BlazBlue: Continuum Shift - Cheat Happens Game Review
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BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Developer:
Arc System Works
Publisher: Aksys Games
Rated: "T" for Teen



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about video games, but I’ve got to admit - -I’ve only just heard of the BlazBlue series. Hell, until a friend corrected me, I pronounced it as “blaze-blue,” cause you know, that’s logical and all. Imagine my surprise then when I finally got my hands on the franchises’ latest installment BlazBlue: Continuum Shift for the Xbox 360 and PS3 and really dug it. Perhaps I’m underselling it a bit - it’s quickly become one of my favorite fighting games in recent memory. Not without its flaws (chief among them; even with the new steps taken towards accessibility, there’s still an incredibly steep learning curve to master here) fighting game fans should definitely take the chance to play one of this generation’s best fighting experiences.

With only 15 characters (including two new and one hidden), it would be easy to dismiss Continuum Shift as a thin package, but diving deeper proves a much different experience. Each of the fighters feels incredibly different, and offers a totally different experience. There’s a number of characters that are sure to feel familiar to even those who, like myself have never touched the series (granted, you’ll have to have played at least a few fighting games to understand the references) but there’s also the more advanced characters, who’s move sets border on sadistic (read: these are the characters the guys kicking your ass online are going to use), but incredibly rewarding to master.

 
   

As varied as they may be, each character’s move set is built on the same fundamentals. Each character has weak, medium and strong attacks along with a drive attack which is basically your characters special attacks. With all of these options, finding your best character and strategy becomes inherently obvious and pivotal in your success with BlazBlue. This pushes the replay factor through the roof as to truly experience BlazBlue, you’re going to want to spend a good amount of time with each character to see which best fits your ability and play style.

The depth in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is as much of a burden as it is a blessing though, as the game is easily one of the most inaccessible for new fans to get into. It’s not really any fault of the developers though, as they’ve added quite a few new features that encourage new players and ease them into the experience, but it can still be daunting. At any time, the player may have to worry about everything from heat gauges and barrier gauges to primers and guards. I strongly recommend taking advantage of the new tutorial mode, which goes over everything you’ll need to know (seriously, even the most basics like character movement and control) and then some. The next step would be the challenge mode, which I honestly had the most fun with. The challenge mode tasks players with performing a chain of increasing difficult combos in order to master them.

But hey, this is a fighting game, and to truly experience why it’s so novel, you’re going to want to...you know, fight. The easiest mode to jump in to will undoubtedly be the arcade mode, which as you may expect would allow you to take on a series of fighters until you’ve taken on all comers, but there’s also the story mode which actually allows you to experiment with using all of the game’s fighters at least once. Story mode attempts to throw in plot but it’s done so in such a bland way that you’re going to find yourself not caring much at all. In fact, if you skip past the talking head cutscenes, you’re sure to enjoy the mode loads more.

 
   

There are a few more modes, most of which you’d expect from modern day fighting games, but the one that interested me most was Legion Mode. Essentially a cross between a survival mode and a real time strategy game, Legion finds you fighting across a map and growing your army each time you win a battle. It’s a neat and novel idea, but it’s also not a completely thought-out one. As you finish the first few battles, you get the hang of the idea, but the difficulty never really raises and you’re stuck with a very repetitious mode that’s going to get old very quick.

Where BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is going to earn its legacy though is undoubtedly the game’s online mode. Against my better judgment, I went online to try my skills and was promptly kicked to the curb by more seasoned players, but learning curve aside, Continuum Shift boasts an excellent online system. You can of course do ranked or quick matches, or create lobbies for up to six different players, but what I loved was the ability to sort through potential opponents by connection speed, which weeds out pretty much any and all lag issues you may come across.

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift’s excellent visuals are obviously influenced by Japanese art and Manga, but leaving it at that is truly underselling the game’s artistic appeal. The characters are a mix of stunning detail and cartoony fun, and the backgrounds hover between 2D and 3D, which seemingly catches your eye every time you play.

If you’ve got the time to devote to BlazBlue that the title demands in order to truly appreciate the title’s depth and curve, you’re sure to find a lasting and addictive fighter that’s one of the most enduring experiences you’ll have for quite some time. BlazBlue is a love letter to hardcore fighting game fans that could rightfully intimidate newcomers to the series. Those who stick with it though are sure to find something to like here. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlockables, Achievements/Trophies Lists

There’s a number of cheats and unlockables available for BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, including unlocking the special unlimited version of a character by defeating the speed trial mode with that character. Oh, and to see the game’s apparent true ending, you’ll have to beat the story mode with a number of different characters.

I was going to give BlazBlue: Continuum Shift a higher CHEATfactor score, but then I saw that one of the listed cheats was to see the credits, which requires you to beat Arcade mode in a certain way to see them. Really?

 

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