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PSP Review – BlazBlue Portable

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger was one of the best 2D fighters to hit current generation consoles last year. The game is created by the much-acclaimed developers of the Guilty Gear series, Arc System Works. Has the PSP adaptation of Arc System Works’ stunning high definition 2D fighting game replicated the elements which made BlazBlue one of the best fighters on the market?

BlazBlue Portable has a very similar feel to its big brother. The story mode is basically the same as console versions, but the campaign is done well enough to draw you in to play it through. It starts off with an introduction scene, leading to a character selection screen, from which you can choose from over 10 characters. Each character has his or her own unique story, all of which are interesting enough to draw you in and make you want to complete them all.

The gameplay in BlazBlue Portable is excellent, especially for a handheld port. Every moment of every battle is full of button-mashing intensity. Every character is balanced extremely well, with no character being stronger than another–therefore making it important to learn a variety of special moves and combos to have a chance of winning. A special “heat” bar is continuously filled with every hit, and once it’s semi or fully filled, it can add damage to your attacks. Every character has his or her own unique set of special moves which can be learned through the game’s pause menu. Every button corresponds perfectly with an action, and racking up a 10-hit combo while finishing an opponent in the air has never felt so damn good.

The controls for BlazBlue Portable have been carefully tweaked by Arc System Works to be playable by anyone, both old and new players to the BlazBlue titles, and the controls can be mastered in a just a few matches. The incredible combos are not hard to learn and are extremely satisfying to pull off successfully. Another interesting feature which the developers implemented for the port is the ability to move the analog stick in any direction, allowing you to easily pull off a character’s special attacks. Arc System Works has done an immaculate job with the controls.

2D on the PSP has never looked so sexy. The characters have been carefully designed and truly bring out the color in the game. The voice-overs are disappointing, though; characters do sound decent, but not good enough to keep you from skipping the scenes. However, the game’s artwork makes up for it, with cut scenes looking like a full-fledged anime movie. The sound effects in this title are outstanding as well, with every move having a dramatic ‘hack-and-slash’ effect. When swooping through the air while jumping, it gives a nice touch to the sensational sound effects. The fast-paced and groovy soundtracks during the action also add to the thrilling experience.

Upon completion of the immersive story mode, there are plenty of other modes to keep you busy on the go. A total of 9 modes have been included in the game, each packing endless hours of ass-kicking fun.  The most addictive mode, however, comes in the form of multiplayer. The title supports ad hoc multiplayer for up to four players, and can be played online via the PS3’s Ad Hoc Party mode. Another new mode for the BlazBlue series is the survival-fashioned “Legion” mode; it allows you to take on multiple enemies, one after another, and after beating enemies, you can acquire them as allies in the next round. Other modes include Score Attack and Versus, as well as a shop and a gallery, each with the potential to add to your enjoyment.

With all the modes, characters, and fun gameplay, BlazBlue Portable contains lots of replay value. The story mode alone can keep you coming back until you’ve completed every character’s story. The same praise can be given to the online multiplayer elements, as the flawless ad-hoc mode can be very addictive, with a great sense of competition from other real players.

BlazBlue Portable has made the transition from the PS3 to the PlayStation Portable exceedingly well, replicating every fun and addictive element from the console version and adding to it with new content. Visually, the game delivers, with a perfected art-design, along with the phenomenal sound effects. BlazBlue Portable delivers in every element imaginable, and can be enjoyed anywhere on the go. The 2D fighter picks up Tekken and Street Fighter among other fighters currently on the PSP, and K.O.s all of them. If you own a PSP, BlazBlue Portable shouldn’t be missing from your collection.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Thrilling and excitingly fluid gameplay

Plenty of modes to keep you entertained on the go

Good audio, amazing visuals, and an addictive multiplayer component

8 out of 10