PS4 has plenty of fighters and you can bet that I do my best to play every single one that hits the system and Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel isn’t an exception – I’m not missing out on Super Sonico!
I’m not familiar with all of the series’ in the game, many of which have never been officially released in English, but I am familiar with Super Sonico, Fate, Psycho-pass, Arcana Heart and Senran Kagura so yes, I am mostly familiar with guest or support characters. Each character has a story route although these are all similar to each other bar some character interactions but you only need to play one route which unlocks ‘Another Story’, which acts as the true bulk of the story that brings all the characters together. Admittedly I didn’t enjoy ‘Another Story’ which was extremely bleak and I felt that this crossover title would’ve benefitted from a more lighthearted tale rather than the story we did get revolving around different worlds coming together to defeat a common enemy. The concept is fine but the excessive visual novel-style talk felt like it said a lot without having much to say and I didn’t find it interesting due to how dark the content was – I didn’t expect a mind-blowing story from Nitroplus Blasterz, but the tone of the story didn’t reflect many of the characters and put them into awkward positions. ‘Another Story’ simply forgot the fun but at least it’s short.
The combat fares better and although it never really clicked with me, and it’s a shame to admit that I struggled to enjoy it. As is standard fighter fare, you have light and heavy attacks, throws, special attacks, the ability to block and escape attacks, plenty of semi-circles and you can call in one of two support characters. Despite the fan-service and that many of the characters are originally found in visual novels, it’s strange that the game isn’t as accessible as one would expect. Sure, it might pack a bit more of a challenge but it’s at the cost of a steeper learning curve which will do little to appeal to fans of the respective series’ but not of fighting games, and it’s been shown in titles such as Persona 4 Arena and Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax that a cross-over fighting game can be both deep and easily accessible, yet Nitroplus Blasterz fails to think of those unfamiliar with the genre. I got the hang of a few characters such as Super Sonico, Ouka and Mora but I never found the game comfortable to play and although I can’t quite place my finger on it, it never felt like it came together in a truly satisfying and enjoyable way. There’s little content too after the story modes are completed with only practice and score attack modes available alongside online and local play.
The visuals may be the best part of Nitroplus Blasterz with so many characters being given the sprite treatment and transferring brilliantly to a fighting game, and there’s so much colour that it’s hard to not be drawn in by the visuals. The characters look fantastic and there’s an abundance of alternate colours for each character which I’m glad weren’t hidden behind a DLC paywall, and the CG images and videos are just as eye-catching. The opening video features Super Sonico and her band (who are including as part of her moveset) performing a song as the other characters are introduced, and it makes for a very enjoyable watch that I wish was reflected in the rest of the game. However, one problem that I do have regarding the visuals is the translation – there are a large amount of typos and sentences that make little sense, and it’s quite possibly the worst translation job I’ve seen since Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment’s original Vita release. I’m not sure how issues such as these make it through testing, but it reflects poorly on whichever company handles the translation which, in this case, I think has been handled by XSeed games which released Nitroplus Blasterz in North America. They’ve done far better jobs on translations for other games, so I’m not sure why this one got so poorly ignored.
Unsurprisingly there’s no English dub, which makes sense considering that many of the games represented haven’t even been released in English, but the Japanese voice-over is thankfully great and more in-line with the quality of the visuals rather than the story but, like I’ve already stated about the visuals, it’s a shame that we can’t read or hear sentences in understandable English. The OST is decent but not memorable and if you asked me to pick my favourite track, I’d struggle to recall one to memory let along name a favourite – it isn’t poor, it’s just great background music that never really comes into its own, although the opening video has a pretty good number going on.
Nitroplus Blasterz lets itself down with incredibly poor translation work and that many Western fans won’t be familiar with much of the cast, leaving mostly guest characters and newcomers to be the main draw – take out Super Sonico, Saber from Fate and Homura from Senran Kagura and how many characters do you know? I’m a big fan of Japanese games but I’m still unfamiliar with most of the playable roster and a large number of support characters. The gameplay never feels entirely smooth to me and the story is a dull slog, leaving Nitroplus Blasters: Heroines Infinite Duel to sadly be one of the more disappointing and joyless fighting games that I’ve played, and it’s a shame that I can’t say I love this game, and a bigger shame that I’m not sure I can say I even like it.