Video Game: BlazBlue: Chronophantasma aka: Blazblue Chrono Phantasma
Be ready to rebel against the causality...
BlazBlue: Chronophantasma is the third installment of the series by Arc System Works, fresh off from their fighting game collaboration with Atlus.Ragna the Bloodedge approaches the city of Ikaruga, once the focal point of a civil war that cemented the NOL's tyrannical rule over the world. Accompanied by vigilante catgirl Taokaka, he hopes to find the answers to the dark conspiracy revealed at the end of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, connected to the actions of his arch-nemesis Terumi and his missing sister Saya. Meanwhile, Noel Vermillion and Makoto Nanaya seek to rescue their friend Tsubaki Yayoi, who has fallen under the control of Terumi and become a Knight Templar.This new sequel does away with many of the old systems and adds in new mechanics. The Guard Primer system, originally modified from the Guard Libra system, is nowhere to be found, replaced by a new attack for each character known as a Crush Trigger, which allows the character to instantly break the opponent's non-Barrier Guard at the cost of 25% heat, making them equivalent to the Force Breaks (or EX Attacks) of Guilty Gear.The most drastic change, however, is the Burst system. Defensive Bursts remain, but Gold Bursts have been removed and replaced with a brand-new technique for each character: Overdrive, a Super Mode that increases a character's power and enhances their Drive, its effectiveness increasing the lower their health is. The effects of each Overdrive are different for each character, and can sometimes enhance their supers as well. Upon activation, Overdrives also freeze the timer for their duration.Each character also has new moves and balance changes, and their sprites have been totally redrawn from the ground up. Some characters also wear new outfits, such as Noel, who has discarded her military gear completely, and Tsubaki, who now wears her previously story-exclusive black uniform.In addition, the roster introduces three brand-new characters (and one new boss):
Amane Nishiki, a Camp Gay travelling performer who fights with a scarf that can change into various forms, like a drill for piercing attacks or a prehensile arm for distance throws.
Bullet, a member of a mercenary corps that was slaughtered by Sector Seven, leaving her with a serious grudge. She uses Good Old Fisticuffs, with a combat style focused on grapples and throws.
Azrael, a mysterious Blood Knight of Sector Seven. He was sealed away by Sector Seven due to his uncontrollable power and violent rampages, but has recently been released from confinement. He uses a beatdown style that adds "weak points" to enemies for extra damage.
Izayoi, the form that Tsubaki Yayoi takes after awakening the true power of her weapon, which was originally a prototype for the Murukumo Units. It is referred to as "Tsubaki's true form" and is very much to Tsubaki what Mu-12 is to Noel. She uses a Stance System, building up her "Zero Weave" gauge in her long-range stance to power up her moves in her short-range stance.
Four more console-exclusive characters have also been confirmed, two of which are DLC:
Yuuki Terumi: The true form of Hazama, our resident Troll, taking his form during the Dark War as seen in flashbacks and the Phase Shift 1 novel. Possesses a different Drive than Hazama, and is heavily meter-reliant like Akuma of Street Fighter. He is a pre-order DLC bonus.
Kokonoe: One of the head scientists of Sector Seven, the organization Tager works for, and the woman responsible for his creation. She was confirmed as a playable character via the September 2013 issue of Famitsu. She is a space control-oriented character who fights using a wrench and hammer as her weapons, utilizing both science and magic to overwhelm her opponents. She's a DLC character, like Terumi; she will be available at a later date like Makoto, Valkenhayn, and Platinum were in the previous iteration.
Take-Mikazuchi: The Nox Nyctores responsible for destroying Ibukido on December 25, 2194, as well as Kagutsuchi during BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger in many time loops until Rachel halted its destruction at the end of the game. Now under the control of Imperator Saya, this hulking beast is a boss-only character, fought in the same vein as Apocalypse, Onslaught, Abyss, Yami, and Galactus. It can be challenged separately in a mode known as "Gigant Assault."
