BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle
  

 
STORY
On the stage of stories, mixing the four worlds together into a special alternate "Phantom Field. The fighters have been abruptly summoned to that world, with an unknown voice: "If you wish to return to your world, protect the Keystone." In the end, is that voice telling the truth. The entrusted keys number four. Enemies, or friends? The fighters take a risk in order to return to their own world, and throw themselves into the battle to steal each other's "Keystone". ..
 
 
ABOUTBlazBlue Cross Tag Battle (or BureiBuru Kurosu Tagu Batoru in Japanese - which I think sounds much better than how it sounds in English) is a crossover 2D fighting game introducing a 2-VS-2 gameplay engine, with similar yet different elements from past BlazBlue titles. The title features characters from Arc System Works's BlazBlue series, Atlus's Persona 4 Arena, French Bread's Under Night In-Birth, Akatsuki Blitzkampf, Rooster Teeth's anime-style web animation, RWBY, and Senran Kagura. In February of 2019, all-girl fighting game series Arcana Heart series joined the crossover as the fifth "fate".

 

This selection screen looks like fruity pebbles... It also really, really hurts my OCD.

  
The character artwork for BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is drawn by Higuchi Konomi who previously worked as a character designer for the XBlaze series. Due to RWBY's original series first airing in North America, RWBY characters speak in English as their default language voice in the game. BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle features a full English dub for all characters, which is nice to see for a fan service title such as this.


To match the high resolution of BlazBlue character sprites, characters from Under Night In-Birth, Akatsuki Blitzkampf, and Arcana Heart sprites were "redrawn" (and some even appear to be a higher resolution than other returning sprites). Cross Tag Battle features an "Episode" story mode which tells a separate story for each franchise. Other modes include: Versus, Training, Survival, Tactics, Gallery, Customize, and Online.
 

4 franchises of great anime characters in one tag team fighting game.

  
The gameplay of BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle feels very differently from that of BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, and Under Night In-Birth. The game has 5 button inputs: A and B normal attacks, Crash Assault/Sweep (C button), Tag (a D button) and Partner Skill (Assist button). Throws are done with B+C. Standing C is a Crash Assault, which is an unblockable overhead attack against crouching opponents.


Auto-Combos return (dubbed Smart Combo) which can be activated with either tapping A or B normals. The Heat Gauge is renamed Skill Gauge. A new system called Cross Gauge is used mainly for tag-based combos. Cross Burst is a technique that has the secondary character enter the fight while attacking their opponents, as the main character retreats. ”Overdrive" super moves from BlazBlue are now known as Resonance Blaze, and can only be activated after the player's teammate is down. The Resonance Blaze activation grants the player to refills the meter quickly, makes all Distortion Drives stronger, regenerates health, and can cancel Skills to Distortion Skills. However, Resonance Blaze can only be activated once.
  

Wow, good use of primary colors. They even sprung for some secondary colors.

  
Arc System Works has confirmed 20 post launch DLC characters for BBCTB, which will "double" the initial roster. Individual character DLC packs retail for $4.99 each and there will be a total of six. The complete DLC bundle will also be sold separately for $19.99. Blake Belladonna, Yang Xiao Long, Platinum the Trinity, Kanji Tatsumi, and Orie were free DLC at launch.
  

Page Updated: August 19th, 2020
Developer(s): Arc System Works
Publisher(s): Arc System Works
Designer(s): Toshimichi Mori          Director
Artwork By: Higuchi Konomi
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Steam
Release Date(s): May 29th, 2018           
June 5th, 2018
             
June 22nd, 2018          PS4 / Switch
Nov. 21st, 2019            Version 2.0 Update
Characters Ragna, Jin, Yu, Hyde, Ruby Rose, Yosuke, Linne, Weiss Schnee, Rachel, Hazama, Noel, Chie, Waldstein, Yukiko, Gordeau, Azrael, Iron Tager, Makoto, v-13, Es, Blake Belladonna, Yang Xiao Long, Platinum, Kanji, Orie, Jubei, Aigis, Carmine, Hakumen, Naoto Shirogane, Vatista, Mika, Yuzuriha, Merkava, Nine, Mai Natsume, Izayoi, Mitsuru, Akihiko, Labrys, Heart Aino, Teddie, Seth, Naoto Kurogane, Akatsuki, Blitztank, Yumi, Neo Politan, Celica, Elizabeth, Adachi, Hilda, Susanoo
Featured Video:
Related Games: BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, Guilty Gear Xrd REV2, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-, Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R, Under Night In-Birth, Under Night In-Birth: EXE Late[st], Dragon Ball FighterZ, Street Fighter 5, Injustice 2, Tekken 7, Soul Calibur 6, MVC Infinite, Fighting EX Layer, Blade Strangers, Granblue Fantasy Versus, Akatsuki Blitzkampf
 

