Crossing Fates Through Fists
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle blends the worlds of BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, RWBY, and Under Night In-Birth in an accessible, yet challenging fighting game. Arc System Works has developed a fast-paced 2v2 battle system that creates a craze-filled experience for any player to enjoy.
While being faithful to all the IP’s in the game, Arc System Works developed a strong battle system that can appeal to fans from any of the four series. As a Persona 4 fan, it’s been fantastic to play as Chie and Yu, all the while hearing series-centric music along the way. Even characters like Hyde from Under Night In-Birth and Ruby from RWBY, characters I’m not too familiar with, are fun to play as and explore their backstories through small quibs and interactions with other combatants.
These activities are further enhanced by the several stories within the Episode Mode. Players explore the through as one character from each franchise and tenuouse explain how all these worlds smashed into each other to create the scenario necessary for BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. The writing within these stories is solid and really plays fun with the goofiness and video game-ness of it all. I found myself chuckling at the commentary that each character demonstrates in addition some minor groans with corniess. Each episode lasted about forty minutes and is worth the small time investment to introduce players not only to introduce battle mechanics, but to earn some valuable credit for the in-game store. My one head-scratching moment was that several characters appear as either enemies or allies, but are not available to actually play. Instead, he is available later this month as DLC along with six others through a paywall.
The actual gameplay mechanics of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle on the basic level is nothing revolutionary – five primary buttons for attacks, combined skillfully to create chains to utterly pulverize enemies. The subtle difference is that there’s now a face button to utilize your second character and truly make it a literal 2v2 game. Carefully crafting attacks and combos are suddenly elevated once you’re able to skillfully play on the strengths of both characters. I originally had little faith in this mechanic, thinking it was nothing but a gimmick. However, after a few minutes, I was swapping between the two characters and using more powerful attacks like a pro (well, not a pro – definitely not a pro). The abundance of tutorials and guides are very maneuverable, allowing players to master the basics and even the more advanced techniques for any character.
Attacks and abilities are also directly pulled from the characters’ franchises. The Persona 4 Arena characters, for example, have several attacks that are directly related to their Personas in the game. These touches to detail can spark fantastic fandom with their faithfulness and attention to detail. However, many of these little touches seem cursory. Though I’ll never claim to be a fighting game guru (except maybe for Smash Bros.) many of the characters felt similar through their attack combos and button mapping. The only dynamic difference I felt was the heaviness of the characters and their more powerful moves. This could be troublesome for those more in-depth players, but those entering the BlazBlue series can have fun trying out the characters that they’ll connect with.
Connecting with other players is smooth and consistent for both PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch with only one or two moments of latency. Online play creates several hubs for players to quickly hop on and engage in a casual or ranked skirmish. The online lobbies also allow players to choose a chibi version of any character to maneuver around, all the while allowing players to send cute emoticons and greetings to other players. I may or may not have spent several minutes just running around to see all the avatars…
The Verdict: 8.0 out of 10
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a fun and easily accessible fighting game with plenty of care to all IP’s involved. The complexity with the new 2v2 presents some interesting strategies and pairings for players who want to competitively challenge themselves. BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is the ideal barrier for entry into the series and can be the catalyst for future players to come.
This game was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch with codes provided by Arc Systems Work. For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.