Blades of Time is the spiritual successor to X-Blades just like Demon’s Souls is to King’s Field. Now, X-Blades was released few years ago and was developed by Gaijin games – a fairly unknown developer. The game didn’t fare that well commercially and critically, and a sequel to that seemed pretty unlikely, but Gaijin had some other plans. Blades of Time as the name suggests features time rewinding mechanics and the hot girl, Ayumi from X-Blades is back.
Look, this game shouldn’t be compared to something like Enslaved even though it resembles it a lot, mainly due to the fact that the developers probably didn’t have too much resources to work with. I’m not giving them a free pass, the game looks quite good in some places and will make your jaw-drop but it is highly inconsistent. It’s a massive step-up from the previous game when you look at the overall package and polish, but it’s not even close to some of the big-named franchises in the genre.
I can see the game appealing to fans of hack-and-slash, because I loved playing the game and there weren’t really many dull moments, although, there are a few niggles here that I’m sure plenty of people will be annoyed with. Repetitiveness is one of the major faults of the game. You will be fighting same-y enemies, using the same moves, and the puzzles aren’t that sophisticated or memorable to speak of. The reason I mentioned repetitiveness as a major drawback is that the game lacks variety and locations that differentiates itself from the rest.
The plot is nonsensical, and I had no idea what I was doing or what I was fighting for. Ayumi is a treasure hunter who is put in mysterious situations that threatens to be harmful for here. There are a few humans that she meets in the environments Gaijin has created, but most of them seemed cobbled together and serves no purpose. For example, I murdered an entire bunch of people just to find a key, and I kind of shouldn’t have done that because they are now enemies that I have to fight through the game, or maybe I had no choice other than to kill them, who knows?
The combat is a mixed-bag. There are fun moments and there are frustrating moments, usually the latter. It becomes so confusing to face tank like enemies which require you to use your time rewind mechanics to take them down. When you use time rewind, usually there are clones of you created who aid you in the battlefield, although, they won’t be there forever in case you start thinking “it’s overpowered”, it really is not.
Bullet sponge enemies are many, and when you use your gun – a shotgun type rifle that you can fire long distances – it is incredibly ineffective because it makes Ayumi locked to one animation, which not only looks stupid but is also terrible when fighting. You can find better weapons and equipment in chests located across the world. They are easy to spot as well. You can also upgrade your magic powers at a relic that is placed in specific locations, and once you acquire a power, you are sent to an arena to practice it.
I found the tier 1 magic to be highly ineffective, but the tier 2 magic which consumes a lot of your magic bar so to say, was helpful but you need to build up enough charge by attacking enemies to use it. This usually results in Ayumi stalling for a while and is susceptible to attacks. The enemies lack variety and usually you face a bunch of sky guardians and some fast moving enemies which are incredibly hard to attack and can take you down easily. The boss fights were one of the redeeming things about the game, and I really enjoyed fighting them.
There is a multiplayer mode as well, and usual it is tacked on as one would expect and the single-player is where the meat of the game lies. The game is quite meaty in length and offers a decent amount of content, although, there is no reason to play the single-player mode again once you beat the game. Visually the game delivers, that’s for sure. Although, some people may find the graphics to be a bit muddy and washed out, but the motion blur that they’ve added reduces the uneasiness a bit.
If you have nothing else to play, then Blades of Time is recommended; not because it is exceptional and worth your money, but the reason is simple, there are not many games in the genre to choose from. If you’re a fan of the hack-and-slash genre, then nothing should stop you from getting it. If you’re not, then avoid or rent.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Meaty content. Good graphics. The combat has depth.
The plot is nonsensical. Less variety. Repetitive.
If you're a fan of the hack-and-slash genre, then nothing should stop you from getting it. If you're not, then avoid or rent.