Azur Lane: Crosswave from Idea Factory International, Compile Heart and Felistella brings the iconic mobile game franchise over to PC and PS4. Cute anime character personified battleships are the game’s main selling point but is this enough to satiate fans ?
Before delving deeper into the military maritime aspects of the game, Azur Lane needs a slight introduction here. Azur Lane is a side-scrolling shooter created by Shanghai Manjuu and Xiamen Yongshi. The original game released way back in 2017 onto iOS and Android devices. Fast forward to 2020 and the franchise has gained immense popularity and a global playerbase. Azur Lane: Crosswave seeks to expand upon this and bring more addictive gameplay to a different playerbase.
Unfortunately though Azur Lane: Crosswave falls a bit flat. There are multiple reasons for this and it’s quite a shame really. Azur Lane: Crosswave’s story involves the four nations of the world, the Eagle Union, Royal Navy, Iron Blood and the Sakura Empire. Players will follow the tale of Shimakaze and Suruga and there’s 7 chapters in total to play through. Players will be introduced to familiar Azur Lane characters such as Akagi and Kaga and for the most part, the visual novel segments of the game will keep you entertained. However, this is where the game stumbles quite heavily. There are plenty of visual novel segments that tend to be extremely text heavy and these can go on for up to 10 minutes or more at a time. If you have the patience to sit through these segments without skipping through them, you’ll hear some great voice acting from seasoned veteran Japanese voice actors.
The story, however, is pretty lacklustre and the developers have opted to tell a different story to the mobile game. Instead of expanding upon or deep diving into specific characters’ backstories and lore from the mobile game we have a separate scenario here which rather explores the characters personalities. If you played the mobile game and you expected Azur Lane: Crosswave to be an all-encompassing experience, you won’t get that here. In Azur Lane: Crosswave, the four military nations are having a test battle and a mysterious unknown force interrupts this. The Sirens are the enemy this time around and the plot revolves around them and the mysterious Hexahedrons or “Cubes” that are scattered in the world. It’s quite generic throughout and fans of anime media will definitely pick up numerous storey tropes that have been rehashed over the years such as having an airheaded main character. The visual novel segments are sufficient in driving the plot forward but it’s a wasted opportunity that could have supplemented the mobile game to a far greater degree.
The story is also kneecapped by the fact that there are only 29 playable characters and 35 support characters in the game. The mobile Azur Lane game has well over 400 different characters and fans of the game might be quite disappointed to see that some of their favourite ships aren’t featured at all in Azur Lane: Crosswave. Nevertheless, the more popular ships are here and so too are their gorgeous artwork. The visual novel 2D depictions are high quality throughout. The in-game models look great too but the gameplay itself is incredibly lacklustre because of its simplicity.
Gameplay in Azur Lane: Crosswave involves players taking control of 1 of 3 ships in a battle against enemy battleships and flying units. Players will have to dodge enemy fire and rain down hell upon them with their own cannons and other armaments. The major downfall here though lies with the fact that battles are over far too quickly. After sitting through extended visual novel segments, players will face a battle that can be completed in less than 2 minutes by just pressing one button and shooting. It’s a baffling design choice and one that leaves you feeling as if you’re just here for the visual novel aspects and not for the battles at all. Couple this with the fact that the battles themselves are incredibly easy to S rank makes for gameplay that seeks to just satiate you with some interactive action.
With that said, however, there’s still some depth to the game with players being able to upgrade their ships and outfit them with weapons much like in the Azur Lane mobile game. You can also attack with special weapons and the characters can use special attacks when fully charged up. The addition of support characters also supplements this and there’s plenty of combinations on offer here. Additionally, players can make use of a photo mode and develop a relationship with a character and propose marriage.
The soundtrack in Azur Lane: Crosswave is filled with enjoyable tracks and the voice acting is great. There is no English dub though but that probably won’t matter much to the player base that’s used to the Japanese voice acting from the mobile game. Graphically, the visual novel images used for the characters as previously mentioned are gorgeous, while the combat graphics are adequate. This isn’t a mind-blowingly beautiful game but battles do have quite a lot of flashy effects and the overworld map and chibi character designs look amazing. It’s just truly unfortunate that battles are over so quickly and there’s very little variation with enemy designs or missions and gameplay.
Overall, Azur Lane: Crosswave is a game that will appeal to fans of the mobile Azur Lane game. Newcomers to the franchise can jump into Azur Lane Crosswave and will be introduced to multiple major characters from the mobile game and will still be able to enjoy themselves thanks to the easy gameplay and visual novel centric story mode. Players should however note that the visual novel aspects of the story mode take up most of the time you’ll spend playing. The actual battles are interspersed throughout in short bursts and it’s only after you complete the main story that you’re able to play a mode which focuses more on the actual gameplay. Azur Lane: Crosswave is therefore a mixed bag of great and mediocre.
Azur Lane: Crosswave was reviewed on PS4
You can purchase the game here for £44.99.
Azur Lane: Crosswave is available on the following Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
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Azur Lane: Crosswave
Change the tide of battle in this 3D action-shooter, recruit over 50+ ship girls from the hit mobile game, Azur Lane! Soak up 4 game modes, including including Extreme Battle Mode. Customize your fleet with different different ships and equipment!
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 44.99
Product In Stock: Not Available