Review by Kashell Triumph
Unless you're dying to get your wheel of fate turning again, I suggest waiting for the price to go down.
The state of the video game world today seems to revolve around DLC. When those three letters come together, I have a tendency to rage. Instead of completing certain objectives to unlock a new character, a new costume, a new scenario or anything of that nature, you instead have to pay more money that you don't feel like paying. That was one of my biggest issues with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. The second installment of the BlazBlue franchise had three new characters, as well new missions and costumes obtained only via DLC. Time passed, the wheel of fate got turned a few hundred times, and eventually an entirely new game was announced: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend. Instead of being a DLC patch, it's an entirely new game. This means that characters have been tweaked yet again and veterans of the game will have to adapt to new combos with their favorite mains and subs. However, for a new game, it must have a ton of new content, right? Unfortunately, it doesn't. A new character and a new mode don't seem worth it to shell out the cash for this game. Unless you're a die-hard fighting fan, wait a while before deciding to pick up BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend.
For the most part, Extend is an updated version of the last Continuum Shift patch. Like the other versions, Extend has an abundance of artwork and music to unlock. The more you play, the more in-game credit you earn and the higher your level increases. The more you earn and the higher your level, the more stuff you can unlock in the gallery. As usual, this game has some stunning anime art work and animated clips. Everything since Calamity Trigger looks and sounds the same: fantastic 2D visuals with a ton of frames of animation plus a rock n' roll soundtrack. Keeping the original style is a wonderful thing.
While actually playing the game, things should be familiar to you at this point. You pick a unique character in Arcade Mode, fight another character and make it to the end of the game. There are other modes, of course, but that's the basic premise. Legion Mode is gone, thankfully. Score Attack Mode has been reduced in difficulty. New to Extend is the unforgivable Unlimited Mars Mode. No matter what you do, this fast and fierce 2D fighter from the Guilty Gear creators has all the tricks you know and love. To be able to compete online, you'll have to start mastering fatal counters, dash cancels, rapid cancels and air combos that will make your head spin. Extend provides you with a Tutorial Mode that is the exact same as Continuum Shift's. Challenge Mode will allow you to perform preset combos and, like, Score Attack Mode, has been drastically reduced in difficulty. Like previous versions, you have to remember that practice makes perfect. You're going to have to adapt in order to re-re-re-master your favorite characters. Not only have certain combos been eliminated, but the alleged "tier ranking" has been altered. True-blue fighting fans may want to invest in a joystick controller. That being said, however, the controls are tight and responsive. If you mess up a combo, you usually have yourself to blame.
So, aside from Unlimited Mars Mode and some reduced difficulty in other modes, has anything changed for Extend? Like I said, the minor changes that were made don't warrant the price of admission. The biggest change people will tell you about is the addition of a new character: Relius Clover. Those who completed the story in Continuum Shift will recognize this masked masochist as Carl's father. Another thing worth noting is that the new characters that you had to pay for can now be selected from the get-go. This means you can play as Rachel Alucard's faithful servant: Valkenhyne R. Hellsing, Noel and Tsubaki's fellow NOL buddy Makoto Nanaya, and the very confusing yet somehow adorable Platinum the Trinity. Finally, mu-12 can be chosen from the start of the game so you don't have to worry about finishing story mode. This brings me to my next point: the story. Remember, BlazBlue's story is pretty in-depth for a fighting game. I would have loved to have seen more added to it. Unfortunately, the only new additions to the story are scenarios for the new characters as well as a quick and dirty Cliff's Notes scenario of what happened in Calamity Trigger. Getting 100% completion for the new characters adds a hint of depth to the story, but I was expecting an entirely new chapter, not just an "extended" version of Continuum Shift.
Due to the lack of new stuff, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend is hard to recommend unless you absolutely can't wait to get your hands dirty. The change from Calamity Trigger to Continuum Shift was drastic. Not only were a bunch of new modes added, the entire interface was changed and the story continued from where it ended. Nothing about Continuum Shift Extend is new enough that makes it a must-buy now. Down the road, when price drops begin and new patches are released, Extend will be worth the investment. For now, you're better off waiting. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend has a few new additions, but in the end, these additions could have been released as DLC. Despite my disdain for DLC, the price tag would have been cheaper than a new release.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend (US, 02/14/12)
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