Date: 07-10-2011 20:01
Author: Matt Fernandes

PDC profile: SilentWyvern

BlazBlue Continuum Shift 2 looks to expand on the already successful BlazBlue franchise. A sequel to Continuum Shift, this title features 4 new characters and a number of game modes to keep players in the fight. Does this sequel deliver, or does it go down fighting?

The Wheel of Fate is Turning

BlazBlue Continuum Shift 2 is the next game in the BlazBlue series, the spiritual successor to the developer's already successful Guilty Gear franchise. Arc System Works is a developer who has shown time and again that they can take a console game, put it on handheld, and do it right. BlazBlue features 9 different fighting based game modes along with tutorials and gallery modes. Multiplayer is limited to Ad-Hoc only in this entry, which is honestly disappointing. Players pick one of the 18 unique characters and engage in 1-on-1 combat. Basic arcade modes, story, versus and training modes are all present. But the game really got interesting when I tried my hand at the Challenge, Legion 1.5, and Abyss modes. Challenge modes requires players to win a fight with certain conditions met, like score a perfect win in every round or land a 6 hit combo before winning. Easier challenges are fun but became frustrating as some challenges had me trying multiple times to beat. Legion 1.5 is somewhat difficult to describe, as I've never encountered a game mode like this. The closest to come to mind would be Conquest from Star Wars Battlefront and Dissidia Final Fantasy's story mode. Players fight along a map and raise their "army". Each fight gains new characters and bonuses like speed boosts. Its fun for a while, but it gets repetitive. Finally, there's Abyss mode. Players fight the abyss, each win makes their character stronger, but the farther down they go, the harder enemies get. Abyss mode is by far the most entertaining in my opinion.

Arcade mode does tell a fraction of each character's story, but story mode does a great job of going into greater detail. However, cutscenes are text based, and even with voice overs reading what is in the text, the cutscenes tend to run annoyingly long. Theres not many animated sequences, and the ones that are there are painfully short. Each character's individual story is shaped nicely to somehow impact the overall story. Few fighting games have ever really held my interest when it came to telling a tale, but BlazBlue's story mode is definitely worth a look.

New Contenders, Old Champions

Being the successor to Guilty Gear, anyone familiar to Guilty Gear will feel right at home. New players need only go into training for a few minutes to grasp the basics of BlazBlue's combat, and then its not too hard to master it. Each character has a unique fighting style. While there may not be a Russian who fights with her hair or a cross-dressing boy wielding a yoyo or loli with a giant anchor, BlazBlue's characters are pretty unique from any other fighting game. Each character has a few special moves, and being that this is the 4th entry to the series, its hard not to be annoyed by the fact no character's moveset has been added on to. Continuum Shift 2 also introduces 4 new characters, Mu-12 (a robotic version of Noel Vermillion), Platinum the Trinity (a schizoid little girl), Makoto Nanaya and Valkenhaynr Hellsing. Some characters can be harder to use than others but that's pretty much common place in fighting games. Characters have been balanced somewhat but Ragna is still overpowered.

Character sprites are greatly done and animated backgrounds make BlazBlue stand out from other fighting games. All the voices are the same from previous games and sound incredible. Presentation for BlazBlue is top notch. Additional artwork can be unlocked in the gallery and to be honest, its quite impressive. Music is also very diverse and not nearly as metal oriented as Guilty Gear was.

Final Notes
Arc System Works knows what they're doing when they take an originally console fighting game, and move it to handheld, and BlazBlue Continuum Shift 2 is a prime example of this. While lack of online and any moveset add-ons are disappointing to those who have played the previous BlazBlue games, this is a solid entry in the franchise. If you're a veteran of the BlazBlue games or new to the 2D fighting world Continuum Shift 2 is definetly a game I'd recommend playing.

Arc System Works is behind this 2D brawl. Available on UMD and on the NA PSN for $24.99. I've sunk upwards of 20 hours into Continuum Shift 2 in order to write this review.

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