Title says it all, this game has blown me away in so many respects, the 2 years patience waiting whilst its been out elsewhere has been rewarded ten-fold. This game is something so fresh to the other fighters I've played recently that I was suprised when I turned the arcade mode onto hard immediately after getting to grips with the game so quickly. After the initial start-up of learning the tricks and traits of the game it was easy to pick a character and start learning their specific play style and combos.
My main concern was the fact that the legendary Arc System was behind this game, I expected hardcore fighters only to be the requirement, but this game really is beginner friendly, with easy to pick up controls and a wide range of game modes to hone your skills in.
The artwork and endless style this game oozes from the very beginning, the opening cinematic deserves its own paragraph. Any fans of dark anime or manga will instantly be drawn to this game as was I. The backgrounds alone are beautifully done, ranging from the gloomy gardens of the Alucard castle to the overly cute Kaka town level.
Then, most impressively, are the well created and varied characters introduced as superbly as the game itself. Ranging from the lethargic and slightly pervy Taokaka the cat girl to Bang Shishigami: Freedom fighting ninja!, the 'Street Fighter Dan' of BlazBlue :-). Each character plays completely different, with many having there own special gauges that fuel there attacks or specials. For example Rachel the goth vampires ability to control the weather.
Each character also has their own story mode detailing their own history and motives, which branches at many points creating a varied outcome to the story and massive amounts of replayability. It's hard not to start to feel empathy for some characters as it is hard not to dislike some characters for their actions throughout the story, I'm looking at you Jin! :P.
The majority of fighter gamers will be more concerned with the online rather then the offline, but I feel it is important to promote how good the offline modes are regardless, for those who do care about uncovering the story aswell as laying down some hurt on their friends.
The online mode is much like any other impressive fighter. A nice touch is the ability to name the room created on player matches, flag whether it is a beginner friendly room or one for pro's and whether easy specials are enabled. A puzzling feature missing however was the lack of being able to turn the round time to infinite. Online, unsuprisingly, is where this game truly shines, playing against friends is thoroughly enjoyable with almost as promised lag-free matches that can be saved and viewed from the menu.
Seeings as this is the special edition of the game the extra contents should be reviewed. The tutorial dvd is rather helpful with every characters intended techniques brought to the attention of the viewer aswell as example combos shown with button inputs, this really helped me better myself personally. The artbook is also a nice touch with design pictures of each character and poster-worthy pictures of character groupings.
In summary any fighting game fan should most definately give this game the attention it so thoroughly deserves aswell as any aspiring fighters and anime loving gamers.
Rebel One, Start!!