Feature: A Beginner's Guide to the World of BlazBlue

Welcome, stranger

Released in North America a few months ago, today marks the European release of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2 on 3DS, the fighting series' first ever appearance on a Nintendo console (well, there was BlayzBloo: Super Melee Action Battle Royale, but that doesn't really count.) But what exactly is BlazBlue? With a pretty decent select of quality fighters on 3DS already, what makes BlazBlue stand out? Let us explain.

Whereas Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition went with polygonal models, BlazBlue's stock in trade is quality 2D artwork: each character has over 1,000 frames of animation, reflecting not just the quality of animation but the wide move set at each fighter's disposal too. Granted it might not have quite as much spectacle on 3DS as Capcom's effort or Tecmo's Dead or Alive: Dimensions, but quality sprite work will always have a special place in the hearts of many gamers.

In our BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2 review we said:

With the 3D fully enabled the characters stand out in front of vivid multi-layered backgrounds, and it's absolutely beautiful to behold.

The characters aren't the usual mute journeymen searching for the perfect fighting style either, as these official character descriptions explain:

Mu-12

The true form of Noel. After fusing with the Azure Grimoire, she believes the world is filled with lies and wants to erase it from existence. Hitting the D button will allow her to summon inter-dimensional lasers to trap and attack her enemies.

Valkenhayn R Hellsing

Valkenhayn is Rachel’s butler and is always looking out for his mistress. He’s also a werewolf, and can turn into this form at will, for more powerful attacks and speed, but at the cost of defence.

Taokaka

The fastest combatant in BlazBlue – Taokaka uses deadly claws to quickly slash at her opponents. The cat-like Tao is also one of the stupidest, with a lust for food and, er… the larger breasted lady.

Her speed makes her a difficult foe to keep up with meaning she can get an attack in before her opponent knows what hit her.

Each character handles very differently, too: BlazBlue is renowned for having a very complex but rewarding fighting system. Fighters each possess a unique "drive attack", ranging from magnetism to unleashing hordes of bees; they're generally a little more unusual than the special attacks seen in other games.

If it all sounds a bit confusing, there's a particularly in-depth tutorial that takes you through everything from movement and blocking to chaining attacks and combos. Whether you're a newcomer or a fighting game veteran, make sure you play through the tutorial at least once to make sure it all sinks in.

Once you've mastered the moves, the expansive story mode awaits. Laid out as a graphical novel permeated by fighting, each of the 18 characters has three endings; completing the game with each fighter unlocks another mode with another chunk of visual novel to work through. There's also Legion mode that combines turns-based strategy with combat as you send your characters around a map to conquer nodes.

If all this sounds right up your street, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift 2 is out now in North America and Europe. Stay tuned to Nintendo Life in the near future as we'll have some exciting BlazBlue prizes to give away including the sought-after manga edition comic, currently only available by purchasing the Manga Edition from the BlazBlue store.