Arc System Works is known for making some top-notch fighting games such as Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, Person 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] , and Dragon Ball FighterZ, the company is ready to introduce a new title. Although the game has BlazBlue in the title, it is not exactly a new addition to the BlazBlue Franchise. Rather, it places characters from BlazBlue, Person 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth and RWBY in a tag team battle frenzy.
BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle brings back assets from all of the older titles,such as the sprite animation, backgrounds, and music. The game also brings in characters of RWBY into the same art style which, I have to say, looks fantastic. But not everything takes from the old titles.
The menu is now an overworld hub where players move their avatars around the “arena” of the game in third person view. This is somewhat similar to Dragon Ball FighterZ, but with its own distinct visuals.
All of Arc System Works games always have a great sound tracks, and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle reuses tracks from each franchise except for the new tracks that were made specifically for the RWBY characters. The soundtrack is enjoyable, but I did want to hear new arrangement of older tracks for this title, which I feel like this title lacks. Sure, there are a few menu tracks and video tracks that are new, but that is all you get.
If you came to this game expecting each character to play like the franchise they came from, you are in for a surprise. The core gameplay of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle revolves around using and switching characters as the main mechanic. This is a different approach for a fighting game and most players will not see what the developers were going for if they don’t jump into the Tactical mode, which does a fantastic job breaking everything down. Don’t let this give you doubt though.
Combos are still in the game but now have a different purpose. Instead of a long one character combo with an assist to reset combos like other tag titles, the combos are more of a universal set for all characters like Dragon Ball FighterZ, and are more of a set up for your next character to jump in while assisting. This will give the player the option to switch while their second character is attacking, or keep both characters for a short period of time, or even just use the other character to do a reversal counter to swap the other character out with very little punishment. And its gets more complex than just that.
Players will notice 3 different meters on the bottom of the screen. There is the: Skill gauge, which lets you do Extra Sills/EXs and Distortion Skills/specials; Cross gauge, which is consumed when using cooperative actions, such as Active Partner Skills, and Cross Combos; and Resonance Blaze meter, which is leveled up upon how much you use both characters. This can be activated when one character is left standing on your team, and recovers red health, increases chip damage, fills the Skill gauge, and allows you to cancel skills to a distortion skill during a combo. After you get to know all of this you might be ready for the story mode or even the online.
The story mode is broken down into chapters that are represented by each franchise with a visual novel form like usual. Players will find the story enjoyable….until you get to the other franchise stories. Players will fall out of the story not caring much to know what happens because when entering another franchises story for this game, it is soon realized that it’s just the same as the first story they finished. Online, on the other hand, feels great and on all the systems it feels perfect. I haven’t felt any lag as of yet on the Nintendo Switch version as well as the Playstation 4 version. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised playing the lack of lag when wi-fi on the Switch. This might be because of the lack of 3D aspects built into the game or maybe it just has some really good net code.
I had the opportunity to try the PS4 version and the Switch version when doing this review, and I can say the Switch port does everything perfect. You’ll find that on the Switch there is no frame loss and as I mentioned, no lag. Of course, you are likely to find more players on the PlayStation version of the game. Players will find a lot of enjoyment on what ever console they play on, now all we need is some sort of “CROSS PLAY”. Don’t forget to get your DLC packs which will be free for the first two weeks. The DLC pack will give you 4 extra characters.
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle reuses a lot of assets from the older games it took characters from, maintaining the look and sound of an Arc System Works title. Even though the story lacks depth, the gameplay is addicting and brings a different approach to the fighting game genre. The amount of depth will have players finding out more unique ways to play for the titles life span.
I can say I didn’t enjoy the game much when I went in blind; I thought it was a normal fighting game. But after taking the time to do the Tactical mode it brought the game to life and made me appreciate the title as a whole. I highly recommend going though the tutorial before jumping into competitive matches. That being said, I give BlazeBlue Cross Tag Battle a 7/10.