Talking BBxTag with SKD

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, the latest in the popular anime fighting game franchise, is one of Evo’s main stage titles this year and SKD has been putting time in the lab with this title since before launch. BBTag brings interest for players with brand new features like the tagging system and crossover characters; we think what better way to get the breakdown of this game, than hearing from the BlazBlue pro give his well-tested opinion on the new title:   

Since beta, what were your initial thoughts going into the game?

“I had been able to play the game long before release a bunch of times, so I kind of knew what I was getting myself into. I had a pretty good gauge of how the game was going to turn out. I definitely liked how freeform it is, but the thing that stuck out to me the most was how strong traditional defense, and defensive options were. I think that kind of thing really lets players show their awareness and it is really rewarding in BBTAG, definitely one of the reasons why I played vanilla BB for so long. The overall freeform nature of the game was super cool to me too, while still being curtailed as to not be too crazy, so I was pretty hype[d]. The game rewards creativity and strategy really well, especially in a way that I couldn't necessarily have in vanilla BB with all the crazy assist usage and stuff.”

What do you think of the new features? (i.e. Tag system, mixing characters, etc.)

“I think they're really well designed and implemented! Everything is created in a way where they have their pros and cons, so the game really does make you feel the weight of your decisions. A lot of resources can potentially be considered when making a choice, so it tends to be dynamic. The form that a lot of guesses take is kind of...fresh, so to speak, just because of the fact that you can DO something crazy that accomplishes a goal, but still does it well. That's all generally because of how loose the tag system is, and of course delving into team synergy and stuff is a fresh take on games for me because I had never really gotten into a tag game so seriously before.

However, I do want to highlight just how these things are implemented, I think they're done really well to not be overbearing, but still allow you lots of well balanced tools to work with.”



What do you like/dislike about this game as opposed to Central Fiction?


“I like that it retains the feel of what makes a player strong in BB, while doing so in an entirely new context. The essence it still carries is the importance of strategy, and a very esoteric risk reward. So, a lot of your matches tend to weigh on who can strategize better rather than who can win an established RPS. I can't really say I dislike too much about the game, I think things like balance and stuff are hard to expect, and while it isn't perfect in the game, I wouldn't expect it to be. But, that would probably be the closest thing haha.”


Who are you picking up so far in the game and why?


“I am dead set on maining Blake in the game, I think she has a ton of tools that were created to interact with all the aspects of the game system. Having so many options at any given time lets me always play at a really high octane -- I do like making a lot of fast -- layered decisions and she is totally the character to do that.”



How is your experience with online play?


“I'm personally not a big fan of online play for practice as a high level player, since just a bit of lag dramatically changes the game. It was like that in BlazBlue too, just due to how the game is designed. However, I think the netcode is fine enough for people who want to learn how to play and especially get experience playing against stronger players.”


How do you feel about the other features in the game, like training mode and challenges?


“I am a big fan of the other content in the game, like the tutorials and other story content, not for myself, but because I know people really get a lot from that haha. The training mode is GREAT, especially coming from the super barebones training mode in DBFZ. Game has one of the best training modes I've ever used, and it definitely helps me take strides in my play quickly. Pretty much has every necessary feature I could want.”


What are you looking to see more of in this game? (Community and gameplay wise)


“Hmm, pretty tough question. Community wise, I would love for people to be able to support the game but I feel like it catches a lot of people the wrong way for pretty arbitrary / subjective reasons. There has been a lot of good reception, but there is something about how the game is that rubs certain people the wrong way, but the reasons are usually things that kind of iron out at a more developed level, so I'd love for people to try to understand the game a little better before writing it off. It might be the result of being such a sandbox game, because you have so many options that you don't really know what to do with them, haha. When you figure it out though, it is great! I am pretty happy with the game currently, so I would just like to see the current incarnation develop as much as possible. Again, the only thing I could maybe even say is better balancing across some unfortunate, and some extra fortunate characters, but that is every game, so.”

What goals are you setting for yourself in this game?


“One of my bigger goals this time around is to be a bit more involved in terms of content creation and stuff! Streaming, etc... I think I will be a solid competitor in the game no matter what, and I surely intend to do my best. I don't think setting another goal for myself will really take away from that because I am so naturally driven to improve and play my best, but I think for the best of the game, people really need to step up to the plate with content, so I will try to do my part.”


And do you think there will be an even bigger attention to this game than CF?


“I'm really not sure if the game will get the same, or more attention as CF, because there were some marketing troubles in it's launch. Upon further inspection, these things were mostly misconstrued, but first impressions sadly mean a lot. CF has a reputation of having a super good high level to watch, and I enjoy that the most, but the game is really tough, so I can actually see BBTAG growing a little more due to the accessibility the game offers.”


Well there you have it from the man himself. Even though BBTag is early in its lifespan, our Panda is putting in serious time for this game. Seeing SKD dive and peel apart this game’s mechanics and meta is something to see for yourself so make sure to check it out for yourself on his Twitch HERE. And for updates on all the insanity he brings out in this game,  follow his Twitter HERE.



- Zackary Potter