Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
Developer: IDEA FACTORY, COMPILE HEART, FELISTELLA
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Franchise: Azur Lane
Release Date: Feb 13, 2020
Edited by Thorstag
It’s not often that a mobile game gains enough popularity to spawn an anime of its own, and even fewer ever venture beyond the confines of a phone screen to make an appearance on consoles or PCs. Azur Lane has now done both of these things. In full disclosure, my only familiarity with the series stems from cross-promotion events with the popular seafaring war simulator known as World Of Warships. This in and of itself is an achievement for a mobile game, but today we’re here to discuss the latest venture of this beloved franchise.
The basis of the setting is quite simple, if not a bit weird. The world has seen peace for a very long time, until an alien force invades the watery home of these peaceful people, driving them to war for the first time. The ones fighting this war are a unique group of women who somehow have the power to transform into famous warships from our very own history books.
Overall, the graphics are beautifully drawn, and each character has their own unique style. Animations are clean and don’t overstay their welcome as well. The music and sound effects are a different story though. The music is repetitive at times, but always fits the scene that accompanies it. Sound effects lack that punch you would expect from a cannon, and ships sound like they’re just splashing around. The game does have fully voiced dialogue scenes, but we’ll touch more on that later.
There are over 30 playable characters, and several more support characters to unlock as you grind your way through long health bars and fast-paced arcade-style naval battles. Each playable character falls into one of 3 distinct groups that balance each other in a rock paper scissors style.
The equipment consists of 2 weapons, an AA gun, 2 optional units, and a few skills that can not be customized and are dependant on the chosen character. Each character gains access to a limited selection of weaponry based on the ship they transform into, but optional gear can be used by any character. This equipment can be upgraded by using parts found by exploring the story maps and winning battles.
Battles are a very simple affair of driving your warship around in circles while loosely keeping your aiming reticle on target and spamming weapons fire. A generous aim assistance lock-on feature, which cannot be disabled, will ensure that most of your shots hit their mark without much trouble. Each mission has you repeat the above process to sink a few waves of enemy crafts while attempting to keep yourself and your other two allies floating safely above the salted grave. You may switch to any character on your team at any point during the battle to activate skills or utilize their unique weaponry to remove the opposition from your sights. In addition to the three main characters you select for your mission, you also have up to 3 support characters that provide boosts, supportive fire, and other benefits to your active team during combat.
While these conflict scenarios are the cornerstone of the game, they are not what most of your playtime will be consumed by. Each mission takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and there are only five to six of them in a single chapter of the story. The majority of your time spent with this game will be spent reading the hours of localized text, which translates the excellent Japanese vocal talent. There is more than 20 hours worth of fully voiced dialogue scenes in the main story, and even more scenes unlock as you recruit new characters into your fleet. This is awesome for people who enjoy reading long blocks of text, but I would have liked to see some English voice options available. Because of this, I’m not able to fully comment on the story as the reading required to gain a full understanding of what’s going on would put a strain on my already poor vision.
After the main story is complete, there are still many things left to do. There are challenge missions, additional cutscenes, and characters left to unlock. Each character can even be raised to their maximum level for those true completionists out there. A final gameplay-related note before we shift over to discussing the port, there are 3 difficulty levels; however, they only seem to modify base enemy health and damage numbers with a priority towards health. There isn’t much reason to play on anything higher than easy unless you just really like driving in circles and firing more ammo than a warship could conceivably carry.
The game performs flawlessly and has no noticeable slowdown, however, the options menu is a bit bare bones. You only have control of the resolution, as well as a preset configuration for the rest of the graphics. Audio settings are what you would expect, and the game gives you the ability to customize the controls for both gamepad and keyboard/mouse users.
- Fun arcade gameplay
- Well-drawn graphics.
- High-quality voices.
- No English voice option
- Battles feel repetitive after a while
- Dull sound effects
Glitchedvision0101 gives Azur Lane Crosswave a Drastik Measure of 6.0(60)
If you’re a fan of the series, then you probably won’t be disappointed, but I would give a hard pass on this if it’s your first experience with the series. It’s good for a few hours of arcade-style naval slaughter at the very least. You can find the PC version on Steam for $49.99