The game is set after the events of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. A few days have passed since the reported raid by the silver-haired Ragna the Bloodedge, the 13th Hierarchical City of Kagutsuchi forgets to celebrate New Years, as his alleged involvement in the “Mysterious Bombing” and “Huge Pentacle Sightings” becomes the talk of the town. With the World Void Information Control Organization offering no official explanation, the citizens voice their own theories, exaggerating and spreading rumors like wildfire. Ragna’s name is engraved in the minds of the people. Completely indifferent to the state of the city, the man grips his massive sword and quietly bides his time—waiting for the chance to achieve his true objective. And then, the enormous “power” that has ensnared Ragna begins to activate…
The game is the official sequel to BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. As with the previous game, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift first came to arcades before both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions as the game was currently released for the Taito Type X2 arcade system board, with a 16:9 ratio and 768p resolution. It was released on November 20, 2009 in Japan. A console version was released on July 1, 2010 in Japan and on July 27 in North America. In Europe, the game was released December 3, 2010 along with a region-exclusive Limited Edition. There were plans to officially release the game on PlayStation Portable and Nintendo 3DS, however, the game was never released for either platform. Instead, the PSP & 3DS received its expansion, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II, in its place.
The Japanese version was released on July 1 with Japanese voice acting only. The standard edition was released in the US on July 27, 2010 and it includes English and Japanese voice acting. A Limited Edition was released in Japan which includes a petit Nendoroid of Noel, a mini-script replica of the story, a visual book and a super picture label. European publishers Zen United have confirmed in an interview with Neo Empire that Europe will be getting a Limited Edition version of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. The limited edition includes a 96-page art book and eight art cards depicting various fighters and combos. For a limited time, a Fan Edition was released on the Zen United store limited to 500 copies which included the Limited Edition of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, along with the Makoto DLC Code, the Noel Nendoroid, an art print by UDON and Marvel Comics artist Alvin Lee and a Taokaka mouse-pad. However, in the US, American publisher Aksys decided to not release a Limited Edition of the game due to time constraints and production lead times.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift still retains its traditional 2D fighter feel where two characters participate in a duel on a two dimensional plane. A round is called a “rebel” and one match can consist of one to five “rebels”. To win a round, one player must either incapacitate the other by inflicting damage through various attacks to reduce health or by having more remaining health after the clock runs out if the rules of the match has one.
In addition to individual character tweaks, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift also introduces a number of significant gameplay changes:
- Barrier Burst has been renamed to Break Burst. Both players now start off with one Break Burst, and get one additional Burst when losing a round. Unused Bursts are carried over between rounds, and up to two maximum can be stored at any given time. Burst startup is now fully invulnerable instead of merely guardpoint, and no longer depletes the Barrier Gauge and does not put the player in Danger state (players will still enter Danger state if Barrier is depleted normally). On the other hand, however, Bursting removes half of the player’s maximum guard primers (explained below). Additionally, “Gold Bursts”, Bursts performed when the character is not being attacked, now launch the opponent high in the air and allow for a followup combo.
- The Guard Libra system in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger has been replaced by a Guard Primer system. Players now have a certain number of Guard Primers (ranging from four to ten, depending on character), which are broken if certain moves are blocked. Loss of all Guard Primers results in a guard break. Primers regenerate over time, and players can prevent their last primer from being broken by Barrier Blocking the guard-crushing, which will cause half of the maximum barrier gauge to be lost instead. Bursting will cause half of the character’s maximum primers to be lost immediately.
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift introduces Fatal Counter properties to certain attacks, which will inflict Fatal Counter status instead of regular Counter status when achieving a counter hit. Unlike regular counter hits, the hitstun for Fatal Counter combos is extended by 2 frames for every attack across the entire combo, allowing players to set up significantly more damaging combos off Fatal Counter attacks.
- Though under certain circumstances as seen in future games that also make use of this mechanic, as well as using moves that will always cause a Fatal Counter regardless of counter hit or not, the Fatal Counter hitstun does not stack in a single combo.
- Via other games using a similar mechanic even outside of Arc System Works-developed games, this is the first fighting game in history to introduce a “stronger/bonus-counter hit” type of mechanic.
- The combo mechanics in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift have been reworked significantly, if subtly. Combo time is no longer a factor in determining untech time and pushback in combos, allowing for combos that would previously have been invalid in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. To compensate, a “repeat proration” mechanic has been introduced, which introduces an additional damage penalty when certain moves are performed multiple times in one combo. Additionally, moves with “positive proration”, which actually increase the damage dealt by successive hits in a combo, have had their positive proration effect limited to only once per combo.
- The conditions for performing an Astral Heat have been changed. Astrals can now be performed by any player on his match point (and not merely the final round of the match), and now require one Burst stock, 100% Heat, and the opponent at less than 35% health to perform. When these conditions have been fulfilled, the character’s portrait will begin to flash white, indicating that an Astral Heat is available.
- A Beginner Mode is now selectable as a control scheme. The A, B, C and D buttons are replaced by a Weak Attack, Strong Attack, Special Attack, and Throw button. Beginner Mode automatically strings basic combos together for players.
- If a player is kept in near-continuous blockstun for more than five seconds, he will be given a “guard bonus” and automatically Instant Block all following attacks until he escapes from the blockstring.
- Finally, the game’s HUD has been redesigned to take advantage of the new features.
Returning characters: blue · New characters: purple · DLC only characters: green
- Tutorial Mode (チュートリアルモード Chūtoriaru Mōdo)
- Training Mode (トレーニングモード Torēningu Mōdo)
- Challenge Mode (チャレンジモード Charenji Mōdo)
- Story Mode (ストーリーモード Sutōrī Mōdo)
- Arcade Mode (アーケードモード Ākēdo Mōdo)
- Versus Mode (ブイエスモード Buiesu Mōdo)
- Score Attack Mode (スコアアタックモード Sukoa Atakku Mōdo)
- Legion Mode (レジオンモード Rejion Mōdo)
- Network Mode (ネットワークモード Nettowāku Mōdo)
- Replay Theater (リプレイシアター Ripurei Shiatā)
- Gallery Mode (ギャラリーモード Gyararī Mōdo)