First of all, I am not a gaming/e-sport drama fan. I dropped Love O2O (only watched the movie version of it), and never watched other dramas from this sub-genre.
However, I came across Cross Fire. After knowing that it has the parallel universe theme I love and reading reviews from non-gaming/e-sport drama watchers, I was intrigued to try it. I got hooked and could not get over it that I decided to write about it.
This drama is based on CrossFire (CF), a massive multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS) video game popular in Asia. If you’re interested to know about the game itself, you can read it here.
Having read the game and my introductions, still, the question remains: what is interesting about the drama that you as non-gaming/e-sport drama watchers can enjoy, anyway? Let’s check them out:
WARNING: MILD SPOILERS AHEAD !!!
BUT I LEFT THE NERVE-RACKING PLOTS FOR YOU TO DISCOVER ;D
What the synopsis tells you: It can be shortened as Lu Xiao Bei (from 2019) and Xiao Feng (from 2008) supernaturally meet inside the game CrossFire. When they found out that they both are struggling captains of their respective teams, they help each other with team issues.
What the synopsis does not tell you: Xiao Bei and Xiao Feng not only help each other with team issues but also with their personal lives as well: to change their chilling past and intimidating future.
Watching the trailer after finishing the drama, I can tell that it’s cleverly-edited and doesn’t reveal much of the depth of the story. Unless you understand Chinese, it’s mainly about gaming, e-sport, and time-altering. You may grasp it better with the English subbed trailer here (it’s in low 360p though, need to click CC for the sub).
Lu Xiao Bei (Leo Wu). A disabled high school student with the second-lowest grade who lived in the past. His only wish was to complete his belated brother’s dream to win the national CF Competition.
Xiao Feng (Lu Han). A poor high school graduate whose first passion was not further studying, working, neither dating, but playing CF in the internet cafes daily and winning measly challenges.
They meet in the parallel universe inside the game and eventually bond a strong friendship through playing, sharing life stories, and encouraging each other about their struggles in their groups and the competitions. Their brotherhood is challenged a few times when they attempt to change the terrifying past and future.
An Lan (Cecilia Boey). A broke and timid nerd on her way to completing her university thesis, An Lan is Xiao Feng’s housemate at odds. Once introduced to online gaming, though, she becomes the biggest supporter of Team 1-Coin.
Chu Ge (Dai Lu Wa). A cold loner, she literally landed on Xiao Bei’s school desk on her first day of transfer. They became warring desk-mates until their teacher ordered them to study together.
Not the Female Lead, but I want to introduce you to the only female gamer in the team:
Su Jia Yi (Pan Mei Ye). The eccentric cat lover, vlogger, and cosplayer Jia Yi is motivated to prove that female gamers can also excel and advance in the male-dominated E-sport. Later, she bonds with Chu Ge.
Important to mention here that although this drama is about male-dominated E-sport, hence the cast is mostly guys, An Lan, Chu Ge, and Jia Yi are cherished and respected by the boys.
Liu Shuai Liang) formed Team 1-Coin and soon joined by the hot-headed Qi Lin (Yang Kai Cheng), the reluctantly-married Hou Zhi (Liu Yang), the youngster Ah Ming (Francis Huang), and later the crazy Chang Sha (Song Jia Teng). Eventually, An Lan joined as their Team Manager. Started as an on-and-off group that initially played only to win pocket money for barbecues and beers, they were deemed too old for the teenage gamers and ridiculed as a bunch of adult losers with no goals of life. However, once setting up their goal to be the national champion of the first Crossfire competition, they insist on fighting towards reaching their dreams.The natural-born leader Xiao Feng, as the captain, together with his close game buddy Xu Wei (
Failed to join an established powerful team, Lu Xiao Bei was motivated to form his own team Continue with his long-time friend Cheng Hao (Xia Zhi Yuan) and recruited the eccentric Su Jia Yi, the hot-headed Wang Kai (Zhu Jun Lin ), and the antisocial Ne Zha (Zhang Chen). Eventually, Chu Ge joined as their Team Manager. Originally only forming the team to complete his belated brother’s dream to compete in the CF national league and win the championship, soon Xiao Bei is faced with difficulties uniting his teammates. Only when he understands that there is more than just forming a group that Team Continue excels. Joining them later are Yang Zi (Liu Jie Yi) and King (Wang Qiang).
Although we see many opponent teams and the public that look down on Team 1-Coin and Team Continue, mostly supporting characters are really supportive along their journeys. Below are two supporting characters we come to love too:
Young Lu Xiao Bei (Zhang Bo Wen). At eight years old, the young Xiao Bei adored his older brother Xiao Nan (Zhan Yu) and wanted to be like him. Since the death of his brother, Xiao Bei has stuck not only on his wheelchair but in the past as well.
Lu Xiao Bei’s Dad (Shao Bing). At first, Lu Xiao Bei’s Dad was strongly against his son’s desire to be an E-sport player that Xiao Bei has to play hide-and-seek with his Dad to play CF. Later, he is the team biggest supporter.
There are plenty of gaming scenes that are non-shooting-and-killing, most of them are down hilarious, below are just a few of them. ;D
|Looking pretty||Looking sexy|
|Being goofy||Being flirty|
|Sending hearts||Playing rock-paper-scissors game|
|Rescuing knight in distress||BL moment (???)|
Our Male Leads Leo Wu sang the opening theme song “Cross Fire” (穿越火线), and Lu Han sang the ending credit song “Land of Dream” (梦寐之地). He also sang “Time Stopped” (时间停了). Group rock GALA sang trailer song “Pure Heart of Chasing Dream” (追梦赤子心), they also performed in the drama during 2008 and 2019 scenes. Full album can be found here.
✅ Story: Nicely build-up thriller and time-altering towards the end
✅ Theme: Always love the parallel world/time travelling
✅ Setting: I mostly loved the 2008 scene-setting
✅ Life lesson and wisdom
✅ Good editing alternating between 2008 and 2019 settings
✅ Bromance, sismance, romance, friendship, family
✅ Hilarious scenes
✅ Good acting of both main leads and supporting
✅ Game CGI
✅ Nice tribute to Chinese E-game champions at the end of the final episode
❌A few fillers (not as many as other C-dramas with 36 episodes)
❌A few illogical side-stories and unanswered questions.
❌Product placement (not overwhelming, but definitely there is that facial mask PPL ;D )
❌ Some sites have bad English sub mixed with another language (not drama related, but can be annoying if you’re not immune to bad subs)
Credits: all images are official drama posters found in MDL site and Google, as well as screenshots of the drama from the sites with English subs (Youtube, WeTV, etc.).
THANK YOU FOR READING AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
❓If you have watched this drama, what do you think? Did you like or dislike it? Any favorite character(s) or scene(s)? (Please put as spoilers if needed)
❓If you have not watched this drama, will you watch it in the future or not? Why or why not?
❓Are you a gaming/E-sport drama fan? Did you watch other gaming/E-sport dramas? Is this drama better or not compared to the others?
❓Do you have recommendations of gaming/E-sport dramas for non-fans like me?