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.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
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.
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.
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 - BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
Reviewed by Ben Perlee
|11:00 AM on 05.17.2013|
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