Azur Lane: Crosswave Review – Riding the Wave of Fanservice

    Title: Azur Lane: Crosswave
    Developer: Compile Heart
    Release Date: February 13, 2020
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: Idea Factory International
    Genre: Action

Chances are you’ve heard of Azur Lane. If you haven’t, well, the crash course is that they are waifu embodiments of warships known as “Kansen.” Originally a mobile game, the franchise has found its way onto consoles with the release of Azur Lane: Crosswave. Much like its mobile counterpart, the game requires that fans invest themselves in the game for hours to receive various rewards, which might not work for anyone who doesn’t already have a shipfu.

The story of Azur Lane: Crosswave mainly focuses on Shimikazi, a rookie destroyer who has found herself biting off a little more than she can chew. There happens to be an unknown enemy lurking in the waters known as Sirens, who threaten the world’s peace. Along with the arrival of Sirens are hundreds of cubes hidden throughout the region. It’s up to the fleets to research these strange cubes as they conduct war games to learn more about their enemy and hopefully put a stop to their plans. However, the cube’s power might be a little too much for some ships to look past.

The story has its highs and lows, but if you’re a fan of these characters, I think you’ll appreciate the lengths of fanservice that the writers have included throughout the 10+ hour campaign. Those who are just getting their feet wet with this series will meet some of the most popular characters it has to offer. Still, these characters each have established personality, which ties into some of their humor. This might make some players feel left out, but for the most part, story delivery is kept pretty light. That said, there are some great moments, and the climax of the adventure is rather entertaining.

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Story aside, Azur Lane: Crosswave allows players to form teams of three Kansen and take them into battles. Battles all play out the same, which you can imagine can get repetitive rather quickly. Throughout the story, players have to take down several ships or fight against another Kansen. There is no variety here, just mindless shooting. Furthermore, some missions can be completed in less than a minute, which sends you right back to about 20 minutes of dialogue before you enter a new mission.

I wish the developers created some variety, such as escort missions or making your way through a battlefield to help a downed enemy. There’s just so much invested here that it doesn’t seem they even tried to make this compelling at all. Given that players are required to level up each of their ships to unlock everything, battles get old, fast.

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Luckily, the game handles rather well during gameplay, and the ships weave and charge through the water with ease. Some battles won’t require too much skill, but some challenge missions require the player to understand their ships and how to use them to complete the objective. Depending on the class, ships are more or less the same in battle. However, their passive skills are all unique, which can be leveled up using materials gained through gameplay.

Ship customization allows players to choose which gun type they want to be equipped to the character, followed the option to strengthen each weapon. It’s rather basic in concept, but there are rare weapon types that require some material grinding if you hope to power them up all the way. Furthermore, there are support characters who can be leveled up. These characters add bonuses to the beginning of the fight and definitely make things a bit easier in some of the tougher battles.

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After the story mode is completed, players have access to a range of other modes. Extreme Battle, which offers some challenging missions, but also requires you to use specific Kansen, which means it’s suggested to level them all up, and Episodes, which are fun little interactions between characters to add to the fanservice aspect of the game. Furthermore, players can get extremely close to the girls and even propose to them. This does require the girl to love the player, which means they’ll need to be level 100, which unlocks awakening, and then they’ll need to do something else. For this review, we didn’t have time to complete all of that, but we hope its worth it to those who wish to go steady with their ship girl.

Illustrations are what players of the mobile game will recognize, which are each well detailed and gorgeous on the big screen. I would have liked more poses to be made to make the long story scenes more immersive, but only the character’s facial animations change. There are also special CGs that can be unlocked, which are fantastic. Still, there could have been more offered here.

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Azur Lane: Crosswave is for the fans, plain and simple. The game might hold over a newcomer for an hour or two, but the repetitive nature of the gameplay won’t keep their attention. Still, there are some rather attractive ship girls here that make it all a little easier to digest. This game knows its audience and doesn’t cater too much outside of that. The added modes and layers of customization are a nice touch to keep players invested in powering up their waifus for hours. I ended up enjoying the story for what it was and also the episodes, but keep in mind that there is a lot of dialogue in this game much to that of a visual novel.

Azur Lane: Crosswave has plenty of fun elements about it, but know that this is simply the mobile game brought to a 3D space. There are aspects of the game that I feel fell short, but I did enjoy the challenge, and the after story offerings are enough to want to continue playing. Plus, I never had to worry about burning money on gacha rolls.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.