The Good: Awesome characters, high-res sprites, and soundtrack, lots of modes to keep you busy, online play is a blast, Stylish mode simplifies the combat system
The Bad: Overly complex and complicated fight system, too much talking in most modes, starts to feel repetitive after so many hours
BlazBlue is a newer fighter from the guys behind Guilty Gear. The game has crazy characters, beautiful art, and an awesome soundtrack, but has one of the most complicated fighting systems I have ever played. Jump cancels, combo cancels, high jump cancels, canceling mid-combo it continue said combo, this is all just ridiculous and literally gave me a headache. The story is also something to be desired, but the overall characters are fun and the game is a good button masher.
The game also has a lot of modes which means you get your money's worth. Not only do you get arcade, story, and a tutorial mode, but an endless mode, online play, score attack, a full gallery, and a few others. Unlimited Mars is a mode where you fight against advanced AI, and mission mode allows you to fight waves of enemies. There are lots of things to do here, but overall you won't spend too much time in either mode because it all feels repetitive after a while. When I went into tutorial mode I pretty much gave up 3/4 through because of how complicated the fight system is. Thankfully there is a Stylish mode which simplifies the whole thing and allows you to do complicated combos with only a few button presses, but all the other elements like shield barriers, different blocking techniques, this meter, that meter, it all just becomes too much.
BlazBlue does become an entertaining button masher once you get the hang of it, but only hardcore fans will attempt to master the fighting system. I even found the arcade mode to be long-winded, and there's just too much talking in the game. There's a "Teach Me Miss Litchi" section in the story mode that is just constant yapping about tips on the game. You get to experience the other two story modes from past games, but there is more talking than fighting here. Sure, it's entertaining, but I couldn't wrap my head around the overly frustrating and complex fight system to enjoy it enough.
Once you spend a few hours in the game you will put it down at this point and that's when you will decide if you like it or not. I highly suggest renting this first for new comers, because even Street Fighter or other Japanese fighting game vets will balk at this game. The animations and sprites are beautiful, the soundtrack is great, and I can't help but really dig the characters here despite all the complaints. Sticking to Stylish mode eased some of the headache inducing memorization.
Overall, the game is great for fans of the series, but the new comers may want to seriously consider this a rental first before buying. If you do buy it there is tons of content to keep you busy with many modes. Online play is the usual blast, and the only reason to come back to any fighter these days. The characters are awesome with great personalities, and the visuals are stunning. I just wish the fight engine itself wasn't so complicated and complex.