Reviewed: June 15, 2009
Released: May 26, 2009
Video game mash-ups are more and more inevitable as the years go by. Square and Disney gave us Kingdom Hearts, Capcom and Marvel have their own fighter, and Nintendo has their widely popular Smash Bros franchise. All of these titles speak for themselves by the truckload. So when Cross Edge, a PS3 RPG title featuring characters from Capcom, Gust Co., Namco Bandai Games, Idea Factory and Nippon Ichi Software landed on my desk I rather had high hopes. All of these companies have good games, some even bordering on fantastic, so I couldn’t wait to give Cross Edge a try.
Now if you’re wondering who over half of the developers are in Cross Edge you're probably not alone. Only two will likely be familiar to most of North America, Capcom and Namco Bandai. The other three companies will probably only be known if you are a reviewer like me or play games niche RPG titles like Mana Khemia 2: The Fall of Alchemy, Altier Marie, Spectral Souls and Ar tonelico: : Melody of Elemia. So without further wait I give you my review of Cross Edge for the PlayStation 3.
Cross Edge is a tactical Japanese RPG like most of the works that get published by NIS. The main story revolves around the main characters York Neely, and Miko Aiba as they are yanked into a world created by forgotten and banished ideas of five different worlds. That’s where the different developers come in. The rulers of this world suck up souls that find their way to it. But York, Miko and soon a bunch of others find themselves dragged into this created world with their bodies intact, not souls like all the rest. So they come across a girl named May that wants them to help her. Fun ensues after they agree to help… with a bit of persuasion.
To say the least, Cross Edge starts off pretty decently. There is a decent tutorial that explains the ropes for the first couple battles especially when a certain Darkstalker joins your team with in the first 10 minutes or so. Suddenly some of that partial nudity and suggestive themes description on the back of the box make a whole lot more sense. Joy!
The story is a fairly long one and satisfying itself. The cast is perhaps on of the best things about this title. Within the first 2 hours of playing I added over 6 people to my party and that’s just from the characters listed in the user manual. Each character has their own story from the universes that they come from. What’s great is that characters from the same universe carry on the same interaction that they would if you were playing their game.
The combat system of Cross Edge is probably one of the deepest that I have ever used, even beating out the combat system of Disgaea 3. One look at the on screen interface is enough to probably make you think twice about having picked up you controller. Personally it took a little while to get used to how it worked. But it simply boils down to pressing the desired skill set to the Triangle, Square, Circle and X Buttons for the desired player and doing so with whatever combination of characters you want until you can’t attack anymore. Cross Edge does feature the same “Combat phases” that Disgaea does so if you’ve played anything from that series this should be familiar. Each side gets a swipe at the other until they are incapable of attacking.
The combat system features an Action Count Gauge that activates when you use the first skill for your phase. All attacks and item use requires Attack Points (AP) and Skill Points (SP) to execute them. Your AP is based upon your level and increases as you level up and SP is gained by using skills, taking/giving damage, defeating enemies and having allies going unconscious. All of the characters either or not they are in your 4 person party will level up, though some not as fast upon defeating enemies.
The character development for Cross Edge is pretty deep just like the majority of the title. You are allotted points to use to strengthen your characters in several different areas as you see fit. One unique aspect of Cross Edge is the ability to increase your character’s ability by switching their Form or costume. In the case of all the girl characters it will alter their appearance. Hmm wonder who came up with that idea.
Though despite the deep story and combat system one thing in particular is a bit weird. All of the major characters, those that you can control, are from different worlds and yet they are the ones that run the shops in this created world. Throughout the world there are Save Points though not the conventional type that you used to. The Save Points in this title contain shops that allow you to do a number of things, though not one of them allows you to actually “save” your game. That option is actually hidden in the myriad of menus that you have available to you at anytime outside of battle.
Now the shops, run by your friends, allow you to composite, synthesis and upgrade items as well as your standard buying and selling of stuff. You can even exchange TP for items and titles as well as search the surrounding area for souls on a much better scale while at a Save Point. You can search for them outside the Save Points though that requires no TP but set you up for ambushes at any moment. The one thing that I will tell you is that you absolutely want to keep you party members as healthy as a horse as much as possible, because you pay through the nose to revive them. Your OWN teammate, Morrigan, charge you outrageous fees to revive any fallen teammate. So pack those potions like their going out of style.
Sadly one of the greatest disappointments about Cross Edge is the graphics. The title itself may be on a next-gen system but the graphics are still stuck in the past. The graphics as far as the character models and backgrounds are concerned are very much PS2 quality. I will say that the still animation images used in much of the dialogue scenes were well done. The animations that each character did in battle were decent but overall nothing screamed out for attention. A bit of a let down really.
Unlike the visuals Cross Edge’s sound is one of the better aspects of this RPG. The opening animation featuring the song “Blade of Tears” by Haruka Shimotsuki is quite good. The background music heard during fights is upbeat and gets you ready for the thrill of the battle. The one thing that I like the most is the ability to play Cross Edge with either an English or Japanese voice cast, both of which did superbly well.
Cross Edge has a lot to offer to RPG fans with its lengthy story, combat system and customization. There are hours of fun to be had here if you can get past figuring out the combat system and controls as well as tolerate the substandard graphics. You can pick this title up for around $50 bucks at most retailers, though I would wait until it drops to around $30 dollars. I did enjoy Cross Edge, thanks to a few animation beauties, but not as much as I thought I would. The last-gen graphics are more than likely responsible for that. I am playing this game on a PS3, I just expect better sometimes. Despite the lack of pretty graphics, the lengthy story and deep combat system as well as character customization is enough to make Cross Edge worth a try.