Yes there is an AP system involved and it's somewhat close to that of Valkyrie Profile, but rather than have one character mapped to each face button instead you have each character's attacks mapped to the face button and you rotate between characters using the shoulder buttons. And while this all works in theory, you have the problem of accruing AP between rounds at a random pace. Seriously I never understood how much AP I was going to gain back on a turn, or even when my turn would come. Apparently it is determined by the agility of your characters and their remaining AP. This is a terrible system since it never gives you a clear idea when your turn is going to come. Also I find it strange that it is somehow beneficial to me to skip my first turn only to get a second turn immediately with more AP. If that were the case couldn't the computer do the same thing? There is a static way to increase your AP, and that is accomplished by draining one of the myriad of bars associated with an enemies health, and you do that by launching combo attacks by sequencing attacks with specific team members. These combos need to be discovered and aren't always obvious, but once you get them down your combo list will start to fill out and eventually you'll have staggering attacks involving your entire team.
Outside of battle the frustration only grows, especially when it comes to character growth. Let's say you have saved up some cash and you want some awesome new armor. Guess what, you can't just outright buy it. No, you need to do the following: buy the recipe for the item (the recipes themselves don't even tell you what items they make), collect the materials for the item (one of the materials being the item you want to make!), then pay a fairly large sum of money for the creation of the item (again paid to a member of your party), pray that the process is over while watching a cut scene (you can skip these thankfully), and then yes you have your shiny new piece of equipment, and it can be purchased outright. Now, this process of item creation is not a regular occurrence and this is because the items can be leveled up to hold you over longer. This is accomplished via spending another set of points earned during battle. These points can be used to level an item up to level five, and from there the item can be transmuted to an item used in future item creation. And then there is a whole other system that allows you to increase individual stats for an item by using other components to strengthen it. It's a mish-mash of ideas and it is really confusing. Let me just find a shop and shell out cash for items. If I have the items to create a new one let me do that, and make them reasonably powerful rather than constantly have to spend points to increase the power. All this past explaining has done is increase the time spent to read this review. And learning it all in the game just artificially added time to the game clock, with very little forward progress. Now imagine having done all this nonsense, and then getting in to a fight, and losing, whoops there went a half hour of your time.
NIS has a habit of bringing titles out that really aren't up to snuff graphically for PS3 games, and Cross Edge is no exception. This game is incredibly poor looking, which is kind of hard considering that Disgaea 3 was pretty weak graphically as well and you'd think people would take lessons from that experience. Characters are simple 2-D affair with a decent amount of animation, but overall don't look like they would tax the PS3 any more than they would a PS2. Some monsters are a different matter though, with decent looking beasts that are in 3-D, but at the cost of massive slowdown, why this happens at all is perplexing. A lot of enemies also have a very generic attack animation that is used for each of their attacks, be they close or long range. Audio is also a very forgettable affair, the voice acting is decent, and the music is nothing spectacular. I like that time was spent to get the teams to speak under specific conditions in battle, like when things are looking bleak someone will try to rally the troops.
I went in to Cross Edge being very excited about the prospect of having a game with characters from a bunch of my favorite games all wrapped up in to a combo-centric battle system and epic story, and then I put the game in to my PS3, and all hope was lost. The game's insane difficulty and terrible treatment to the end user is completely off-putting. I've been waiting for a PS3 RPG to take down some of the great RPGs on the 360 and even the PS2, and unfortunately Cross Edge will just dig the hole deeper for Valkyria Chronicles to climb out of. Don't be fooled by the substandard price of Cross Edge, because you're really getting a sub-standard game.
More On:Cross Edge
Cross Edge had a lot of potential to be great. But a stiff and simply not fun battle system, coupled with a silly level of difficulty make it a title you're going to absolutely slog through, no matter how much you love the characters and their respective franchises.
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