Arc System Works seem to be on a roll. Dragon Ball FighterZ really gave DBZ fans a great game featuring all their favourite characters and now they’ve taken their popular Blazblue characters and pitted them against a host of fighters from their other games and US anime series RWBY.
While fighting fans may already know Blazblue, adding characters from Persona, Under Night In-Birth and RWBY helps to widen the appeal, especially the inclusion of the cult US animated series. But how does it play? If you’re already a Blazblue fan, the answer is; surprisingly different.
If you’re wondering how all of these characters come together, it’s all down to a rogue AI which as created the Phantom Field, containing approximations of their worlds and grabbing the characters from their own dimensions to pit them against each other. It makes for some great little conversations between characters but don’t expect a long Mortal Kombat style story mode. Episode Mode does have branching endings, though, so it does provide a good deal of replay value.
The game has been designed from the ground up to appeal to both beginners and pros at fighting games. At first it seems like they’ve dumbed down the moves by making all the move sets the same. This means that whatever character you pick up, you’ll always know how to perform at least some of their moves and their specials. It’s a great game to get into for newcomers or those who’ve come to the game because of RWBY. But give it time and you’ll find that it’s the powers and strengths of each character that give the game its strategy and balance.
Combos are strung together automatically, too, allowing for some great moves without the complicated encyclopedia-like knowledge of the buttons. With a level playing field, control-wise, this actually works out far more interesting than games where pulling off a combo is a matter of skilled finger work, here it’s all in what moves you use and how the character behaves. Some moves are unblockable, so being in the wrong place as your opponent starts a certain move is deadly. Others need an up-close attack relying on your opponent to be more used to ranged fighting.
The character roster is already impressive but the game is let down a little by relying on DLC too much. There are around 20 DLC characters still to come, all have to be paid for on top of the base game. Some of these are characters that fans will really want to unlock, too, and Arc Systems knows this, so they’ve made some, like Yang, free once they’re available, but this makes the game feel a little rushed.
Blazblue Cross Tag Battle is a fast, frenetic but easy to get into fighter with plenty for fans of their respective series to get excited about. It’s not quite up there with DBZ but it’s still a great fighter with its own unique style and a chance for different franchises to come together for the first time.