The BlazBlue series has always been a favorite for fighting game fans, but never quite the mainstream success as, say, Street Fighter. The quirky brawler matches up some of the most obscure characters ever seen in an amazingly balanced game that can take years to master. Over the years, the game has seen multiple releases and tons of DLC. Essentially what Continuum Shift Extend amounts to is an amalgam of all that content in one place, without having to download any new patches or characters. If you have already taken the plunge, this is likely not for you, but if you took a break from the series, there has never been a better time to jump back in.
First, let’s figure out what you are getting into here. Continuum Shift Extend is basically the same game as its predecessor with a few new modes, one extra character and all the DLC of the previous release. This is why you have to understand that if you already bought CS, this version may not be for you. The nice thing is if you skipped all the DLC it is all here and unlocked from the start. The new modes consist of Abyss, which is basically survival mode, Unlimited Mars, you against Unlimited versions of characters (aka REALLY hard mode) and, finally, Legion Mode, which tries to simulate a strategy game, but comes off as just another reason to mow down a list of fighters.
As I mentioned there is one brand new character added to the roster that wasn’t available previously via DLC. Relius Clover is Carl Clover’s father, as you might have guessed, and portrays the same type of style using a puppet during battle. He is actually really cool to play as, but hardly worth shelling out $40 if you already own all the DLC from CS. All of the balancing has also been implemented, making the game much more stable for tournament play.
Story portions have been added for the DLC characters to round out the goodies. The hugely disappointing part, though, is that you can’t bring over your save from CS. This means if you already trudged through the story parts before, prepare to do it again. Thankfully, it isn’t a requirement this time around, as Mu-12 is already unlocked from the start.
So far, I am sure this review sounds negative, so why the high score? Well, sometimes these types of reviews are hard to handle. For $40, Continuum Shift Extend is a steal-for those that have not already purchased the game and all of its content. What sucks is, that if you want to remain competitive in the tournament scene, this chapter is a must. You cannot download the new balance changes for the previous iteration, and trust me, it is a huge change. Characters moves have been completely tweaked, and coming in, I felt like I was playing a brand new set of characters.
That said, the game looks and plays great. Strict 2D fighters are a rarity these days, and BlazBlue is still among the best. The characters are gorgeously animated, and the controls are spot-on. Seriously, if you consider yourself a fighting game fan and have never played Arc System Works’ latest, the time to dive in is now. For $40, this game is a steal for people who love the genre.
Playing against others is still the name of the game, and Continuum Shift Extend brings the online for both the console and PS Vita adaptations. I was surprised just how much care was taken for this mode, especially on Vita. There is a spectator option, and I love that you have to pick your character before searching for a match. This keeps people honest and matches fair. There is nothing worse than going in, picking your character, and watching your opponent simply pick someone to counter you. On Vita, the lag is noticeable more often than not, but it is still accessible. It isn’t like we will be tournament playing on a handheld anyways.
As always, it is worth mentioning just how gorgeous BlazBlue is. Console versions still retain that beautiful hand-drawn animation, and when you see it on Vita’s OLED screen, you will be amazed. The portable version holds up surprisingly well and showcases just how strong this little handheld really is. The portable version holds up surprisingly well and showcases just how strong this little handheld really is. Characters display their uniqueness thanks to the amazing animation, and while I have grown tired of the same stages, you cannot deny their beauty.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend is a hard game to review. Not because of its quality; the game is a downright steal at $40, but only if you want to snag it for handheld use or have not played the previous outing complete with DLC. Tournament players really have no choice in the matter. Extend is a must simply for the balance changes. Even with that said, if you haven’t yet taken the plunge into the BB universe, Extend is the perfect jumping off point packed with enough content to keep you busy for many months to come.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PSVita and Xbox 360.