Cross Edge

Star-Crossed Levelers

Hands-on time with Cross Edge has revealed an interesting crossover RPG. Wanna know more?
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: May 8, 2009
It's amazing how much this whole crossover RPG... thing has caught on in Japan. Namco x Capcom, the recently announced Trinity Universe and the now US-bound Cross Edge are seeking to cull a litany of characters from multiple companies' franchises into something that (hopefully) appeases fans of everything. Cross Edge, though, is pulling from multiple genres in its attempt to mix and match characters both good and evil into a role-playing mash-up.

We managed to get our hands on a mostly-complete preview build of the game and spent a good three or four hours with things, digging into the grid-based battles system, but at NIS America's event here in the city last night, we were able to jump ahead a few more hours and could duke it out with a few more characters, namely Etna (yes, the same demoness from Disgaea, who we were still technically fighting in our in-house game and Zelos from Blazing Souls along with Mana Khemia 2's Raze.

Despite the new characters (and the fact that they weren't baby slapping enemies like our own in-house party was), the actual mechanics of the game were the same. That's a good thing, because our laziness in getting up a proper preview of the game can now extend far beyond the few minutes we played of the game at the event. See? Sometimes it pays to procrastinate! (We're kidding, kids, get your homework done early so you can play more games.)

The core of the game revolves around all the aforementioned characters -- plus plenty more from Darkstalkers, including Morrigan, who joins the party as the first crossover character, Marie from Atelier Marie, Lyner, Misha, Aurica, Ayatane and Shurelia from the first Ar Tonelico, just to name a few that we came across -- being pulled into a world where they're sticken with amnesia. A little memory loss is nothing, however, compared the fate of most "normal" souls in the world, who apparently become fodder for the more villainous inhabitants' nefarious plans.

After meeting a seemingly innocent little girl named May who is trying to rescue these souls, newcomers York and Miko from "our" world slowly regain their senses, hook up with Morrigan and the game's tutorials begin in earnest. See, each of these characters has a set of attacks mapped to the face buttons (initially just Square), but those attack have a limited range of squares on the grid. A set number of action points are assigned each round (and can be stocked by resting), and the characters are free to move around prior to fighting at the expense of some AP.

We're definitely over-simplifying the whole thing, but to be entirely honest, the battle system is far from intuitive. We had to stop fairly often to check the in-battle cheat sheet, then drill down to see the different characters' attacks to see things like range and how they stacked with other characters. Luckily, that led to learning how to prioritize certain attacks before others because they could be Chained to awesome effect. Individual attacks (at least for our lame characters, the same can't be said for the event party) were rather wimpy at first.

After duking it out a few times, learning the ropes of the battle system and exploring things (we could send out a pulse that would allow us to uncover hidden items), we discovered a save point where we could buy items, do a little crafting with Marie (she is from the Atelier games, after all, where crafting is key), using points earned from battle to upgrade character's weapons and chillax a little. Weapon upgrades were interesting in that they could be boosted up to five levels and after the fifth upgrade, would turn into another item that could be used in crafting.

We've gotta give developer Compile Heart (or is that Idea Factory, we can't keep track) credit for at least trying to incorporate elements from a large variety of different games and publishers. Darkstalkers from Capcom, Idea Factory's Spectral games, Nippon Ichi's Disgaea series, Gust's Mana Khemia and Atelier series and Banpresto's Ar Tonelico are all present and accounted for, and the battle system, while a little overwhelming right now, offers a ton of depth in upgrades and strategy.

We'll be giving the game a more lengthy look as we get closer to its release later this month, so keep an eye out, but as always we've cobbled together a handful of images and a trailer to keep you sated. Don't say we don't love you!