In BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend, Arc System Works have once again made a fantastically polished 2D fighting game stuffed with characters, modes, and content. The laborious anime story could put off some fighting fans, but it shouldn’t because it can all be skipped to let you enjoy the juicy one-on-one combat that stands toe-to-toe with Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat X.
The BlazBlue series has always had a beautiful 2D style, lightning fast pace, and diverse cast of characters. However, as with all fighting games, there has been a slow accumulation of story. While some players take great enjoyment in these convoluted tales and ever growing cast, others find that it gets in the way of the action.
To its credit BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend manages to sidestep its own issues here. Though the Story Mode is certainly a focus - with literally hours of obtuse, impenetrable, anime dialog - its other modes offer plenty of other ways to quickly get into the brilliant combat.
There are loads of game modes spanning both the single and multiplayer. Newcomers can choose to start their journey with any of the expansive tutorials or enjoy a bite-sized taste of the story with the Arcade Mode. Veterans, on the other hand, can leap straight into any one of the online options or endless arena-style challenges.
There is so much for everyone. The multitude of training options shepherd novices through all 28 characters to mastery - even long time players can enjoy discovering Extend’s two new fighters. Everything is covered, from the basics up to individual character’s Astral Heat attacks. And once these are perfected, it’s time to fight!
All that, and I haven’t even touched on the amazing combat yet. Refined over the franchise's six installments, BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend is tight and technical while also being a visual feast of effects and explosions. Whether you pick the (more) grounded Ranga the Bloodedge with his massive sword, or the amorphous fighting-blob Arakune, every explosive input feels responsive.
The only time that you may find a problem with the combat is when playing over a poor connection. Here matches slowdown, becoming unsatisfying as characters slowly inch along. It’s a shame because with a good connection the action is as slick as when playing the AI or friends locally - I just hope you have more luck than me finding opponents with a good connection.
Something for everyone
Providing you are a fan of fighting games, BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend offers something for you whatever your level. It’s an incredibly complete package that should embarrass Street Fighter V’s poor release offering.