Reviews

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Review – Try Not to Mention Dragon Ball…

Arc System Works follow up to Dragon Ball FighterZ (It’s so good!) is the flashy BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. Cross Tag is more of a spin-off from the mainstay series which incorporates different fan-loved franchises; Atlus’ Persona 4 Arena, French Breads’ Under Night in Birth, and Rooster Teeth’s RWBY.

The end result is a heavy concentration on episodic story lines divided by said franchises in a simplified BlazBlue approach to the legendary fighting system a la FighterZ. Whilst the story line is a loose one, it does do the job of tying the four Franchises together that gives each roster of characters’ equal appearances.

Word Up!

With that being said, still cut scenes with an overemphasis on dialogue can get stale two episodes in. Each episode revolves around the same base plot and often crosses over into other episodes’ battles. Cross Battle does variate the matches by focusing on a different tag match which is closely related to the latter. However, without the weight of customary anime cut scenes one found himself skipping the fan service based dialogue to get to an actual fight.

BBTAG_character_gameplay_screenshot_of_Weiss_Schnee_00001

“You Raise Me Up!”

The addition of an arcade mode would have cured the single player fatigue, however Cross Battle does offer a survival mode and offline vs mode to keep the pace up and to support couch play with friends. Arc System Works have opened up Cross Battle to cater for both returning and new players with the addition of a comprehensive tutorial mode which walks through all special attacks and basic mechanics. With the addition of a simplified control scheme, Cross Battles accessibility is heightened once again for pick up and play mechanics. More so on the Nintendo Switch.

Snappy Matchmaking

Replay value for Cross Battle bears fruit in its online play. Throughout playing this title there were no lag or frame rate issues on a basic 25MB/S home broadband connection. Players have the option of joining a lobby of sorts or simply requesting a match with similar skilled players. This reviewer found the latter to work best for quick match making. Players do not need to worry so much about being wiped out by experienced players too much during online play due to the accessibility of the controls and the sheer amount of characters available in Cross Battles roster.

One found a bit of a meta game forming in gelling different fighters across different franchises. Teaming a ranged fighter with a faster/inside fighter seemed to work best. The rest is down to learning move sets and finding synergy between the two protagonists chosen to fly across the screen. Whilst Cross Tag is often chaotic on-screen, it is still quite easy to decipher what is going on due to original character design and colour co-ordination of character attacks.

Show Me Your Moves

One has banged on about the fighting system in game, but what actually makes it tick? Well every character has access to the following attacks:

  • Character Tag-ins with the press of one button
  • Two normal attacks
  • High attack
  • Assists from partners with one button

BBTAG_character_gameplay_screenshot_of_Platinum_the_Trinity_00001

“Flower Power”

These can be combined to produce various combos that are specific to each character which is very commendable. Off the back of these basic commands, characters can learn to juggle characters’ mid air, recover from attacks quicker, guard and perform reversals. Again, all of these actions are very flashy and are lovingly animated from character to character. This results in a fluid and tight fighting system which has millisecond response times. Very impressive.

The Persona of BlazBlue…

The level designs are more in the background in Cross Battle, with the standard fighting area being a blank canvas. It was nice to see Cross Battle put so much attention into the variating franchises lore and locations.

Cross Tag is beautifully and uniquely displayed as a living anime, with all sprites and backgrounds having been faithfully created to the characters’ and franchise style. Originally one thought this may clash, but this writer believes that sticking to the source material as close as possible is of upmost importance in a cross over title. It would have been nice to see a couple of variating factors from episode to episode, but it’s a good thing that ARC kept systems to a general consensus. Multiplayer would have been chaos!

All original voice talent has come on board for Cross Battle which comes across very strongly in episode mode. Franchise soundtracks are out in full force as well as a few new additions in the name of Cross Battle. As this writer did not know of a couple of these franchises beforehand it was nice to hear and experience them first hand.

BlazBlue-Cross-Tag-21

“What the Hell are Those Shoes!?”

Verdict:

Graphics and presentation: 4.6

Gameplay: 4

Sound: 4

Overall Score: 4.2/5

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a wonderful amalgamation of popular franchises rolled into one big tag team blow out. Although a couple of extra single player options would have been nice, multi-player holds enough weight to forgive this. This reviewer is impressed with Arc System Works ability to visit other franchises and leave their own mark as well as making their fighting engine accessible to new comers such as myself. Cross Tag is certainly one of 2018’s best fighters without a doubt!

Platforms: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Release Date: 22/06/2018

Price: £34.99 (eShop)

Publisher: Arc System Works

Developer: Arc System Works

Pegi Rating: 12+

Review copy provided by publisher

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