BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend (PS Vita) – The PS3 Attitude Review
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend on the PS Vita is potentially a strong launch title for Sony’s new handheld, but are the eccentricities and complexities of the BlazBlue universe a little too much to handle for those not versed in the series?
For those of you who aren’t aware of the franchise, let us give you some context.
BlazBlue first hit our consoles in 2009 with a 2D fighting game subtitled Calamity Trigger. Many were swayed by the story mode that seemed to have a lot more meat on the bones than your average fighter, and others enjoyed the left-field roster and gameplay options.
Then a sequel named BlazBlue: Continuum Shift hit the PS3 in 2010 with revamped mechanics, several new characters (packaged with the game and via DLC) and a continuation of each character’s story. This sequel also included new gameplay modes along with some graphical polish not seen in the original.
Fast forward to the PlayStation Vita launch, and we now have BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend. Of all the words available in the dictionary, ‘extend’ does seem like the most appropriate when you consider the sheer weight of options and gameplay available. In fact, it might be the understatement of the year.
In fact, BlazBlue’s greatest strength may also be its biggest weakness. Could there be just too much content included?
While efforts have been made to allow franchise-virgins to get used to the combat system and sheer weight of gameplay modes available, be prepared to don your harness and grab a rope with a few carabiners – you’re going to need them if you are to scale the heights of ‘Mount BlazBlue’.
At the core, BlazBlue continues to be a two-dimensional one-versus-one beat-em-up. Although it contains more options than that last sentence contained hyphens, you’ll find a lot of fun in just booting up and bashing buttons to find out what each character has to offer. But, and here’s where you have to make a decision, if you really want to get the best out of BlazBlue you need to put hours – literally, not figuratively – into each member of the roster before you can really see everything on offer.
There are 19 characters available in total, from girls with multiple-personality disorders through to an insect-ridden masked blob; you are going to find it difficult to beat the variety available in BlazBlue. Each of these sprites have special qualities that will test your powers of handling and memory, so unless button-bashing is your thing, you’ll want to make sure you stay high on brain-boosting protein if you want to get the most from the game.
If 19 characters isn’t enough to whet your whistle, you’ll find 11 different game modes when you start Continuum Shift Extend covering everything from battle training through to the much-lauded story mode along with various multi-player options. Add in all the stories, cut-scenes, story paths and extra tasks, and you start to see our point. This is a lot of game for the money.
And yet this is the main problem with the title. If you are new to the BlazBlue franchise, you are going to find it hard work getting to know everything about everyone and staying on top of a storyline that might give a quantum physicist cause to pause and take a breath. If you are a Continuum Shift expert, you may be disappointed with the fact that most of the content here is reused from that title.
But in the end, we think this is nothing more than a slight black mark on the books of what is a highly enjoyable, challenging and diverse fighter that will keep you going for a long time.
Want more? Read our original review of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift on the PS3 for exhaustive details of all the game modes, special moves and more screen-shots!