[Note: If you're not one for battling through long paragraphs of words, try our casual setting, which features a much easier opponent: a video synopsis.]
Like many 2D fighters, BlazBlue relies upon several staples of the genre, such as super moves (called Distortion Finishes in the game) and guard break maneuvers. However, other additions help spice things up, such as the ability to roll out of an attack, the parry-like system that opens up an attacking enemy for a combo, and the Drive button.
The game utilizes a four-button scheme -- players have three different standard attack buttons, and one Drive button. The Drive button is specific to each character, and usually employs said character's special weapon. Just pressing the button is a special move in and of itself most of the time, but when combined with the other buttons, you can come up with some pretty sick combos rather easily. There's also an Easy Special mode that allows you to perform a Distortion Finish with the press of a button, but that should only be used if you're the worst at fighting games.
Another area Arc System Works did a good job was in is balancing the characters. Each character is incredibly unique, and keeps the button-mashers at bay because no two characters can be played in the same way. It's this variety that keeps the game fresh and means that no single strategy will dominate. Unless you're playing online, anyway, in which case you could just use v-13 and spam projectiles like everyone else in the world. Let's hope they find it in their hearts to balance her out.
BlazBlue will easily establish itself as a fun and frenetic fighter during your first play session, as it did with me. It's a solid 2D fighter that, while failing to turn the genre on its head, manages to feel fresh and new. If you like your fighting games to be a bit more fast-paced, then BlazBlue is going to bring the good times.