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BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

A 2-D fighting game developed by Arc System Works.

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Much More Than Just a Revamped Version

  • Sep 22, 2011
  • by
There is one thing the fighter suffers from by not having the Arcade as a staple anymore.  That's the fact that when developers create new updates and such to the game they can't just send it out to Arcade's with those updates.  Sometimes it has to be DLC, but in the era of the home console it sometimes means having to make a whole new game because there's just too much to be nothing but DLC.  BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is like that in many regards.  It takes just about everything about Calamity Trigger and refurbishes it here.  But this is much more than just a revamped version of an older game.  Those with keen eyes will see that Continuum Shift might as well be called BlazBlue 2.  There's enough content here that it can feel like a whole new game.  Even in regards to some of the gameplay changes.

At it's core it's the same old game.  You'll find a couple of new characters but the roster still only offers fourteen in total from the outset, and one you can unlock.  The last three are DLC.  You also won't find them behaving strangely.  Their move sets, for example, are pretty much the same.  Though they are much easier to pull off.  Previously BlazBlue had you simply jump in with not much of a hold for those who weren't experienced at fighting games.  Continuum Shift offers up a beginner mode for those who are just stepping in for the first time.  Beginner assigns combos to buttons instead of making you do them all manually.  You'd think this would turn BlazBlue into a button masher of sorts, but it doesn't.  If you keep spamming the same moves over and over you're likely to be punished by the game itself.  Not to mention that having combos assigned to a single button actually limits some of the more advanced things you can do.  You'll find that with some characters using beginner mode makes using Distortion Finishes and Astral Finishes harder in some regards.  While juggling with some characters becomes just about impossible.

Other than that most of the gameplay has stayed the same.  Some characters have been noticeably balanced out so that fights aren't as one sided.  The mechanics are still largely the same, although you can now do barrier breaks in the event that people spend too much time guarding.  And like the original each character controls in a very different manner from one another.  Versus Mode is still a blast to play with friends because the action is intense.  Another nice thing about it is that you can actually play any "version" you want (firmware wise, that is).  Games in this day and age will have patches that can sometimes change the way you play.  BlazBlue Continuum Shift is on version 1.04 right now, but the game gives you the option to go back to any previous version you want.  And all it takes is going into the options menu and selecting it.

But the heart of where Continuum Shift offers more and really becomes a sequel is definitely in the various game modes.  The story mode in particular is not just a revamped story.  In fact, it actually continues where the previous game left off.  Meaning if you DIDN'T play the story in Calamity Trigger you'll actually find some of the story in Continuum Shift hard to understand.  Likewise in order to get 100% on a specific character's story you don't have to lose a battle where it isn't required.  Some characters do need to lose a battle to access their bad ending, but for the most part it's not hard to figure out where this lies in.  Go through specific character's story modes and you'll unlock the "True Ending" to story mode.  This is pretty cool stuff.  Especially because BlazBlue has a very deep story.  Especially for a fighter.  It's novel like in quality at times, sometimes giving you exposition or specific narrative of what characters are thinking and feeling, while also giving you voiced segments any time someone actually talks.  The story is actually A LOT to take in.  Especially because in order to fully understand it, you'll have to play as EVERY character... AND make the right choices at branching points.  Every character's segment has a "true" ending, a "bad" ending and a humorous skit.  It's unbelievable to say about a fighting game, but BlazBlue Continuum Shift's story will actually take you HOURS to play through.  This isn't a story that is done in a single sitting.  Especially those who want to uncover everything.  It will take you hours.

There's more than that, however.  The Arcade Mode even has a story of its own.  It's much more condensed than the story mode, but the basic mechanics and modes are the same.  Sometimes before battles key characters that are related or interact in story mode, will actually interact in Arcade mode as well (for example, playing as Jin causes special interactions with Noel, Tsubaki, Hazama and Ragna just to name a few).  It's pretty interesting stuff.  Simply put there's A LOT of narrative in BlazBlue.  More so than your average fighter.  And like the original some of the story moments can be so long and drawn out in exposition and dialog that you'll wonder when the next fight will actually begin (the humor skits in particular are LONG and they don't lead to battles).  If you're into this sort of thing then BlazBlue will keep you entertained for several hours.  Most of the dialog is pretty good with a few bits of humor thrown in.  But it takes itself pretty seriously.  The story can be confusing.  And while there may not be a ton of characters to play as, EVERY character has a unique design and their own backstory.  You'll probably fall in love with the characters because there's so much to them than in most fighters.

Continuum Shift also adds several new modes to the mix as well.  There was always a training mode, but now there is also a bigger tutorial mode to go with it for novice players.  There is also a challenge mode which is geared toward helping players learn some advanced combos.  It's set up in a style similar to Marvel vs. Capcom 3's mission mode.  Each challenge has you performing certain moves or combos to complete.  It's a good way to helping players understand the game a little better.  Score Attack, Arcade and Versus all return and feel virtually unchanged.  The network set up is still a lot of fun but it's much easier to interact with it.  BlazBlue was already doing incredibly well in the Network department as it was, but Continuum Shift still manages to do better. 

