BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

Key events

Beginner's Guide: Fighting Games

The ultimate combo ice breaker.

In theory, fighting games should be one of the easiest genres to define - it's pretty much all there in the title. Two people trade karate chops, dragon punches and flying kicks until one is knocked unconscious or mercilessly killed, the only real complication coming from the clicking timer (fighters tend to suffer a cardiac arrest if they break the 60 second rule, you see.)

The Arc of Fighting

Guilty Gear creator Daisuke Ishiwatari and BlazBlue boss Toshimichi Mori talk.

When it comes to 2D fighting games, Capcom's Street Fighter rules. But for fighting game fans in the know, it is Arc System Works' Guilty Gear series that's best. In fact, for some, Guilty Gear is the greatest fighting game off all time.

New DLC character announced for BlazBlue

New DLC character announced for BlazBlue

Download on game's October release.

A new character will be available to download for superb fighting game BlazBlue: Continuum Shift when the game launches this October on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

He's called Valkenhayn R Hellsing, a previously non-playable character in the BlazBlue story mode.

Valkenhayn can transform into a werewolf, making him fast, powerful and agile. But he can't block in wolf form. Is that how it works in Twilight?

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BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

Blaze of glory?

Despite being the most popular 2D fighter in Japanese arcades by a mile, it's fair to say that in the west, Arc System's fledgling BlazBlue series is still living in the shadow of Street Fighter. And although that's partly because last year's BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger was ported to console many months after Capcom had already asserted its dominance with Street Fighter IV, it's probably more down to the World Warrior's entrenched appeal and BlazBlue's more demanding design.

While the four-button layout may have suggested a leaner system, in execution, BlazBlue was hard to learn and harder to master. But for those who know the difference between a Hori EX2 and a Wii Shaft, BlazBlue offered a beautifully fluid combat system which not only felt like an evolution of the Guilty Gear series, but also represented genuine innovation - especially in the ingenious Drive system which afforded each character a unique ability ranging from magnetising the opponent to controlling the wind.

Now, a year on from its US release and with Capcom already smiling smugly after one of the most accomplished fighter follow-ups ever the pioneering Calamity Trigger is stepping down as fighter fans re-cut their teeth on the console port of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. The only question is, has Arc System crafted a sequel to rival Super Street Fighter IV, or has it gone back to its Guilty updates, which only the hardcore could appreciate? Thankfully, it's mostly the former.

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