Miss Litchi (Booby Lady)) that lets you learn the story of BlazBlue and its characters.
The Portable version also contains a new mode called Legion which was not in the console version of BlazBlue. Legion plays kind of like a tactical survival mode. You select a character and move around a series of connected areas that contain one or more enemies that you can fight. As you fight and defeat these enemies you get the chance to add some of them to your growing army. Your characters only regain a little bit of life after a match, and if they die, they're gone for good (hence the similarity to a survival mode). The objective is to take control over the entire map to win. I personally didn't find this mode to be anything special. There really isn't a lot of strategy involved while moving around the map other than "fight and collect characters you are good with". The biggest draw back here is that there are only 3 maps to play on (easy, normal, and hard) and they are not randomly generated, so it's the same map with the same enemies every time. There's not much reason to come back once you've beaten it.
The other addition to the portable version is the new Shop mode. Here you can unlock locked content (Gallery images, Unlimited (boss version) Characters, Astral Heats, character scenarios, and Teach Me Miss Litchi episodes) using an in game currency called PD. You gain PD by doing pretty much anything in the game. The locked content is reasonably priced too, so it's not overly difficult or too easy to unlock stuff. An additional note here is that the portable version contains unlimited versions of all 12 characters (the console version only had unlimited versions of Ragna, Rachel, Hakumen, and v-13 unless you purchased the DLC).
There is also a Network mode like in the console version. Here you can create or join customizable lobbies for up to 4 people and fight. Unfortunately, this mode is local only, meaning no online play. I suppose one could use the Play Station 3's Ad Hoc party mode to go online and play, but if you're that close to your PS3 to begin with, why not just play the console version of BlazBlue which has a fantastic net code?
If you're curious about how the game play is in the portable version, I can gladly say that it's almost identical to the console version. The most noticeable difference here is that the graphics (primarily the character's sprites) took a major hit. This is of course expected seeing as how beautiful and detailed the console and arcade versions of BlazBlue were, but the graphics here may look worse than you expect. I had seen screenshots of the game prior to its release thinking "the game will surely look much better when it's packed onto the PSP's smaller screen." Unfortunately it still looks pretty rough. The game's backgrounds were also stripped of the 3D objects and don't contain as much movement. In comparison I found it to look inferior to Guilty Gear Accent Core Plus for the PSP. All this being said though, BlazBlue contains a lot of flashy action on the screen at any given time, so the graphics were likely scaled down for something far more important: silky smooth game play. The great news is the game plays just as smoothly on the portable version as it does on the Console and Arcade versions. I was able to pull off large combos and tricky maneuvers without hassle. Even though the graphics have been scaled down, it shouldn't interfere with how you play the game at all.
As for controls, the game fortunately let's you map its 4 attacks (A B C and Drive) anywhere you want on the PSP. This is helpful for characters that require simultaneous and/or held button presses (like Rachel, Arakune, and Carl) so you can have a more ideal setup, like 2 attacks on the PSP's triggers, and the other 2 on the PSP's face buttons for instance. Like the console version, the portable version also has a "cheat stick" which lets you pull off special moves by pressing either up down left or right on the PSP's nub. This means that the nub cannot be used for movement. I did find it tricky to pull off more complicated special moves like a 720 using the PSP's directional pad (I'm used to a fight stick) but I highly doubt that's the fault of the game rather than a need for me to practice more with the Directional Pad.
In summary, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable is a great release. If you don't own a PS3, 360, or have access to an arcade with BlazBlue in it, this is a great way to experience a brilliant game. Despite the new features like Legion and Shop, the portable version doesn't offer an enhanced experience over the console version. The main draw here for the owners of the console version is being able to take BlazBlue with you wherever you go, and let's face it, playing BlazBlue while waiting for an appointment or while driving a boring commute is a great time passer (I hope I don't have to point out my sarcasm in that last example). Either way, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable is great way to experience the great BlazBlue universe. NOW GIVE ME CONTINUUM SHIFT!