Available at launch for the PSVita, BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend brings 2D competitive fighting to Sony’s new handheld. An evolution of the Guilty Gear series, BlazBlue has seen a release on just about every console system, including the Sony PSP.
The PSVita version includes a variety of changes. For starters, the combat system has been revised. All fighters, new and old, have been throughly rebalanced with new combos and strategies.
Top tier fighters like Bang and Litchi seem to be affected the most by these changes; their damage ratios seem far more tamed than in previous installments.
Fighters on the lower tier seem to benefit the most from the combat revision. Ironically, Iron-Tager seems to be the least affected by these changes. Even his basic attacks inflict an incredible amount of damage.
Among the new changes is Relius Clover, a new playable character. Relius has a long history in the BlazBlue universe. His character is tied to many backstories and characters before the start of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. His inclusion brings the roster to a beefy nineteen fighters.
BBCSE has a variety of single-player game modes. Apart from Arcade mode, there are seven additional game modes – Versus, Score Attack, UnlimitedMars, Training, Challenge, Abyss and Story. The most compelling game mode is Abyss. Resembling a role-playing game, the player traverses through a dungeon called Kagutsuchi. Along the way, you will encounter enemies and upgrade at local shops.
The PSVita was designed for this style of game; its 4-way directional pad feels natural in your hands as you execute special moves with ease. Even complicated Distortion moves are easy to pull off in a pinch.
Moreover, you can assign the in-game controls to the Rear Touch Pad. This divides the Rear Touch Pad in half, assigning one half to Directional Pad controls and the other to button presses. This sounds good in theory, but it’s extremely difficult to control.
Online competitive play has also been improved. The netcode has been revamped and matches occur with little-to-no lag. During the course of this review, only a handful of matches had to synchronize in the beginning, but the wait was brief.
As for features, Player Matches can handle up to 6 players. When creating a room, it is possible to assign the number of spectators to reduce lag. And like before, your online ranking is based on levels.
BBCSE is a well-polished 2D fighter with a large cast of characters and extended features. The combat feels no different than previous installments despite being on a portable system. And while most of the PSVita’s features are not utilized, the game still manages to impress.
Even though Capcom’s Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is an obvious first pick for PSVita owners, BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend shouldn’t be overlooked. It offers more features than your average fighting game. Plus, it has a vibrant online community that makes it easy to find competition while on the go.
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $39.99 (Available via Retail and PSN)
|Some of the best 2D graphics in a fighting game.|
|Superb music and voice acting.|
|Plenty of features and replay value.|
|One of the best 2D fighters around.|