Short Version: It’s fantastic. The story mode delivers in creating a strong and satisfying ending while also creating an awesome fighting game that has some great new characters and improvements to the mechanics that place it above and beyond many fighting games out there. If you care about fighting games in any way, you need to try out the enormous variety of modes and see how you like it. I highly recommend this game.
Long Version: As a person who has been following the BlazBlue games since the very first day it came out, I could not be happier to see a fighting game series like this one grow and conclude in the way that it did. Even within all the Street Fighters, King of Fighters and Mortal Kombats, Blazblue was the one that really captivated me and got me more into the fighting game genre. This feeling I first had is still very much present during the conclusion of this series’ story arc.
The Wheel of Fate Is Turning…
Blazblue: Central Fiction is the fourth installment in the popular Arc System Works fighting game series. This one is particularly important due to the fact that this is supposedly the grand finale for the game’s story arc involving Ragna The Bloodedge. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be any more Blazblue games, or that the story won’t continue in some way, but it’s certainly a great opportunity to tie up a ton of loose ends. The game delivers on this beautifully through it’s extensive Story Mode, where pretty much everything is explained and everyone gets some sort of closure or continuation to their individual stories.
In this mode, you are presented with an incredibly well made visual style of presenting the narrative, with many illustrations, movement and intriguing dialogue to keep you busy. This mode even has a database for reading up on anything you don’t understand and an optional 30-minute refresher course on everything that has happen in the story so far. It’s chock full of detail and has a ton of heart put into it, especially when factoring in extra stuff like the infamous gag reels and sub stories (no “Teach Me, Ms. Litchi!” though, which sucks…). Plus, the actual contents of the story, including it’s ending was so well done to the point that it actually made me fairly emotional when I saw the credits rolling. The one and only thing that frustrates me about this whole thing though is the voice acting.
This Game Should’ve Been In English
Regardless of how great I think the Japanese voices are, I had spent the majority of my time playing the whole series with English voices up until this point. I personally thought that the English dub was not only fitting, but also incredibly well done. I seriously think that the English voices make more sense within the context of the Blazblue lore, are better executed and also fit very nicely with the way that the text is localized. It is very rare to see an English dub that actually surpasses the original Japanese source material, which is why I’m incredibly upset to say that these voices are nowhere to be seen in Central Fiction.
As far as my knowledge goes, it seems that the main reason for a lack of an English dub was due to wanting to release the game 6 months early, rather than using that time to fully voice THE GAME THAT HAS THE GRAND FINALE TO THE STORY in the same way that they did for all the other games. Why they decided to not include a dub at the very end is completely baffling to me. Could you imagine watching the original Star Wars trilogy in English, but then Return of Jedi is inexplicably dubbed in German? Sure, you’ll get subtitles, understand what’s going on and essentially have the same experience, but it simply doesn’t feel the same and completely undermines the incredible work of the English voices, which is especially noticeable during battles.
[I originally posted this review on The Buttonsmashers. You can read the rest of the review by clicking here or just listening to the video version above.]