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Backlog Impressions | Azur Lane: Crosswave

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Despite them not really being for me, I can’t deny the popularity of mobile games. You know, those time wasters that are often pre-installed on your phone that distract you from things like doing your job or washing the dishes. Now, it’s not unexpected to find fun little mobile games that are inspired by or based on a version of a “bigger sibling” game, but what if we turned the tables? What if little kohai became the senpai?

Well, Idea Factory is back with an even beefier offering for their kawaii ship-girl simulator, Azur Lane: Crosswave, featuring five new pieces of DLC! But, was it worth the leap from your handheld device, or should you just take your chances in its gotcha counterpart?

Please Notice Me Senpai?

Considering the original Azur Lane was found on mobile devices, I didn’t know much about it. I tend to ogle over the fancy anime-esque art for games like it, but never really take the plunge. I find I don’t have much patience for games that require me to roll a die, or pull a lever in hopes to get that one character I really want. However, when Idea Factory dropped the vanilla version of Azur Lane: Crosswave in early 2020, my sights were set and I came to a realization – I needed all the kawaii ship-girl action I could get.

Despite being impressed by the graphics and having fun with the battle sequences, we didn’t get very far though. I mean, I had all the best intentions, but you know how the life of a backlogger goes. We get easily distracted by new and shiny things. However, with the release of some new DLC, I thought it would be a great time to jump back in and give Azur Lane: Crosswave the fair shake it deserves!

You Sunk My Oneechan

So, as I mentioned before, the characters in Crosswave are super cute and I absolutely love the art direction. Also, the action sequences are a fun distraction from the text heavy narrative. I mean having a harem of battleship waifu to choose from in order to blast your enemies out of the water, is what dreams are made of. With that being said however, there’s one glaring issue – the game as a whole is a bit shallow. You know, despite taking place on the open ocean.

What I mean by that is, if you were to measure the ratio of time between clicking through page after page of dialog versus shooting at battleships with your fancy anime ladies, you’ll see that Crosswave is heavily skewed toward being a novel. Which isn’t out of the ordinary for games like this, but when I finally get to “play” the game and it lasts no more than a minute before I’m thrown back into it’s chapter and verse, then I get a bit impatient. Especially when the shooting sections have such potential!

I say potential, because even though it’s fun, it really just needs to be fleshed out. That and each of the girls need to have more variation between them, in a gameplay sense at least. You do have three or four different types of character classes to choose from (light, medium, heavy, etc), but that really only changes the type of weapons they can use. Once you get into battle, you’re basically just mashing buttons until the enemies die. That being said, you are also able to collect a wide variety of items used to craft or upgrade your weapons that can then be equipped to each character, so there is that. Nevertheless, with no real way to compare what each of your other team mates are equipped with, it made swapping gear a guessing game. That fact alone discouraged me from experimenting too much, or from trying new characters out, which I felt was probably supposed to be one of Crosswave’s biggest draws. Especially when the DLC adds fives new characters!!

Lawfully Armed Waifu

Luckily, you do have access to these DLC characters right away, even if you start a fresh save. You’ll have to get a little deeper into the story to see the additional content associated with them, but at least you don’t have to wait hours upon hours to take them for a spin. However, at $7.99 a piece, you better enjoy that slog or have the patience of the most dedicated otaku!

Honestly, I was really rooting for this game to be great! It’s premise is kind of ridiculous and I love it! But, having to put in so much work for so little payoff in the gameplay, really bummed me out. So, if there ever was a sequel to Azur Lane: Crosswave, I think it would vastly benefit from a much more balanced setup. Cut out all of the BS, the superfluous dialog sequences that have nothing to do with the story, and focus on what makes the game unique and alluring – BLOWING SHIT UP WITH BATTLESHIP WAIFU! Oh and maybe make the item management, you know… a little more manageable.

A Steaming Cuppa Kohai

So, what it comes down to is, should YOU play Azur Lane: Crosswave. Well, if all you’re here for is cute anime ladies and could care less about all of that reading. Then I think you’ll enjoy yourself. Honestly, the battle sequences would probably be a nice treat. But, if you’re looking for a fulfilling gameplay experience that challenges you for more than a minute at a time, then you might want to look elsewhere. Especially if reading dialog that 80% of the time has nothing to do with your objective, isn’t you’re jam.

If you’re interested in checking out Azur Lane: Crosswave and all of its DLC, then you can find it on the PlayStation 4 and Steam!