Tuesday, June 5

Review: BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While I’ve certainly dabbled in classic fighting games over the years, mostly focused on Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or the World Heroes series, it’s been awhile since I’ve put my toe into another pool. Most of my experiences with other series have been mixed at best, with 3D fighters generally putting me off and the level of technique needed in many other 2D fighters feeling like too much of a commitment. One series I hadn’t yet tried out at all to this point was BlazBlue, though I’d heard good things. After spending some time with Cross Tag Battle on Switch they can definitely count me as a new fan though.

The first thing to like is that the presentation is pretty outstanding. For the most part characters have very diverse looks, the stages you’ll battle in are full of cool details, and in general the combat is a feast for the eyes. It does take some getting used to since all of this visual flourish cooks on by at a brisk pace but soon enough even moderately-experienced fighting game fans should start to feel at home with the pretty simple overall button scheme. I would suggest spending some time working on some technique before going online if you’re inexperienced since, as always, there are many ass-kickings to be had out there, but with some practice, training, and experimentation you should be able to get a strong base to work from.

A great way to sort of sample a little bit of everything is to play through the pretty extensive Episode mode, where you’ll get a look at pretty well the entire roster of characters represented in the game and get some enjoyment out of the somewhat oddball story. Characters from the BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth and RWBY series have been brought together by mysterious circumstances, summoned to battle it out with the eventual winner supposedly getting the power to return home with the others from their world. Not being familiar with almost any of the characters or their motivations it was all merely entertaining to me as various people had their verbal dust-ups but I have no doubt hard core fans of the series will find how things shake out more fascinating. From there you can match up with the CPU in Versus mode or, better yet, play with a friend, getting your tag-team fighting on and developing your technique.

Aside from generally feeling over-matched in Online mode I’d say most of my concerns with the game are pretty simple and focus on the interfaces. You get to choose an avatar and can move around to do what you want, whether it is to go to the shop or navigate through one of the virtual lobbies for meeting up with people to fight against. I suppose this method is novel but in the end I just generally found it more cumbersome than I’d have liked, getting into some quick menus and skipping moving around would have appealed more to my sense of efficiency. I suppose depending on tastes people could quibble over the style and feel of the fighting controls themselves but even as a novice I was please with how sensible and yet obviously deep they were through my experimentation.

In the end I’d consider BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle a pretty impressive fighting game that will easily fill the void left by a lack of a Marvel Vs. Capcom action. If you’re looking to get your fight on and want something full of energy and excitement it handily delivers the goods, has an impressive roster, and is generally as n00b-friendly a fighter as I think I’ve ever played. I’d consider it a must-play for Switch fighting fans!

Score: 8.5

  • An impressive roster of characters from 4 different series
  • Accessible fighting controls, even for novices
  • Online play is consistently stable

  • Navigation via avatar is novel but needlessly cumbersome
  • If you’re not steeped in the lore of these series a lot of the fan service is likely to go over your head