BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Playtest: Continuously Missing 3DS Potential

By Jenni . June 30, 2011 . 3:03pm

It’s been a few months, but we’re starting to see a more regular stream of games heading to the 3DS. One of them is BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II, a port of the fantastic 2D fighter from Arc System Works that originally released in arcades and on the PS3 and Xbox 360. While it isn’t a bad port and offers a substantial single player experience, there are a lot of missed opportunities as far as the Nintendo 3DS is concerned.


Story-wise, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is identical to BlazBlue: Continuum Shift and picks up immediately after BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. Hazama has revealed himself as the major antagonist, and is trying to destroy the Amaterasu Unit that is causing the time loop in the game’s universe. He’s also just a generally bad person. Each character’s story is different, but almost all of them find themselves facing Hazama at the end.


Not that the story really matters all that much. It is interesting, especially when you play through the actual Story mode and see all the different angles and perspectives, but it’s quite difficult to comprehend without actually playing through it and seeing multiple perspectives. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is really all about the fighting. It worked wonderfully on consoles, and it translates pretty well to the 3DS. Unfortunately, it has a few quirks.


One of my biggest frustrations with BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is that the circle pad isn’t used for movement. It’s one of the most comfortable analog control sticks I’ve ever used, and it’s practically useless in the game. You can only assign two actions to the circle pad — by pushing it up or down. For movement, the game forces you to use the D-pad, which just feels awkward as it’s positioned lower on the 3DS than the corresponding action buttons on the opposite side.


Continuum Shift II on the 3DS has no online multiplayer. You can only participate in local wireless matches. Good luck finding someone else with a copy of BlazBlue for their 3DS, considering most people went with Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition for their fighting needs. The result is a lot of time spent fighting against the computer or competing in the single player modes.


Luckily, there are multiple single player modes to keep you busy. There are the Arcade, Story, Versus, Challenge, Legion 1.5 and Abyss to occupy your time. Arcade is a typical arcade mode, with a few story conversations when you reach certain matches for each character. Story mode is a hybrid of arcade fighting and visual novel games since you read the story, make decisions and then fight characters, which results in reaching one of multiple endings. Versus lets you fight against the computer in multiple matches with no story. Challenge has missions for each character.


Legion 1.5 puts you on a map with one character to start, and has you fighting groups of opponents, recruiting one after each match, until you completely conquer the map. Abyss has you essentially going through a survival mode where you can buy or collect items to boost your character’s skills as you delve deeper and deeper into the abyss.


Overall, the 3DS adaptation of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II doesn’t really capitalize on the 3DS’ unique capabilities. You can play it in 3D, but that just makes the different layers stand out. The only parts of the game that actually look like they are in 3D are the backgrounds during matches. Honestly, I found the 3D option a bit distracting if it was turned on during a match. You end up paying more attention to the backgrounds and the effect slows the game down as well. It also doesn’t have any StreetPass or SpotPass bonus features. It would have been nice to see battle records of people I’d pass by who also had the game. I would have been curious to see what trophies they had earned, which characters they used, and their battle records.


The one 3DS-specific feature Continuum Shift II gets right is providing constant move information on the bottom screen. You can immediately see what buttons to press to trigger each special move, and tapping the bottom screen turns the page so you can see more moves. It’s helpful, especially for beginners, since it constantly reminds you of what you need to do to deliver the pain to opponents.


Food for Thought

1. Crank up the voice volume and turn down the sound effects/background music. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble hearing what characters are saying in the Story mode.


2. The major differences between BlazBlue: Continuum Shift and Continuum Shift II are the DLC characters. Makoto, Valkenhayn and Platinum are included, the Legion mode has been tweaked, and there’s an Abyss survival-style mode.


3. I couldn’t find anyone around me, so I sadly can not tell you what the multiplayer matches are like. Well, I do have one nearby friend who also has 3DS, but since it’s multicard multiplayer and she’s broke, I couldn’t tell you how it is.

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  • SetzerGabbiani

    The problem here is that they didn’t build it from the ground up for the 3DS like Capcom did with Street Fighter IV.  It seems all they did was take the code from the PSP version and made it 2 screens.  They could have optimized the coding a bit better for the 3DS.  All in all, it seems like a rush job.

  • What? I found this to be quite an enjoyable game that honestly sticks out in the 3DS library currently for its content.  The circle pad isnt as comfortable as you make it seem, in my opinion, and the D-pad does get the job done. The 3D looks nice in action and isnt distracting, Ive found. I think have it where fighters are on a different plane than “counter” etc and the layered backdrops is good, how can one get distracted by it in the heat of battle? 

    Fun game, Ive been playing it multiple times on my commute, getting Noel’s true ending (got the gag one and the bad one).

    • The Dpad positioning is awkward, so your left hand is lower than your right while playing with this control scheme. Plus, its more difficult to pull off certain moves that would normally require half circles on a joystick with a dpad.

      I would get distracted because the action would slow down and sometimes backgrounds would have movement or seem to pop more/look more appealing than the flat characters. Maybe it’s just me, but 3D added nothing to the game.

      I love BlazBlue, but enjoy the experience much more on my PS3. I really prefer to have some kind of joystick/analog nub/circle pad when playing a fighter.

  • d19xx

    This game feels so right on the PSP, maybe because of the bigger screen. Did Arc sys redraw the sprites for the 3ds or did they use the same sprites as psp version?

