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‘Chronophantasm’ blazes a trail for the fighting game genre

April 3, 2014

 

IAN EDWARDS
Staff Reporter

 

The “Wheel of Fate” is set to turn once more with the release of “BlazBlue: Chronophantasma,” the third entry in the popular 2-D fighting game franchise.

 

“Chronophantasma” is exclusive to the PlayStation 3, so Xbox 360 players will be getting left behind this time.

BlueBlaze: Chronophantasma 4 of 5 stars Courtesy of Arc System Works

BlueBlaze: Chronophantasma
4 of 5 stars
Courtesy of Arc System Works

 

“Chronophantasma” plays unlike any other 2-D fighter out there. The four face buttons are given the in-game notation of “A, B, C and D,” and pressing these in sequence will allow the player to bang out a basic combo.

 

The series is unique in that it has what it terms the “Revolver Action System,” which allows players to experiment with button sequences and create unconventional combo strings. Not all moves fall under this system, so practice is the key to mastery. Characters also have unique “Drive” moves that carry additional properties based on the character.

 

New to “Chronophantasma” are the “Overdrive” meter and “Crush Triggers.” “Overdrive” takes the place of the previous game’s combo breakers and, when used, boosts the effects of a character’s “Drive” moves through the roof.

 

It is largely designed as a comeback mechanic, as it lasts longer the closer you are to losing. You can burn the entire meter on a combo breaker if defensive play suits your style better. “Crush Triggers” will break through an opponent’s guard at the cost of 25 percent of the player’s special meter.

 

Despite the depth of the fighting system, the developers have made it easier than ever for new players to pick up the controller and have fun. The “Stylish Layout” type returns from the second game, and allows new players to use auto-combos with a few button inputs.

 

While most fighting games have throw-away story modes used only to artificially lengthen the game (Street Fighter), “BlazBlue” has always placed a heavy emphasis on its narrative and character development.

 

In place of the character-specific story arcs of past games, “Chronophantasma’s” story is split into three main arcs, which switch between characters and time periods.

 

The dialogue is very heavy and filled with references to the first two games. There is a primer for new players where the characters recap the plot of the series via comedy skits. It is recommended for new players if they want maximum enjoyment of the story.

 

With a new chapter in the story comes five new characters. A notable character is Yuuki Terumi, who is finally playable. His Overdrive moves steal special meter from the opponent, which is incredibly satisfying.

 

All in all, “Chronophantasma” is well worth the $50. A host of other single player and online modes are present, and the game makes a genuine effort to ease in new players and not sacrifice anything for veterans. It may not reach the popularity of more mainstream games like “Street Fighter” or “Marvel vs. Capcom” but, unlike those games, it holds a certain charm that stems from its originality.

 

Email comments to ije001@latech.edu.

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