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Even though it stands as more of a refinement over its immediate predecessor than a genuine leap, this latest entry in the BlazBlue series stays true to form by overwhelming players with a deliciously deep combat system, brilliant cast of characters and a veritable avalanche of content.
Otherwise, BlazBlue remains the slick, fast, competitive and vibrant fighting game that we saw in previous versions. As with the other fighting games that I like I would love to see this franchise expand out - I think Noel would be a wonderful lead for a JRPG, for example - but as the talented team at Arc System Works continues to produce fighters of this quality, and continues proving that fighting games can indeed have interesting narratives supporting them, I'm not complaining in the slightest.
I usually stay away from fighting games because I lack the patience to master the complicated nature of a character's fighting style. I stay away from sequels if I haven't played earlier installments, because I don't want to be lost in a story that's already well established. I was very impressed when BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma handled both of these concerns.
Seeing how PC owners never got the original title, this newest iteration of BlazBlue is practically a no-brainer. It might not be as drastic a change this time around, but those itching for more content and depth can find both in spades here.
While there's little to recommend upgrading from the PlayStation 3 version of the game, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend is a confident execution of a title that knows its strengths. It may not match the subtle finesse or wider fame of heavy-hitting giants such as Tekken and Street Fighter, but instead delivers an ambitious take on storytelling in fighting games. Though this approach and delivery will not appeal to everybody, what remains is nonetheless a superb fighter with variety and much to enjoy, boasting qualities more than worthwhile in their own right.
I tend to take one or two iterations off to keep the series feeling fresh, and Extend has rekindled my love for the series. Definitely recommended for those that still enjoy the wackiness that is BlazBlue.
The visuals and music are gorgeous, as usual, with an eclectic mix of genres to match the game's fast, frantic, and flashy fighting gameplay. Fans of the previous games in the series won't be disappointed, and may find a lot to love in how the game has been treated, only expanding on its previous elements.
As such, it's tougher to recommend BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend to those wishing to get more out of it than a solid fighting game experience. However, the two new characters that join the growing cast are great additions and the conversion to the next-gen consoles is almost completely successful. If you're not intimidated by the competitive scene or if the massively convoluted plot doesn't faze you; BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend is a good choice for scratching that pugilistic itch.
As for the quality of this particular port, it has some issues, like the lack of cross-platform compatibility, along with its PS3, instead of PS4, visuals, yet, as a whole, it's a product of high quality.
In short, Chronophantasma Extend is the biggest, densest and all-around definitive version of the BlazBlue series, but the overarching story mode and massive learning curve may put off potential newcomers to the series. For those brave enough to venture forth, this mechanically solid and visually resplendent fighter might just have enough features to make a BlazBlue fan out of you.
The first entry on PlayStation 4, and the largest in the series yet, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend may not warrant purchasing for anyone that picked up the original edition last year, but it is easily the go-to 2D anime fighter on home consoles right now, packed with fan service and enough crazy Japanese over-the-top plot to keep entertainment going for weeks outside of all of the challenges and network play on offer.