- Game: BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
- Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), Nintendo Switch, PC
- Publisher: Arc System Works
- Developer: Arc System Works
A BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle review code was provided by the publisher.
When universes collide, plenty of crossover fun becomes attainable. The superheroes and villains of Marvel Comics clashing with Capcom’s all-stars, DC Comics’ best facing off with the otherworldly warriors of Mortal Kombat, and Tekken’s huge roster contending with those of Street Fighter have all become a reality. What makes dream scenarios such as this one even more epic is when all the properties from a gaming publisher do battle. The Super Smash Bros. series (and to a lesser extent, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale) is proof of that statement. Arc System Works is responsible for producing the finest anime fighting games in recent memory. Fans of BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth, and RWBY can now experience the ultimate crossover scenario in BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle.
If you consider yourself a diehard fan of Arc System Works’ fighting games, then you should already be familiar with what’s included in this game’s package. Beautifully animated 2D character sprites duke it out against 3D stage backdrops while a rocking tune accompanies the action. That reoccurring theme is definitely adhered to in BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. Fan favorite stages and battle tunes come along for the ride alongside brand new ones in both categories. This fighter would feel more akin to an asset dump if it weren’t for the fresh addition of RWBY characters. The starting lineup’s inclusion of Ruby Rose and Weiss Schnee from Rooster Teeth’s anime series provides some welcome new blood for veterans to employ.
Like the majority of Arc System Works’ fighters, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is easy to play, but difficult to master. Thankfully, the game’s extensive Tactics Mode gives beginners and veterans a deep dive into every mechanic. And you’ll most definitely need to learn everything there is to know if you want a chance at claiming any victories online. This fighter features special counterattacks, partner tag-in’s, auto combos, and numerous other maneuvers you’ll need to master. Figuring out the best team tactics and successfully employing them against another player looks and feels amazing. The combat on display here maintains the fast-paced and addictive qualities featured in past Arc System Works brawlers.
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle’s main source of single-player content is derived from the Episode Mode. This story campaign reads and sounds like your usual Japanese visual novel game. While I’ve decried this style of gameplay from other Arc System Works fighters in the past, I don’t have much of an issue with its implementation in this crossover experience. There’s a cool novelty factor involved in watching characters from each universe conversing with each other. There are some humorous moments to be had, especially when Ruby bumps into someone who sports a weapon she can’t help but admire. The story is nothing more than the type of fan fiction you’d come across in an online forum, but it still manages to be entertaining. The surprising final boss is a cool nod to the big encounters crossover fighting games are known for.
When it comes to the roster count for BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, it starts out at a disappointing 20. Normally, this wouldn’t be too much of an issue for most fighters. But that lowly number sticks out like a sore thumb since we all know that the rest of the roster is locked behind a DLC paywall. Only two of the game’s launch day characters are new, while the rest is filled with roster members fans are already familiar with. Those well-known characters are still a joy to utilize, no doubt. But it hurts to know that even more series regulars and RWBY newcomers are being relegated to future DLC. Having full access to all 40 roster members on the day of release would have been more preferred over having half the roster unavailable at launch.
Fighting game fans tend to judge a new release’s replay value by its online connectivity. BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle relies on the same lobby system employed by the latest Guilty Gear and BlazBlue titles. Hopping into a quick casual matchup or a ranked one is a simple process. The constant loop of winning matches, getting currency, and spending it on all types of goodies is cool and all. But there’s not much more to the game than your usual story, survival, training, and online modes. It would have been a joy to see an arcade mode or some of the fresher concepts featured in Dragon Ball FighterZ, though. It’s clear that Arc System Works had a bigger budget for Dragon Ball FighterZ and a lesser one for BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. More effort should have been put towards this fighter’s feature set for offline players who don’t feel like getting bopped online.
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Takeways
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle feels like the starting stages of a fighter that will be even grander once all the DLC gets added in. It provides a shockingly fun story mode romp, a deep tutorial mode, and the same wonderful 2D visual effects Arc System Works fighters are known for. In its current stage however, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle feels halfway complete.
The starting 20-person roster is disheartening when knowledge of the game’s other 20 characters arriving as DLC is known. This fighter would have been better off getting released with all 40 fighters available and even more offline single-player modes present. BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a solid fighter. It’s just a sad state of affairs when you notice just how unfinished it feels in some areas.
Our BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Review Score: 6.75 out of 10