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AX 2019: Azur Lane: Crosswave Hands-on

Thanks to Idea Factory International, Shipgirls are on the horizon for 2020! But, what can we expect from a collaboration between Azur Lane and Compile Heart? Let’s delve into Azur Lane: Crosswave to find out.

Azur Lane Crosswave | Featured

 

2019 seems to be the year of mobile games making their console debut. While we’ve already talked about Granblue Fantasy: Versus here at Hey Poor Player, it’s time we shift genres from fighting to a 3D Action Shooter with Azur Lane: Crosswave. Though first, we should probably talk a bit about what Azur Lane is.

Azur Lane is a mobile title created by Manjuu and Yongshi. The game is one of those odd exceptions when it comes to Eastern (in this case Chinese) developed titles in that it actually has an official English release. Conversely, Granblue Fantasy does not despite its popularity. This gives Azur Lane an interesting advantage when it comes to expanding its audience. Which, Azur Lane: Crosswave has an opportunity to do. What’s the premise of Azur Lane though? Well, tell me if this seems familiar.

In a World Where the Seas Have Been Lost, One Group of Shipgirls Stand in Defense of Humanity

Azur Lane: Crosswave | Image 1

A mysterious enemy has appeared from the seas; said force has taken control of over 90% of the world’s oceans. In order to reclaim the sea, the nations of the world create Azur Lane. A military organization that utilizes shipgirls in order to combat the Sirens and liberate the sea for humanity. If you’re already seeing parallels to Kantai Collection/KanColle then you’re not alone. The difference looks to be in the designs used and the gameplay. KanColle is a card battle game while Azur Lane is a shmup. How does that translate to the PS4, however? As a 3D arena battler interestingly enough.

The Azur Lane: Croswave demo pits a team of three shipgirls against another team of three shipgirls. Combat takes place on the open sea and I will tell you upfront that the water looks gorgeous. It may seem like a small detail, but I really was impressed with how the water not just looked but moved. When your game takes place on the water, you need to make sure it doesn’t distract from the action. Thankfully, the gameplay itself also was impressed with just how fun it was.

 

3-on-3 Nautical Shipgirl-on-Shipgirl Action

 

Azur Lane: Crosswave | Image 2

While 6v6 against a CPU might sound basic, what helps here is the way the game plays. If you’ve played either Virtual-ON, Another Century’s Episode, or the Gundam Versus games, you’ll feel right at home here. Your main goal is to outmaneuver your opponent and dodge their attacks, while also attacking with your own weapons. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a crack shot in order to take down your foes.

The targeting reticule your given is pretty large. As long as you have your enemy inside it, you’ll have a good chance of hitting them. Though, having them closer to the center does raise your chances. Another neat feature is the ability to swap between your teammates at any time.

You can freely swap between your three shipgirls. However, not all shipgirls are not created equal. Each girl has a different class, so you’ll want to make sure to pick a diverse team in order to combat your opponent. For example, Enterprise is an Aircraft carrier. This means she can launch small planes which will attack her enemy from a distance. However, you may not want to get her in close to an enemy then. Especially if they can run circles around her. Before we close this out, we should talk briefly about the developers and localizers of Crosswave and that would be Compile Heart and Idea Factory International. 

 

The Company with A Heart for Fanservice and the Team Which Brings Those Games to the World

 

Azur Lane: Crosswave | Image 3

Compile Heart and IFI are two companies I’m quite familiar with; as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Compile Heart (who is owned by Idea Factory of Japan) is well known for the Neptunia franchise and titles like Moero Chronicle Hyper and Omega Quintet. So, games featuring moe girls are something of their forte. As such, a game like Crosswave does fit in their wheelhouse. My only concern would be just much depth the game will have as Compile Heart often tries to reuse as many things as they can in a title. And since this isn’t one of their IPs, I imagine a lot of the development budget went into creating assets for this game. Still, the demo was fun, and you can tell effort was put into bringing these girls to life on the PS4. Which brings us to IFI.

The crew at IFI are some of the most passionate in the industry. The fact they’ve put on an otome festival for Hakuoki twice should tell you something. In addition, the localization team is good at bringing their characters to life and the product team always makes great limited editions. The main issue IFI has is also the one that plagues Compile Heart and Idea Factory games in general: Budget and time.

 

Azur Lane: Crosswave | Image 4

 

Sadly, IFI titles tend to run into the issue of text overruns and the occasional bout of bad text formatting. In the case of Azur Lane: Crosswave we don’t know the current state of the text since the version that was playable at Anime Expo was a Japanese build. As such, I can’t really comment on what the localization looks like right now. Hopefully, though IFI’s QA team is taking a close look at things and Compile Heart will be willing to fix anything that is discovered during the QA process. That said, let’s wrap this one up.

 

Set Sail for Shipgirl-to-Shipgirl Combat in 2020

 

Azur Lane: Crosswave | Image 5

 

Azur Lane: Crosswave looks to be an interesting title. I admit I’ve been somewhat hesitant about playing the more recent IFI titles, but I’ll probably give this one a try once it’s out. It honestly does look fun and it would be nice to learn a bit more about Azur Lane. If you’re an Azur Lane fan, then I think your franchise is in capable hands. If you’re on the fence though, definitely wait for a review. Especially since that will inform you as to the amount of depth the game has.

Azur Lane: Crosswave will be available in 2020 for the PlayStation 4. In the meantime, feel free to check out our reviews of other IFI titles. Including Death end re;Quest, Moero Chronicle Hyper, and Super Neptunia RPG.

Benny Carrillo
A gamer since the days of the NES and SNES and a reporter since 2015. This hat-wearing otaku loves niche Japanese games, but has a soft spot for visual novels, Super Robot Wars, Mega Man, yuri, and Nepgear. Benny has covered E3 and Anime Expo since 2015 and served as Operation Rainfall’s Visual Novel Manager. Now, this seasoned reporter spends his days trying to clear his epic backlog in between writing analytical articles and reviews.
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