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Azur Lane: Crosswave Review

Azur Lane: Crosswave Review

It’s been a while since I was convinced to download the mobile title Azur Lane, and get into the event grinding, shipgirl marrying spirit. As such, I got quite excited to see that there was a 3D version being made - no more tapping a screen, full control baby! The Azur Lane: Crosswave trailers promised much, just without actually promising it.

See, a big issue that people are having with Crosswave is that it is quite talky. The trailers leaned heavily into the action stuff, whereas the game is packed full of the various characters talking to one another. In the first hour of gameplay, you’re in battle for five minutes and moving around the map for another five - the rest is various Kansen chatting, discussing and expositing.

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If you’re unfamiliar with Azur Lane, it sees ship girls - AKA Kansen - from different countries fighting against the evil Sirens. Each Kansen is based on a real-world ship. For instance, one of Eagle Union’s Kansen is Enterprise, named after the American Navy’s aircraft carrier. The countries used to be at war, but now they’re on friendlier terms to take on said Sirens. Where those come from is never explained, it’s just Kansen-like beings trying to take over the world or something.

Again, it’s unclear where Crosswave takes place in the broader universe of the mobile game and anime series, or whether it’s a separate entity completely. It follows the exploits of Suruga and Shimakaze, two members of Sakura Empire’s fleet, when their nation decides to hold a Joint Military Exercise. Kansen have to collect mysterious cubes over the course of several events, and whoever gets the most wins.

This being a visual novel with action sequences, I won’t give away any more of the story. Suffice to say, in over seven hours of gameplay, you’ll experience quite a bit of story.

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Every so often you’ll get into a fight, or a sequence of fights. These plonk you and your fleet into a bordered arena where you’ll come under fire from airplanes, mass-produced ships and the occasional Kansen or three. You can swap between the three Kansen you take along with you whenever you want, and they will usually have different attacks with their own cooldowns. Main guns, torpedoes and a couple of special attacks usually.

The battles themselves can be quite challenging, but they can also be very easy, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of gradual progression, despite your Kansen getting more powerful. Each battle can consist of multiple stages where you have to destroy a certain number of planes, mass produced ships or Kansen. It’s honestly very repetitive, which is in keeping with the mobile game. The controls are smooth, as is the animation. The framerate, however, can drop when there are multiple Kansen doing special attacks, as well as planes and mass produced ships firing at you. Which happens often, let me tell you.

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As you progress through the game you’ll obtain points that will allow you to unlock more Kansen for your fleet, though you can only ever have three main Kansen and three for support. You also need to think about their loadouts, and each piece of weaponry or equipment requires materials to upgrade.

Each of Azur Lane: Crosswave’s battles will award you with items, and some of them are only available in specific chapters. So if you want the most powerful ship girls around you will need to grind - or go back to previous chapters once you’ve completed the game.

After finishing the campaign you unlock new modes; Extreme Battle Mode, Photo Mode and Episodes which shows what certain characters were doing during the story. You also unlock the ability to upgrade Kansen to level 200, and you can also marry them. Well, it’s called Pledge, but it’s only available when their affinity level is at “love” and you propose to them, so…

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For a game featuring only female characters in sometimes skimpy outfits, and especially put out by Felistella, Idea Factory and Compile Heart, I was very surprised at how lacking in fanservice it is. Not that it’s a bad thing, just like a lot of this game it was unexpected. Of course, there are bits of fanservice, such as outfits that show a bit of boob or skirts that show some underpants, but only a few of the Kansen have breast physics, and that’s not even on show for the majority of the game. All of the visual novel stuff is with static images, only some of which have been very slightly redesigned from the mobile versions.

Overall, the visuals are good. The animation is smooth when not in a pitched battle, the art is great and expressive… The audio is where it stumbles a bit. The voice acting is fantastic, I have no issues with the Japanese-only audio. The sound effects are also suitable. The music, however, is far too short and the loops are incredibly obvious and jarring. I think there are only a couple of tracks where I couldn’t hear the point where it looped, and it’s not like I’ve got a great audio setup and an ear for music.

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Although I quite enjoyed my time with it, I can’t excuse Azur Lane: Crosswave’s faults. Repetitive combat, uneven framerate, tons of grinding… Fans of the mobile title will enjoy this, though one thing I think they missed out were alternate outfits for the Kansen. If you have a dislike of anime style games with fully voiced Japanese dialogue, you won’t get any enjoyment out of this. But then, you wouldn’t have read this review after seeing the images, so that’s kinda moot.

6.00/10 6

Azur Lane: Crosswave (Reviewed on Windows)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

Fans of the mobile title will enjoy this, if you have a dislike of anime style games with fully voiced Japanese dialogue, you won’t get any enjoyment out of this.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan


Guaranteed to know more about Transformers and Deadpool than any other staff member.

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