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.