Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend Edition is the fourth installment in the incredible 2D fighting series, brought to you by Arc System. This sequel in the saga offers you the best in game play, story line, and graphics, amongst many other things. This PS3 version gives you what has previously only ever been available as downloadable content, including the characters Makoto Nanaya, Platinum The Trinity, Valkenhayn R Hellsing and Relius Clover; these new characters also therefore provide four new unique story lines available to play. There are also new play modes such as Ultimate Mars and Abyss Mode now available, as well as additional trophies to achieve.
The game is set in the city of Kagutsuchi, a hierarchical city placed high up in the mountains due to the uninhabitable lower atmosphere of the world. This atmosphere is caused by a severely poisonous black mist called “seithr”, the residue of the creature the Black Beast since its demise, whose only desire was to eradicate all of humanity. Six heroes taught mankind how to fuse magic and science, calling it Ars Magus, and how to use it to defeat the Black Beast. Since the creation of Ars Magus, the organisation Novis Orbis Librarium formed and took control of its management, creating an army of those who were skilled at wielding it and inducing a power rift between themselves and mankind. Placed in a state of repression, some joined forces and formed the Ikaruga Federation in order to rebel against the Novis Orbis Librarium and take back their independence. Another war of Ars Magus began, and the Federation were quickly defeated, reinstating the power that the NOL possessed. However, not more than a few years later, one man single handedly took down the entire NOL from the inside out. This man is Ragna, who now waits in Kagutsuchi for his one true enemy Terumi to return.
There are nineteen characters to choose from to play through story mode, each with their own personal story to be told, and with a range of multiple endings and gag reels per character. There are sixteen stages to play through, each one a part of the city Kagutsuchi that holds significance and relates to the story of the specific character you chose, allowing you to explore the city as you progress, along with the difficulty of your opponents increasing. Each character's battle style is completely unique to them, and they also have their own distinctive special attacks; two super moves, otherwise called “Distortion Drives”, as well as one ultimate move known as an “Astral Finish”. Alongside these, characters have their own personal weapons, ranging from guns, to dolls, and even to teleporting robots. Unique special abilities have also been given to each character, spanning from the ability to freeze your opponent to stealing their life force, and everything inbetween. Combining these special abilities with Drive attacks can create incredibly powerful combos, allowing you to unleash devastating attacks on your opponent.
The game takes the style of graphics you would find in anime, and uses them perfectly to create visually breathtaking and enthralling cut scenes, as well as blending 3D environments within the fight scenes and battles. These environments are interactive, and can be used to your advantage within battle, as well as elements of them reacting to your actions such as dust clouds appearing when you attack or jump. An extra feature with these visually incredible environments is that the width has been increased, allowing you to move outside of your opponent's range in order to evade their attacks, as well as longer ranged attacks being incorporated. As well as evasive manoeuvres, you can also instigate break falls, both of which allow you to escape your foe's attacks and possibly even allow you to retaliate.
There are nine different modes to play through, including the brand spanking new mode Unlimited Mars; each character has a super powered alternative with different moves and special abilities, and this mode challenges you to fight your way through these super characters. As you gain experience throughout the various battles and stages within the game, your level will increase. This experience is also similar to the in-game's currency P$, as it can be used to both unlock and purchase various content in the gallery, such as illustrations and movies in gallery mode. There is also an online multiplayer competitive mode, where you can play people all across the world, and even watch others fight as a spectator. This highly developed story line and the combination of the incredibly extensive features makes for one incredible production, offering everything you could ever want from a fighting game, and more.