Beat-em ups have been well covered over the years of gaming, with many trying to usurp the might of Capcom’s Street Fighter, with only a few titles reaching a similar popularity, such as King is Fighters, only then to be forgotten whenever another version of Street Fighter comes out. Recently though there has been the Blazblue games, offering tight controls and a brutal but tough to master combo system, showing gamers that there are decent fighters out there other than Ryu and Ken.
The basic modes we all expect in fighting games are here in Blazblue: Continuum Shift 2 with an arcade mode pitting you against computer controlled adversary’s and a versus mode that allows you to create a quick fight and also set up a local wireless fight with another cart owner. Offering such a great roster of characters with so many different moves and tactics to master that would be enough for most, however Blazblue hosts some great modes that put many others to shame.
First up is the very in depth tutorial, with Rachael Alucard talking and showing you the rather intricate move sets available like the beginners set up called the “stylish layout”, which makes the game a very simple button basher with combos created by hitting pretty much the same buttons. She will also go extremely deeply into the more professional “technical layout”, showing you how to master the many aspects of the games fighting system like the Heat Gauge, Distortion Drives Astral Heat Attacks and Revolver Actions that are a must for combos, down to even when it is best to taunt an adversary. With this knowledge you can then pit your skills in the training mode against a non combatants, allowing you to get to grips with the differing fighting styles each of the characters offer.
The Challenge mode has a list of challenges for each character to complete. These require you to pull of ever more insane and button mashing combos, they get seriously hard but mastering these will up your combo repertoire considerably.
The Legion 1.5 starts you off as a lone character who travels a map defeating enemies placed on tiles. As you defeat them you are then able to recruit one of them to your army. As your army builds, so does the oppositions, with the battles turning into a winner stays on until the final opponent is defeated. As you recruit more characters, you start to earn stat boosts for your characters, making them even more powerful however, if you lose any players along the way that’s them gone from your selectable roster. Each tile is graded, from easy to hard, with boss fights at the final destination and a few secrets hidden around for you to unlock.
As you fight battles in any mode you will earn points, these rank you up as a player, unlocking items in the gallery like music and pictures but they also have a monetary value which can be used in the Abyss. In this mode you again fight countless enemies, but the longer you survive, the lower you go, earning more items along the way to purchase on your next attempt like increased health or defence.
Whilst the Arcade mode gives you a very brief insight into what is going on in the world of Blazblue, the Story Mode expands on this, offering a really in depth tale of each of the characters, with fighting interspersed with some cut scenes and characters meeting up and generally getting into fights.
The presentation of the game is surprisingly impressive considering the size of the 3DS screens, with characters being well animated and are of a decent size on the top screen plus the game is chocked full of well acted in-game speech. Of course being a 3DS game it does offer a great looking 3D mode when turned on. The 2D characters are brought to the front of the screen, with a layered background creating a real sense of depth. The usual bug bears of the 3DS do not appear here, with no ghosting and a completely blur free experience, even with all the fast paced action. The only gripe is aimed at the text, with is very small and can be a bit fuzzy when trying to read anything off centre. The bottom screen is also used particularly well, showing you a list of available moves, with a tap of the screen turning the page to show even more.
Blazblue: Continuum Shift 2 is a very impressive handheld fighting game that caters equally for pros as well as casual gamers. Sadly the only down mark is the lack of an online function, so make sure your friends have a copy to enjoy even more.
Rating: ExcellentReview Policy
You can order Blazblue: Continuum Shift 2 from Shopto.net here.