BlazBlue: Central Fiction – Special Edition is just a ported version of the game that released a couple of years ago on a handful of different consoles, such as the PlayStation 4. The only notable update is a welcome one, as the DLC is packaged with this release. The good news is, Central Fiction is still a very enjoyable fighting game that provides numerous fights and works quite nicely on the Nintendo Switch.
This has always been a series with a pretty zany story (right down to the crazy yet enjoyable visual novels that take place in the same universe). Admittedly, it is not always the easiest of narratives to follow, but the combat is as fluid and exciting as ever and the anime-inspired visuals are still some of the best in any fighting game. The equally anime-inspired cutscenes that are spliced into the game certainly look nice, helping to flesh out the already pretty meaty story mode.
Speaking of modes, one of the disappointing aspects of this release is that even though it is dubbed ‘Special Edition’, outside of the DLC, I do not see anything else in particular added. I don’t believe there are any new modes I did not play on the PS4 release and in fact the online lobbies have been taken away, so there is something of a reduction when it comes to the multiplayer aspect. That being said, at least the original package had a pretty robust collection of modes with Arcade, Speed trials, Score Attack and probably my favorite, the Abyss mode with a sort of RPG-light approach that I really enjoyed.
Thankfully, the fighting is as good as ever. With such a large roster of characters (33 in total), balance is always a concern, but the Arc System Works team has more experience than most in the fighting genre, and they get the balance down pretty well here. The training modes are well-constructed, so there is ample opportunity to try out different characters and then find a favorite or two and hone your skills with him or her. The fighting system in Blazblue has always been a fairly approachable, with fast combat that makes everything you do look really impressive. That being said, it is pretty easy to hit a wall early on when playing, because button mashing is not a viable option and before long you will need to have an understanding of how characters move in space and techniques string together, or you will get smoked by the AI and stand no chance if you do happen to hop online and play.
One of the things I really like about this series as a whole and this game in particular is that the style of play rewards aggression. This pushes me a bit outside of my comfort zone, as I tend to be a defensive player by nature in titles like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, setting up my opponents while keeping an eye out for counter opportunities. You can do that in BlazBlue: Central Fiction – Special Edition as well, but honestly if you go into a full-on turtle mode, you are probably going to lose. The moves and flow of combos combined with the system itself is designed in a way that rewards those who push the attack.
The presentation is fantastic as always. I already touched on the visuals, which are bright, colorful and buttery smooth in their animation. For fighting games, the BlazBlue series has always had one of my favorite soundtracks, with the driving tunes matching the in-game intensity rather nicely. My biggest quibble is that Central Fiction has never received an English dub. It is not the end of the world, but I quite enjoyed the talents of some of the prior English voice actors in the series, and this is yet another item that I was hoping might get an update with the Switch Special Edition release that did not. As I pointed out earlier, this is not the easiest of storylines to follow, and there is a lot of text to be read here. It would have been nice to understand what I am hearing instead of having to rely on reading all of it.
If you already played the heck out of BlazBlue: Central Fiction when it released in 2016, there might not be enough content here to justify an all-new purchase. However, if you are a fan of fighting games and missed this title the first time around, BlazBlue: Central Fiction – Special Edition is a very worthwhile acquisition here on the Nintendo Switch. There is a ton of content, the combat is crisp and fun, the presentation is nice and the large roster of characters gives you lots of different ways to play the game.
However, this is pretty much a straight port with previous DLC added to round out the package, so the value might not be there for returning fans who have access to the title on a previously released platform.Score: 7.5 / 10