Review: BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle – ASTRAL FINISH!

I have been playing fighting games my entire life. I’ve played a good number of titles, including Tekken, Street Fighter, and Guilty Gear. Some turn out to be pretty entertaining, while others fall flat. Every once in a while, however, one fighter will come along that really impresses me. BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is one such title.

For those who do not know, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a 2v2 2-D fighter. The game pits characters from the BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth, and the RWBY animated series against each other. The game borrows aspects from other entries in the BlazBlue series, yet adds its own touches that make it unique compared to other games in the franchise.

One of the first things that many may notice is the game’s beautiful art style. The title keeps the same art style from previous BlazBlue titles, and looks as great as previous entries in the series. I played the game on the Nintendo Switch, and the art was beautiful while both docked and in handheld mode. Some characters from the guest series had to be redrawn to match the BlazBlue stylewhich did lead to a few characters looking a little odd (like Blake Belladonna, for instance). Despite this, the game looks very good, especially in motion. It is one of the better looking 2-D fighters, living up to what one would expect from the series.

If you’ve ever played a core series BlazBlue title, they could testify that they are deep and complicated fighters. They are not very welcoming to beginners. Cross Tag Battle is a bit different in this aspect. The controls are much simpler, with there even being auto-combos for beginners (similar to Dragon Ball FighterZ). Instead of there being three attack buttons and a button that is unique to every character, Cross Tag Battle only utilizes two attack buttons. The other two face buttons are the same for every character; one button initiates Cross Combos and charged attacks, while the other tags out the current fighter. It is no where near as complicated as core BlazBlue titles.

Despite the simple controls, there is still a good amount of depth. There are a lot of systems at work in the game, and players have to learn when to initiate certain actions. Learning this takes practice, and gives enough complexity to those who are experienced with this type of fighter.

The combat itself was great. Cross Tag Battle is fast, with most matches clocking in at under 30 seconds. In most cases the game moves smoothly and feels very responsive. However, I did run into lag issues a few times while playing online, though that is common amongst some fighters. When I found another player with a good connection, matches were quick and intense. I have never played another fighter that goes as fast as Cross Tag Battle, and I love it. There is no messing around, as one wrong move can cost you everything.

One thing that I always loved about BlazBlue was the soundtrack. The music always felt grand, and was nice to have in the background of a good match. Cross Tag Battle continues this tradition, but with its own flavor. The title still uses music from BlazBlue, but it borrows tracks from other games. It felt great to play as Ruby Rose and have “Red Like Roses  – Part II” from the RWBY series playing in the background. It was one of the first things that I noticed when I tried her. Arc System Works chose some great songs for Cross Tag Battle‘s soundtrack, as many of them are driving. It really helps pump you up for a good fight.

As much as I love Cross Tag Battle, I did have a few issues. The biggest one was the lack of single-player modes. I love to take a break from online play every once in a while and play single-player. Sadly, Cross Tag Battle did not offer much when it came to playing offline. The game does have a story mode explaining why the different universes have come together, but I beat that within a few hours. There is a survival mode, but it is incredibly bare-bones and lacking. Modes such as Unlimited Mars and Abyss mode were missing. While some may not have issue with this, I do enjoy playing fighters solo at times, and wish that there had been more when it came to single-player options.

Another issue was the fact that some of the upcoming DLC characters do show up in the story mode. I felt it was a little cheap teasing players by including them. I know some will take serious issue with this, as these are characters that we will have to pay for later on in the game’s life.

Overall, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a very solid fighter. The game is simple enough for beginners to be able to jump in, yet has enough complexity for those who are more experienced with fighting games. The game does have its shortcomings, especially when it comes to the lack single-player options. Despite this, the game looks good, sounds good, and plays good. If you are looking for a solid fighter to pick up, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is one of your best bets.

Michael reviewed BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle using a copy he had purchased.

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