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BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend Review

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend Review

Aksys Games and ARC System Works' BlazBlue series has been around for a while now, starting with the first game Calamity Trigger and its follow-up sequel Continuum Shift (which was upgraded for free to Continuum Shift II for console players). While the developer has stated they are working on the third game in the series, they still wanted to give the series another boost in the meantime: enter Continuum Shift Extend. Even with new playable character Relius Clover, new story mode segments and a bevy of gameplay mechanic changes, one must ask: is it worth the price for players to re-purchase the game at its budget price and is the PlayStation Vita version a solid enough competitor to its console siblings?

For anyone who's played BlazBlue before, it's pretty well known that the game is aimed at the more hardcore fighting game crowd. Generally the combos in the game relie on chains and cancels which should be common knowledge to most fighting games fans, even those who come all the way from the Street Fighter franchise. But the sheer amount of options available to the user is what differentiates it from the other fighters currently on the market. You have specials such as the Distortion and Astral finishes, the drive attack which is unique for each character and functions differently depending on which direction you move the stick and much, much more. So unlike some other games in the genre which map the same controls to multiple characters, each character in BlazBlue is their own unique entity with their own intricacies.

However, none of those would be worth learning if the game didn't teach you the basics correctly and thankfully BlazBlue does this in spades. Unlike Marvel vs. Capcom 3's lack of a training mode in the form of the challenges, BlazBlue has dozens of tutorials which range from the basics for newcomers to the genre, advanced techniques for veterans and even some highly detailed character tutorials that provide an in-depth overview for veterans who want to try out a new character. ARC System Works did include a "Stylish" control option for beginners which allows complicated combos to be executed with a few button presses, however, so even if you aren't a fighting game junkie you'll still have a fun time playing.

Outside of the expected gameplay mechanic tweaks, the main new feature to Extend is the addition of long-time villain Relius Clover as a playable character. Like his son Carl, he has his own controllable puppet that he can wield in battle and plays a little bit more forceful than his offspring due to him focusing more on his own attacks than his doll's. There's obvious similarities between the two for sure, but they both play differently enough from each other so neither feels like a copycat of the other.

Outside of Relius, the rest of Extend's new additions revolve around the story and extra modes included in the game. In addition to the story modes from Continuum Shift, ARC System works has added in a condensed version of Calamity Trigger's storyline with all of the extra non-canon endings removed which is great for those who haven't played the original in a while and need a refresher or who are new to the series and don't want to get confused like they would if they played last year's release Continuum Shift II. The DLC characters from Continuum Shift II and newcomer Relius also have their own story modes so even players of the last title should find something to enjoy here if they are at all interested in the franchise's story. Considering the utter disappointment Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3's story mode was, Extend blows those expectations out of the water and then some.

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