Game Review

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Review

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is a very Japanese fighting game. This doesn't faze me anymore due to my long exposure to and infatuation with Japanese pop culture, but I imagine Lolita vampires, squirrel girls, and calling rounds "rebels" would confuse the average gamer. Even if you don't dig its style, the BlazBlue series has built a diverse cast of characters and rocks an engaging, complex fighting system.<br/><br/>BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is an "enhanced" version of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, which debuted on consoles in 2010. Continuum Shift II contains all the content of the console version along with the DLC characters and a new mode. Like other fighting franchises, the BlazBlue series has grown over time with small steps as opposed to massive leaps. You can learn more about the specifics of the series in my previous reviews, which can be accessed below. Otherwise, read on for a brief summary of the basics and learn what's new in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II.<br/><br/><center><a target="_blank" href="http://ps3.ign.com/articles/998/998859p1.html"><img src="http://pspmedia.ign.com/psp/image/article/117/1177103/blazblue-continuum-shift-ii-20110617031704242.jpg" /><br/><br/><br/></a><br/><br/><a target="_blank" href="http://psp.ign.com/articles/108/1081851p1.html"><image/></a><br/><br/><a target="_blank" href="http://ps3.ign.com/articles/110/1107816p1.html"><image/></a></center><br/><br/>Continuum Shift II isn't much different from its console predecessor. It features the previously downloadable-only characters, including Makoto, Valkenhayn, and Platinum the Trinity. It also introduces a new mode called "Abyss," which I'll describe shortly.<br/><br/>The basics in Continuum Shift II are virtually unchanged. Battles are 2D, one-on-one matches. Each character on the roster has a weak, medium, and strong attack, as well as a Drive attack specific to that character. Drive attacks accentuate each character's fighting style, like allowing you to drain your opponent's life with a strike, charging up a punch, or transforming into a wolf. The Drive attacks have always been one of BlazBlue's strongest selling points. They instantly differentiate each fighter and offer a unique play experience.<br/><br/>But not all is fine and dandy in this fighter. As you might expect, the visual and audio quality in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is notably worse than the console versions. This is especially true when you listen to the voice overs, which sound like they're coming through a tin can. Also, the tin can is the devil.<br/><br/>Fortunately, what matters -- the gameplay -- is beautifully preserved. I don't often think of portable systems when I think of fighting games, but Continuum Shift II rocks on the PSP. The action was smooth from start to finish, from throwing a basic punch to unleashing a screen-filling "Distortion Drive." This solid performance doesn't falter during Ad-Hoc multiplayer, which is a tremendous success. Bad multiplayer is absolute poison for fighting games, and Continuum Shift II dodges that bullet with grace.<br/><br/> <object id="vid_4dfaa19a3831c8233900025f" class="ign-videoplayer" width="468" height="270" data="http://media.ign.com/ev/prod/embed.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="movie" value="http://media.ign.com/ev/prod/embed.swf"/><param name="" value="true"/><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"/><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"/><param name="flashvars" value="url=http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/06/16/blazblue-continuum-shift-ii-opening?objectid=95944"/><param name="wmode" value="opaque"/></object> <div style="width:480px"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/06/16/blazblue-continuum-shift-ii-opening?objectid=95944"><center>BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Video</center></a></div><br/><br/>Some of you might already be familiar with the DLC characters if you downloaded them into the original Continuum Shift. They're entertaining additions to an already fantastic roster, though Makoto is my favorite for her timing-based Drive techniques. Overall, there's someone for everyone in BlazBlue, though you should remember that a number of the characters are difficult to learn. For example, I will never use Carl Clover. I dig the top hat, but I don't want to deal with his creepy robot sister that needs separate instructions during battle.<br/><br/>Abyss mode, which makes its debut here in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II, is a fun addition to an already large lineup of game types. In Abyss mode, you fight your way through waves of opponents as you delve further and further into the abyss. At certain "depths," you'll challenge a powered up character and earn the right to a stat-enhancing item. Abyss is all about going as far as you can and powering up along the way. It's a great spin on the classic survival modes found in other fighters.<br/><br/>Fun additions aside, there's something that frustrates me even more than the audio/visual degradation: load times. Loading screens pop up frequently and, when they do, they last a little longer than what I have patience for. Does it bust the experience? No, but it certainly slows it down, and BlazBlue is not meant to be slow.<br/><br/><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ign.com/blogs/clements-ign/2011/06/17/disclosure-blazblue-continuum-shift-ii-review/"><b>Read Ryan's full disclosure of the BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II review process.</b></a><br/><br/>&#169;2011-06-17, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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