Arc System works is part of the reason I review games. What many consider the pioneer’s of the anime fighting game- they are a team that have set a standard for a genre dominated by Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. The key to this pedigree is simple – the most beautiful animation, expressive character design, and theatrics galore. So in 2019- can one of the staples of fighting game history make the Switch to portable mode? Hell yes it can.
BlazBlue: Central Fiction Special Edition is an enhanced Switch Port of the original PS4 game. It comes with all the features of the base game AND includes all the DLC characters, system voices, and additional colors.
The game features a lengthy story mode with 13 episodes told via a visual novel. High quality animated cut scenes are rendered during key moments of the story to flesh out characters. Centralfiction narratively is a continuation of Blazblue Chrono Phantasma. The game offers a 30 minute backstory to help players that may be new or just need a refresher. As players progress through the main story they’ll unlock additional sub scenarios.
Story aside – the gameplay of Centralfiction is the meat and potatoes of the package. The game still plays like a 2D fighter yet feels more approachable than ever. Just like Guilty Gear XRD- you get an option to play in two different fighting styles. As you select your character, you have an option for technical mode, which is ideal for longtime veterans; or you can pick stylish. With stylish, players will get to pull off combos and areal attacks easily. It’s a recommended option for newcomers as it’s highly accessible. Just like the original, the game is pretty much a 1v1 fighter. The game includes all 28 characters from Blazblue Chrono Phantasma with an additional 8 characters, making it the most complete Blazblue title to date.
The game is presented with a user friendly vertical menu along with a submenu highlighting all modes. You get your usual practice mode which includes a tutorial, training, and challenge mode. The battle modes include a traditional arcade mode with individual stories for each character, and a versus mode where you can play with a friend and share your second Joycon. You can also use regular controllers or arcade sticks depending on your preference.
Also there is a Grim Of Abyss mode where you fight waves of enemies. This mode has some RPG elements that allow you to strengthen your character. Score attack mode let’s you choose a course and fight against an AI with three difficulty settings. The aim of the game is to achieve the highest possible score. Speed Star mode offers a time attack type challenge. Players must defeat every opponent for the fastest completion time. Talk about a laundry list of features.
However, the biggest disappointment is the net play. Online wasn’t that great on the Switch version of Centralfiction. I had issues trying to connect with other players quite a few times. Conversely, I never had this issue with Blazblue Cross Tag Battle on the Switch- so maybe this can be patched.
Graphically – where do I begin? LUSH anime visuals with an incredible design and art direction. Centralfiction has a beautiful and stylish presentation. Characters look as if they have been ripped out of a Manga or a high production anime of years past. Everything you loved about the original looks beautiful on both docked and portable mode. Without a question – it is one word – time less.
Overall, the Switch port of Blazblue Centralfiction felt like a huge game packed full of content. It hits all the right boxes. The game has plenty to offer when it comes to single player – it has beautiful hand drawn graphics – and the gameplay is just addicting. I forgot to mention the iconic heavy metal soundtrack- it never gets old.
Lets set it straight- if you’re a fighting game fan and happen to own a Switch, then Blazblue Centralfiction Special Edition is a must buy.
A review code was provided by PQube games to review
Developer: Arc System Works / Publisher PQube Games
Release date: 08/02/2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC
“Centralfiction has a beautiful and stylish presentation all round”