Azur Lane: Crosswave – Review
What if we made Azur Lane PC and made it into third person perspective?
The following review is written by guest writer (and friend of Gamer Matters) Ammar “Tohka” Aryani. You can find him stream more waifu games or soldier sims at twitch.tv/tohka_aryani
A wise person once said that Azur Lane is basically Kancolle, but better in terms of getting people to play their game. But how would the shipfus fight in a third person perspective?
That’s where Azur Lane: Crosswave comes into mind. After a great global release on their mobile counterpart, Yostar Studios announced several plans for 2020 including a multiplatform game after a horrendous disaster on their anime to the point where they would establish their own animation studio based in Japan.
Is Azur Lane: Crosswave able to give the mobile player-base what they were seeking? The answer is mixed, and here’s why.
The game was developed and published by the duo of Idea Factory (IF) & Compile Heart (CH), which is famously well-known for their flagship title games such as the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. So the art style was what I would expect coming for an established duo.
(I mean, they even giving us Neptune as a shipfu for free so I ain’t complaining)
Graphic-wise, it was an overall improvement. The game was developed using the Unreal Engine 4, meaning that it gives a boost in terms of game physics.The User Interface (UI) is pretty smooth and pleases the eyes since it was simple yet easy to navigate through. I wish I could say the same for the 3D models. Some of the 3D models were lacking specific details but in return, the 2D expression from all of the characters available during cutscenes is a new sight to those who are veterans of Azur Lane. So presentation-wise, it’s looking great for the game but it comes down to the gameplay that really matters.
For IF’s classic RPG visual novel storyline combined with a turn-based action battle system, I’m a bit disappointed with the battle system mechanics on this game. The gameplay, on first impression, is very interesting on its own as it follows the mobile’s shoot ’em up style scrolling-screens combined with 3D graphics.
You will be able to control a full fleet with 3 main ships while the other 3 will act as a support, giving you buffs during battle. Overall the gameplay feels a bit repetitive as you will repeat the battle process with mostly the same enemy units as well the long amount of cutscenes. The game does take on the RPG aspect of IF’s signature equipment slots, where you will have to farm for A points (which is used to recruit ships into your fleet) or gold coins (used for equipment upgrades/purchases). But again, you might need to grind for a specific amount of time to get enough points for the ship that you wanted. Once you get enough materials/currency, you can boost the stats on your ship or upgrade their unique skills. It’s a shame that the battles mostly lasted a mere 2-3 minutes depending on the equipment.
And finally, just like the mobile version the rank for every battle depends on an completed objective. The lower the ranking, the less loot you get. But this game, in particular, has a high amount of players that managed to complete a battle in S rank, meaning it’s easy to get the highest ranking in battle most of the time. So basically the player would watch some event cutscenes, load up a battle, defeat the enemies, go to another place for loot or battle, defeat more enemies, earn some resources, see if you can buy something new and repeat.
Just like in the mobile game, you can marry your shipfus without having to waste IRL money to buy a wedding ring. (God knows I wasted $100 for that) Once you managed to raise your ship’s affection to max level by fighting battles, you can instantly oath a ship and gain extra stats.
Content-wise, the team of Yostar and Idea Factory did an amazing job of handling the storyline very well. The story focuses on the duo of Suruga,a battleship & Shimakaze, a destroyer that is newcomers to the Sakura Empire faction.
While the storyline isn’t complex, it actually fits really well with the setting of the game itself.
The Eagle Union, Iron Blood, Royal Navy, and Sakura Empire, all based on the 4 main factions during World War II. The nations maintain a peaceful but friendly tension between them, as they face a threat from a mysterious fifth faction: The Sirens. The primary defenses against this faction are the Kan-sen, female androids wielding special weapons and channeling the spirits of historical warships. When a battle with the Sirens leaves a number of physics-defying glowing cubes scattered about Sakura Empire territory, the nations call together a “joint military operation” to collect and research the mysterious new resources.
Azur Lane: Crosswave offers 29 playable ships such as the famous Enterprise, Bismarck and Nagato with 35 ships more on support duties and not available in the primary battle group. The support ships instead give buffs to the ships during battle and generally cost less than the playables. IF and Compile Heart have announced several playable ships to be added via DLCs.
Although the Azur Lane roster has 400+ ships, not all of them make the list and while there are almost 30 playable ships in the game, some of the factions only have a few ships in their arsenal. For example, the Iron Blood faction has only 3 ships while the Sakura Empire fills ⅓ of the roster. ( Give me Zuikaku and I’ll be happy)
But what they lack in the roster list, they make up for it with full voice acting, and the outfits they practically spill out of are rendered in high resolution, which is rare for the mobile players. The expressions coming out from the characters are amazing, providing you can avoid the somewhat lewd art design.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m used to playing games made by Idea Factory and Azur Lane specifically so these types of games are my bread and butter. I’ve played the game for several hours and to be honest, I feel like I’m playing another Hyperdimension Neptunia series despite having Neptune in my fleet.
Game-wise, I like to grind and farm for equipment and new ships. But the gameplay can be boring after several hours after my soul has departed due to gacha exhaustion. I like the game mainly due to the character interaction. It’s not every day you get to see Bismarck and Hood chatting after what happened to Hood in the mobile game storyline.
To be fair, I have mixed feelings about this game. This is due to the short battles and the super long cutscenes. But Azur Lane: Crosswave is overall not a bad game, but there’s nothing special about the game that appeals to the public unless if you’re an Azur Lane hardcore fan or if you have played any of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. The game itself is a character-driven adventure with simple yet quick battles and a shallow storyline that is surprisingly dialogue-heavy.
Overall, if you’re an Azur Lane fan or an experienced Nepper (a person who has played the Neptunia series) chances are you’ll enjoy Azur Lane: Crosswave.
Otherwise, others might be better off playing Doom Eternal.
Review copy purchased by the reviewer