Wednesday, 18 July 2018 09:00

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Review

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BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is a 2D anime-styled fighter featuring battlers from the Persona, RWBY, and Under Night In-Birth series. With this amount of range, you’re likely to find a character you know and love. And, if not, there are more than enough here that are sure to grow on you.

What’s neat about this title is that there’s something here for every type of player who enjoys this genre: an Episode mode, Traditional and Survival modes, and, of course, online play. This might seem lacking in features (compared to Mortal Kombat releases for instance), but the enjoyment these modes, and the gameplay in general, provide offsets this greatly. Money you earn by playing you can use to buy cool cosmetic items.


Episode mode features a few storylines — a main one for BlazBlue and one each for the three other series included in the game — where you meet and play as different fighters from the various series. The three storylines are pretty short if you plow through them. Completing one yields a hefty sum of cash for all of your spending needs. If you’re looking for someone to main and new people to try out, this mode is quite a viable option. This mode alone offers a good deal of incentive to play this release: the narrative, combined with the voice acting and the ability to pick dialogue choices at certain parts of the main storyline, makes for a riveting experience that you might find hard to put down.


As the plots unfold in these episodes, personalities clash between characters of different series that sometimes provides a few fits of laughter (especially scenes involving Rachel Alucard and Ruby, whose English accent just brings her character’s lines to life).


I won’t spill details, but having at least some choice in who your partner is for the final fight would be nice for the shorter episodes, since I’m not personally a fan of the person you fight along with in the RWBY episode, but it isn’t an option. Of course, any fighter is a viable one, but you might find that playing some characters feels natural while others require a decent deal of practice. As another item on my wish list, I wanted more opportunities to choose a line of dialogue and more branches in the storylines. The shorter three storylines have only one path, without opportunity for dialogue choices, while the main one has a few — but I would’ve appreciated more.


If you want to forego conversation and get into the action, you have the V.S. and Survival modes available to you. In V.S., you get to pick your fighters and those of your opponent, along with the arena and background music. In Survival, you face a string of teams that seem to steadily increase in difficulty. For those stat junkies out there (I’m one myself and very much so), this mode tracks your record but also your total number of victories across all of your runs. V.S. mode doesn’t track your wins but does provides income for the item shop while also allowing you to quickly test a fighter in a match, whereas in Survival, you continue until a team defeats you and sometimes a run can go on for over ten battles.

Online play has a few options: from casual lobbies (a couple of which are always almost full) to ranked lobbies and smaller rooms. If you want to test your mettle against real players or quickly increase your wallet, this is the way to go besides completing an episode. An approximate difficulty of the players I encountered across different lobbies, was midway between hard and very hard. If your guards, combos, and counters are impeccable, you’ll likely do well; if not, bone up in the Tactics area to practice particular techniques and bolster your weaker points. In most matches, lag wasn’t an issue; only in a few did it occur but even then only sporadically, although one battle was riddled with lag to the point of being unplayable.

Ranked lobbies had far fewer players in them, but if you want to enter into the competitive scene, give it a shot. I’m unsure if players are prohibited from entering into a lobby that differs from their rank. I tried this to test it, but the entire application just stopped working. Even after closing it out, Steam showed that it was still running. I had to sign out of my user profile on Windows and restart Steam to relaunch the game.


In the item shop, there are plenty of customization pieces on which to spend your hard-earned cash: avatars for the lobby, new icons and frames to spruce up your online profile, and alternate colors for fighters. After you purchase a few things, buying the rest can be a goal in itself; none give you any competitive edge, being cosmetic only, but I think they’re worth getting.


The Verdict: Great

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is an excellent release for fast-paced fun that incorporates characters from other series. Beside the problem with the ranked lobby on one occasion, the application proved rather stable. Those not interested in the competitiveness of online play can enjoy a somewhat relaxed experience offline (depending on at what difficulty you set the opponents). Fans of the fighting genre, especially those looking for this style of artwork or an exciting and rather funny story, will find what they’re looking for here.

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Chris Hubbard

A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.