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Rebel one, action! Hearing those words, players will know they are in for a clash of weapons and wits as they pick up the controls and join the fray. Its time for another round of fisticuffs with the cast of one of the prettiest looking HD fighters released yet from Japanese developer Arc System Works in recent memory. Only this time around, its married not with the suffix of Calamity Trigger but the smoothly sounding Continuum Shift.

As much an update as a semi-sequel to the first game's release, players will see all of the previous BB's cast return for another round of brawling together with a handful of new (albeit present in BB's overall story) characters that add some extra and much needed flavour to the existing roster of pugilists such as Ragna the Bloodedge and Noel Vemillion. 

Joining the cast is the dapperly dressed, snake-eyed knife-wielding lieutenant of the game's Holy Order of Knights, Hazama. The remaining newcomer to BB:CS is his fellow female knight who could easily be mistaken for a Japanese magical girl, Tsubaki. They bring their own independent flavour to the mix and with the unlockable boss, M-12 and optional DLC characters already available for download (Rachel's lychanthropic butler Valkenhein and tonfa wielding squirrel girl of the Holy Order, Makoto) it provides for even more interesting match-ups between seasoned fighting fans.

Controls carry over from BB: Calamity Trigger with attacks, throws, specials, supers, Astral Finishers and the Drive button which activates a character-specific skill such as Ragna's energy draining attacks, Noel's gun kata or Hazama's chain-like whip, Uroboros. Also making a return is the Burst ability which can break you out of an enemy's assault in the middle of a pinch and the knockdown correct which allows your player to spring right back into the action. The combo system carries on in the same vein with chains being the order of the day, finishing off with your move of choice. It all adds up to make for some interesting matches as high-level Arakune players decimate suped-up Bang Shishigami practitioners with their combinations an curses.

This time around fans and newcomers alike will find four new modes at their disposal (Challenge, Legion, Score Attack and ) in addition to the regular Arcade, Versus, Training and Network modes on offer (not to forget the Replay Theater on hand to record the best matches). They carry a lot of bang for your buck with a variety of options on offer, providing hefty playtime for dedicated fans. 

Continuum Shift looks as crisp and sharp as ever in HD with characters and backgrounds intricately detailed, plentiful and neither in short supply. The soundtrack is as rambunctious as ever with many a pumping rock track on hand, from Ragna's familiar theme Rebellion through to Hazama's piano and guitar combo melody, Gluttony Fang.

Network Play is robust, allowing players to create rooms and invite up to five additional opponents to join and face off against each other, altering match parameters to allow for use or suspension of Astral Finishers, Supers and so forth. Fights fly in quick succession, their duration seemingly brief but thrilling and substantial in execution. Replays can also be saved through this mode, allowing players to rewatch some of their favourite fights at their leisure.

Continuum Shift is a worthy update to its predecessor, a refreshing spin on the franchise and genre that feels as tight and refined in its presentation as it is in its combat and execution. For seasoned fighting fans or even newcomers to the fighter, this could be one of Arc System Works' finest offerings for the genre to date.

Keep Continuum-ing on please ASW!

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