BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Review

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Published on July 17, 2018

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
Release Date: 
June 5, 2018
Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC (Played on PC)
Arc System Works
Arc System Works

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a 2D anime fighter that brings together four franchises to battle it out. The clash between the worlds of BlazBlue, Persona, Under Night In-Birth, and RWBY takes the stage, and it is an incredibly remarkable sight. As the name implies, Cross Tag Battle is a 2v2 tag team crossover fighting game that adds to a long list of fighting games that Arc System Works has developed and published. If you’re familiar with the work from ArcSys, you can expect a solid fighting game brimming with new mechanics to learn. Does BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle have what it takes to captivate gamers?

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Whether you’re entirely new to fighting games or a veteran fighter, the tactics mode is where you want to begin. The tactics mode clearly explains all the nuanced mechanics specific to BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle and the basics of fighting games. Compared to other fighting games, it does a great job in enlightening new players in utilizing basic mechanics like blocking and jabs.

In this game, there are five buttons: three attack buttons, an assist button, and a character switch button. You’ve got your light attack, a medium attack, and a Clash attack. Your light and medium attacks are standard buttons you’d find in other fighting games, but your Clash attack unleashes a flurry of attacks with your tag partner if it manages to connect. The combo system in BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is based on auto combos which are done by repeatedly pressing the light or medium attack buttons. The system is implemented well enough to give new players the excitement of executing a combo while not limiting veteran players from finding optimal combos involving your team member’s assists.

The assist mechanic is critical as it should be for a 2v2 crossover fighting game. Every character has three different assist attacks while they are on reserve and are activated by pressing the assist button in combination with pressing backward, forwards, or leaving the directional input in its neutral position. These assists have similar properties across characters; for example, the forward assist call usually has your partner shoot out a projectile or is a forward moving attack to cover your approach. This allows more creative freedom when trying to build a team: as you won’t need to select a specific partner to cover the weakness of your first character. Giving all characters three different assists seems to improve the balance across the roster significantly, which is an essential aspect of a fighting game and prevents it from getting stale.

This game has a comeback mechanic called Resonance Blaze that requires you to be down a partner and press the assist button. It lasts 15 seconds and you get new properties like health regeneration, rapid meter gain, and can you extend your combos even further. There are four levels of Resonance Blaze; you achieve the next level when you perform actions with your assists. As you successfully attack your opponent with your partner, you will be able to unleash a Level 4 Resonance Blaze. I like that it is not a mechanic that rewards players for merely being on the verge of losing a match; it requires a fast-paced playstyle, upping the fun factor.

Additionally, while in Resonance Blaze you can perform an Astral Heat. It requires Level 4 Resonance Blaze and for your opponent to be on their last character. This flashy move releases an ultimate attack that will instantly down your opponent and grant you a win if it hits. Be careful, as it uses up all of your resources and will leave you wide open if you miss. Depending on which side you are on, this move can be used to disrespect your opponent or to throw everything you have on the line to pull out a win. Every character’s Astral Heat is unique and beautifully animated and feels amazing if you manage to defeat your opponent with it.

The most significant appeal comes from the game’s roster, and ArcSys does this crossover justice by having each character stay true to their source material, and providing unique gameplay. Many of the main characters from each game have awesome interactions with each other. For example, if you’re a fan of Ruby Rose, she gets giddy over Ragna’s giant demon sword. However, it is unfortunate that the roster launched with only 20 characters and contained DLC characters who are already in the story mode. As of writing this, there are already 9 DLC characters available across 3 packs. The first pack was available via early purchase and each subsequent pack costs around $5. It is disappointing that ArcSys decided to put these characters behind a paywall.

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BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle offers a story mode that spans across four episodes; one for each crossover title. The storyline is nearly incomprehensible and leaves a lot to be desired. Some quirky character interactions are fun, but it’s a storyline that needed to bring different worlds somehow together. In short, all the characters were transported from their respective worlds into this new world called the Phantom Field, and they must protect a keystone to get back home.

The online mode is where you’ll be spending most of your time. This game opts to use delay-based netcode, which means if there is lag you’ll experience input lag by a few frames. No matter the case, if you have a stable internet connection and accept matches from players with stable connections you won’t be experiencing any lag. I played while on ethernet and did not run into any lag in my games. Additionally, playing matches will earn you in-game currency you can use to unlock colors, lobby avatars, titles, and nameplates.

As for the PC port, it is unstable and crashes frequently. I had numerous crashes while playing the story mode and going through the character trials. Until ArcSys pushes out a patch that fixes these problems, I’d stay away from this version of this game.

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is an awesome entry to the anime fighter and crossover genre and ambitiously bring together four beloved franchises. It’s also the debut for RWBY to appear in their very first video game! It holds its own as being unique and fun to master, but it suffers from a more desirable story mode and unfortunate DLC model. On the other hand, it is beautifully animated, and the crossover has appealed to me enough to want to check out the source material for all the franchises. BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle was able to captivate me successfully; if you enjoy fighting games and are a fan of any of these titles, then this is a game you certainly want to give a swing.

Categories: Reviews