Gameplay Engine  6.0 / 10
Story / Theme  4.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  7.0 / 10
Animation  9.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  6.0 / 10
Innovation  5.5 / 10
Art Direction  8.0 / 10
Customization  8.0 / 10
Options / Extras  7.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  5.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  6.0 / 10
Characters  8.0 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

 7.1 / 10

 Review based on PS4 version     

  

Early Review:

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle seems to me like a game that asks the question: "Hey, did you not play this earlier 2D anime fighter? Welly welly well... why not try this new game! Also, hardcore fans plz buy all dis DLC!"  If you're somewhere in-between full-weeb and occasionally-enjoys-anime-fighters, BBTag is a game somewhere in-between good and bad. First off, the game almost gets disqualified by not having a "walk" function. Instant run only? A 2D sprite-based fighting game with NO walk animations?   Okaaay. Very disappoint.

After the story concluding in BlazBlue: Central Fiction, I was wondering if the BlazBlue series would "truly" teak a break. Somehow, I knew these spiky-haired anime dudes & dudettes (and in-betweens) wouldn't be gone for long. A crossover 2D fighter seems perfect for keeping BlazBlue relevant in a very ultra-competitive fighting game climate. People play a lot of fighting games these days, and it actually takes a lot to impress tougher critics.

The sprite rehash is strong with this one... but BBTag does impress with impressive & interesting "newly-drawn" sprites for classic / obscure anime fighting game icons, like: Heart Aino, Akatsuki, Blitztank, and others. The returning DLC character packs were a bit much, but the 100% new sprites for Sengran Kagura & RWBY characters at least present some attractive new visuals for 2D purists.

I was happy to see the return of Persona 4 Arena's cast along with UNIEL's... since I possibly enjoyed those games more than the entire BlazBlue series. On the flipside, I know nothing about RWBY (because it seems like a series I'm way too old for), so those characters are 100% new to me, along with Senran Kagura and... Arcana Hearts? Mmk. This game has so many girls now. I guess 12 year old girls need a starter fighting game to play, don't they? 

On the topic of paid DLC, Arc System Works announced 20 post-launch characters at launch... and eventually doubled the game's roster. This announcement sent tons of weebs and non-weebs raging, shitposting, and overreacting in YouTube videos, but the interesting thing is... they were talking about BBTAG, at least. The ArcSys strategy got people talking about their game. Remember how I said this is a very competitive genre in 2019-2020. Good strategy! I'm not blamin' them.


On a side note... I'd still like to see Guilty Gear characters, to (potentially) make BBTag the ultimate ArcSys crossover. But since Xrd uses a completely different (3D) graphics engine, ArcSys would have to redraw brand new 2D sprites for Guilty Gear. On that note... I must say, that kind of effort alone would be "attractive DLC". 

Since MVC: Infinite flopped (contrary to the fake hype the game generated through popular YouTubers overreacting)... I found it funny that BBTAG ended up being a sort of a "rebound fling" for certain players in need of their high-flying, air-dash-happy, anime 2D fighter fix. (Maybe because a select few of them don't know how to enjoy a more honest 2D/3D fighting game?) Ok... that was a low blow... but it's mostly a joke. Mostly.

BBTAG is a bit mashy, clashy, floaty, loud, and "too anime" for my usual fighting game tastes... and I know I'm not alone. I enjoy the 2D sprites and the art, but where's the "oomph", the passion, the ouch factor? I don't want to mess up all their pretty anime hair. Some of them don't seem like they really want to fight. I'll admit BBTag's got some heart, and I like the "idea" of an ArcSys crossover more than the actual game.

Aesthetically, BBTag's art, color scheme and menu visuals look like a six year-old's coloring book. All deez primary colors and basic-looking menu screenz? How can a 2D fighting game manage to hurt my eyes so much? This is not normal. That said, BBTag would greatly benefit from a visual UI overhaul. Unless it is trying to be a game for kids... a speculation that I still have. 

Story mode was painfully disappointing... and It seems like ArcSys took some shortcuts on this game's overall content, gameplay, and presentation. On the bright side, the newer DLC made BBTag seem like a new game worth playing. I can actually see ArcSys continuing to evolve and add to this game into 2020-2021 even. At best, BBTag is an entertaining dream match of sorts. At worst, it's a "super buffet" 2D sprite rehash fest with simpler gameplay than what is found in the original games. 
~TFG Webmaster
 

   
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Click Here for more character artwork!

 


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