It’s unfair, but sometimes a game just slips under the radar. For every Uncharted, Halo, and Final Fantasy that comes out there are games that simply don’t get the attention they deserve. There are games out there that are real gems, and it’s a shame when they don’t get recognized for how good they really are. This is the case for BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND on PS Vita.
BlazBlue is a very unique fighting game from Arc System Works, the same people who gave us the Guilty Gear series. To sum up the story, it revolves around Ragna the Bloodedge, an SS class criminal out to destroy the government (known as the Library) and the order of the world. Along the way he has to face ninjas, demons, legendary heroes, and even his own brother as he sets out to accomplish his mission.
This is a very simplistic summary of the plot, which can be a bit crazy as EXTEND is loaded with 19 characters to play with, each having their own goals and agenda. On top of all this, the developers really did an amazing job of creating this world with its own history, culture and society that plays heavily into the overall story. As impressed as I am they did all of this for a fighting game, it made the first game seem a little overwhelming. Thankfully, they solve a lot of those issues with this sequel.
EXTEND is fantastic and crazy fun to play. It has everything you could want in a fighting game: crazy combos, special moves, and hyper combos (known as Distortion Drives) for each character. On top of this, they have unique moves called Drives can be pulled off just by hitting the X button. The moves are different for each character and can affect the entire battlefield. For instance, Rachel can summon gusts of wind that can push away or pull enemies toward you. Some are more specialized attacks, like Taokaka’s Dancing Edge, which is a high-speed attack. Blazblue doesn’t take advantage of any touch controls for the Vita, but I think that’s a good thing. The game works well enough on its own without them.
The characters are all some of the most imaginative characters that I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. Cat girls, insane demons, vampire princesses, white knights, busty doctors, puppeteers controlling their dead sisters, said puppeteer’s dad controlling his wife, robots, and badasses are all over this game, and they give BlazBlue a lot of personality.
What also really helps BlazBlue is its graphical style. This is a really beautiful game with no color left untouched. It’s rare to see a game have such a fantastic use and combinations of colors, as it really makes EXTEND stand out. The settings for the fights are really incredible, as you can tell they put a lot of time and care into creating them. They combine graphical objects that are actually moving in the background with anime drawings of where you’re standing, and it really makes the game outstanding.
There are plenty of things to do, so much so it’s going to take you a while to fully finish EXTEND. Longevity is great for any game to have, and BlazBlue has that in spades.
EXTEND has a multitude of modes to play through, each with their own challenges. Arcade mode is what you’d expect: Pick a character and fight through 10 opponents to get to the end. This mode is great if you’re just looking to try out the game and have some fun. While this mode has some story elements to it, you still won’t quite get the whole story. This was fixed here with the new Story mode feature, which covers everything about the universe of BlazBlue; character relationships, their pasts, the world’s history, what exactly their weapons are, and especially the overlying plot. On top of this, they give you the whole story for BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger as well as this one.