Review: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II (3DS)

I don’t play fighting games very often, only because there isn’t much of a difference between them. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is… different, but not in good way. I must point out that I’m unfamiliar with the BlazBlue series in general, but I won’t get that in the way of this review.

The BlazBlue series began as a 2008 arcade game (subtitled Calamity Trigger). Continuum Shift is the sequel to that game, with Continuum Shift II being an update to the original release, much like the “Super” in Street Fighter IV. The Nintendo 3DS port contains all the characters downloadable as DLC for the console versions and a new Abyss mode.

Otherwise, BlazBlue: CS2 is your typical fighting game. You pick from a host of characters including those who appears in the original game, as well as several new ones and throw them into a fight to the best two “rebels” (rounds). Your face buttons allow you to throw light, medium, strong and an attack unique to each character. Each character will also vary in difficulty of control, which further comes in a simpler stylish or more complicated technical should you want to make your gaming experience feel like operating heavy machinery.

The game takes you across several modes, like Arcade, Versus, Challenge and Story, which offers a more in-depth feel of the backstory of the game’s characters, which will make them more relatable and puts the game into another perspective. There’s also a slightly insulting tutorial mode for newcomers to the genre, like, real newbies who have no experience with fighting games whatsoever.

The problem begins the very moment you start to fight. For starters, the graphics are not very impressive and seem to be under-utilising the Nintendo 3DS’s graphical capabilities, especially with its blurry backgrounds. The 3D effect seems tacked on and doesn’t provide a great feel of depth. The 3D effect also shifts the main menu out of the screen for some reason.

Beyond that, the game is playable, once you get used to the controls, which can be confusing knowing that your weak and medium moves are mapped to X and Y by default. The game also does not utilise the 3DS’s circle pad to move and perform fighting moves which I felt it kinda removes the arcade feel of the game. The circle pad is only used to pull taunts, with the D-Pad doing all the work.

Another key problem, a more fatal one, literally, is the total lack of the Nintendo 3DS’s sleep support, so should you clam up your Nintendo 3DS and take a break, you may find your overzealous opponent celebrating his triumphant win over your character unconscious on the floor.

There isn’t much else that allows BlazBlue: CS2 to stand out. The game isn’t broken, it is still very much playable, enjoyable even. It’s great that they kept the Japanese voices, keeping the Japanese fighting game feel intact. Beating your opponents, be it through well-timed moves or crazy button mashing, is still satisfying like any fighting game should be, although it’s not the best fighting game for the 3DS.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 4
Lasting Appeal: 6

Overall: 5/10

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is an Aksys Games game developed by Arc System Works for the Nintendo 3DS. Multiplayer modes were not tested. Also available on the PlayStation Portable, and the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with separate DLC.