  • Odd that the 3DS is getting a good share of fighting games early on, yet the position of the D-Pad makes it awkward to play it (Dreamcast anyone?).  I didn’t have a huge problem when I played the Street Fighter IV demo at Gamestop but I didn’t exactly play for hours either.

    Wondering on people’s thoughts on that…

    For this version, I was concerned with the lack of a sleep function.  I never knew a DS game without that and knowing it can lack it is very disappointing.  Also Vita is getting a version so even more of a reason for people to not be interested in this.

    • Yeah that sleep feature, lack thereof, is quite annoying. When I first started playing I was a bit caught off guard because my 3DS would be dead on my commute back home for the day. Fortunately, it has so many save periods in the story that it didnt matter much. 

    • I didn’t even realize it didn’t have a sleep function. I don’t tend to put 3DS games in sleep mode really, after hearing Super Monkey Ball had some issue with that. Thanks for letting us know! :D

      Edit: Oh, and SSF4 3D is surprisingly easy to play. I’ve played around 10 hours of it and never had any issues with the circle pad.

    • Exkaiser

      Circle pad is really good for fighting games, if my 24 hours with Street Fighter are any indication. Very comfortable, very accepting of inputs.

      It’s far and away more comfortable than the PSP’s D-Pad (Alpha 2, I want to love you, stop hurting me) or analog nub, at the least. I’d say it’s a little more comfortable for long stretches of play than the PS2’s d-pad, but perhaps that’s just me.

      • IsaacGravity

        Indeed. It was the joystick for a D-Pad that made the Neo Geo Pocket Color godly when it came to fighters which it had a lot of. The tight controls from that thing were great all around though.

  • Dave_O_Segundo

    Man, this sucks, it’s just a port of the psp version with no care whatsoever; hope the vita version fares better.

  • Don’t really fancy the 3DS circle pad, but playing on that small d-pad is even worse. You really could’ve done better, Arc 

  • xxbrothawizxx

    The game is a port of a PSP game so I wasn’t expecting much

  • The worst thing is the lack of online multiplayer but at least the extra one player content makes up for it. I’m capped at 50 hours and it’s yet to be a month since i got and there is still plenty to unlock, the Abyss mode is really fun and Score Attack is surprisingly harder than other modes. The D-pad only control is the one huge draw back but if you go to the options you can make it so it’s more responsive, trust me it makes a huge difference.

    • That was the first thing I did as well, once I saw that the circle pad wasn’t an option.

      The single player part is robust, thankfully. It’s quite nice.

  • Roto13

    Aside from online play, is anything missing from this version that is in the console versions? Voice acting in the story mode?

    • Nope. Everything else in the console version is in the 3DS version. I did a side by side w/my PS3 and 3DS and it’s identical.

      You can see the sprites a lot better on the PS3 too, of course. :P

      • Roto13

        Good to know. Just as I was checking my email and saw that I had a reply to this comment, I was also checking the eShop and saw a shrugging, sighing Jin looking at me. I’m going to take that as a sign. :P

        • Exkaiser

          Dat Blayzbloo.

  • Thanks God  I have a psp (No money)

  • jugun

    The same damn problem on the psp!!!!!!!!!!! My hands hurt from d-pad usage!I know I’m too much of a fan of a console that’s not out yet,but the Blazblue CS II Plus for Vita is what I’m wasting my money on,=p At least it will have analog I hope from what I heard from E3 gameplay

    • Zal_Yagun

       my hands don’t hurt when i play on my psp anymore, but ironically an injury  with my hand hinders with range of motion with a joystick and playing any console fighting game a pain.

      Is the 3ds circle pad that superior to the dpad?

      • I like the circle pad a lot, more than the PSP d-pad. If you ever played it, it has a feel that’s similar to the Neo Geo Pocket Color analog stick. 

      • Exkaiser

        It’s way more comfortable than the PSP’s d-pad. Just thinking about playing Alpha 2 on the latter is giving me a slight cramp.

      • Lord Highawesomeparty

        My biggest issue with the Circle Pad is that it can get a bit slippery when used for long periods of time. It is pretty comfortable, but because my thumb does slip off of it when playing something like Zelda I do prefer the PSP analog nub.

  • Lord Highawesomeparty

    The only reason I haven’t bought this is because of the lack of circle pad movement. I’m glad I waited because the Vita version sounds like it’ll be great.

  • RagnaXBL

    analog is much too slow, so i don’t see the problem with using dpad anyway

    not that its even possible to play half of these characters without an arcade stick in the first place.

    *hugs BBCS TE stick*
    my baby<3

  • XypherCode

    well the same applies to the psp version of CS2…minus the circle pad and the 3D effect

  • inori_risingsun

    psp(2k,3k series,….not 1k,go series) dpad is better than 3ds dpad,….3ds circle pad is MUCH better than psp analog nub,though,…but u cant control the character using the analog,…so,i skip 3ds version because of this

  • 128bitigor

    If I’ll be picking up this game, it will be on vita. It not only has superrior graphics but seems pretty much like a proper full version of the game. For PSP I will stick to Guilty Gear XX Accent Core plus (phew).

  • BTA

    I feel like announcing the Vita version so soon after this came out was a bad move. The only real draw for me is the extra story portions, and the Vita version will apparently have even more, so there’s no real point in getting this one. :x

  • PrinceHeir

    can anyone confirm the DLC characters(Makoto, Platinum,  Valkenhayn R)  has it’s own story?

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