While the Xbox brand hasn’t historically performed well in Japan, it hasn’t exactly been blacklisted by Japanese developers as big brands like Final Fantasy and now even Yakuza are a big part of the platform’s lineup. Still, every now and then Xbox One players do get the snub, and Arc System Works are among those developers and publishers.
Sure, Arc System Works won’t hesitate to drop a whole collection of Double Dragon and Kunio Kun games all individually priced on Xbox One, but when it comes to the more desired titles like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, Microsoft’s console hasn’t been a priority. The last time the Xbox brand saw a Guilty Gear release was the Xbox Live Arcade release on Xbox 360 titled Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core Plus, and the last BlazBlue entry was BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend.
BlazBlue has moved on to further sequels with games like BlazBlue: Central Fiction and even spin-off entries like BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, but for Xbox One players BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend was the very last time we were treated to such a game. The Xbox 360 probably fared a lot better with obscure Japanese releases, and so BlazBlue: Continuum Shift was certainly of its biggest fighting releases at the time. Not that there’s anything dated about the release even in 2020 – in fact it still holds up as one of the strongest 2D fighting game releases anywhere and is still very much an exemplar of the very best of the franchise itself.
As a release, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is as rich and content-heavy as games come, with a massive roster of characters, a heap of single player story modes, and all the training exercises to help those wishing to get good at the game. The training exercises are necessary, since the fighting mechanics here almost require a PhD in fighting games. If you want something simple and effective, stick with Ultra Street Fighter IV via backwards compatibility.
Continuum Shift was a strong sequel to BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, by adding more characters and a deeper combat system. Those of us in PAL regions would be in a curious situation where Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift were released in the very same year. This was at a time when PAL releases would still take forever, but luckily times are much different now.
There is still a lot to like and enjoy about Continuum Shift; for one thing the anime-sized lore is interesting even when things get rather crazy and convoluted. The cast of fighters are a vibrant bunch, and very much original in their design and playstyles as you won’t find any Ryu or Ken lookalikes here. Then there is the music, and anyone who enjoys hard rock and metal music will absolutely adore the guitar symphony tour de force of the game’s immense soundtrack. The visuals and art come together very well too, and while some of the design ventures into cringe and awkward anime tropes, there’s still a lot to appreciate here. For every magical girl there is a badass with an oversized weapon, so something for everyone really.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift isn’t very easy to find at the local shops anymore, but it isn’t exactly a desired rare item as copies can be found for clearance rates mainly because there isn’t a demand for it. Ultimately, it makes sense why Xbox doesn’t get BlazBlue or Guilty Gear anymore, but who knows, if enough of us drive up the second hand price of Xbox BlazBlue games we may even see the next Guilty Gear on Series X.