Review: BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle Could’ve Been Great if it Weren’t For All the Guest Characters

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a fast-paced team fighter that originally launched over 2 years ago. After several updates including 2 full seasons of DLC, we can now see that this game had huge potential but was ultimately held back by a staggering amount of unnecessary guest characters.

The trend of putting too many guest characters plagues the entire fighting game genre lately. Tekken 7 is a prime example, adding unexpected characters like Noctis from Final Fantasy and Negan from The Walking Dead. Other guest fighters like Akuma and Geese even required new gameplay mechanics like a meter system, EX moves, and Max Mode that frankly don’t belong in the game at all. These characters not only turn the game into something completely different, but also waste slots that could have been spent on more original characters that fans are clamoring for like Leroy and Fahkumram.

Unfortunately, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle takes this problem to a whole new extreme. Featuring only 19 BlazBlue characters, and an unprecedented 34 guest characters, the problem here is completely out of control. It’s even worse once you realize there’s not a single new BlazBlue character in the game, despite the absurd amount of room for these guests. To call this roster disappointing would be the understatement of the century.

The gameplay had potential but it’s ultimately stuck juggling too many different mechanics to accommodate the insane amount of guest characters. Between personas, statuses, drives, reverse beat chains, homing dash, pursuit air dash, and other unique movement options, it’s hard to remember that you’re even playing BlazBlue at all most of the time. This jumbled mess of clashing characters, styles, and mechanics just results in an incomprehensible game with no clear identity.

More than anything this game needed to trust the strength of its own brand rather than relying on these perplexing crossovers. The title of the game clearly says, “BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle”. It doesn’t say, “Persona: Cross Tag Battle.” It doesn’t say “RWBY: Cross Tag Battle,” or “Under Night In-Birth: Cross Tag Battle.” And it sure as hell does not say anything about Arcana Heart, Senran Kagura, or Akatsuki Blitzkampf.

I’m left to wonder at what point does this game turn into some sloppy crossover rather than a genuine entry in the BlazBlue series? There are a few good ideas here, but I can’t help but think about how great this game could have been if it had just stayed true to the franchise and had faith in it’s own roster of original characters. And with no more DLC announced, the current state of this convoluted mess is unfortunately a fate we can’t escape from.

Final Score for BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle: 3/10