|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|
However, the good news is that there is an expansive tutorial mode included with the game. Although this might not sound like a big deal, both of the original Calamity Trigger games omitted the tutorial modes, and the only way to learn how to master the battle system was to either spend a lot of time experimenting with button combinations or by watching a DVD that was bundled with the special edition of the game.
The tutorial mode in Continuum Shift is in-depth and explains everything from basic drive attacks to the games improved counterattack system. Although the tutorial is quite lengthy, if you want to learn the ins and outs of BlazBlues battle system (as well as pick up on some strategy), it is a must.
If you are still not 100% confident in your abilities after going through the tutorial, there is also an all-new Beginner mode in the game. The Beginner mode doesnt actually change the game, but simplifies the inputs so complex combos and drive defense moves are easier to perform. This simplified user interface makes the learning curve a lot easier to manage and can be switched on (or off) at any point in the game by pulling up the in-game options menu.
Aside from all these new features, there are several familiar aspects of the gameplay. The visuals (save for a few new locations) are identical to those in Calamity Trigger and feature the same immaculately detailed hand-drawn pixel look. Although there are a few new environments, all of the recurring characters feature the same design and look as they did previously. The audio in the game is also the same, with all of the voice actors from Calamity Trigger reprising their roles for Continuum Shift. The music features plenty of similar score elements, though there may be some new themes and arrangements in the mix with older music.
These improvements and additions to the gameplay make BlazBlue: Continuum Shift a great jumping-off point for new players, but the addition of the hardcore-only Challenge mode gives this game some much-needed balance. If you are a BlazBlue fan, there is more than enough new content here to keep you happy. However, the real treat here is if you have never picked up a BlazBlue game, the new tutorial and Beginner modes make this one of the most accessible fighting games Ive played in recent years. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is a great fighting game, and though it does have a lot in common with its predecessor, there are enough new elements to merit a re-purchase. If you havent played BlazBlue, Continuum Shift is an absolute steal at $40.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor