Aside from being a mouthful of a name, BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition for the Nintendo Switch is the second game in the 2D fighting franchise for Nintendo's hybrid console after last year's solid BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. While that was a crossover title featuring characters from other games such as Persona 4 Arena and Under Night In-Birth; anime such as RWBY; in addition, of course, to the BlazBlue series, Central Fiction focusses solely on the BlazBlue universe. It's also a port of BlazBlue Central Fiction that originally graced the PS3 and PS4 back in 2016 and comes with all of its downloadable content (hence the 'Special Edition' moniker). Is the Nintendo Switch version of this over the top fighting game any good? Let's find out.
Visually, BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition is stunning thanks to its fantastic looking anime aesthetic. Be it in handheld or docked mode, it's a gorgeous game. Its animations are intricate too with each character's attack, parry, and jump being smooth and unique. Throw an appropriately bombastic rock soundtrack and BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition for the Nintendo Switch not just looks good but also sounds great.
This attention to detail extends to BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition's plot which is more than the straightforward fare most fighting games tend to be. With that said, the pacing is breakneck, moving from absurd jokes one minute to utmost drama the next. There are multiple organisations, individual character arcs and even time travel to keep track of, and some may find BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition's story to be convoluted.
However it's made easier thanks to the ability to recap events from past games (there were three of them) plus a handy in-game glossary that does a good job of explaining minor plot points. Be prepared to read a lot as BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition has no English voice acting. All of it is voiced in Japanese and there are subtitles to pour over — for a game with 'Special Edition' in the title, voice acting would've been nice.
The game's cast is eclectic featuring Rachel Alucard, a vampire child decked in Victorian attire to Jubei, a cat with two tails that walks upright and is clad in samurai gear. All of them are entertaining to play as and despite being as diverse as they are, they fit well in the series' overall story and setting.
As for the fighting itself, there's your usual array of kicks, punches, and combos that the game goes through great lengths to explain. This extends to some of its more complicated concepts like Active Flow, which rewards aggressive play by letting you dole out even more damage. And if it's too tough to execute, you can use a simplified control scheme that lets you perform flashy moves with a simple single button press.
The suite of control options and their comprehensive explanations makes BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition's fighting system robust and surprisingly easy to understand. The lack of touchscreen support, however, seems like a glaring omission given how its control options are geared towards accessibility.
Apart from a fun story mode, there's multiplayer, both offline and online. While offline multiplayer consists of straightforward versus matches on the same console, playing BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle online on the Nintendo Switch was a lag-free affair too. Quirks such as the introduction of stutter if you skip the opening cinematic that we saw with the previous game are not present, making it smooth through and through.
Compared to the previous releases of the game, BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition also contains all the DLC of the base game. These include four playable fighters such as the aforementioned Jubei as well as additional voices and colours for the entire roster of 36 fighters.
For a price of $50 (around Rs. 3,500) on the Nintendo eShop, it's fair compared to the $60 (close to Rs. 4,200) price tag of the game on the PS Store for PS4 with characters ranging from $2.50 (approximately Rs. 175) to $8 (nearly Rs. 560) and voice packs costing between $10 to $30 (roughly Rs. 700 to Rs. 2,100). If you haven't jumped in on Sony's console, the Nintendo Switch version offers substantially more content for a lower price.
With the Nintendo Switch seeing a glut of fighting games ranging from the likes of DragonBall Fighterz to Street Fighter and Nintendo's own Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, BlazBlue Central Fiction Special Edition is worth considering. It might not be as high profile an entry compared to the competition, but there's a lot to love thanks to its detailed story, a host of colourful characters, and stellar production values.
Rating (out of 10): 8
Gadgets 360 played a review copy of BlazBlue Central Fiction on the Nintendo Switch, the game is available now via the Nintendo eShop for $50 (around Rs. 3,500).