The biggest new edition is Legion mode.  Where you select one character and go into battles that you can, hopefully, recruit new characters from.  Each panel along the map leads to battles where you'll fight stronger battles and have a chance to recruit an opponent from each one.  It's actually surprisingly addictive... and extremely challenging for those who aren't too familiar with the game's mechanics.  Before attempting this mode, make sure you know much more than just what "beginner mode" has to offer.  And be prepared for some rough challenges as the game will throw in some smart and clever AI but also throw in the much stronger "Unlimited" version of characters into the mix as well.  It's got difficulty settings.  Those experienced in BlazBlue might want to skip over easy and start with Normal.  It's a good challenge and a good way to test your skills. 

With so much of an upgrade it's hard to say BlazBlue Continuum Shift is just some "Update" of the game.  There are so many additions and changes it is more or less a new game in its own right.  There are some noticeably recycled things.  Many of the stages are exactly the same, the soundtrack is unchanged and the character designs are also the same.  This is to be expected.  But nevertheless the addition of many new modes, a whole new deep story to play through and some changes to the gameplay make Continuum Shift feel like a whole new experience.  Even to those who mastered the original BlazBlue.   The experience has been streamlined to appeal to new challengers and pros alike.  But it has enough appeal that you might want to check out the original still... if you're really into story telling. 

The only downside to Continuum Shift is the only downside to the original game.  There just aren't that many characters to play as.  There are only fourteen from the outset.  You can unlock one character by fulfilling certain conditions... but what's really a kick in the teeth is that three of the characters MUST be purchased to play as.  Luckily you don't have to.  But the point is that BlazBlue still doesn't offer a wide range of characters.  For storytelling it's actually not so bad (imagine if BlazBlue told its story with say... forty different characters) because it means the game can really focus on these characters.  On the other hand, some are probably going to be yearning for more to play as.  And others are likely to wonder why we should have to pay for the other additional characters.

It's hard not to take a moment to talk about the art style.  Those who read my review of the original BlazBlue know that I was particularly impressed with the art style.  Continuum Shift, like the original is EXTREMELY in-your-face with its aesthetics.  The 2D Sprites are extremely detailed and the action is rich.  BlazBlue knows what it is and makes no qualms about it.  You'll know within minutes of turning the game on if it's for you because of its bombastic style.  Those who get into it will really enjoy it.  Especially because the soundtrack compliments it just the same.  It FEELS very much like an arcade styled game and happens to offer A LOT to the player.  It's not lazy with its presentation either.  The levels and art are ridiculously detailed.  Simply put... BlazBlue has a pulse.

Nevertheless BlazBlue Continuum Shift just about outdoes the original in every way.  It's a huge game that offers a lot for both the multiplayer experience as well as a single player one.  There's a lot to do.  Hidden characters, secret galleries and an extensive story mode means BlazBlue will actually keep you busy for hours rather than being able to accomplish so much in one sitting... and then just saving it for when friends come over.  It's an enjoyable game.

What did you think of this review?

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October 24, 2011
This sounds like an interesting game. I like the discussion of the benefits and the downside.
September 22, 2011
I have nothing smart to say right now....hi, Sean!
More BlazBlue: Continuum Shift reviews
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
BlazBlue is for people who want to experience a fighting game from a different perspective, when the story is quite entertaining, air dashes are common and crazy characters duke it out with beautiful high resolution 2D sprites move about fluidly across the amazing stage.    The game emphasizes a very different mentality from traditional fighters, where being extremely defensive will be punished severely, making the player plan carefully before retreating and receive double damage …
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
BlazBlue Continuum Shift brings the BlazBlue world into another level of awesome fun! The story is amazing as always, and even if this game is a fighter, you won't feel bored playing alone as there are multiple ending for all characters, which are all very interesting. They reworked the stories of all of the characters and brought them to a new chapter, with a new enemy, more characters(some as DLC), and a refined gameplay. Said gameplay can be a bit annoying if you startet with the first game …
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Very fun and challenging fighting game with lots of personality, I don't often play fighting games but I'm complete hooked by the brilliant gameplay and superb characters, a must have for any collection in my opinion ;-)
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Definitely one of the best fighters around. Story is fantastic and deep. Beware of online though, Its unforgiving.
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
posted in Siliconera Bounce
Probably the fighting game with the deepest story out there, it's like an anime (or a fighting game with a visual novel storytelling aspect) aside from the story the fightings solid and fun ^_^
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this video game



Number of Players: 2
Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Arc System Works
Console: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Genre: Fighting
Release Date: July 27, 2010
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