BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger review

  • Feels reassuringly familiar
  • Tons of imagination
  • Clever balancing
  • Not the most technical fighter
  • May feel too familiar
  • No swanky 3D graphics

Spare a thought for the poor old chaps at Japan’s ARC System Works, who were merrily working to perfect the only thing for which they’d ever achieved any kind of fame – the Guilty Gear series – when, above their heads, some legal wrangling meant their child was taken away from them and custody awarded to SEGA Sammy. What to do? Make a new baby! And so they produced BlazBlue, the unofficial new face of Guilty Gear.

The similarities between the two ARC kids are pretty obvious, and they don’t stop at the silly, meaningless titles of the games. The goth-anime style of BlazBlue is unmistakably the work of ARC System, while the controls are based on an evolved version of the Guilty Gear template. Even the abilities and physical properties of the new characters are clearly moulded on those of the GG crew. The result is a beat ‘em up that feels reassuringly familiar. But it’s not just a copy – there’s more to it, and it’s in the ‘additions’ column that the Really Good Stuff lurks.

Each of the Calamity Trigger fighters has a unique Drive attack, which effectively personalises their style of play. Jin Kisaragi, the most balanced of the starting ten, can inflict Frostbite, which freezes his opponents and leaves them temporarily vulnerable to sustained combos via standard attacks (of which there are three varieties that are common to all characters). Morrigan lookalike Litchi Faye Ling can lob spears, which plant themselves in the ground before spinning quite dangerously around an enemy’s noggin. And so on.

The level of imagination and clever balancing that has gone into the design of the attacks and specials is evident from the first ‘rebel’ (sic) of the first fight. Put in some effort and even Iron Tager, the token Big Slow Powerful Guy, is a genuinely decent playable option.

More Info

Release date: Apr 02 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3 (US)
Apr 02 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Fighting
Published by: Zen United
Developed by: ARC System Works
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Animated Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Violence
PEGI Rating:


  • kingofspades94 - July 22, 2009 3:19 p.m.

    You guys have no idea how POed i am that my 360 stopped working like a week before this came out! Huhhh... hope they make a psp game...
  • CRYPTONiC - July 13, 2009 1:55 a.m.

    idk i might get this
  • PinkLenny - July 11, 2009 4:53 a.m.

    @danomeon anyone can be first on a review dumbass
  • J-spit - July 10, 2009 5:37 p.m.

    Have it. Love it! BUY IT!!!!!
  • Ramen_Soup - July 10, 2009 4:10 a.m.

    This game is fun and the practice mode helps a lot against people online. Especially with a friend. Also why is it feeling too familiar a bad thing?
  • Danomeon - July 9, 2009 8:52 p.m.

    Finally, some developers are becoming more wise about how underexploited summer is on the market. Now I can finally have something to do in the dog days. Prototype is out there as well. and since the message taunts me, it is an unspoken rule that I must say first.
  • Corsair89 - August 10, 2009 9:12 p.m.

    @Japanjack: Jin ain't that bad. At least it's not as out of control as Ken in Street Fighter IV. Besides, if after playing against 5 goddamn Noel Vermillions in a fucking row, Jin is alright to me.
  • Japanjack - August 8, 2009 11:13 p.m.

    Also the one who wrote this is an obvious idiot. Disliking BlazBlue because it isn't 3D? Really?
  • Japanjack - July 17, 2009 10:16 p.m.

    I find that the negative details stated are irrelevant. I believe this game is a straight 10. And how is it not very technical... Compared to what? Compared to Virtua Fighter? Compared to Virtua Fighter nothing is technical. Also if you were to state one thing to take negative points on I would think it would be JIN KISARAGI!!!!!!!!!!!! God damn online... Arakune FTW!
  • zayleffein - July 10, 2009 11:51 p.m.

    This game looks pretty awesome! It's great to see a company take the limitation of even today's 3D engines away, and just have fun with a great and beautifully animated 2d fighting game. This reminds me so much of Samauri Showdown, Eternal Champions(I still love this game), and earlier MK titles excluding the GB and the motion-captured MK1.

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