While the Murakumo units were believed to be excluded due to their fates in the previous game and their exclusion in the debut trailer, this was changed with the next announcement stating that both Nu-13 and Mu-12 are confirmed to be in the game, leaving Lambda-11 as the only cut character.According to creator Mori Tochimichi in an interview with Famitsu (translated here), the story this time is split between three different (albeit interconnected) scenarios, each with their own set of playable characters and bosses. Chronophantasma's plot focuses heavily on Sector Seven and matters of the past, particularly the Six Heroes, whose subplot is concluded in this game.The game arrived in Japanese arcades on November 21, 2012. The game was released on the PS3 in Japan on October 24, 2013. Aksys Games is once again the publisher, and it will be released in the U.S. sometime in 2014, also only for the PlayStation 3.
Rebel 3, ACTION!
Artifact Title: The Jin vs. Noel theme from previous games returns, remixed and named "Imperial Code II"... despite both of them already cutting ties with the NOL at the end of Continuum Shift.
Bittersweet Ending: Some good things happen, but it's more on the bitter side this time around, even if the heroes succeeded in defeating Take-Mikazuchi.
Saya relinquishes her title as the Imperator to Homura, meaning that the entire NOL will pull a Heel-Face Turn and stop being a jackass, dictatorial organization. However, the relinquishment by Saya is done on purpose: either she has other plans, or she just plain doesn't care since she has other authorial power, which makes sense if you read what happens below.
Terumi is Killed Off for Real by Hakumen using the Time Killer skill, meaning that he probably won't be back. Unfortunately, he managed to give one last middle finger to Hakumen by killing Platinum the Trinity as he died.
Saya abandons both Terumi and Relius to their fates, and Relius does not take it well along with his plans coming utterly crashing down, causing him to have a massive breakdown. He's put under the mercy of both Carl and Litchi, only being kept alive until he "restores Ada." In the meantime, Litchi is now free from his manipulations and can't be called a "villain" anymore, but her hopes for the cure are completely dashed due to Relius' failure and breakdown, with Izanami's emergence shortening her time even further. The realization that in her quest, she ended up hurting her friend (Bang) and, at her lowest, attempted to sacrifice many innocents for her own desire, isn't going to do any good for her good-natured psyche, meaning Litchi is still very screwed. The consequences of her obsession hit her and Litchi's chances of falling into depression are high, but on the bright side, Carl's there to possibly help her get over it.
Speaking of Bang Shishigami, he finally fulfills his duty as the apprentice of Lord Tenjou Amanohokosaka by using the power of Phoenix: Rettenjou/Kushinada's Lynchpin and thwarting Relius' plan (see above), along with enabling Ragna to score victory against Take-Mikazuchi (see below). However, along the way, he becomes a Heartbroken Badass as he sees both Litchi and Carl siding with Relius (even if only temporarily due to his victory and even though they apologized beforehand) and his perfect fantasies about what perfect "wife material" Litchi was and what a perfect "apprentice" Carl was are shattered. Nobody knows where he went after he succeeded in his mission, nor if it would affect his normally boisterous persona.
Lastly? Nu-13 forcefully merges with Ragna after looking like she would be redeemed for good, and Saya, revealed as Izanami the Goddess of Death, manages to brainwash Ragna and turns him into a beastly form that attacks both Jin and Noel. Ragna's fate is unknown but it looks like he left to God-knows-where, while Noel ends up with light wounds and Jin is bedridden for days due to his wounds, an act that renewed Tsubaki's hatred towards Ragna even if she has been freed from the villains' influence. Rachel reveals that with the seithr levels in the world lowering, Ragna is slowly dying and he must be killed before that happens. And if that fails... Rachel asks Tsubaki to kill her. Meanwhile, Izanami stands prepared to create the true BlazBlue to bring about her ideal "world of death."
Furthering that and ending on a Cliff Hanger, Izanami immediately starts the creation of BlazBlue Embryo in which all humans will be reduced to seithr, unless they are one of the "Qualified Ones." As of the moment, the new NOL just lost its whole soldiers squadron (meaning they just become a good, but utterly weak group) and the heroes are seriously understaffed while they have to go around and prevent more people from suffering the same fate.
Break Meter: Averted. This is one of the only modern fighters without some form of "guard break" meter. Instead, the new Crush Trigger attack uses 25% of the character's meter in order to shatter the opponent's standard defenses.
