BlazBlue is back, this time as a crossover game with three other franchises. The game features a large cast of characters and a more streamlined skill and combo system, a bit different from previous BlazBlue titles. Even so, the game does suffer from some technical issues and a rather boring episode mode.
Large cast of characters. This should come as no surprise from a crossover fighting game featuring characters from 4 different franchises, but the point should still be made. Cross Tag Battle has a wide variety of characters to choose from, including close-range (grapplers, fist fighters, etc.), medium-range (mostly swordfighters), and long-range (usually some sort of gun-wielder). The game has a little bit of everything in that regard. It is also worth mentioning that the roster is not even in its final form, as there are even more fighters coming to the game in the future, although they are being added as DLC characters.
Streamlined skills and combos. As a casual fighting game fan, I was a bit surprised with just how easy it was to pick up Cross Tag Battle. All of the game’s skills and such have been streamlined, only taking a few buttons to pull off, rather than five or six. The game even includes shortcut binds, so simple skills like Attack A and Attack B can be combined to one button instead of having to press both simultaneously. This made pulling off certain combos much, much easier, enough so that even casuals like myself can stand a chance in the game’s online multiplayer.
Great lobby system. The game managed its menu and lobby systems in a very cool way. The player gets to walk around a small hub world as a miniature version of one of the game’s fighters. New models, player cards, icons, etc. can all be purchased at the in-game store, so that players can represent their favorite character and such in the game’s multiplayer lobbies. Within these lobbies, players can then fight each other at the various dueling platforms scattered about. It is also worth noting that the game includes a beginner’s lobby, making it easy for beginners like myself to duke it out with players of a similar skill level before moving on to the game’s ranked mode.
Really boring storyline. Arc System Works has a policy when it comes to Cross Tag Battle’s episode mode, making it very clear that YouTubers and streamers are NOT allowed to stream or upload anything from the mode. I imagine this was done to avoid any sort of story spoilers from appearing on the Internet, so I went into the episode mode expecting a good story. Implementing such a policy means that there should be something good underneath, right? Unfortunately, I only set myself up for disappointment, as the game’s storyline was just your everyday “generic fighting game story”. Whether it be the BlazBlue episode, the Persona episode, the Under Night In-Birth episode, or the RWBY episode, they all have the same generic story, just with different characters. At least the BlazBlue episode had multiple endings, but even then, the journey to get to each of those was not all that great. I understand that most people do not play fighting games for the story, but I actually appreciate fighting games that do try to tell a decent story, and Cross Tag Battle simply does not. A shame, as I had at least somewhat enjoyed the story to the last BlazBlue game I played, Calamity Trigger.
Multiplayer technical issues. There seems to be a number of problems exclusive to the game’s online multiplayer. For one, sometimes when entering the mode, I would just be presented with a black screen, requiring me to restart the game. When I did manage to get into the online multiplayer, a lot of the matches I played seemed to have this massive slowdown effect towards the beginning. I assume that this is some sort of syncing feature on the game’s part, in order to prevent desync during the match, but I do not see why it has to be so noticeable. Looking at the discussion around the game, these problems appear to be common, so hopefully they get fixed in some future patch.
Lack of a borderless window option. Here we are again in 2018 with another game that does not include a borderless window option. Cross Tag Battle has only three options for windowed mode and then the option to make the game fullscreen. Apparently the fullscreen option causes issues for many, but I did not run into such issues. Even so, I opted to use an external program in order to achieve a borderless window. The game played nicely after I did so, so I fail to see why this option was not included at the start.
Although Cross Tag Battle may have some technical flaws, it is still a great fighting game at its core. The streamlined skill/combo system shakes up the formula in a good way and the large cast of characters definitely helps too. A shame that the episode mode is a bit lacking, but the game earns my recommendation regardless.
You can buy BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.