Azur Lane: Crosswave is out on the Switch and, well, it’s pretty much the same game we saw appear on the PS4 and PC in 2020. There are a few changes that feel significant, though. The move to a platform that’s a better fit for the genre helps it a lot. It also means having new photo options. Is it perfect? Not exactly, but it works really well.
While there are shooting game elements and RPG elements, Azur Lane: Crosswave is first and foremost a visual novel. It has an overarching story about the various heroines from different fleets dealing with hostile invaders known as the Sirens. It has character-specific episodes, like the Formidable and Taihou former-DLC stories included here in the base game. It even has a very brief scene where Neptune, from the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, appears to join your fleet. There is a lot of reading to do and a lot of choices to make. And we already know the Switch is good for those sorts of games, given its optional portable nature.
When the game does get active, it lends itself well to that too. From time to time, you’ll head into a brief battle with three of the heroines. These are brief shooter segments that tend to only last a few minutes. Think of them as a 3D shoot’em up where your characters move around a portion of an ocean to fight either other shipgirls or actual battleships. In most cases, you’ll be holding down a button while shots continually fire out, only occasionally stopping to fire special weapons that take time to prepare. It’s fine and it works.
Then, there’s the Azur Lane: Crosswave Photo Mode, which benefits from a few additions on the Switch. The additions being you can have six characters in a photo at once, instead of three, and you have some new options when setting up the camera angles. All of these are fine and work well enough. Having more characters around offers more posing options. The environments are big enough where this also means you can set up shots with fewer characters and don’t have to back out into menus as often.
But there’s a trade-off here. It’s probably rather obvious, but the Azur Lane: Crosswave Switch version isn’t going to have character models that look as good as the PS4 and PC ones. As such, you aren’t going to get really high quality photos out of this. It also isn’t going to look great if you try to cram six characters into a single shot. From my dabbling with the mode, I’d say even trying to arrange five characters is pushing it. There’s also the matter of getting rid of the UI for each shot. Which is something you also have to do even if you press A to capture a shot. (I assumed it would automatically remove it.) Plus, you have the watermark on the bottom, which can detract from the images.
This is a situation where a game is a good fit, but what’s new might not always be as enticing as you might expect. Azur Lane: Crosswave works well on the Switch, because it is a visual novel with occasional battles where you hold down buttons to unleash a barrage of bullets for one to three minutes. That might also eliminate any embarrassment some might have from playing a game with fanservice elements. Having Taihou and Formidable right away are nice perks too. But it also means accepting a visual hit in the updated Photo Mode. It’s a good fit, but with a few compromises.
Azur Lane: Crosswave is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC.