BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma Extend review (PS4)

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend brings a wonderful 2D fighter from the later stages of the PS3’s lifecycle to the PS4 – we review it to see how it fares in the transition.

We’re seeing a remarkable trend in the current generation of consoles – many of its best games are actually upgrades or extended packages of titles that were previously released for the PS3 and/or Xbox 360. Perhaps a tad ironic considering how often the term “next gen” was being thrown around, but at the same time a testament to the quality of those original games.

Aksys Games has now brought the well-received BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma to next gen systems, and does do in an “extend” version that adds several new features in addition to an audiovisual touchup. The most eye-catching new features are perhaps the addition of two new characters to the roster, as well as a range of additional story mode content. This doesn’t just include new modes, but also extra background info and story content for the characters. For fans of the BlazBlue universe, this is a real treat – as it makes for a well-developed story mode in a genre that’s usually devoid of such things. If you’re strictly here for the fighting though….you’ll find yourself clicking through rather quickly.

blazblue chrono phantasma extend

Luckily, the fighting itself is excellent as well, story-driven or not. By now, most will know the BlazBlue portfolio for its smooth fighting style and ability to string together combos – and this (of course) hasn’t changed much in the PS4 version that we tested. What has changed is the game’s balancing engine, for the ‘extend’ edition includes all the balance tweaks that have been introduced into the arcade version of the game since the original game’s release. Perhaps hard to notice for novice fighters, this is actually the biggest and most important change for die-hard fans of the genre. Tweaks like this don’t just make the game more balanced – it also translates into a better online experience. Seemingly overpowered characters – or at least the players able to exploit certain tactics that might appear to give them an unfair advantage – are far less frequent now.

The wonderful thing about 2D fighters – and 2D games in general – is that they age much more gracefully than their texture-fueled counterparts. BlazBlue, which plays as a 2D fighter in a three dimensional environment, is no exception. The cartoon/anime style of the animation and backgrounds still works well, and the animation is as fluid as ever. Higher resolutions are of course supported, but it shows that the game wasn’t built from the ground up as a ‘next-gen game’ (for lack of a better term).

There’s no doubt that Aksys will eventually bring such a next-gen game to the market – perhaps even in a brand new franchise – but for now this is an excellent fighting game for PS4 owners who never picked up the PS3 version. If you did then this update will probably only satisfy you if you’re a big fan of the original, or if you got rid of your PS3 and want to continue playing one of the best 2D fighters on the market.

Score: 8.4/10

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