Crosswave by Azur Lane is a great reminder that history is full of moments when enterprising people received inspirations — moments when they decided just to combine things.
The waffle cone and ice cream are available. A hamburger patty and bread. World War II ships and anime ladies. Lemon and… pause, did someone say World War II vessels and anime girls
Yes, that’s right. Somebody decided that “You know what would look cool?” Transforming World War II vessels into cute, animated girls
Azur Lane isn’t the only game that did this. Kantai Collection isn’t actually the first shipgirl game, but it is the one that has amassed such a large following. A variety of otaku IP dating back to earlier times features anime girls with armaments sporting a classic mechanical theme. Strike Witches are available, as well as its minimalist Striker units. These planes look very similar to World War II planes. Sky Girls combines futuristic and classic mech elements into one.
Azur Lane is the latest in a long list of interesting anime girl concepts. Azur Lane is notable in that it was originally a mobile game developed in China that went on to become a huge success in Japan. This just shows that entertaining products can be created, updated regularly, and listened to by your community. It doesn’t matter where your game is from. You will be rewarded by the otaku community for opening their hearts and wallets.
Crosswave, an offshoot or “mobage” of Azur Lane’s mobile game, is an attempt at bringing the Azur Lane world to consoles and computers. It’s important to remember that Crosswave is not the same game as Azur Lane mobile. Crosswave, however, is an entirely separate entity. It features many of the same characters as the original mobile game. Crosswave’s story is unique, focusing on a new pair of characters. Combat, meanwhile replaces the 2D side-scrolling action of the original mobile game with 3D skirmishes. It is a side-game that complements Azur Lane, which has continued to be a strong mobile game to this day. Crosswave is not a mobile game that everyone will love. Crosswave might make you dislike some of its unique features, especially the 3D combat.
Crosswave’s mobile game lacks storytelling, but it does have one thing that Crosswave excels at: storytelling. Crosswave’s storytelling is more fluid than the mobile game. It has a smooth flow and is quite chunky. It is also spoken in Japanese and is very generously. It has so much voiced dialogue, that it feels almost like a visual novel with fights in between.
The story is about two ship girls, Shimakaze (previously mentioned), and Suruga (currently). Shimakaze, a spunky, rabbit-eared Shimakaze, has a happy, eager personality. Sometimes, this can lead to her getting into trouble. However, she’s an honest, good-natured kid and seems to have a lot of potential. This is something that many of the elite ship girls in the game pick up on.
Suruga, however, is a more calm and confident person than she appears at first glance. However, Suruga is a bit of an eccentric mess. Suruga, unlike Shimakaze prefers to not draw attention to herself because of her confidence issues. Suruga is the type of person who likes to do well enough to avoid being at the bottom, but not so much that she stands out. Suruga’s plans are often thwarted by Shimakaze who is too eager to please and ends up pulling Suruga along. Suruga decides not to have anything to do initially with Shimakaze and develops jealousy towards her shipmate, as the rabbit-eared girl begins to get more attention. However, they end up being partnered together due to their initial problems.
Crosswave shares a similarity with the original mobile game in that it has a mysterious foe who manipulates events behind-the scenes. The conflict is anchored by futuristic enemies called Sirens. Their machinations eventually cause the various factions of the game, including the Sakura Empire and Eagle Alliance, Royal Navy, Ironblood, to join forces in a joint exercise.
Crosswave’s story was a pleasant surprise to me, especially considering the jumbled feel of mobile games’ storytelling. Crosswave does use a lot anime tropes, whether it’s humor or themes like the bonds of friendship. It was impressive, however, how much effort was put into it. Crosswave’s best feature is the voiced dialogue. It adds an extra dimension to the story. These scenes include touching scenes, as well as entertaining segments that use the Japanese concept “moe”, or humorous instances. Knowing Japanese, many scenes were even more funny to me, like Kaga’s suggestion that the tentacled Purifier be called “Tako Lady”. Although it shouldn’t make you laugh, the proud and sarcastic delivery was perfect. Azur Lane Crosswave is a great choice for visual novel-style dialogue or exposition fans.
Crosswave’s combat feels a little lacking in Crosswave, despite the fact that the storytelling is better than the mobile game. It is interesting that Crosswave’s new 3D combat lacks the same elements that make the mobile game so enjoyable in short bursts. Although the base mechanics are fine, they are very similar to action games like Virtual On and a multitude of Gundam games. The battles are too easy because the difficulty is balanced to balance the mobile game’s tendency to prioritize battles lasting less than 120 seconds. This lack of challenge, even in battles of greater difficulty, can ruin what could have been a promising combat system. Battles often consist of dashing in one direction, doing normal moves, waiting for your special attack refill, firing it, switching to a partner, and then switching to another to fire her special attack. This is assuming you don’t kill everyone too fast.
While I can understand why the developers chose to keep the same ideas that made the mobile game so popular, I also appreciate their decision. You want to dance with the person who brought you. Although it is possible to have a few quick skirmishes on mobile platforms, it can feel stale on home consoles where the players expect a more detailed experience. You can still enjoy it if you go with the flow. It can quickly become repetitive, especially because the ship girls aren’t all that different.
Crosswave offers other features to keep players busy. These include weapon farming and upgrading as well as various unlockable gear and ships and the more difficult Extreme Battle Mode. It doesn’t have as much content as its mobile counterpart, but it does offer more than the mobile version. This game is solid, but it feels like a first attempt, especially if you are coming from the mobile original.
Azur Lane Crosswave is basically a tale of two parts. The story mode features a long, engaging narrative that doubles as a visual novel. It also has excellent Japanese voice acting and nice art. The 3D combat is on the other side. It starts off promising, but then becomes a little dull and shallow. It’s almost the exact opposite of the mobile game. Crosswave was a great game for me, even though I’ve been called an “otaku” by Japanese friends. However, I feel the combat and the overworld mechanics could be improved. Crosswave is not for everyone. It might still be worth it if you love Azur Lane’s lore.