Comeback Mechanic: In the manner of X-Factor, Overdrive lasts longer the less health the player using it has. Combined with the fact that the enemy cannot Burst to throw someone out of an Overdrive combo and we get some serious One-Hit Kill nonsense with certain characters, who can flatline average health enemies with a single Level 3 Overdrive combo.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: The giant screens inside the Colosseum stage alternate between showing the fight (read: exactly what you're watching on the actual screen) and a cut-in of both competitors. If players who use a NESiCA card are fighting against each other, the screens even display their account name and various other infos, just like you'd expect from a place where bets are made on the best fighters. This may possibly translate to PSN information in the console version.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Three characters have two different playable (and storyline-wise more powerful) forms. Aside from Noel and Mu-12 returning from Continuum Shift, albeit the latter no longer brainwashed and a regular transformation for the former, we have Tsubaki and Izayoi, the true form of her Ars Armagus, as well as Hazama and Terumi.
Graying Morality: With the Obviously Evil Azrael being their top enforcer, Bullet's claim that they massacred her friends and family, and Kokonoe's "nuke claim", things are not getting better for Sector Seven's image. On the other hand, things are only getting slightly better (as in, not getting even worse) for the NOL, with the presence of Litchi, who retains her morals rather than being Brainwashed or becoming obsessed and still has her own agenda rather than being a slave to the NOL. The inclusion of Kagura Mutsuki only furthers this; he's the head of the highest order of NOL's Duodecim, more empathic to the people than the organization and capable of mouthing off the NOL without getting executed.
Lazy Artist: Thankfully averted. The sprites have all been redrawn to fit new character designs (Noel's for example) and gameplay changes.
And now the entire soundtrack, which is already awesome, is being completely remixed. And guess who's doing the rearranging? Yuhki of Galneryus fame.
Mythology Gag: BlazBlue characters now receive a palette swap of the Persona 4: Arena characters that also had a palette swap of theirs (with the exception of Carl). Ragna gets Yu, Jin gets Yosuke, Hazama gets Naoto, etc (see the Persona page for details on who gets who, it goes vice versa). For the characters that didn't receive colors in the aforementioned game:
No Campaign for the Wicked: The bad guys MAY get some "focus," but you'll never fight as them in the Story Mode, so you'll never play as Hazama, Terumi, Relius, pre-Izayoi Tsubaki, Litchi, Nu-13, Azrael, or the Imperator (and to some extent Arakune) in the Story. However, Taokaka and Amane are also unplayable (Taokaka isn't even fought anywhere), but they're not villains.
Shoo Out the Clowns: The main story becomes really dark over time, with the humor less and less frequent. Bang evolves into a more prominent and serious character (despite still being bombastic) and has his perfect fantasies about Litchi and Carl shattered during their time siding with Relius. Taokaka very much disappears from the plot in the middle of the story. Amane, the most light-hearted and humor-prone of the three brand new fighters due to his Camp Gay-ness, has a very reduced role, and in those reduced role, focuses more on the implications of his immortality and mystery. Platinum appears less as the usual Luna/Sena combo, with Trinity taking most of their screentime. Then they're killed by Terumi. The only thing that could count would be Kagura's Chivalrous Pervert tendencies and even that doesn't appear very often. Thankfully there's the Gag Reels, but as usual, they're not canon.
As of the release of the opening video, ASW has confirmed that it is the latter.
Super Mode: The new "Overdrive" that replaces the Gold Burst system seems to take this effect. Rather than serving as an out-of-combat burst attack, it now serves to set the player into an Install-like mode that enhances their unique attacks. Some moves, like, Ragna's previous Distortion Drive, Blood Kain, and Bang's Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan, now fall into this mode.
Time Crash: Several temporal disturbances occur throughout the many Arcade modes, resetting and overwriting various timelines, due to an all-out war between Takamagahara (controlled by the Imperator) and the Master Unit.
Unexpected Character: Continuum Shift's new player characters were both NPCs in Calamity Trigger. Continuum Shift II and Extend continued the tradition by making 4 more NPCs playable. Bullet, Azrael and Amane hadn't appeared in any previous BlazBlue games.