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BlazBlue: Continuum Shift on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. Because of this, Continuum Shift has high expectations to meet, from both reviewers and fans. Fortunately, it delivers fast-paced action along with it's own unique visual style which all work together to create a game that veterans of the genre and newcomers alike can enjoy.

The story picks up not long after the main story of the first game. Like most fighting games the plot is convoluted and hard to follow. It's not the major focus of the game, however, so not understanding what's going on won't detract from the overall fun you'll have. You can easily jump into this game not having played the first, so don't be discouraged by the fact that it's a sequel.

A selling point of Continuum Shift, though, is its twist on the basic fighting game formula of two characters facing off, one on one. There are your A, B, C, and D attacks which are weak, medium, strong, and drive attacks respectively. The drive attack is what makes BlazBlue stand out from most other games of its genre. Each of the characters has his or her own drive attack and, for the most part, they dictate their users style of fighting. They are generally normal attacks with added effects that range from simple (Ragna The Bloodedge's ability to drain his opponent's health) to more complicated techniques (Rachel Alucard's use of the wind to push and pull her and her enemy around the screen.) The four attacks in conjunction with movements from the analog stick allow you to preform a wide variety of attacks during battle. Continuum Shift boasts a large roster of characters (14 from the start, 1 unlock-able character, and 3 more to be released as DLC), so it shouldn't be hard to find someone that suits your personal approach to battle. The fights themselves are usually quick and certain features have been tweaked from the first installment of BlazBlue in order to hasten them. But the battles don't ever feel rushed. If anything, they've become more exciting. Continuum Shift also lets you go online and allows for up to 6 players to be participating in one fight, whether it is by playing in it or simply watching. It supports microphone usage, which means having a group of chatty players a fun experience. But, without online play you may want to consider passing on Continuum Shift. Like most fighters, the fun comes from perfecting a character and then competing against others. Not having the ability to fight other people can severely limit the game's overall appeal and lasting value.

Great gameplay can make any game fun, but it's also worth noticing when a game has stunning visuals, as Continuum Shift does. The cast of fighters have hundreds of hand drawn frames, and they range from simply standing and breathing, to launching some over the top attack that one only wishes they could see in real life. My favorite example of Continuum Shift's graphical prowess would be found in one of the characters: the previously mentioned Rachel Alucard. Her style is very goth-vampire chic, and it shows as her massive pig tails float in the breeze or when her large dress swirls about when she walks.

Continuum Shift's sound track is absolutely magnificent. Everyone has their own theme, and they all reflect whomever their matching character is quite well. The tunes vary from simple, pleasant songs that go unexpectedly well with game's aggressive fighting, to vocal pieces that are truly mesmerizing and seem to give the action a much more epic feel. However, the lyrics in the songs that have them are all in Japanese, but they give the songs a mysterious quality to them. And the voice acting in and out of fights is top quality. All the character's have a distinct way of speaking and it makes their personalities shine even more. Carl Clover, easily the youngest character in the game, has a timid voice which matches his age and stature in comparison with the others. And for those who find that they don't immediately fall in love with the English voice work, there is an option to switch to Japanese voices, while still retaining the English text so you know what's going on. All in all, the audio in Continuum Shift deserves nothing but praise.

So if you decide to buy it in the end, with or without internet, you won't be disappointed. This game packs a lot of things into a single disk, including many things that haven't been mentioned yet, such as Challenge Mode, Legion Mode, the art gallery with pictures from Continuum Shift's design time, and the animated extras entitled "Teach Me! Miss Litchi!" BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is bursting with personality and style, and has the gameplay to back it up. So pick it up as soon as you can and get comfortable in your couch; there's a line of competitors waiting for you. Do you have what it takes to win?



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writingrocks said...
Nov. 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm:
Oh, great! A third time, Alex! Congratulations, but I'm super jealous!
 
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