Extending onto new consoles.
Here we go. Yet another entry in the BlazBlue fighting game series has arrived, bringing with it yet another title to slap on to the end. BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma Extend is more or less an enhanced version of 2014’s PS3 title. Arc System Works is finally bringing the series to the new generation of consoles, as well as bringing it back to Microsoft’s Xbox. Extend has a handful of new features, as well as some spruced up visuals to make it even more eye-catching than it already was. The real question is, are there enough new additions to make users who already dove in last year take the plunge?
Let’s start with what is new. Extend adds two new characters to the mix. Celica A. Mercury was originally part of the story mode in the last game, but now makes a fully playable appearance. The second is Lambda-11, who originally appeared in Continuum Shift but was then replaced by Nu-13. This is the first title both characters have appeared in together. Don’t worry if these names mean nothing, I have played every entry and they still mean very little to me.
Platforms: XB1, PS4
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
The biggest new addition though has to come from the online offerings. Player matches now have customizable rooms that players host fights from. These can be decorated with pixel furniture and goodies to personalize them. It is a neat idea, but also somewhat cumbersome to navigate at times. I just wanted to get into matches, and going through these personalized lobbies became tedious. Player counts in lobbies have also been increased from 32 to 64, which I could never pretend to fill up on Xbox One; the online community on that platform is a ghost town.
Speaking of online, after testing both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 I can say that the net code is pretty solid outside of a few anomalies. Matches definitely felt smooth unless I just got a bad connection, which certainly happens. As I mentioned the Xbox One community is sparse, but on PS4 I definitely found plenty of matches to get walloped in. I love the BlazBlue series, but I am astonishingly terrible at them.
As far as content goes Extend is packed. There are three new story modes to go through focusing on Bullet, Kagura, and Kokonoe. It is mostly comprised of text filling in the lore of the world, and there are even gag reels. It is clear that Arc System Works takes their characters very seriously, even if most of it makes very little sense. There is also Remix Heart, which plays out like a teen comedy featuring some of the ladies of BlazBlue. Like I said, it is weird, but also respectable how serious Arc takes their characters.
There is quite a bit packed in here, but again most of it is outside of the actual fighting, which is still sublime. Few fighters have as much technicality as the BlazBlue series. If the series has never been your cup of tea, Extend won’t change that. This is truly more of an excuse to push the game onto new consoles with a few additions. Granted those additions are pretty substantial, but outside of hardcore fans, there is not a whole lot of reason to double-dip on this entry, unless you just want an excuse to retire the PS3.
BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma Extend is a solid entry in the series, albeit not as revolutionary for those that dug into last year’s PS3 iteration. Still, it is nice to see the series back on Xbox consoles, and for those that skipped the last iteration, there is plenty here to satisfy. I tend to take one or two iterations off to keep the series feeling fresh, and Extend has rekindled my love for the series. Definitely recommended for those that still enjoy the wackiness that is BlazBlue.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.