The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
A young vigilante boy who carries around a life-sized marionette he refers to as his sister. A vampire whose talking pet cat morphs into an umbrella during combat. A tips mode entitled, ''Teach me, Boobie Lady.'' If you were looking for proof that Japanese developer Arc System Works is insane, here it is. Fortunately for the rest of us, BlazBlue also doubles as an enjoyable fighting game.
The story begins in the 13th Hierarchical City of Kagutsuchi, a mystical world were humanity has infused technology with powerful magic called Armagus -- argh! You know what! Who cares? BlazBlue's longwinded mess of a story will make you appreciate how most fighters keep a narrative simple. The real thrill here is the frantic one-on-one combat.
Anyone familiar with Arc System Work's Guilty Gear titles will feel at home here. This 2D brawler has some of the hottest animations, a host of outlandish attacks, and gorgeous mixed 2D/3D backgrounds.
Unfortunately, mastering the combat system requires a fair amount of dedicated erudition. Blaz can be a fairly defensive fighter -- a wide variety of different counters, cancels, and blocks complicate the battle system, and newcomers will take their lumps before mastering the intricacies of each character's special drive attacks. In the hands of an expert fighter this game is stunning, but joystick jockeys who are out of shape might want to start an intense training regimen.
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Am I playing 2D fighting game or a drug-induced gothic hallucination? BlazBlue features a stable of improbable characters using ridiculous attacks to beat each other up in satisfying ways. Underneath the slick designs and outlandish action is a challenging and complex fighter, but don't expect the game to help you discover its depth. Learning the ropes is a slow and aggravating grind, especially since many characters have unique mechanics that don't transfer to the others. This variety can be rewarding to master, but also significantly increases the time you'll need to invest if you want to become more than a button-masher. If you're only playing solo or against your friends online, that level of skill isn't necessary -- you can just enjoy the beautiful visuals and stylish attacks that admirably follow in Guilty Gear's footsteps.