Here's a game based on a mobile shoot 'em up with a cast of girls that are inspired by World War II ships. Now you've seen it all...
After watching a trailer for Azur Lane: Crosswave, its seemingly intense shooting action captured my imagination but now that I've played it, I must say that it's not what I expected at all. In the past, I played plenty of strange games such as one featuring anime girls that transform into cars but I have never seen anything quite like this.
Azur Lane: Crosswave essentially stars an eclectic group of anime girl / warship hybrids. There are a lot of these characters and you can recruit a ton of them, too. Specifically, there are 28 playable main characters and 35 helper sub characters. Anyway, the majority of the game is spent merely reading dialogue which can range from entertaining to mildly dramatic but honestly, I got bored of it after a couple hours. The rest of the time, you can configure your party and fight in battles that last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Battles have you control a character by using the left stick to move around the water's surface and the right to aim. Aside from that, you have 4 buttons assigned to various attacks and skills plus the ability to dodge. Even though all of that sounds promising, every battle basically plays out the exact same way as there is very little variety. In fact, you can completely change up your party and barely notice any changes aside your equipped weapons and skills which really don't make much of a difference. Sure, there are a lot of equipment pieces to collect and characters to unlock yet the shallowness of the combat restricts any sense of variety.
On the plus side, fighting in these battles is extremely intuitive and simple so anyone can easily pick up a controller and play Azur Lane: Crosswave with little to no instruction. In fact, the controls are conveniently displayed onscreen in case you'd like to take a quick glance at which abilities and weapons are assigned to which buttons. However, the level of difficulty remains minimal for a very long time as it takes hours and hours to become even slightly challenging and once it does, it's still a rather easy game even on hard mode.
Azur Lane: Crosswave's story mode has you navigate simple area maps while commencing dialogue scenes and battles. There are 6 main chapters as well as a prologue and final chapter and once you complete all of that, you can challenge a massive list of 110 Extreme Battles. It's funny that they're called that because again, they're not too difficult aside from some of the Emergency ones. As you play through all of this content, you'll unlock a wealth of additional features such as a photo mode, 58 bonus Episodes which are dialogue scenes, and gallery items that include story memories, illustrations, music, and your statistics via Battle Results.
Although all of this extra content is great, I can't help but feel that it's all too hollow. Heck, even purchasing and upgrading new gear isn't as satisfying as it should be. Yes, you will become stronger but what's the point when most battles can be completed with minimal effort? If you play Azur Lane: Crosswave as much as I did, you can even marry characters after increasing your relationship level and performing a few other mundane tasks but is it worth it? Well, if you want to fawn over an anime girl then maybe, I guess.
Your enjoyment of Azur Lane: Crosswave will almost entirely rely on your affinity for gawking at anime girls. If that doesn't align with your tastes then you'll likely be disappointed by the mostly tedious and repetitive experience offered here.
- + Loads of characters in an unconventional yet strangely compelling world
- + Simple combat that anyone can learn
- + Substantial amount of content to master
- - Takes a long time to become challenging
- - Combat gets repetitive and boring fast
- - Gives the illusion of gameplay variety