BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend Review (PlayStation Vita)

Another quality fighter for the PlayStation Vita.

Though it would’ve been nice to see a new Guilty Gear game by now, I’m rather overcome by the amount of effort Arc System Works has put into its latest fighting series, BlazBlue.  Sure, there have only been two really complete games to the series, but both of them come with the kind of presentation that resembles an anime being brought to life in a video game, and controls that a true fighting fanatic can certainly appreciate.  To help build the series even further, Arc, along with Aksys Games, has opted to release a portable version of its fighting phenomenon with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend.

While most folks will probably stick with the more popular Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, that doesn’t mean BlazBlue isn’t deserving of an audience.  In fact, this is one of the most solid playing fighting games I’ve ever played, thanks to Arc System Works’ rebalancing of characters and moves.  No longer does it feel like someone’s overpowered, though some attacks work better than others for specific combatants.  That said, the gameplay is tight and responsive, and pulling off moves with either the analog stick or the D-pad is surprisingly effective.  We have yet to run into a super move that we haven’t been able to execute.  Granted, some needed a few tries, but they still came off eventually.

Continuum Shift Extend includes all the original content from the previous game, along with the four additional downloadable characters and a newbie, Relius, added to the battle.  While some may scoff at the lack of more completely new characters, this leaves a strong roster of 19 characters to choose from, and it’s a joy experimenting with them all and finding one that fits your groove, so to speak.

This sequel gives you a lot to do.  Along with its strong cast of characters, Extend also features a number of modes, including Versus, Arcade, Time Attack and Endurance, typical fighting standards.  Story Mode is also here, but will take some time with all the cut scenes and back-stories.  You can also adjust the difficulty, should you be a newcomer needing a little bit of a break going in for the first time.

Once you do master the game, though, you’ll want to check out Unlimited Mars.  It’s about the equivalent of a chess master challenging a computer, with super-pumped AI opponents ready to take on whatever you’ve got.  Abyss Mode is also worth checking out, with its variety of challenges and ability to bulk up your character as you progress through wins.