A few days have passed since the reported
raid by Ragna the Bloodedge, The 13th Hierarchical City "Kagutsuchi"
forgets to celebrate New Years, as his alleged involvement in the
"Mysterious Bombing" and "Huge Pentacle Sightings" becomes
the talk of the town. With the Novus Orbis Librarium offering no official
explanation, the citizens voice their own theories, exaggerating and spreading
rumors like wildfire. The name "Ragna the Bloodedge" is engraved in
the minds of the people. Completely indifferent to the state of the city, the
silver-haired Grim Reaper grips his massive sword and quietly bides his
time-waiting for the chance to achieve his true objective; and then, the
enormous "power" that has ensnared the "Grim Reaper" begins
The wheel of fate turns
The sequel to Blazblue: Calamity
introduces three newcomers from the start: Hazama, Tsubaki Yayoi and Lamda-11
(whom is basically
a "nerfed" ν-13). In the
console version, "μ-12" (a sprite edit of ν-13)
can also be unlocked by completing the "True End" section of the story
mode, or she can be purchased from the online store if players just
can't wait. Months down the round after the original release, three DLC
characters found their way onto the roster, including: Makoto-Nanaya,
Valkenhayn R. Hellsing, and Platinum The Trinity.
The full cast of 18 characters is actually considered Blazblue: Continuum
Shift 2... I know, it's confusing.
Continuum Shift features a generous selection of new moves & animations for returning characters,
new stages & music (along with remixed classic stages), and finally, gameplay
& balance tweaks to even out the playing field. Over-powered "zoning" characters
like Rachel, Arakune, and v-13
have been significantly toned down. Several
gameplay mechanics from the prequel have also been changed or completely
replaced in Continuum Shift. Break Burst replaces the Barrier Burst
system from the prequel, with players now able to perform an offensive
"Gold Burst" or a defensive "Green Burst".
Continuum Shift expectedly retains a lot of
the original title. The new characters round out the somewhat
small roster, but no doubt each character still proudly presents his or her own defined
fighting abilities. Along with the main attack buttons (A, B, & C) each character has
his/her own "Drive" abilities/attacks, which really sets each
character apart. For example, Rachael Alucard can control wind (and
the movement of her opponents), Tager uses magnetism to draw his
opponents closer to him, and
Carl Clover can control his android-puppet sister to attack his opponent from
both sides. Some would say the play styles of the characters are slightly "gimmicky," but nonetheless, they
bring something "original" to the fighting game realm. They're also
some of the coolest and most fleshed out character designs around!
Playing Blazblue on a
non-HD TV is just a sin.
Like I touched on
in my review of the prequel, Blazblue's line-up is not your everyday
cast of fighting game personas. Much like the Guilty Gear X series, the
designs imagined by Arc System Works are entirely original in every
way imaginable... which seems to be their "drive" behind the overall design
in this game.
If you're looking for a straight-forward "Ryu-type
character" or a good old roundhouse-toting Muay Thai fighter in Blazblue... sorry, but you're shit out of luck.
In Blazblue, you'll have to say goodbye to most traditional 2D fighting game attacks
& strategies and enter a world where
everyone can perform extravagantly insane attacks, and can air-dash until their
hearts content (except for the beastly Iron Tager).
If you're an old school 2D
fighting game enthusiast like myself, you'll probably have to open your mind to
enjoy Blazblue. The most advanced levels of the gameplay system are intimidating to say the
least. Thus, Aksys Games included an incredibly in-depth Tutorial Mode within the console
versions of the game! The Tutorial is fully narrated
by none other than Rachel Alucard, whom blatantly insults your skill level and fighting game
knowledge throughout the mode... some of the things she says are simply hilarious.
Having a Tutorial Mode in a technical fighting game like Blazblue is a godsend, although at times it becomes
slightly monotonous and dare I say... boring? If you're not 110%
"serious" about Blazblue, it's likely that you'll start
skipping much of the text/dialogue
in the intermediate/advanced portions of the Tutorial... sorry Rachel.
Other modes featured in Continuum Shift (and wow are there a lot of them)
Score Attack, Training, Challenge, Legion, Story and Gallery! The number of modes
in this game are very impressive, and are sure to keep players busy when not playing the standard
Arcade, Versus or Network modes. Like in the prequel, every character has his/her own
unique path in Story Mode, where they'll meet up with other characters in order to... you guessed it... fight
them (after small talk for about 7-10 minutes
The pacing of the storytelling is decent overall, but at times, becomes exhaustingly
slow and repetitive. My mind started to drift after the 117th time I pushed the
"X" button to
continue the waves and waves of character dialogue (and then I figured out there's an
The voiceovers and the vastness of the
story is definitely remarkable for a fighting game... but geeeez, is this
a JRPG or a fighting game? I definitely respect the efforts of Arc System Works
to include such an elaborate story, but the story is a bit overly "anime-ish"
for my personal tastes. And most of the time I have
absolutely no idea what's going on... but I swear I'm paying attention.
Makoto and other DLC
characters will set you back
about $7... each.
is still a spectacle for the eyes. It is hands down one of the most original,
colorful and downright
flashy 2D fighting games out there. The intricately designed, fully 3D backgrounds are a perfect
setting for Blazblue's high resolution, well-animated 2D sprites, which
just steal the
show. It matters not whether it's a skilled player or a button masher playing
this game... Blazblue always looks awesome and sharp (definitely not
the case in most fighting games).
Another aspect that sets Blazblue: Continuum Shift apart from other
fighters is its metal/guitar-driven soundtrack, which has evolved considerably from the Guilty
Gear X series. Depending on your taste in music, either all of the tracks
will sound vaguely similar or you'll find something to like about many of
the tracks in this game. Blazblue's BGM's are intricate little tunes and mesh perfectly with the
fast-paced action. Most tracks from the prequel are reused, but their are some
Continuum Shift is definitely an
improvement over the original, and thankfully does justice to the word sequel
(after you purchase all the DLC).
DLC characters like Platinum & Valkenhayn
R. Hellsing are cool and all, but charging $7 per character and slowly
"adding chess pieces" to a game that's already out is kinda...
sketchy? I think a product should be "finished" when
it's released, but the more the merrier I guess.
I didn't play the first installment of Blazblue on a "competitive level" but I did
put in a solid 200+ matches online. As a Street Fighter and Marvel VS series
player, I can find something to like about Blazblue:
Continuum Shift. There are many familiar gameplay mechanics, but the
characters definitely take some getting used to... and some real dedication to
master. That said, Blazblue's characters still aren't "my cup of
tea" at the end of the day, but they are respectable character designs for
In all honestly, I enjoy how this game looks and sounds more than how it plays. I'd
consider myself "mediocre at best" at Blazblue and probably always
will be... something
about it just doesn't appeal to me the way other fighting games do, but
obviously I haven't let that deter my rating. I can respect Continuum
Shift as a tournament-worthy 2D fighter and I'd recommend it to any
gamer looking for something "different" out of a 2D fighting game, or to anyone who
missed out on the first installment.