CrossCode Xbox One X Review

CrossCode showers you with colorful animations but underneath it is a challenging adventure worth experiencing.

By Grayshadow, Posted 05 Jul 2020

CrossCode has a long history of being in development hell but the final product turned out to be well worth the wait. With PC gamers loving the action RPG journey into a virtual world, and now console gamers able to join in on the fun. The 2D adventure is challenging, with a lot of great boss fights, platforming, and puzzles that require precision to overcome. The grinding goals and sheer amount of puzzles can be overwhelming but thankfully the fun active-combat system makes these hurdles easier to deal with. CrossCode isn't something you can dive right into and does require a moderate level of dedication to fully understand but once you get into the flow Lea's adventure opens into this wonderful virtual odyssey.
 

CrossCode,NoobFeed,Radical Fish Games, Deck13, WhisperGames, DANGEN Entertainment, Mayflower Entertainment,


CrossCode stars Lea and is set in the video game of CrossWorlds. Lea has no memory of her past and is mute, only gaining access to single words as the game progresses. She is trapped inside an Avatar within the game and no one knows why. Lea is greeted by the game's maintenance team who wants to aid her in resolving this. Unfortunately, they're attacked and Lea is forced to flee. Now Lea must play through CrossWorlds disguised as another player while she tries to figure out what has happened to her.

The story does have some interesting twists as you learn about Lea's existence and how this popular game has dark insidious secrets. You never really forget that this is a game with traders asking for specific items and players running away the various environments. It would've added to the immersion to see the NPCs attacking the mobs or logging out at random instead of just running but overall the presentation fits the game's narrative direction. If you ever find yourself lost of what is happening the game does provide a detailed summary in the encyclopedia along with other relevant information.

The eccentric array of characters within this journey is diverse with unique personas. Each is wonderfully designed in terms of both personality and character design. Emilienator is one of the first main allies you'll group with. She's competitive and always eager for the next challenge but is very trusting and backs Lea despite knowing her for a short amount of time. Emil opens to Lea about her real-life issues and the 2 grow closer with Emil even asking if their friends. Kinda like most online gaming friendships. Apollo, another recent character Lea will meet, is outspoken, quite to conclusions, and lacks foresight but is a skilled gamer.

The writing always connects the narrative to this being a game. Things such as glitches, patches, exploits, and other things are infused into the dialogue to explain certain situations. It works in ensuring that no matter how dire the situation may seem, with a menacing boss appearing or Lea being low on health she'll just respawn with no issue when killed.
 

CrossCode,NoobFeed,Radical Fish Games, Deck13, WhisperGames, DANGEN Entertainment, Mayflower Entertainment,


The user interface is cleverly designed to match the game's ambiance. With player invites serving as party members joining your group, guilds, logging out animations, NPCs, and so on. It felt like playing an episode of Sword Art Online.

Combat is active with enemies and abilities acting in real-time. Often the environment can be used for combat such as pillars for shielding. The game can become brutally hard as enemies will take advantage of the same environmental hazards and act quickly based on Lea and her ally's attacks.

Enemy variety is large and each one has specific attacks, patterns, and weaknesses. You constantly have to be on the defense and offense when dealing with each enemy as they can easily cripple players even if you're at a high level. Unless you double the enemy's level with high-level equipment many enemies will feel like bullet sponges.

Lea's basic moves include a standard melee strike, a long-range blaster that can be rapidly fired or charged for ricochet. Dodging is provided but cannot be spammed as it requires a short second for another full dodge to be possible and guarding can be used to reduce overall damage. You do gain new abilities that can be linked and easily executed without having to pause the action. Combat is always fast but the developers included options to slow it down if players are having trouble. There's no overall difficulty option but you can reduce enemy reaction time if needed.

Eventually, you gain access to elemental damage that usually works in both combat and puzzle-solving. For example, fire can be used to launch bombs and melt ice but also causes burn damage at the cost of instant damage. To prevent players from abusing these elemental abilities a charge meter fills up when used and depletes as you avoid using the element. If overused the ability overheats and you cannot use it anymore for a specific amount of time.
 

CrossCode,NoobFeed,Radical Fish Games, Deck13, WhisperGames, DANGEN Entertainment, Mayflower Entertainment,


Allies are surprisingly smart and capable. I say this because usually, developers reduce the overall productivity or damage output of AI allies to encourage player participation. In CrossCode your allies are fully functioning and reliable, able to hold their own in combat without issue. You can provide general instructions such as aggressive attacking, playing defensively, or attacking Lea's target but there's no complicated attacking plan like Final Fantasy XII's Gambit System.

The customization is a basic RPG fair. Equipment and weapons are provided either through traders or by finding items in the environment. Each area has specific amounts of treasure that are labeled on the game's map. You can only customize Lea and not your allies which is understandable, they're people and not NPCs you can just force to use certain items in this game. That being said leveling itself can become a chore.

Despite fighting enemies multiple levels higher than myself, I found getting a single-level to be a vexing grind. Fighting level 17 enemies at level 9 but not gaining a single level after victory. CrossCode does encourage players to focus on the action combat system instead of the traditional RPG elements but this was still an annoyance since gaining new skills was so rare. Especially when the game warns you're not strong enough to progress unless you grind more and as I stated, this is slow. You can boost your experience earning potential by fighting in continuous battles to increase a ranking meter, which resets after a time limit depending on the rank you reached. Since you heal only after the rank meter resets you have to make the decision whether to risk another battle and lose everything you've earned or doubled down for the chance at more experience and better items.
 

CrossCode,NoobFeed,Radical Fish Games, Deck13, WhisperGames, DANGEN Entertainment, Mayflower Entertainment,


There are plenty of optional quests that provide additional items and experience. These are located around the world and give a general location of where to go and a notice of completion when finished. Even with these getting a new level was still uncommon outside from dungeons.

When leveled you can invent into an array of skills for Lea. Similar to Final Fantasy X's sphere grid players invest circuit points into a variety of skills from an attack, defense, health, or special attack tree. It's an acceptable leveling system that works and elemental skills have their own trees.
 

CrossCode,NoobFeed,Radical Fish Games, Deck13, WhisperGames, DANGEN Entertainment, Mayflower Entertainment,


As you travel new areas and dungeons will become available. The environments are diverse and each biome housing unique enemies and platforming challenges with unique obstacles. Many of these platforms hide treasures or quest objectives, requiring you to look at the environment and determine the best possible route. It can seem overwhelming with the number of optional paths but generally exploring will lead you to the net objective. In addition, the developers highlight dialogue critical to finding your next story-focused goal with the ability to view the most recent critical dialogue.

Towns are plentiful and well-designed. You can easily fast travel to each location from specific teleporters or from the map quickly. You're not given complete ability to fast travel to any location but all major cities are available when found. I did wish a mini-map was provided as these towns are very large and it's easy to get lost in them when looking for specific shops.

There are 7 dungeons each housing many puzzles and enemies. Many of these are platforming and shooting puzzles that require exact timing and coordination. This can become annoying but you can adjust the speed of these in the menu. Those familiar with titles like The Legend of Zelda or Darksiders should have no problem though as the game's puzzles follow in those titles' footsteps.

Once you dive into these dungeons it can become a mental battle that tests the player's patience. These dungeons are teeming with puzzles that will test your critical thinking skills but also your fortitude. Some will find excitement in this, with each room offering a new puzzle but some will also get annoyed with this. It's a matter of taste when it comes to this specific design as obtaining keys, which are paramount in progressing through dungeons, usually leads to getting another key to unlock a door that requires a puzzle to unlock the second door after entering the first door. This sounds like an exaggeration but it's not. Sometimes you'll face off in a horde battle but as I stated, enemies are usually bullet sponges. Fortunately, you can leave a dungeon at anytime if you feel underprepared.

The visuals and soundtrack are brilliant. The game runs smoothly and the animations are pristine. The musical score complemented every situation whether it was exploration or active combat. And from a technical standpoint, the game never crashed and load times were very quick, whether I was fast traveling or entering a room.
 

CrossCode,NoobFeed,Radical Fish Games, Deck13, WhisperGames, DANGEN Entertainment, Mayflower Entertainment,


CrossCode rarely fumbles but when it does it's usually due to personal taste rather than faults. The varied environments, challenging dungeons, and fantastic boss fights made grinding all those levels worth the vexation but those tedious tasks still provided extensive moments of distress. Especially when coupled with high health enemies. Those familiar with classic RPGs during the SNES and PlayStation days will find these systems more forgiving but modern games will need to adapt to these mechanics. Lea's journey through CrossWorld offers a branching tale as new mysteries are revealed and you learn that this world meant for entertainment isn't exactly what it seems to be. CrossCode showers you with colorful animations but underneath it is a challenging adventure worth experiencing.

If you wish to support the team that made this incredible Indie title you can purchase a physical edition of the title here.


https://crosscode.inin.games
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

CrossCode

85/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher(s): Deck13, WhisperGames, DANGEN Entertainment, Mayflower Entertainment
Developer(s): Radical Fish Games
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Sci-Fi
Release Date: 2018-09-21

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