Review: Blades Of Time
In Blades Of Time you play as a scantily clad bounty hunter named Ayumi who has a penchant for guns, swords and magic. She also has a partner who joins her later on in the game, much later that is. Blades Of Time is the spiritual successor to X-Blades, a mediocre run-of-the-mill generic hack-and-slash game.
- Worth The Time?No, go and play God Of War 3 instead.
- Things LovedNothing, even the visuals were tainted by an extreme fetish for image saturation in Adobe Photoshop.
- Things HatedAyumi, her voice grates like knives on a rock. Oh, and the whole game.
- RecommendationIf you play this game the world will end in 2012. Please don't I beg of you.
- Name: Blades Of Time
- Genre: Hack-And-Slash, Action, Adventure
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: Co-op
- Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac OS X
- Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
- Publisher: Konami
- Price: R271
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
The release of this game should have never happened, and as I shall tell you ‘why’ Gaijin Entertainment hasn’t pulled any type of miracle off with this bad excuse for a game. Creatively with Blades Of Time all the productivity of Gaijin Entertainment has been pined on the attractive female protagonist with a Japanese name, and ironically a British accent which is quite a jarring sight to behold as she continually narrates throughout the whole game, nonstop. Ayumi is as paper-thin as a character can get. I vastly prefer Bayonetta, at least she had personality. All Ayumi can seem to do is complain about her predicament as a bounty hunter stuck on an island planet full of treasure. With all of this focus on characterising Ayumi who is a truly one dimensional character the other aspects of the game lack the necessary vigour to pull this mediocre mess together. None of the elements in the game have had noticeable attention paid to them because they lack any type of balance and foresight to how gamers would respond to design choices. I say this is bad development on the part of Gaijin Entertaiment who doesn’t seem to understand what the word ‘fun’ entails.
Blades Of Time is a combination hack-and-slash game with shooting, RPG and puzzle elements. It’s main drawing point is the ability to rewind time in battle and to solve puzzles which I’ll elaborate upon a bit later in the review. It attempts to follow in the tradition of the Devil May Cry series, Bayonetta and the God Of War series of games. However, its execution of all these different elements fails. Firstly, the hack-and-slash attacks and combos in the game are cumbersome to execute properly and the flow of the game is severely stunted by an ineffective parrying system which does little to block enemy attacks, except for bashing your sword wildly against the enemies.
But countering in essence doesn’t work half the time as it is supposed to. This means that combos can easily be broken by enemies and after awhile even the combos you can use become dull and repetitive. Add to this, the gunplay which is an abortion as well in Blades Of Time of time and you can see why I feel that the game is not truly the sum of its parts. Particularly when the gun play is forced into a prescriptive third person over-the-shoulder view that doesn’t work particularly well for a hack-and-slash game such as this. As a result, the sensitivity of the gun perspective has also been heightened by the developers and makes guns uncontrollable for the most part. Combat as a result feels sluggish and doesn’t flow seamlessly as I had hoped for in a hack-and-slash game like this, with gun play on top of it.
The RPG elements of the game are not effectively integrated into the overall game design and feel tacked on. These elements include the ability to level up Ayumi by buying upgrades for all her combo attacks, new spells and various skills she can use in battle. Spells include anything from earthquake based attacks, to firey spell barrages and typical freezing attacks. You can equip weapons and find new ones as you journey through the game, finding equipment which betters Ayumi’s stats in certain areas and can increase the effective of elemental attacks. But after awhile the usage of spells and skills becomes questionable as nearly every enemy can eventually be taken down with typical hack-and-slash combos and attacks. It all feels ‘off’ because the balancing of the enemies in Blades Of Time truly makes no sense. Bosses are easier than normal enemies, and one particular enemy a servant of some Chaos fellow can kill you one shot if you don’t run away. It’s all pretty stupid.
The story is set on some treasure planet that Ayumi is thrown on to via inter-dimensional portal travel thanks to the promises of loot by a mysterious guild of pan-dimensional bearded time monks. Ayumi is looking for a way out of treasure planet by making her way through the challenges of a dragon temple, and hopes to find her partner in crime. He only features much later in the game which is a pity as Ayumi is the most agonizingly bland character to grace a videogame in quite a well.
The essential part of the game’s design and its attraction for many gamers would be the ability to rewind time whilst in combat. Time, and the duration you can rewind, is measured by a gauge which continually depletes as you rewind time. Depending on how you stop and rewind time you can create various time clones of yourself to attack enemies. This basically means repeatedly bashing out combos on your controller and rewinding time which becomes quite difficult in the heat of battle, and doesn’t work out half the time as planned. The time rewind mode is needed for some of the puzzles which require you to rewind time in order to open a door, or push a button as enemies attack. On top of this, you can use spells and guns to attack whilst in time rewind mode. Everything becomes heavily convoluted and the system doesn’t work as it should.
Visuals in the game are pleasant enough, but other hack-and-slash games from the last two years look visually more pleasing and attractive to the eye. The game’s visual aesthetic is heavily over-saturated meaning that at times navigating Ayumi through the planet’s environment becomes unbearably slow and clumsy.
If there’s one thing this game lacks and desperately needs is ‘flow’. It just feels static and more of a chore to play than anything. Blades Of Time could have been a step in a new direction for Gaijin Entertainment and Konami. Rather the game is a wasted exercise in how not to make a hack-and-slash game. I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone. I was sorely disappointed at this wasted opportunity and I hope Konami doesn’t finance further games from this IP. Please just kill it with fire.