Blazblue Cross-Tag Battle – Full mechanics overview from New York Comic Con

Last weekend, fans got their first chance to play Arc System Works’ new Blazblue Cross-Tag Battle at the New York Comic con. On the surface, it looks like every other Arc System game, but once you get your hands on it you realize that this is a massive departure from fighting game tradition. The entire game has been streamlined to an extent we simply haven’t seen before. Its dedication to accessibility extends to removing abilities that we have come to take for granted in other fighting games… like walking! Let’s take a look.

 

Basic Controls

Blazblue Cross-Tag Battle uses a five button system. Three buttons control your character’s attacks while two control your tag-team partner.

The attack buttons are Light, Heavy, and Crash Assault. Tapping the light or heavy attacks in sequence trigger “smart combos”. These are auto-combos, however each move in the combo sequence cannot be executed in any other way. It operates very similar to how auto-combos operated in Persona 4 Arena. However, light can cancel into heavy and heavy can cancel back into light at any time, similar to Under Night In-Birth.

Crash assault is your “universal” attack button. Pressing it triggers a universal overhead which, if it hits, transitions into a meterless cinematic super where both of your characters attack the opponent at once. Pressing the Crash Assault button while crouching executes a universal sweep.

Movement is slightly different in Blazblue Cross-Tag Battle. There is no walking. Pressing forward makes you dash immediately. There is no longer any dash cooldown so dashing is safe. You may still have to double tap to dash cancel moves, however we haven’t seen a practical example of dash cancel combos yet. Air dashing and back dashing still requires a double-tap.

Combos are somehow both complicated and simple at the same time. Standing moves can combo into crouching moves and vice versa. Normals can combo into command normal, and vice versa. As mentioned before, lights can cancel into heavies and vice versa. However, each of these cancels can only be used once. For example, you can combo a standing light attack into a crouching light attack, and then combo back into a standing light attack, but you cannot combo back into a crouching light attack afterward. This is because you already used your standing to crouching light cancel in the beginning of the combo.

Most characters have a backward+light attack command normal which serves as a basic combo extender. Many moves can be jump canceled and many aerial moves can be double jump canceled. It does not appear as if super jumping exists in the game. Every character has an anti-air move though the command differs from character to character. There are no air-unblockables, so chicken blocking does work.

Tag Controls

Aside from the three basic attack buttons, there are also buttons for tagging and calling assists. Tagging works much like it does in other VS. games. Pressing the tag buttons makes your characters switch after a short run animation. It is vulnerable, but much less so than tags in other fighting games.

Assists make use of a new assist gauge. This gauge, found at the bottom of the screen, fills over time as long as you aren’t in the middle of a combo or getting hit. Calling an assist uses half of the gauge. Tagging does not use any of the gauge, however pressing the tag button after calling an assist immediately transfers control to your assist character and makes your point character retreat. This will likely be the preferred method of tagging. Each character has three assists, one which is triggered by pressing the assist button in neutral, one that is triggered when you hold forward, and one that is triggered when you hold back.

Pressing all three attack buttons and tag at once lets you use a tag like a burst or combo breaker. It takes 100% of the assist gauge, but causes your tag partner to come into the battle with an attack, even if you are currently getting hit. However, this attack can be baited and if it is, both characters can be comboed at once.

DHCs or tag-supers, are also in this game and are easy to perform. Just press the assist button during a super and your partner will come in and do their super as a follow-up.

By holding the assist button you can trigger the “cross combo.” This calls both characters into the screen at once to attack. The assist character will automatically follow the point character’s lead as you attack, however you can also control them manually by continuing to hold the assist button. Once the cross combo is activated the assist gauge depletes and when it is empty the cross combo ends. You can also tag during a cross combo to change which character you are directly controlling.

Using assists builds up your “Resonance Blaze” meter. Each assist you execute after the first increases the meter by one, to a maximum of four. When one character is dead, you can press the assist button to activate Resonance Blaze mode. This cashes in your levels of Resonance Blaze and turns them into levels of super over time. It also powers up your character’s supers and specials in various ways and lasts longer depending on how many stocks you build in your resonance meter when you activated it.

Finally, when a character dies, your other character comes in with an attack. It does not appear as if this attack is punishable, however if it hits, it can transition into a combo. This forces the opponent to back off into neutral after a character dies.

Supers, Specials, and Universal Commands

By pressing the light attack and tag buttons at the same time, your character will use their “reversal action.” This is an attack with invulnerability on the start but long cooldown. Reversal actions take many forms, from counter attacks to dragon punches, but they all quickly turn the tide of battle if they hit and are massively punishable if they are blocked.

Pressing forward along with the light attack and tag buttons makes you do a “reject guard.” This is essentially a much more powerful version of Marvel vs. Capcom’s pushblock. It costs one meter and pushes the opponent far across the screen.

Pressing the heavy attack and crash assault buttons initiates a throw. To throw escape, attempt to throw the opponent as soon as they throw you. Mashing on the throw command, however, will cause a “throw reject miss” so you have to hit it with perfect timing. Throws will automatically cause you to run forward toward the opponent when you execute them, in order to get into throw range. You can be punished during this run-up time.

All special moves are performed with either quarter circle forward and light or heavy attack or quarter circle back and light or heavy attack. By performing a quarter circle with the crash assault button, you will perform an EX version of your special move which costs a small amount of meter. All super moves are performed with either quarter circle forward and heavy attack+crash assault, or quarter circle back and the same.

Roster

The character select screen will divide the roster into categories. There are four categories, one each for Blazblue, Persona, Under Night, and RWBY characters, and one ETC category. This category has the random select icon, but will also feature guest characters, such as Akatsuki from Akatsuki Blitzkampf. The roster is not yet finalized and ASW is looking into including many fan favorites.

That’s all the info we have about Blazblue Cross-Tag Battle right now. It is currently slated for a 2018 release. We will bring you more information as new builds are made.