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Rebel Spirit- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Review

With the recent revitalization of the Street Fighter series as well as the impending  release of entries within the Mortal Kombat and Marvel vs. Capcom franchises, fighting games are enjoying a much-deserved renaissance. For Arc System Works, the renewed popularity isn’t surprising- the studio has been turning out iterations of critical darling Guilty Gear since the waning days of the Playstation One. More recently, the developer has been satisfying pugilistic desires with BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, a  delightfully deep fighter filled with Arc’s trademark offbeat combatants.

Although most critics enjoyed Calamity Trigger‘s complexity and visually arresting Astral Heat attacks, many reviewers had two grievances: the game’s limited roster and character inequity. One year later, sequel BlazBlue: Continuum Shift attempts to correct those deficiencies, while adding a sizable amount of new content. While the title admirably attempts to lure in the casual player with its beginner mode and extended tutorial, fighting fans are the ones who will have a difficult time resisting Blaz’s charms.

Despite BlazBlue‘s arcade origins, the game is particularly well-suiting for console play, with its four button attack system. Players may assault with weak, medium and heavy strikes, as well as initiate a character-specific Drive Attack. Since each character has a radically different Drive-ranging from Ragna’s ability to sap an opponent’s heath to Tsubaki’s charged attacks, BlazBlue avoids some of homogeneity that afflicts other fighters. One of the other elements that sets the series apart is the sheer amount of intricacies; from guard primers, heat gauges, and barrier gauges, Blaz is an incredibly deep fighter that requests a robust amount of training.

For players unwilling to enroll the game’s comprehensive (which thankfully allows you to skip through its verbose lessons) tutorial, there’s a beginner’s mode. This new option allows neophytes to release devastating combos though a simplified control scheme which recalls Super Smash Bros. Brawl‘s single button combinations. Later candidates can try their hand at Challenge mode, which tasks players with performing a series on increasingly complicated combos. Collectively, these components present a full-fledged scholarship, which offers the ability to turn fledgling fighter into formidable foes, if apprentices are willing to invest the time.

In my review of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable , I enjoyed the incorporation of Legion mode. The variation presents players with a board filled with competitions; after a series of opponents are defeated, gamers may choose to add one of their adversaries to their squad, as they take on additional foes. While it offers a bit of variation to the game’s arcade and head-to-head mode, the deviation is still in desperate need to randomization. More interesting is the augmentation that’s been added to the game’s story mode.

With branching plots that include real, gag, and fail endings, there’s a surprising amount of depth in each character’s storyline. Unfortunately, it’s all rather text-heavy and exceedingly byzantine with its inclusion of time-traveling protagonists and references to the previous title. Still, the game’s narratives help introduce the new additions to the game- Tsubaki, a swordsman with a shape shifting sword, Hazama, the ghost cowboy with a far reaching steel hook, and Mu-12 an evil, turret-launching robot-girl. Skillfully, the trio complements the existing characters, while adding an supplementary dose of outlandishness.

While BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is an undeniably polished and thoroughly gratifying fighter, its recommendation comes that a few caveats. Owners of last year’s Calamity Trigger may question the inclusion of a paltry three character addition to the game’s roster while new buyers face an indistinct pricing structure for future downloadable characters. Still, the game’s $39.99 price offset s many of these concerns, ultimately making Continuum Shift a near requisite for fighting game aficionados.

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.

33 comments

  1. I almost bought this last week. I was reaching out to me from the GS shelf.

  2. As much as I want to support this, paying for DLC characters feels wrong. They should have put them on the disk.

  3. I still need to grab this.

  4. Heaven or Hell?

    Sounds more like heaven, so I’ll give it a rent.

  5. hows the netcode?

  6. Did ARC stop making the GG games or what? Why did they make two Blaz games and no Gear for us?

  7. They are on the disk. You can play someone online who bought them.

  8. Waffles For Supper

    I love 2D games. I wish they made a lot more.

  9. Will the new characterscome with a story and all that? Hows big is the filesize? Anyone know?

  10. $39.99 for this, plus a $5 DLC character which is optional? Why thecomplaints?

  11. never played the first one.

  12. Yep. Makoto, Valkenhaym and Platina data have been found on the disc.

    Way to pinch us Aksys

  13. Blaz, you are fun, but you are no Guilty Gear.

  14. What did they do to the balancing?

  15. Good review, but the game is still probably too hardcore for me.

  16. Hows the onlinecommunity? newb friendly? Is there a ranking system?

  17. Did you notice any slowdown at all in either version?

  18. I’ll probably pick this up at the first price drop.

  19. Id get this for the 360 is the d-pad wasn’t so damn bad. You have to factor a stick in the equation.

  20. thank god I passed on the first one. Now, I think always wait until the second (or third) version of a fighting game. They’re like Apple products.

  21. Aksys should put this and Deathsmiles together in a discounted two-pack.

  22. I read that they haven’t stopped. Maybe the team just wanted to do something new. Like the review said they’ve been making GG games since the nineties.

  23. Why must people do this? It seems so childish.

    At least post acomment about the review. Good, bad, or other for christ sakes.

  24. Adding to my GF list. Sounds cool, Deagle.

  25. I’m really glad they included the tutorial and beginner’s mode. Now that I’ll need it or anything…

  26. Doubtful, I played the first one and got my ass kicked by every mic-less PS3 owner in the world it seemed.

  27. So they haven’t announced the price for the DLC?

  28. Picked this up today. Pretty cool fighter.

  29. I love fighting games

  30. 8 bucks for a dlc character lol