BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Review

By Brian Leahy - Posted Jun 16, 2011

Another portable version of BlazBlue hits the PSP and debuts on a Nintendo platform giving fans an up-to-date version to play on the go after a long wait following the original BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger.

The Pros
  • Full Cast of Characters, None as DLC
  • Abyss Mode is Great for Pick Up and Play
  • Tons of Content
The Cons
  • No Internet Multiplayer
  • Poor Sound Quality

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2 Review:

There are definitely two audiences for BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2 as it sees a current release on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Portable: fans of this niche title and those that may pick this game up looking for a new fighter on their new 3DS or trusted PSP.

For those that are familiar with BlazBlue, you really only need to know what you’re getting with BlazBlue 2 Portable for the entry price. You’ll get all of the fighters from BBCS2, which includes the three DLC characters from the Xbox 360 and PS3 release: Makoto, Valkenhayn, and Platinum. Additionally, all of the extra content that usually sells for real money on the consoles like additional colors and voices can be unlocked here by earning in-game currency.

The Continuum Shift story is included in full and is still just as ridiculous as ever. It’s definitely not going to appeal to everyone and I’ve grown a bit tired of its format requiring you to play through each character and selectively win, lose, or fulfill special conditions to move on and see each fighter’s “true ending.” I find myself skipping the story in new BB games, but new players should at least give it a shot. Beyond that, you’ll get a laundry list of modes highlighted by an improved Legion Mode and the all-new Abyss mode.

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2

The Wheel of Fate is Turning

Legion puts your character of choice up against sets of enemies at nodes as you open a pathway to the boss fights to clear the stage. After defeating a node, you’ll be able to make one of the characters you defeated part of your team. Legion 1.5 improves over the existing mode by adding stat boosts to certain characters to recruit and additional power-ups for your army. Sadly, one of the improvements was not randomizing the enemies you’ll be put up against.

Abyss mode sees you taking a single character through “levels” as the difficulty ramps up as you go. Playing well will increase the “depth” you’re at in the Abyss until you fight boss characters at regular intervals. Defeat a boss and you can get a stat or ability boost to take with you on all future fights. It’s a nice twist on a classic survival mode, though it’s not new to Arc System Works – it was in Guilty Gear. Of all the modes, this one is probably my favorite since the non-boss opponents are randomized.

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Challenge mode returns and will teach you the moves and combos for the entire cast of characters, freshly updated for the balance changes introduced in BBCS2. It’s a really useful tool for learning some bread and butter combos and practicing timing. Arcade mode is the standard series of fights resulting in boss fights. Score Attack puts you up against a regimented series of enemies and difficulty for leaderboard placement. Then, that leaves multiplayer.

As with most fighting games, a lot of your potential enjoyment is going to depend on your ability to play against human opponents. With portable versions, you’ll need to find someone else with a matching set of device and game. Unfortunately, neither version sports online play with multiplayer limited to ad hoc support. If you’ve got some friends to play with it will work out great on either platform, but the lack of online play, especially on the 3DS, is a big misstep.

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2

Two Platforms Enter, One Leaves

The Nintendo 3DS version of BBCS2 takes almost no advantage of the platform. The 3D effect is decent, having the fighters pop-out from the background, but as with Super Street Fighter IV, you’ll have trouble seeing the effect as you mash out combos and generally shake the device. There’s no StreetPass and the bottom screen is used to show stats or a command list. There’s also a bug (as far as I can tell) with closing the 3DS without first pausing or hitting the Home button, which can lead to you dropping out of a mode like Abyss or Legion.

On the PSP side, you’ll find the same game minus the 3D and double-screen, but if you’re on the UMD version you’ll get the great bonus of insanely long loading times. The PSN version is much better, obviously, so I recommend that. Beyond that, it’s a personal preference issue for the controls and form-factor. I found that I played the best on my PSP Go, while a standard PSP was decent. The 3DS has a great D-Pad for this, but led to a lot of hand-cramping and irritation.

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2

Until They Release Another BBCS Version…

As a fan of the BlazBlue series, this portable entry serves as a nice companion to the console version. It lets me practice combos, timings, and new characters on the go, but it’s not a replacement for being able to hop online and easily play against human opponents on the 360 or PS3. That being said, there’s a ton of content here and it is a great package for any portable gamer.