Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

Review: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

8:30 PM on 07.30.2010 // Ben Perlee

It has been the year of fighting games. Dragon punches, quarter turns, blocks, double jumps, ultras, aerials, health bars, tag teaming, crossovers, and a whole lot more means it's practically 1997 all over again. Know what else that means? Incremental upgrades to a game with only a little added to make it new.

Well, that's the jaded attitude. Even the rather fantastic Super Street Fighter IV was technically an update, not a true sequel, and that is remaining true to Capcom's method of updating fighting games. ARC System Works is guilty as well, as any fan of the Guilty Gear series can attest, with annual updates and changes printed on a disc and sold for full price. And here we are, late July, with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift now available for the American market. Straddling the line between update and sequel, there is a lot of new content. However, where it really counts -- balance and new fighters -- it can initially feel a little anemic with only three new characters. But is it? Surprisingly, with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, there is much more than meets, well, the drive.

Hit the jump for my review.

1

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Developer: ARC System Works
Publisher: Aksys
Released: July 27, 2010
MSRP: $39.99

If you don't know, the BlazBlue series is the spiritual successor to ARC System Works' previous franchise, Guilty Gear. A vivid 2D fighter, BlazBlue is a very aerial, very tactical fighter that runs very, very fast. With specialized blocks, throws, counters, and numerous meters to be aware of, there is a lot going on. Thankfully, the game is actually fairly easy to pick up, as it is a four-button fighter, with A, B, and C indicating weak, medium, and strong attacks. Then there is the D button. Completely unique to each character, the D, or Drive move, can be as simple as a freezing ice attack from Jin, restoring health with Ragna, or entering a combo phase with Noel, but going all the way to controlling a 7-foot-tall disembodied doll with Carl Clover. It's a neat way of making a very diverse fighting game with a small roster, and for the most part, each character is unique. Probably the best part of BlazBlue has been the dynamic roster of fighters, offering a whole slew of playing styles.



Some of the overarching techniques have changed a bit. The Guard Libra system has been replaced with the faster Guard Primer system. The Barrier Burst system, too, has been changed, allowing you to perform them in a much more flexible manner and not causing health penalties. They are a little bit more complex, so you'll definitely want to read up on when to use them and how affective they are now. Astral Heats have also been changed in an attempt to use the match-ending super move more often. All of these changes are nice, but they were not anything I immediately paid attention to when I booted the disc up.

For those struggling to learn the characters, a more robust tutorial is now available. The Challenge mode also helps, guaranteeing that any player with a few hours on their hands can learn some of the more complex moves and combos in the game. It's a nice addition, and a great place to figure out a character's intricacies.

As in all updates to fighting games, there have been some balance changes. While most people will not notice the changes, high-level players will find that formerly low-level Bang is now the best character in the game, and vampire-lolita Rachel has been broken, among other refinements has been made. It's not exactly the best balancing act, but considering it took ARC System many games before Guilty Gear became anywhere near balanced, it's at least nice to see Continuum Shift get a little closer to balanced perfection. However, again, probably 90 percent of players will not notice a difference, and it doesn't limit the fact that BlazBlue is a very fun and flashy game.

With only three new characters, a lot has been made about whether they justify a full new title. Each of them are pretty unique, and they actually do mix up the roster and round things out nicely. Hazama is a snazzy-dressed villain who fights with a serpentine hookshot to launch himself around the stage. Tsubaki is a ginger-haired rich girl with delusions of purity, and her Drive, in which she charges up for selected attacks, makes her a great beginner character. Finally, Mu is the evil robotic form of series favorite Noel. With a Drive that launches turrets, she's a very tactical character and surprisingly versatile. They are all unique and interesting, and should satiate players who complained that the first BlazBlue's roster was too small. I like all three of these new characters, and they fit the BlazBlue universe fantastically.

Interestingly, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is making proactive attempts at downloadable content that no other fighting game has attempted. There are currently a few DLC options to change the announcer or to get palette swaps of the fighters, as well as “Unlimited” versions of the characters. A first for any fighting game, Aksys and ARC System Works will be selling downloadable characters in the future, starting off with squirrel girl Makoto at an undisclosed price. Impossible to review with the DLC right now, it begs a lot of questions. How many new characters will come? What if they are expensive? What if they break the game? These are all questions any fan of the game will want to take into account. It's an interesting new method of distributing characters, but could have a lot of backlash from the fans. Anyone afraid of dropping change on this game will need to be aware of this.



So what else is on the disc? Well, besides the new characters, the much-derided/beloved story mode is making a return. For those who didn't play this mode in the first game, the Story mode forces players to play as each character in the game, and will offer different choices for the characters to make. With gag endings, true endings, and endings for each failure, there is a lot to go through for each character alone, and it's all justified through the idea of “Continuum Shift.” It's all sorts of complicated, and probably the most over-the-top and insane plot line seen in any fighting game. While it's much better designed to unlock everything (no more vague requirements to 100-percent the story for a character, now it's just winning or losing at the right times), I found reading pages and pages of text over static images to not be very fun. This mode is really only for those who find the insanity of the BlazBlue universe worth knowing. Really, it can get quite dry reading about the emotional interludes some of these drama queens can go through, and it's so confusing without some online guide explaining things.

Thankfully, there are some things that redeem the Story mode. First, the plot of Continuum Shift is a true sequel to the first BlazBlue, so if you were a fan of that game, then you'll love finding out what happens after the events of Calamity Trigger. Gain a character's final ending, and you'll get treated to a fully animated cut scene. Second, in the same vein of the hilarious “Teach Me, Miss Lichi!” chibi animated stories, there is now the “Help Me, Professor Kokonoe!”, an equally chibi, equally fourth-wall-breaking visual novel. If you get a bad ending for a character, you'll be treated to the bitchy pink cat-lady Kokonoe deriding the decisions your character has made, as well as offering cryptic advice on how to push the plot forward correctly. It is by far the best story element of the game, and fans will want to see them all.



That's another thing. BlazBlue is very self-aware, and while it is extremely over-the-top and ridiculous with an inane plot line, it is also occasionally a very funny game, which is surprising for a fighting game. The Engrish announcer, while not as good as the original, still enunciates “REBEL 1, ACTION” in a voice worthy of a chuckle. All of the character art has been redrawn, and there is plenty of artwork to unlock as you play the game. There is loads of fan service here to see, and this is especially nice for those who care about all of the superfluous stuff in the game.

Online multiplayer makes a triumphant return, meaning online battles will be as fantastic as ever. Unfortunately, Legion Mode, in which players collect fighters and progress through pathways to fights governed by different rules, is a simple distraction, and honestly doesn't seem to offer much to the game. Most people will pass on it.

The big question that anyone coming into BlazBlue: Continuum Shift will have to ask themselves is if Aksys and ARC System Works have offered them a game worthy of 40 bucks. The three new characters really do offer a lot of gameplay, and while compared to a game like Super Street Fighter IV, they don't seem to offer much, in reality the three shake up and expand the BlazBlue gameplay. Continuum Shift really is the definitive BlazBlue game, and at $40, it's really not too harshly priced. The DLC issue could become a problem, especially if Aksys and ARC System Works exploit players by withholding characters from the game and pricing them highly. As a much more balanced game than the already fantastic original, offering plenty of new side content and insane plot options, I would say this is a risk I would recommend anyone to take. A fantastic and fun fighter this is, anyone looking for a distinctly Japanese and over-the-top fighting game will want to check this out.

Score: 8.0 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)



THE VERDICT

8

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift - Reviewed by Ben Perlee
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Ben Perlee,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Review (Vita)

Waifu Wars: Loyalty-Tier

The Wii U's fate is not (entirely) Nintendo's fault

Musings on Firewatch (Spoilers)

My Gaming Landscape [February 9th, 2016]

The sexiest Senran Kagura character has been found!!

Room to Share: Why More People Playing Games Is a Good Thing

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
OK you Streetfighting motherfuckers, Heres the scoop on which PS3 sticks/pads will work with the PS4 version of SFV, courtesy of the inventors of said tech, the marvellous people of Lab Zero http://skullgirls.com/2015/05/lab-zero-ps3-fight-stick-technolo
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Waits for payment to go through so he can stream Bayonetta on Wii U this weekend. Any day now... Any day.
Alessa Leng avatarAlessa Leng
Been watching from the shadows for some time now. Time to Join in! Trying to finish Bravely Default in time to play Bravely Second... What are the games you're excited about for 2016?(even if it's just something u dream of...)
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Been watching this show on hulu I feel like it would make for a kickass Platinum Game. Imagine playing through mostly as the supporting cast and beating the game on hard gives you Saitama for God Mode.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Just saw Torchman's waifu... damn brah. Talk about shit...
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
GUYS OLAF ISNT A MAN HES LITERALLY A FUCKING BEAR
Inquisitive Ravenclaw avatarInquisitive Ravenclaw
In only 5 days, the most romantic Holiday of the year will be upon us...
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
So, the notion kept hounding me that the new Pokemon, Magiana, had existed long before its recent unveiling... Then it hit me. [img]http://i.imgur.com/UhFmf63.png[/img]
Torchman avatarTorchman
Oh look, a picture of all your waifus in the place where they belong!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
#NekroGoals
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Impressions of job so far: I can indeed play Monster Hunter 4 since I'm a passenger. It's three hours to Charleston, SC, so arguments against that are irrelevant. The chicken bowl at Bojangles is also nice.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
*insert ojuo-sama laughter here* [img]http://i.imgur.com/FrdGhgr.jpg[/img]
Torchman avatarTorchman
Found a picture of Gaj and Larx's waifus. Clearly meant for each other.
MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
SOTANAHT's post makes me wonder:what game franchise(not necessarily nintendo) you would strive to complete the whole cast of "amiibos"?Mine would be RE,ashamed as I am to throw money at CAPCOM...
Occams avatarOccams
I'm craving new sounds. Anyone have any suggestions of music I need to put into my head and heart?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
YOU GET A DOUBLE, AND YOU GET A DOUBLE! EVERYONE GETS A DOUBLE! But no one gets a Skull...
Donald J Trump avatarDonald J Trump
When I said "I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding," I meant that I would force anyone under interrogation to play Big Rigs for extended periods. That'll be sure to break them.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Dammit Fangamer, are you TRYING to break me?!
Nathan D avatarNathan D
When I think of gajknight.
SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
I'm actually pretty bummed out about Game Trailers closing up shop. I hadn't visited in years but I still remember the good old days of having to wait for low-res versions of AVGN episodes to load. You'll be missed, all.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -