Blazblue: Continuum Shift Review

System:  PS3 and Xbox 360
Publisher: Aksys
Genre: Fighting
Price:  $39.99+tax
Available now

Arc Sys Works and Aksys once again bring us another installment of the BlazBlue series, with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. This installment offers us the continuation of the story as well as new characters and modes, and some Downloadable content.

This time around we get Hazama, Tsubaki Yayoi, and Lambda as playable characters to go along with every playable character from BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger minus Nu, who is replaced by lambda. Story mode makes its return as does Versus and Training in any standard fighting game. Network mode is still around for those of you that love playing ranked or player matches with friends or other random players. There is a tutorial mode added to help new players learn the basics to various strategies, combos, and counters. For the more expert players, there is Challenge mode, which people will remember from a certain other fighting game. Challenge mode requires you to do certain moves or combos to pass each challenge and the challenges do get harder as one progresses through it. Challenge mode will frustrate some players if their timing is off so getting the right timing and being able to cancel one move into another is the key here. Mashing buttons will only set you up for more frustration and lots of failures. Score attack makes it’s return as well and this time at an even harder difficulty than before. Clearing through everyone up to Unlimited Hakumen is easy but it’s from that point on is where things gets challenging. The last four characters you will face in this mode are the unlimited version of: Hakumen, Hazama, Ragna, and finally, Rachel. Hakumen has gotten a few upgrades, with the most noticeable being his old counter distortion not requiring a hit from the opponent, which just makes it a regular full screen slash. Hazama is very challenging. He has the same life drain aura as his arcade counter part, but this time around he is a lot more devious and a lot better at abusing his priority on attacks. I have yet to try Ragna and Rachel in this mode yet, simply because getting through Hazama is hard enough, but we can safely assume that since they are the last two bosses in this game mode, they will be even harder to beat than everyone else before


The story continues off of the events of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and revolves around the continuum shift that is showing multiple possibilities and resetting everything when things don’t go the way as “God” wants it to. This time around story mode requires you to start off with Ragna the Bloodedge then the other various characters’ story modes get unlocked as you get certain endings for each character. Each character except for Hakumen has a Clear End, Continuum Shift End, and Joke End. Every character’s Continuum Shift End is followed by a “Help Me, Professor Kokonoe!” segment, which is an interaction segment between Kokonoe and whichever character is being used at the time. Kokonoe will proceed to inform the character and the player what they did wrong and how to proceed down to the Clear End in a comedic way. Each character’s Clear End shows their various adventures leading up to the final point of the game for the showdown with Hazama/Terumi with some characters all trying to find Noel Vermillion. The true end is pretty confusing to understand, and it really raises more questions then it answers.

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift comes with its own batch of DLC as the first game did. There’s the additional color packs for those that like more color options and the nifty thing about it this time is that they included a color palette of the characters from Guilty Gear for their respective BlazBlue spiritual counterparts. There are currently 3 system voices packs for the voices of Jin Kisaragi, Carl Clover, and Taokaka, which can be bought for the option of changing the announcer’s voice if you find her annoying.  Now, this time around they bring back the Unlock All Unlimited Characters DLC again and with good reason. Unlimited Characters are normally unlocked by playing through Score Attack to obtain the unlimited form of that character. All of the DLC characters come with their unlimited form already unlocked. Every character’s unlimited forms can also be individually purchased. Then there’s Makoto Nanaya, who is a DLC only character and comes with all additional color palettes and her unlimited form. Sadly, she can’t be used with Arcade or Story modes.  There’s still Valkenhayn Hellsing and Platinum the Trinity left as DLC only characters and they’ll probably come with the same things, all additional color palettes and their unlimited forms. Finally, there are gamer picture packs that are exclusive to the Xbox 360 currently.

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is a great game overall but the characters could use some rebalancing as poor Rachel is now nerfed so badly that she is really difficult to win with except by the most skilled Rachel players. My only other qualm about the character balancing issue is Bang needs to be less overpowered as his priority is way too high and he still does decent damage making him way too overpowered. One can lose at least half to 3/4ths of their life against a very skilled Bang player from just a few linked high priority combos. All that aside, story mode was great as it continued the story off of Calamity Trigger and the addition of Tutorial Mode and Challenge Mode for Beginner and Expert players respectively makes the game all the more enjoyable for everyone. Definitely a must buy for fans of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue who have long since missed their GG goodness until BlazBlue came along. Hope for a third installment of BlazBlue to come out around the summer in July again like these last two, but until then enjoy the Continuum Shift!

Grade: B+

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