Most portable fighting games immediately suffer from issues such as technological limitations that prevent the game from giving players the full experience. With the Vita’s release though, many were excited to see what it would be capable of, and fighters were excited to see if the Vita version of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend would hold a candle to its console counterpart. Not only does the gameplay and graphics mirror the console version perfectly, but the game includes all the same features players could expect out of the console release as well, making it stand out from the few fighters that portable gamers have available to them.
As mentioned every single mode is available to gamers from the single player modes that appeal to casual players such as the Abyss modes to modes that ambitious fighters will use to level up in preparation for the game’s inclusion of online battles, such as the challenge mode. With the new balance and character changes, the challenge mode has changed along with it, providing new challenges and combos for players to try. Not only does this provide fresh new things for players to do in single player mode, but it better prepares them for competitive play with effective stock combos that are applicable in different situations. Luckily the Vita’s controls are well suited for fighting games, allowing for players to perform circular motions and advanced techniques like instant airdashes with shocking consistency.
As expected of any Arc System Works fighting game release, the netcode feels like a dream and provides the best online fighting game experience bar none. Instead of dumping players in drab lobbies where they will sit there and wait for opponents who may never come, the game allows players to set up a training room or arcade mode session for themselves while waiting for opponents. Online never feels tedious and players can always be prepared even after weeks of separation with the game. Unlike with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II, players won’t have to choose between boring single player modes they’ve already completed and scouring around for live competition.
Fighters unfamiliar with the BlazBlue series would only benefit from giving the game a try. Though it may annoy some at times with the characters’ constant catchphrases and at times cutesy animations, it’s all trivial compared to experiencing one of the most unique fighters available today. Like Guilty Gear before it, Continuum Shift Extend includes a myriad of unique characters, all of whose fighting styles are different from one another and ensuring that players will never be proficient until they undergo hours of practice. This is a world of difference from other fighting games like Street Fighter where learning one character grants license to proficiency of several others. Thankfully, not only will the challenge mode aid players, but a tutorial mode is included for players to learn about the game’s potpourri of gameplay systems, from simple techniques like breaking throws to advanced essentials like barrier blocking. Of all the characters, the newest addition, Relius Clover, does somewhat disappoint due to his similarities with Carl Clover.
I honestly do not think it is possible to overemphasize how great Continuum Shift Extend looks. All the high resolution art for which the series is known is present and accounted for, whether it is in battles or the story mode’s panels. Even on the Vita’s beautiful 5-inch OLED screen, there are no jagged lines or remnants of a low resolution whatsoever, which are sure to keep series enthusiasts happy. Audiophiles will be happy to hear that both English and Japanese voiceovers, as well as all of Daisuke Ishiwatari’s musical creations, are included in this release. The only possible gripe anyone could have with this is an inability to import the songs to the Vita and listen to the tracks even without the game.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend is practically perfect in every sense of the word. Both visually and in gameplay, the game mirrors both the console and arcade versions perfectly, which is all the more amazing considering it all fits in the palms of players’ hands. Unlike the portable versions before it, this one is complete with a fully featured online mode, which will guarantee the game’s longevity for a long time to come. The only reason to not pick up this title is if you have an unreasonable phobia for fighting games or do not own a Vita, PS3, or 360.
Available on:PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360; Publisher: Aksys Games; Developer: Arc System Works; Players: 1 – 6; Released: February 15, 2012; ESRB: Teen; MSRP: $39.99; Official Site
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher.