BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend — 3Q2018 issue

Guilty Gear suc­ces­sor cleans up nice­ly in fight­ing game arena

Fight­ing game con­nois­seurs have a robust buf­fet to choose from these days. There’s Mar­vel, Street Fight­er, Tekken and Mor­tal Kom­bat for tour­na­ment purists, a new Soul Cal­ibur has been announced, and a new Smash is on the hori­zon and the old­er games in the series are still played in some cir­cles. Guilty Gear, which has always been qui­et­ly in the back of the lunch­room, was a mix of tour­na­ment and casu­al, so it stands to rea­son that its spir­i­tu­al suc­ces­sor — BlazBlue — would mim­ic that notion.

BlazBlue arrived in the fight­ing game scene as a new entry in the port­fo­lio of Guilty Gear devel­op­er Arc­Sys­tem. Tak­ing what they learned from that series, Arc­Sys­tem improved upon the for­mu­la they’d cre­at­ed with gor­geous visu­als, a rock­ing sound­track and impres­sive game­play options that ensure you’ll have plen­ty to do.

BlazBlue CSE starts off rather intim­i­dat­ing­ly. From the begin­ning, there are quite a few modes to choose from. If you’re not informed, you might be a lit­tle lost try­ing to under­stand just where you should start. With a var­ied plate to choose from, at the very least the modes are inter­est­ing­ly designed and add val­ue to an already-packed game. 
The stand­out fea­tures, how­ev­er, are the graph­ics and sto­ry. As with Guilty Gear, you’re get­ting a treat visu­al­ly. The lev­el of detail in each char­ac­ter and the back­grounds make the game worth sit­ting down and study­ing. If you’re into ani­me, the aes­thet­ics were designed with you in mind.

The sto­ry is also wor­thy of com­par­i­son to most mod­ern ani­me. It’s con­vo­lut­ed and com­plex and has twists and turns involv­ing a mul­ti-lay­ered cast. There’s a lot about the search­ing for a sav­ior and mag­ic — which isn’t out of place for an Arc­Sys­tem game. It feels famil­iar but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s lay­ered and deep.

Learn­ing the mechan­ics for most fight­ing games is a mixed bag. Some games expect you to be able to jump in and mas­ter the basics as if you’ve done noth­ing but play fight­ing games all of your gam­ing life. Oth­ers like to give you a tuto­r­i­al so that you’re not lost and quick­ly putting the game down, nev­er to return. BlazBlue CSE is in the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry: So con­cerned is the game about you learn­ing to play and mas­ter all that it has to offer that it throws a sur­pris­ing­ly deep tuto­r­i­al mode at you. It slow­ly increas­es the lev­el of com­plex­i­ty and the mechan­ics are spot on and easy to grasp. All fight­ing games need the type of learn­ing tool that’s offered here.

If you love Guilty Gear or if you just want a deep­er sto­ry­line than what’s cur­rent­ly offered by the larg­er more well-known titles on the mar­ket in fight­ing games, BlazBlue promis­es to deliv­er a rich expe­ri­ence. It deliv­ers on that promise with a com­mit­ment to extend­ing beyond just the reg­u­lar fight­ing game expectations.

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