Bladestorm: Nightmare Hands-On Impressions
Real time tactical combat goes next-gen with nightmares.
Returning as a revamped sequel, Bladestorm: Nightmare expands upon the original title with overhauled visuals, additional game modes, and the Nightmare sequel playable right off the bat.
Taking on the role of a skilled mercenary during the one hundred years’ war between England and France in the 1400s, much like Koei Tecmo’s most popular series Dynasty Warriors, the game takes advantage of real-life historical battles while mixing in some fantasy fiction for good measure. While the original title is at best an HD upgrade it’s the Nightmare sequel that holds the most promise within this package.
"While the original title is at best an HD upgrade it's the Nightmare sequel that holds the most promise within this package."
Ramping up the fictional elements of the game through the use of demonic creatures, goblins, cyclops, and dragons. Nightmare mode picks up where the first game ended and places the heroic Joan of Arc as the game’s new antagonist. Overcome evil by leading an army of monsters in to the middle of the war. It’s up to the player to create a custom character, join up with a faction, and battle through the many different battles that the story has to offer.
Presented with the game’s character creation system which is where players will make their first stop. Players will be given plenty of distinct and unique choices for character creation, and this is useful as the game makes use of both competitive and co-operative online play. With choices for hair, skin tone, gender, body size, and voice tone, the game establishes the basics of character creation then expands upon this through the use proportion manipulation and more in-depth facial structures, along with basic preset variants.
" Overcome by evil and leading an army of monsters in to the middle of the war. "
As gameplay operates on a three-character party system whereby the player controls all three characters at once via a button switch. Character customisation makes use of a slot system so that multiple characters can be used throughout the game’s playthrough.
While weapon choices are fairly basic at this point, as the player progresses through, the game’s story more will become available to purchase later on down the line through the use of gameplay requirements. For those not so familiar with the series, Bladestorm: Nightmare plays as a third-person, real-time tactics game that places the player in control of multiple units being lead in to battle by the player’s custom character.
Experienced through the same perspective as Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty, Samurai, and Orochi Warrior series, Bladestorm: Nightmare sets itself apart through a timed action and execute system as the base of its combat. Switching between three main characters while executing powerful attacks and giving orders to smaller sets of troops within the player’s main unit, combat is both immersive and strategic.
"As gameplay operates on a three-character system whereby the player controls three characters at once via a button switch. "
What’s great about this approach to the game’s combat system and the way that it’s structured compared to the publisher’s other titles, is in the way it deals with the number of enemies on-screen, as well as their actual use-case in battle. This stood out to me as one of the game’s key factors for immersion as well as overall gameplay enjoyability. Said to have over 400 NPCs on-screen at once, character pop-ins are drastically improved in regards to the original last-gen variant.
While the visual upgrade serves well in keeping the game relevant for today’s standards, something that also stood out to me was the game’s disturbing frame-rate. While all versions of the game are targeting 30 frames-per-second with the PC version most likely being down to the player’s own mileage, I did notice some inconsistencies when playing on the PlayStation 4.
Amongst the incredible amount of characters on-screen, object details, and draw distances, the inconsistent frame-rate proved to be distorting at times. Hopefully this will be finalised before the game’s March 20th release date, as everything else that the game has to offer is without a doubt an exciting and enjoyable experience with plenty of depth and content.
This game was previewed on the PlayStation 4.