|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Aksys Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: ARC System Works||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 27, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger was one of the best fighting games of the past year and is a contender for the best newcomer to the fighting genre this console generation. Capitalizing on its success, BlazBlue has come out with a quickie follow-up to last years BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. Part sequel, and part expansion pack, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift can be a bit of a challenge to navigate at first if you are a longtime fan. Still, this title packs plenty of features, and at a reduced price, is well worth picking up no matter what your experience is with the franchise.
The story mode in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is the part of the game that is most like a sequel. It follows the exploits of all of the main characters after the events of the original BlazBlue. As the massive explosions triggered by the final scene in BlazBlue hang in the minds of the world, Ragna the Bloodedge faces a new challenge posed by a force other than the Librarium. Like Calamity Trigger, the story is told through character-specific arcs, each with branching paths and unlockable endings. The new story mode has at least twenty hours of solid, story-driven play time, and though the different arcs can be confusing to put together (I contemplated making a chart to keep all the plot points straight), the experience overall is satisfying and provides a nice dénouement to the Calamity Trigger story while leaving an opening for new sequels.
The new story is the hallmark of Continuum Shift and is clearly the area where most of the effort with this follow-up went. Like the first game, the story mode is fully voiced in both English and Japanese and features plenty of dialogue. However, I did feel that the large amount of plot in the game hinders its playability. Characters in the story mode would occasionally spend ten to fifteen minutes just talking about story events, which can become quite cumbersome as there are no cinema scenes (stoic character replications simply change their facial expression to react to dialogue), and simply mashing buttons for long periods of time to get through long stretches of dialogue can get really boring.
Still, despite the dialogue-heavy plot, the story mode feels fleshed out and even sees the return of the Miss Litchi bonus modes. However, once you are finished with the story mode, there is plenty more to discover in Continuum Shift. The Legion mode from Calamity Trigger portable has been re-made for Continuum Shift and allows players to experience a survival-style mode that uses a board game format to advance the action. The overall format is reminiscent of the story mode in Final Fantasy: Dissidia and features different paths players can take to complete the mode.
Another new mode in Continuum Shift is the Challenge mode. This mode is designed only for the most hardcore BlazBlue player and features 300 challenges that require you to master every facet of your selected character, including combos, drive moves, and counters for success. Because the challenge mode is so intense, it is a mode that has limited appeal. Even though I have played both the console and handheld versions of Calamity Trigger, I felt unprepared for the Challenge mode at first.