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Blazblue: Continuum Shift Extend Review

This 4th instalment in the BlazBlue series offers much of what was in the previous games, Continuum Shift and Continuum Shift II while offering new content and a load of balance tweaks but will it be enough to keep the game fresh?

The story continues from the events of the previous title (BB: Calamity Trigger), you’ll find that the characters continue their search for lost friends, people they hate and criminals with bounty on their heads. Not that the story is bad in fact, it’s incredibly detailed with a world grounded in history of civil wars, Black Beast attacks, and legendary heroes. Blazblue’s hard to explain story must be played (or watched) to be understood (especially when time travel is involved).
What are you looking at!?
As with the previous titles, the story mode is engaging, the descriptive dialogue draws you into the world of Blazblue and really paints a picture in your mind. As you play through the story of each character you are eventually presented with a choice for your character. Each choice you make will lead you to three different endings; true ending, bad ending and the ridiculous, long winded non canon ending. Which are amusing for a short time but then drag on far too long. (Quickly skipping the dialogue can take around five minutes!) This is a nice way to involve the player in the story but some choices can lead to fewer fights and more talking portraits, which can only hold your attention for so long (and yes I know a fully animated story mode would hospitalize the dev team).

At times the story does a great job of painting a picture in my mind; it creates a real interest in the detailed characters and the game world, other times I find myself growing impatient with the lengthy dialogue (which sometimes comes off main story topics) and the lack of actual combat. Despite the over complicated plot, each characters story is well told giving hours of entertaining replay value. All the returning characters stories from Continuum Shift return in this game, all who purchased Blazblue Continuum Shift can copy their saved data and retain all of their story progress.

The game mechanics are the same as in the previous game. For those who don’t know, players are able to use weak, medium, heavy and drive attacks. Drive attacks feature characteristics exclusive to that character, for example Tagers drive attack allows him to magnetise his opponent, and Valkanhayn’s drive lets him transform into a wolf.
Let's go jelly man!
Use of the Heat Gauge can allow you to perform flashy Distortion Drives (Super Combos) and Astral Heats (providing conditions are met) which are special finishing moves, similar to Guilty Gear. If you’re not into all that “quarter circle forward” and 360 throw stuff don’t worry, Blazblue lets you select simple controls ( now known as “stylish”) for easy execution of special moves. You can bash one button throughout the fight and perform complex combos with ease.

The modes include a tutorial mode hosted by the incredibly stuck up Rachel Alcard who covers all aspects of the fighting system from beginner to advanced, as well as individual character strategies.
Arcade Mode takes you through a the usual 10 stage fight and lightly takes you through the story of your chosen character and Verses Mode allowing you to fight a Human or AI opponent. Challenge Mode lets you take on a number of missions for each character, these range from simple attacks to complicated (and sometimes impractical) combos.

Abyss Mode is a type of survival mode which lets you purchase upgrades for your character e.g. speed boost, power boost, Defence boost, etc. Surviving 100 to 999 floors of battles is great fun when you’re buying upgrades to aid your survival along the way.

Score Attack differs from the previous game, rather than facing off against unlimited characters, (strong boss-like versions of each character) it puts you up against tougher AI opponents. UnlimitedMars which is very much like the old Score Attack which puts players against difficult unlimited versions of each character. These modes are not much fun especially since they end with “Game Over” when you lose, thankfully the money rewarded after play can persuade you to retry.
Online mode works as well as it always did with very few laggy matches, but the competition online is tough! Since this game seems to target the hard core fans it can take a while to find a match.
After completing most of the modes you earn money based on how well you fought and how many opponents you beat. Money can be then used to buy content from the Gallery, this includes art work, colour schemes, narrator voices, and Unlimited versions of each character.

For those who purchased the DLC or other the games (Blazblue Contiuum Shift II) Contiuum Shift Extend presents us with one new character, Relius Clover who fights in a similar way to Carl Clover. He uses more aggressive tactics and is able order his doll to attack head on, from above or behind, while he’s not enough to persuade casual players into buying this update of a game he is a welcome addition to the Blazblue family.
For those who didn’t buy the DLC characters or hand held games this has a little more to offer, new content includes Abyss Mode, Unlimitedmars the reworked Calamity Trigger Story and scenarios for the new characters.

The presentation in Blazblue is the same as is was from the start with excellent character animations and backgrounds. Aside from the new backgrounds and characters and art work pretty much all of the visual content has been reused. However in this case, it’s not a problem as it was always visually bold and eye catching.

Final verdict
Whilst it’s fun to play, Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend doesn’t contain enough to make me want to buy the game, in fact all the features mentioned in this review have been included in previous console and hand held tittles (apart from Relious Clover and new story features). While this game caters well for new comers, it seems to target the hard core players purely with its balance changes and excellent (as usual) online play. Hard core Blazblue players will no doubt love this game.

This game may have little to offer for those that purchased the DLC characters and all the previous console and hand held games but it’s well worth a play for those that haven’t yet tried out this eccentric fighter, and for those who didn’t play the recent hand held titles. Arc System Works seem to be going back to their Guilty Gear days releasing identical updates that present very little new content. Despite this you can’t deny that Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend is still the solid fighting experience it always was.

Story = 7.5/10
Gameplay = 8/10
Graphics = 8/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 7.9/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend Review

Reviewed by Liban Ali
on Apr 15 2012

Rating: 7.9/10

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