I had a love/hate feeling with this mode. I loved that they gave you this much detail about the story. I understand finally why Jin and Ragna are enemies and why it’s a tragic conflict, I understand and now love the character behind Ragna the Bloodedge, and I understand more on what the character’s goals are. This is how you make a great fighting game: You make the characters so memorable that they stick with you. Plus all the voice actors gave amazing performances that made all the characters really come alive; a special nod goes to Doug Erholtz who played Hazuma. There are also 3 endings per character in story mode, which adds to the replay value.
As good as it was, however, the presentation was very lacking. First off, the story scenes are typically between two characters who are represented by two picture stills with moving mouths, but that’s it. The pictures will change to convey emotions but all that moves is the lips. After awhile these story scenes can get really boring to look at, great anime art not withstanding. The story scenes can go on for a long time, 5-10 minutes at a time. When you do fight, it’s a one round fight that’s over quick and then you’re waiting 5-10 minutes for another fight afterward.
EXTEND gives everything you could want or need from a fighting game. If you’re new to the series or fighting games in general, there is a Tutorial Mode to explain things, which you can then follow up by using any of the characters in the Training Mode to build up your skill with them. Score Attack Mode gives you challenging fights in the attempt to get a high score, which is then posted on PSN. Unlimited Mars pits you up against opponents set on the hardest setting to get a high score. Challenge mode gives you set challenges to accomplish while on the go. Abyss is a survival mode where you take on wave after wave of enemies. You get all this plus an art gallery and a theater mode to re-watch any cinema scenes that you unlock as you play.
Online play is quick and easy, and it took only a moment to find someone for me to fight against. Ranked battles took a little longer to find, but that makes sense. Online modes are limited — one-on-one, team battles, and ranked matches are all that’s offered. I found online mode a lot of fun, though, and still play a couple of matches when I can.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND is a fun game to have for the Vita. It’s a very complete package, and I advise other fighting game developers to take notice of how this was put together. On top of that, I found the fighting style very slick and easy to get into. It’s rare that I’ve seen a game that has something for everyone. Do you like story? It’s got you covered. Want to skip it? It’s got you there, too. Would you like to know what it’s like to pull off insane combos? Turn on Stylish mode and you’re good. Want to learn and do it yourself? Keep it on Technical mode. Want unlockables? There are plenty! If it weren’t for how long and tedious the story mode can be, it could have been perfect. While many are flocking over to Ultimate Mrvel vs. Capcom 3 for their fighting game of choice on the Vita, I really recommend you try BlazBlue. You won’t regret it.
FINAL GRADE: A