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BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend Review

Typically, launch titles fall into two categories: simplistic diversions which scarcely surpass the definition of a tech demo, as well as quick and dirty ports of pre-existing titles. After being adapted for a variety of consoles and portables, Arc System Works’, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend for the Sony Vita might seem to be an archetypical example of the second classification. In execution, the title marginally outshines its console counterpart, delivering extra characters, new content, and balancing tweaks gleaned straight out of Japanese arcades. For fighting game devotees looking to get their ‘rebels’ on the go, the title is a near-obligatory purchase.

Despite the efforts of a comprehensive tutorial and an optional, simplified control scheme known as “Stylish Mode”, BlazBlue’s erudite nuances are bound to be overlooked by casual fans. Although the title’s four-button combat might feel vaguely familiar, and rudimentary combos can be pecked out, the title’s multitude of sub-systems make Blaz one of the most technical fighters on the market. However, for determined players, the title possesses near-limitless depth. From mastering the game’s air juggling system to minding the defensive blocking gauge (known as the Guard Libra), there’s a near-overwhelming number of simultaneous mechanics in each match. Thankfully, there’s a moment when resolute players become cognizant of BlazBlue’s inner workings, justifying the time invested in each match.

For those devoted disciples, Continuum Shift Extend offers up an elevated test of skill through the Unlimited Mars challenge, which pits players against a succession of insanely powered-up combatants. Far less grueling and exponentially more enjoyable is the inclusion of Abyss Mode- which endows BlazBlue with a light role-playing component. Tasking gamers with scrapping their way down chasms of selectable depth, players are forced to preserve on only a single life bar. Mercifully, success in battle recuperates health, with vanquishing particular opponents will reward gamers with a stat increase or special ability. Woefully, the recreational recruiting found in Legion Mode didn’t make Continuum Shift Extend’s final cut.

Fortunately, a number of agreeable small improvements did work their way into the Vita iteration. Booting up the title’s presents players with the game’s invigorating new intro, crafted by Production I.G (Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade), which is accompanied by an infectious song courtesy of J-pop vocalist Faylan. With the inclusion of characters previously only available as DLC (Platinum, Makoto, Valkenhayn) as well as a new combatant named Relius Clover, BlazBlue’s nineteen-strong roster is as diverse as it is unusual. In addition to the supplemental storyline for each of the four new fighters, the title offers also offer summary for Calamity Trigger’s plotline. With a Rashômon-esque angle, Continuum Shift Extend’s central story is presented from the perspective of each character. As such, the title’s narrative is far better than the typical fighting game impetus, inspiring players to see another piece of the plot with each tournament win in Story Mode.

Amazingly, Continuum Shift Extend retains all the visual sumptuousness and animation fluidity of its console, brethren and looking even more stunning on the Vita’s OLED screen. For gamers hoping to immerse themselves in Blaz’s jubilant, hard-rocking soundtrack, a pair of headphones are a necessity, as the portable’s speakers produce a rather anemic output. Agreeably, gamers can switch between the game’s Japanese and English voice-overs, with both deliveries offering their own distinct, yet competent deliveries.

Although connectivity with the PS3 version of Continuum Shift was an expected feature, it’s nowhere to be found in the Vita release; hopefully cross-platform play will be patched in at a later date. Despite that omission, the title’s online is impressive, with options for two-on-two and three-on-three team battles (and even handicapped matches) as well as customary one-on-one skirmishes. Thankfully, the title’s netcode is reliably steady, exhibiting scant lag across an afternoon of heated matches.

With the inclusion of supplemental characters, an array of engaging game modes, and faultless online component, BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend is the definitive edition of the title. Although launch titles can lose their luster after a few week, there’s enough depth in Blaz to keep the ‘wheel of fate turning’ well past the next wave of game hits store shelves, as long at your left thumb holds up.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. Yes, a Vita review. About time guys.

    • Now if they were a certain site with a 3 letter acronym, they’d just cut and paste their previous reviews and add a few word here and there.

      (I’m giving you a complement)

      • Honestly, I liked the double review they did for the 3DS/PSP version, but I’ll take this.

        It’s too bad the 3DS version was so weak (no online mp) and had that sleep-mode glitch.

  2. Shame there’s no PS3-Vita play, Isn’t that one of the things that Sony said was going to be part of the Vita during the E3 announcement?

    • Yeah, I hope that just wasn’t hollow promises from Sony. As it is, I barely believe the smoke and mirrors that come out of these shows (remember Milo and Kinect, Velocity Girl). Half the time they show features that never actually happen.

    • Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Hustle Kings allow crossplay on the PS3 and Vita. I’m pretty sure using that feature is up to the developer.

  3. Ok, how about a Lumines: ES review. I really want the game, but $40 (37 for DLC version) might be a bit rich for me.

  4. Sounds pretty good. I’m glad I didn’t pick this one up for the 360 (even though I saw it for $17), because I play more games on the go.

  5. I’m glad to hear that the story mode is worth playing. After SoulCalibur V, I realized that even fighting games need something to care about.

  6. So do all Vita games have demos on PSN or are they like the PS3 and only certain ones do?

  7. Damn if those are Vita screens, they look exactly like the console version. Is the framerate also at 60 fps?

    • Blaz has a perfect framerate. Even when the screen looks like a Forth of July firework show it never shutters.

  8. My advice:

    if you like lot of characters/tag team games, get UMVC3.

    if you like balancing and competition, Blaz should be your choice.

  9. You Sony fanboys should strangle yourself with a controller cord.

    Vita will fail.

  10. If they ever have PSN sales on Vita titles, I will pick this up for when I get a system.

  11. If you think cross-platform play will be patched it, you need to stop drinking the Vita kool-aide.

  12. Good review but I’m still going to wait on the Vita. Maybe the first price drop or hardware revision.

  13. Got BB last weekend and I just wanted to say it’s absolutely arcade perfect. Pixel for pixel its the same experience, just portable. So many game modes, it’s crazy.

  14. So what are the odds of Aksys coming out with DLC for this version?

  15. I’m waiting for the Vita to drop in price. Once that happens I might have to get this.

  16. Do you know if Target will be carrying BlazBlue? I want to get it during the B2G1 free sale.

    • I did not see it in the store or on the website, so I’m guess no. Have you tried Amazon? They are matching the deal.

  17. Nice review. Bought this today and except for the online lag, it’s great.