BlazBlue makes its debut on the PlayStation Vita with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend; however can it compete with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in a debut duel?
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend is a 2-D fighting title created by the folks at Arc System Works. This latest iteration is the third in the Continuum series to add characters, game-modes, and a host of gameplay tweaks into the formula. While I haven’t had experience playing either Continuum Shift or Continuum Shift II, the changes from Calamity Trigger are significant enough to warrant a purchase; as long as you haven’t purchased either Continuum Shift or Continuum Shift II. Despite the fact that much of this content is contained in previous iterations, as a stand-alone PS Vita title; its part of a strong launch line-up, and the most comprehensive BlazBlue title yet.
My original experience with BlazBlue took place during the release of Calamity Trigger in 2009. It was one of the few fighting titles that I actually dominated my group of friends in; usually with my eyes closed. Seeing the dismay on my friends faces after I opened my eyes was priceless, and to this day they still can’t beat me in Calamity Trigger; not even close. Due to the various adjustments made in the current and last two iterations, my domination with Jin may be a thing of the past. Queue sad panda face.
Users that previously played Calamity Trigger and missed the last few titles would be hard-pressed not to give BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend a chance. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend extends the roster to 15+ fighters all with a large arsenal of attacks and a unique style. There are also several game-modes that have been included. In fact, BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend features over 10 game-modes for gamers to sink their teeth into; which includes, Legion Mode, Abyss Mode, Unlimited Mars Mode, and several others. BlazBlue is an extremely complex fighting franchise, and thankfully Arc System Works was kind enough to include an in-depth tutorial mode. Most of the tutorials include funny dialogue and instructions which help new players get a grasp on all the complexities present within the fighting system. It’s also a great refresher for veterans of the series. The previously mentioned Unlimited Mars Mode pits player up against extremely difficult A.I players. By extremely difficult we mean nearly impossible; this particular mode exists for the masochistic.
Continuum Shift Extend continues to delight fighting enthusiasts with extremely fast, responsive, deep, and fun gameplay, along with providing a stable set of multiplayer options. Perhaps the word stable doesn’t accurately describe Continuum Shift Extend’s multiplayer capabilities. During our several test sessions the online multiplayer component ran flawlessly on a Wi-Fi connection, however there was some intermittent disconnects after the matches. Continuum Shift Extend also adds story chapters for Makoto, Valkenhayn, Platinum the Trinity, Relius, as well as a summary of the events that took place in Calamity Trigger.
As previously mentioned this title isn’t for players or fans that have previously purchased the first two Continuum Shift titles, as there isn’t enough content included in Extend to entice those players to purchase this latest iteration. For people who haven’t yet experienced the visceral fighting experience in BlazBlue then Continuum Shift Extend will be the obvious choice. Part of what makes BlazBlue unique is the vibrant art style, and quirky cast of characters. While the story isn’t as easy to follow as the genre counterparts, the banter between characters is amusing and will have you laughing out loud. In particular I’ve latched onto the hilarious and often slightly creepy one-liners from Jin. Whether it was suppose to be serious or cheesy is completely debatable, however I couldn’t help but laugh every time Jin threw the word “Brother” around. The story mode is extremely robust. In addition to all the previous stories for each title, a few more character based stories have also been added. While the story leaves a lot to be desired I certainly can’t fault Arc System Works since there’s simply far more content available in comparison to the other titles in the genre.
The fighting controls transition beautifully to Sony’s new handheld, though it does take a bit of time to get used to the game speed. One particular thing I was disappointed with was the lack of touch controls in certain situations. Only certain parts of some menus can be controlled via hand gestures. It would have been nice (and I hope to see this in a future iteration) to have touch based controls for the menus, and certain special attacks for characters. It’s important to take advantage of the technology present in the Vita, and I felt like it was a missed opportunity on the developers’ part.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND is a good start on the PlayStation Vita; provided you haven’t played the previous titles in the Continuum series. Whether you’ve played this franchise or not, if you have any interest in the fighting genre, then BlazBlue is a must have.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes. If you have any questions about this title feel free to ask in the comment section. Our reviewer will be able to answer any of those.