It's not like we needed another big cross-themed fighting game to keep us busy. Whatever time we don't spend with the classic Marvel vs. Capcom 2, we obviously invest in Bandai Namco's Dragon Ball FighterZ, which came out earlier this year.
But leave it to Aksys Games and Arc System Works to add another great entry to the fray, this time for Nintendo Switch (alongside other consoles and PC). BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle pulls off a wonderful trick, involving characters from different franchises but also simplifying its control scheme enough to attract newcomers while still keeping hardcore fans in mind. It's one of the best fighting games we've seen from Arc and Aksys yet.
The game features characters from the BlazBlue world; as well as from the Persona 4 Arena fighting game; the underrated Under Night-In Birth and Rooster Teeth's hit RWBY anime series. Plus there are more brawlers being added via new downloadable packs, including Yang and Blake from the RWBY universe as well as Jubei and Hakumen from BlazBlue. And we're likely to see more as time goes on, too. Support for this game is through the roof, with both free and premium entries.
Getting a Hang of the Controls
The game's control scheme utilizes two main attack buttons as well as an overhead attack (or EX style move), a tag button to bring in your partner and a quick attack that lets them strike an opponent before jumping back off-screen.
That may sound like the game is being "dumbed down" but BlazBlue has never felt better. Executing special attacks feels like a cinch and you can also open up opportunities for combos and super moves (Distortion Skills, really) that can drain an opponent's life bar pretty quickly. In actuality, the system works very well, though there are a couple of things to make note of.
First, calling in a partner for a quick attack requires better timing here than in prior cross-tag games. For instance, they can actually perform one of three techniques although they may also open themselves up for damage if you're not careful. You can also use them for cross combos which take a little bit of practice but deliver an ultimate payoff when it comes to wearing down your opponent.prevnext
Get Ready For School, Because You're Gonna Learn Things
Secondly, you'll want to keep a close eye on your meter. You can actually utilize it to greater effect over the course of a fight, even going as far as to regain some of your lost health or making your Distortion Skills even more powerful. A bit of practice may be required here but it pays off in spades.
Don't get too overwhelmed about it though. There's a mode called Tactics that walks you through how to get used to the mechanics and it's a one-stop shop of learning what Cross Tag is all about. You'll learn everything from special moves to combo chaining here and it's highly recommended if you're looking to get used to things.
Once you do, you'll find BlazBlue has some insanely good controls. It handles perfectly and moves come off with ease, particularly with a Pro Controller. The Switch controller setup isn't too bad, but playing with JoyCons may be a chore. However, the idea of a portable battle isn't the worst thing in the world. Plus, who knows, you might actually learn something new with that tiny controller. I did, but by accident. (And then I tried to replicate it with a normal controller.)prevnext
A Wonderful Looking Game
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle also has an exquisite art style that can't be beat. Each of the characters and their respective universes are wonderfully drawn out here and the backgrounds are just as dazzling as what's happening with the fight. The game runs like a dream on the Switch, in both portable and TV mode; and the other versions, based on what I've seen, are just as buttery when it comes to speed and graphical beauty.
The audio is top-notch too with inspired BlazBlue music, top-notch voicework for each of the characters (even with small quips) and meaty sound effects. This definitely sounds like a fighting game, even through the Switch's little speakers.
Cross Tag Battle also comes loaded with modes. Lots of modes, mind you, including some that will certainly appeal to online and local multiplayer fans. But the real draw here is Episode Mode. There's a fun little story that not only manages to wrap together the included franchises, but also characters that are being introduced via DLC. That might be a bit confusing to some, especially when they appear in the game as opponents and can't be selected without purchase. But Arc System Works did a splendid job throwing everything together without making it too confusing. Fans of the series -- or the other franchises, for that matter -- will love what this game possesses. (Sorry, no spoilers here, you have to discover it for yourself.)prevnext
Dragon Ball FighterZ Has Serious Competition
As for online, BlazBlue didn't have any noticeable problems with my matches. Sure, some of these fighters were a bit too talented for their own good, but that's expected. The game runs with very little lag in-between match-ups and you can also shop around different skill levels in case you feel like taking on someone that's more on your level. Local multiplayer still rocks, though regular controllers definitely work a level above JoyCons.
As if the company didn't already win enough this year with the interstellar FighterZ, Arc System Works has gone and done it again with this unbeatable crossover beast. BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle has a lot going for it, from its tremendous stack of modes to its wild multiplayer options to its anime-inspired presentation to its sharp gameplay. And the fact it offers something for everyone, rookies and pros alike, is a genuine surprise.
So if it's a good fighting game you want for the Switch,and you don't feel like waiting for all this time to pass before FighterZ gets here, put a little Cross Tag in your life. It'll be right up your alley, especially if you're a fan of one of the franchises included. Rooster Teeth must be loving this.
WWG's Score: 4.5/5
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev