For those of you who remember the review of Azur Lane: Crosswave, we’re back again with the character DLC pack, featuring five new (or old if you come from the original game) characters to add to the vanguard roster, and fifteen new support units, as well as interconnected side stories focusing on each vanguard member.
So what are you looking at with the DLC? Well, the character DLC come in five parts: Taihou, Formidable, Roon, Le Malin, and Sirius. Each of these characters has their own separate DLC item, with three support characters and a side story for their characters, as well as some returning cast, and some that make appearances despite not being either vanguard or support units. In case you were curious, the characters are: carrier, carrier, cruiser, destroyer, cruiser. Gameplay doesn’t change from the base game, so if you’re coming here without knowing or owning the base game, I suggest heading over to the main game review. A brief summary of gameplay for those who don’t know: anthropomorphic ship girls do battle in a 3D ocean covered world where they shoot at ships and other ship-girls. Also spooky jellyfish and sharks with timey-wimey shenanigans that is only really explained in the game that Crosswave is based off of.
Since gameplay, and by extension how units control, remains the same as the base game, I’m going to break down each DLC in order to tell you what characters you get, a brief overview of the mini plot, and a tidbit or two of info that might be interesting to you. As a general overview, each scenario details something to do with a new Siren, Tester, that is trying to promote the use of Siren technology in order to produce conflict and war. This all happens after the events of the Crosswave. The scenarios are generally comprised of approximately 6 battles, and a number of events to view, culminating in a mini resolution to that character arc. Each character obtained in the DLC has their own cognitive awakening items and oath ring components that can be acquired from the battles in their chapter, usually the final battle is the best place to get these. Interesting to note, is that each of these final battles is different in nature, with different objective being required in each character chapter.
First let’s start with Taihou, the aircraft carrier from the Sakura Empire. Upon returning home from vacation, Taihou gets called up by Akagi to assist with the filming of a movie in the Vichya/Iris Libre domain. With the Taihou DLC, you also get the supporters: St. Louis, Dunkerque, and Jean Bart. In the Taihou chapter final battle, you will face off against a giant bullet sponge that took me seven minutes to beat the first time. Taihou’s story was probably my favourite, as the story there was a fine balance of: serious, funny, relevant, and actually reasonable dialogue (a point that seems obvious but surprisingly isn’t). As a unit, Taihou is an aircraft carrier, a backline unit, that can really dish out punishment if she can deploy her planes. Probably not going to be your flagship in a fight unless you specifically want to see her, but is definitely a handy unit. I have her in a formation in the source game. Chronologically, the Taihou DLC would likely be 2nd, although should be played first for some background comprehension.
Second up we have Formidable, the definitely-not-clunky aircraft carrier from the Royal Navy. Formidable is tasked with joining a delegation to Sardegna for a conference on anti-Siren measures along with Queen Elizabeth (the ship), Warspite, Neptune, and the Sardegnan liaison Zara. With the Formidable DLC you also get the supporters: Neptune, Warspite, and Zara (no Queen Elizabeth for you). The Formidable final battle consists of shooting down a number of aerial units that only take damage under certain circumstances. Formidable’s story was pretty decent, but all in all was a little generic, although with enough key points to pass. As a unit, Formidable is similar to Taihou, an aircraft carrier, and is generally more of a backline unit. Incidentally, I also have Formidable in one of my unit formations in the source game. Chronologically, the Formidable scenario is either 3rd or at the same time as Taihou’s.
In the middle of the flock we have Roon, the totally-not-a-hidden-psychopath cruiser with a mean looking rigging and a penchant for beat downs given the opportunity. Taking place in an Academy for the Iron Blood, Roon and her squadron (the Z23 squad) go about their academy life, fending off invading Sirens when required for plot progression. With Roon, you also get Deutschland, Graf Spree, and Graf Zeppelin, three characters I rather liked in the source game, AND YET DEUTSCHLAND STILL ELUDES ME. Yes, I didn’t win her in the events, and yes, I’m bitter about it. The Roon final battle is a fairly standard “destroy x boss ships” that pop up around the arena you fight in. Nothing too fancy here, either in story of final battle, but Roon’s story serves to give some more insight into the Iron Blood, as well as some info on Sirens and world building in general. As a unit, Roon is a cruiser, a frontline fighter that can hold their own in most situations. Chronologically, Roon’s episode actually happens both before and after the main story of Crosswave, and would be the 1st of the DLC sets, although it should be noted that the DLC should be played in thee order the game gives for clarity of characters.
Fourth up we have Le Malin, the evil-blade that protects the Vichya dominion. Le Malin’s story has her joining in a joint exercise with the Royal Navy. There’s not much else I can say that isn’t spoilers, but she is joined by centaur, Essex, and Baltimore. The Le Malin final battle is actually a survival fight, which was interesting to see, and while not difficult at the pre-awakening cap, you certainly can’t just sit there and hope to survive. Le Malin’s story takes the opportunity to try and expand on what the wisdom cubes seen throughout Crosswave actually are, and while the character interactions weren’t all that interesting, I would have liked to see more about the nature of the wisdom cubes. As a destroyer, Le Malin falls into the same classification as Shimikaze, a torpedo and sustained fire specialist that is speedy but squishy. Chronologically, Le Malin takes up the 4th position in the DLC timetable.
Lastly we have Sirius, the super clumsy cruiser from the Royal Navy. In the Sirius episode, we see the conclusion to the DLC storylines, a final push by the Sirens to reclaim the PT cube, and a multination pushback against the threat that is Tester. In this DLC you get London, Alabama, and Azuma. The Sirius final battle is a more traditional fight against an actual unit instead of a “mass produced ship”, yet you still don’t fight Tester, which is a little bit annoying, to be honest. I found the Sirius story to be the least entertaining, despite being the conclusion to the side story set. Like Roon, Sirius is a cruiser that can both dish out and take a decent amount of damage, and is generally a front-line fighter. This is the last of the DLC both chronologically and available at the moment.