Game Review: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift (PS3, 360)

Last year’s newcomer in the 2-D fighter arena, BlazBlue, proved to be a big hit. Now fans can enjoy the sequel, Continuum Shift, on 360 and PS3 (360 version reviewed here). It’s definitely a must-have for fans of the series with more characters and gameplay modes.

Choose from more than a dozen fighters, some old, some new. Each has their own special moves and attacks, executed with timed button presses and joystick movements, like any other fighter (my favorites are Litchi and Taokaka, who are yours?). You’ll be able to download more characters later on, but they’re a bit pricey and you can’t play as them in all the gameplay modes, unfortunately. So I was a bit disappointed with how they handled the DLC in this game.

For novice fighters, there is the new Beginner Mode with simpler controls and a Tutorial to explain basic and advanced rules of the game. But it’s still very challenging no matter what setting you pick. Other game modes include the standard Arcade and Score Attack modes. The series’ famous Story Mode is back, and more accessible this time around. However, I still didn’t like having to wade through fifteen minutes of text for one 30-second battle, only to have that cycle repeat itself over and over again. But fans of BlazBlue’s cast of intricate plots and characters will eat this stuff right up.

Other gameplay modes include Challenge, where you must perform certain moves and techniques that they prompt you to do. The new Legion Mode puts you on a map with spaces to take over and characters to fight. After beating a character in this mode, you can add them to your team for future battles. There’s also a Gallery with tons of artwork to view and unlock.

So all these single player modes will keep fighting fans entertained for a very long, long time. But when all that’s over, you can still play online with other gamers. The online play runs smooth and near flawless from what I could tell.

The graphics are stellar, with superb 2-D hand-drawn graphics that look as good as an anime cartoon. The backgrounds are ultra detailed and intricate, too. You’ll wish you could stop fighting so you can admire your surroundings more. So despite the somewhat shady DLC and unnecessarily long Story Modes, the newest chapter in the BlazBlue saga should please all manner of 2-D fighter fans.

Kid Factor:

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, and Violence. The blood really isn’t noticeable in-game, and the violence is more over-the-top cartoony rather than gruesome. Some of the characters can be real potty mouths in the Story Modes (Ragna, I’m looking at you). The Partial Nudity and Sexual Themes come from the game’s female cast, from the way some dress to how they talk to each other (one character calls another “Boobie Lady” for instance). Artwork in the gallery depicts these themes, too. Because of all this and the difficulty of the game, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is best suited for teen players and up.

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