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Cross Edge review

AT A GLANCE
  • Eclectic RPG all-star cast
  • An abundance of unlockables
  • Prinnies always entertain, dood!
  • Graphics would be dated even on PS2
  • Boring, drawn-out combat
  • Confusing, uninformative tutorials

You can really sum up Cross Edge's endless problems in a single sentence: It feels like it was designed in a Japanese boardroom. And that's because it likely was. When you've got a role-playing game featuring characters from Capcom's Darkstalkers, Nippon Ichi's Disgaea, Idea Factory's Spectral Souls, and Gust's Ar Tonelico and Atelier franchises (among others), chances are you're dealing with a lot of behind-the-scenes politics.

"Let's see... We need Disgaea's tag-team attacks, Darkstalkers' combos, Ar Tonelico's pseudo-real-time battles and sexy costumes for the ladies, Atelier's complex alchemy system..."

Sure, all those ideas work within the context of those individual games – and we actually love fan service, so no complaints there – but toss 'em all in the same RPG melting pot, and you've got a mess of a recipe. To be fair, it's a somewhat amusing mess when the story's progressing -- where else can you see Disgaea's lovably incompetent Prinny penguin-demons interact with Capcom's burly fighting-game superstars, after all? But it's an absolutely maddening mess when the time comes to actually play the game.
 
To start with, it's clear the developers wanted to satisfy every possible franchise fanboy who might pick up Cross Edge, so the game tosses about 10 playable characters at you within the first couple of hours. By then, you've got an army of sexy succubi, androgynous warriors, and randy robo-babes – and no clue how to actually use them in battle. Cross Edge throws you into combat with only a cursory explanation of its complex concepts, which revolve around a confusing series of buttons and meters representing enigmatic terms such as "Burst," "Break," and "Down." And you know a battle system's too complicated for its own good when you need to manually activate the option to display something as basic as hit points.

Maddeningly, despite the complexity of the battle system, the characters themselves have an extremely limited number of combat options, particularly in the first third of the game. For example, if you have Ar Tonelico's Aurica in your party, she can handle healing. No, that doesn't mean that you should direct her to heal instead of attack – that means that if you assign her to heal in battle, that's literally all she can do! Combat opens up a little more as the story progresses and characters gain more abilities, but few gamers will have the patience to stick with Cross Edge that long.

Exploration's at least gotta be a little easier, right? Surely it's simply a matter of traveling from town to town and dungeon to dungeon? No, that'd be too pedestrian. Instead, all story-related events and locales are hidden, which means that you've gotta spend your time wandering around the map looking for these locations with a horrifically inefficient search spell.

Thankfully, Cross Edge does offer a minor reward for all the headaches: the amusing interplay between the fish-out-of-water cast, helped by some clever writing and competent voice acting. If you're an RPG masochist, Cross Edge does allow for hours upon hours of replayability, with endless lists of costumes and alchemy recipes to complete, along with multiple endings. But you can find these elements in games like Ar Tonelico and Disgaea – the superior games from which these characters are borrowed – without the broken core of a game you'll find here. So why not just play the originals that inspired Cross Edge instead?

Jun 12, 2009

More Info

Release date: May 26 2009 - PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: NIS America
Developed by: IDEA FACTORY
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes, Tobacco Reference, Mild Fantasy Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

7 comments

  • seabassuk - August 26, 2010 8:33 a.m.

    Still brought it.
  • Metroidhunter32 - August 13, 2010 11:04 p.m.

    Relying on pure fanservice is never a good idea.
  • bmrskate - June 14, 2009 5:12 a.m.

    I'm SO disappointed hearing this. I'm about to buy a PS3 (finally) and one of the first games I wanted to try was Cross Edge! Come on, old school (at least for my age) Darkstalkers, Ar Tonelico, Spectral Souls AND Disgaea characters?! With hilarious Disgaea-like cutscenes?! Thank you Mr. Fitch for crushing my hopes.....well at least I have a ton of other RPGs to look at like Valkyria Chronicles and Disgaea 3! YAY for rebound games!
  • Amnesiac - June 17, 2009 4:30 a.m.

    Wandering around the world map hitting square over and over to find where I'm supposed to go is absolutely infuriating. I loved the humor and dialogue (Prinnies FTW!) and the combat is very slowly growing on me, despite it being so damn convoluted, but yeah, this game has SO many problems that could have and should have been avoided.
  • UnkownSoldier2 - June 13, 2009 10:12 p.m.

    just horrible
  • Corsair89 - June 13, 2009 4:40 a.m.

    Yeah, it was frustrating. You guys forgot to mention that you can't just buy new and better equipment, you have to buy synthesis recipes and then synthesis them with hard-to-find materials. It's a problem that should have been easily avioded. Plus, the diffuculty is insane, on top of a steep learning curve. I hate the fact that all the cutscenes are are 2D sprites and character pictures. I really wish they stuck in some anime cutscenes. The game has unnessicary problems, like the overly complicated combat, the forced exploration, on and on and on. But, despite all that, I still enjoyed it. The cast rules, the dialogue is good, and the Prinnes are hysterical. my favorite line was, "Sneaky, dood... Steathly, dood... Crunchy, dood...wait, that's not right!" lol. It's a damn shame that this game wasn't better.
  • GoldenMe - June 12, 2009 9:58 p.m.

    Aww man. I wanted to see a tag team with KOS-MOS and Morrigan!

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