Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle from Arc System Works is a really good game that combines multiple franchises into one pleasant and enjoyable package. Although the story isn’t exactly meant for those who are not familiar with each particular franchise, the real meat and potatoes lie in the newly implemented tag system. Newcomers will not be daunted by Cross Tag Battle’s control scheme, and it’s overall a pretty good fighting game for PS4, Steam for PC, and Nintendo Switch.
The story in Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle is anything but award winning and happens to be a snooze-fest. That is, however, unless you’re a fan of one of the implemented franchises, which the game includes 4: Blazblue, Persona, RWBY, and Under Night In-Birth. This skippable narrative includes eight chapters per franchise, each comprised of unique takes as to how a particular character from a different storyline warped into his or her world. Although this portion of the game is meant to appeal mostly to franchise fans, it did nothing for me, a complete and total outsider. This was a bummer and gave me no interest whatsoever. In fact, I found myself spamming the X-button at every possible moment in order to skip every single sentence of dialog, allowing for a completed story segment within roughly 20 minutes or so. Again, it’s meant for franchise enthusiasts, but ultimately does nothing for those who just want to play a fighting game.
As the name suggests, Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle lets players swap between characters during combat and also gives them a chance to call for in-game assists as well. This particular mechanic appears to be similar to that of the Marvel vs. Capcom series. But calling for an assist, though quite effective when pulled off successfully during matches, is tethered to an assist bar. This bar, though it automatically refills over time, limits the assist calling and makes every opportunity to use it crucial. Although limited, it also brings a nice balance to every single fight. Gamers won’t necessarily have an opportunity to spam assists over and over again, which can be quite boring and flat out annoying.
Much like other contemporary fighting games, like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and King of Fighters 14, Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle has also taken a more simplistic approach to controls, as the player can easily deal damage and perform an impressive-looking combo by spamming a single button. This more intuitive approach to controls evens the playing field, which gives less experienced fighters a better chance of survival against fighting game purists. Although I certainly do not agree with this take on fighting game controls, it does, on the other hand,free time from countless hours of potential training and allows you to pick up, play, and enjoy within minutes.
Although characters vary in size and moveset, one noticeable annoyance with controls is that the player doesn’t necessarily have the option to dash forward. Sure, dashing is available to players, however, this is mostly done while in the air. As a competitive fighting game enthusiast, I like to attack my opponent head-on and repeatedly. I would like the option to dash back and forward if possible. But in order for me to move quickly in either direction in Cross Tag Battle, I would have to jump in the air first, which is absurd. To be fair, Cross Tag Battle lets you run towards your opponent by simply holding the directional pad or fightstick to the desired location, but the lack of dashing was a constant source of frustration.
The soundtrack found in Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle is simply amazing, as it’s completely filled with explosive electric guitars with fast picking rhythms and heavy metal distortion pedals. It’s also varied in style as well, as some tracks consist of instrumental guitar music, while others include a more than adequate vocal section that is truly pleasant to listen and bob your head to. This musical composition includes themes from a variety of franchises that have been implemented into this game, making it a delicious treat to consume for countless hours – or until your ears begin to bleed.
There’s certainly a large community revolving around Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle. Although this game is new, it was featured at Combo Breaker 2018, an infamous fighting game tournament that includes a large portion of seasoned fighting games and players. Just to give you an insight as to what kind of potential the game has, and to give you an idea of how much energy you can put into this game, I’ve embedded a video, down below, of the Top 8 Winners bracket for Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle.
Although Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle includes a rather boring story, there remains a lot to serve people who are hungry enough to play a really good fighting game. For instance, the implemented tag system gives you the opportunity to play with two characters and lets you swap fighters on the fly, and controls have been simplified to appease both new and returning competitors. The rocking musical soundtrack is varied and includes both instrumental tunes and vocalized compositions from an array of franchises, and the game is highly supported by the fighting game community. By in large, Blazblue: Cross Tag Battle is a very well done fighting game that I plan to continue playing into the near future and beyond.