With one of the longest names for a game ever BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend sure has some large shoes to fill. And after spending a hefty amount of hours with this 2-d brawler I have to say that I have still only scratched the surface of the immense content available. Just finishing the quite deep storylines for each of the fighters in Arcade mode took me more than five hours. Then I found out that this was the lite story mode, and the real Story mode features more in depth writing. Outside of the RPG realm BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend is probably one of the games I have seen that gives the most amount of content counted in hours. And by content I mean unique content unlike the repeating matches in a soccer game for example.
Oh, and you can fight online as well. This brings BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend to a completely new level once you feel confident that you have mastered a couple of the fighters available in the game. Personally I am too slow to be a contender against the ninjas online. Heck, I am still learning the basic combos even after spending so much time with a title. We all approach titles differently, and I take my fights in the classic Rocky style. I get beat up pretty badly, and then I counter in a fit of passion. In my take on Rocky however Rocky gets comboed into a pulp in the end.
The gameplay is your standard mano o mano 2-d fighting bonanza. I would say that it is lodged somewhere between Soul Calibur, and Street Fighter. The pace, and movement speed is deliberate and balanced. I never get the sensation that I have no clue about what is happening. Still those times when the opponent lands massive combos, and starts to juggle me can occur. Best to wait, block and counter at the right movement. Each fighter has a nice balanced arsenal of melee, and ranged attacks.
The controls are great, and you can select between a full on combo experience or a casual pre-mapped experience. This gives newcomers a chance to compete against those who can pull off ten fireball moves in as many seconds. The rear touch screen can also be used for combo moves. One thing that inflicted me playing the game was real fatigue from all the buttons presses, and stick twitching. This can be somewhat alleviated by switching between the left stick, and the keypad for movement and combos.
I am completely new to the BlazBlue universe, and I am really impressed with the diverse characters and narratives. It felt really easy to grasp their backgrounds, and the writing is really good.
Another department BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend shines in is the colourful presentation. No matter how many actions are happening on screen there is no dip in the high framerate. I also like the many aspects you can change when it comes to layout during the story, such as changing backgrounds and borders. The sound is also great with crunchy sound effects, and music worth listening to as a standalone soundtrack. The only thing that bothers me in the sound department is the repetitive voice snippets. This is a more or less universal issue for fighting games.
There are quite long loading times in the game, and coming from Soul Calibur on iOS it feels like ages to wait. Hopefully the developer might be able to update this in the future when the Vita hardware is better explored, and utilized. Another thing worth noting is that this is a monster of a download at almost 3.4GB. If you are short on storage on your SD-card it is better to get the physical copy. With new DLC the game will continue to grow in size, and scope.
BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend is a great fighter with a moderate pace giving newcomers a chance to learn, and veterans a chance to explore combos. With excellent presentation, a massive amount of content and online matches this is a keeper for fans of the genre. If you are new to the genre please be prepared to invest time in this, as it is not suited for a quick casual match a day. BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend is a fighter with heart and passion, and that is what the players need to invest as well.