It would not be hard to write Blades ofTime off as a botch of a video game. Its fantasy plot is fullyforgettable, its rousing and heroic score is mixed thus weirdly thatit often sounds as it is filtering in from an upstairs bedroom, andits voice acting is the form of thing people lose Equity cards over.It is character models are dead-eyed and endlessly recycled, few ofits central mechanics are implemented with staggering awkwardness,and various of the game's environments characteristics particleeffects of such bizarre over-ambition that they reduce the frame-rateto single figures only when things are beginning to acquire exciting.
There is a much more that is wrong onBlades of Time, then, but if you contend via the drab early levels,there are as well a few things that are form of right about it so.This is not a game that you would necessarily need to go out andpurchase. OK, it is probably not even a game that you would reallyselect to rent. But if you were, oh, I do not experience, left it inthe will of an eccentric uncle, say, it would likely be worth takingfor a spin earlier you traded it in.
With that ringing endorsement howeverechoing in your ears, let us let down to basics. Blades of Time isthe 'spiritual successor to X-Blades' - a turn of phrase that intendsthe developers have ditched the cel-shaded art, altered a much moreof the story elements, but left you controlling a mirror-worldversion of Ayumi, the pants-and-bra hack-and-slash heroine whosecharacter plan barrels straight past the point where she might besort of sexy and heads deep into that strange emotional territorywhere all you want to do is acquire her a cardigan. She must befreezing.
Although you are acquiring her acardigan, you will likely even detect yourself thinking that it wouldbe rather nice if she would shut up now and then. It would be quitenice if everyone would shut up, in fact. Blades of Times' genericfantasy storyline – you are stuck somewhere that I think is calledDragonland and that is about it, actually - unfolds in a ceaselesstorrent of stagey, horribly stilted monologues as Ayumi ponders theexistential crisis she detects herself in, or only chattersmindlessly about how dangerous she is while she waits for the nextdoor animation to complete itself.
The rest of the cast is not much better- think Paul Hogan co-opted into a prison stage play dependent onPirates of the Caribbean and you would not be so far off - but atleast the cut-scenes are skippable, and I as well detected a handyslider in one of the menus that let me to turn the vocals down sothat, merely as the music, it too sounded as it was filtering in froman upstairs bedroom.
Combat, kind of. This is one of thosehack-and-slash efforts that begins off by affording you a ratherweightless standard attack, but then steadily builds on that wobblyfoundation above the space of the opening few levels until you haveacquired a system that is really quite fun to apply. You acquire asliding dodge move, for starters, which is always money in the bankas far as I'm concerned, and while that's bedding in, you'll begin toconstruct a growing stable of magic blasts and area effects.
These are easy charged up by placing onstandard damage, and they then offer various levels of particle-heavychaos like you knock enemies rear in torrents of flame, say, or forcehuge ice crystals from the ground beneath them. None of these spellsare particularly new to games, of course, but they are undeniably funto apply against the limited cast of foes, like is a contextualcounter attack that allows you to pull off massive finishers if youcan time a squeeze of the right bumper just so when you are facing inthe correct direction.
Also here there are problems, while.Certain ranged enemies require shooting, which puts you into a worldof horrible aiming and feeble ballistics. On top of that, the centralTime Rewind mechanic is poorly explained and bothering to apply.Rather than undoing your mistakes, it lets you to create activeclones of yourself, PB Winterbottom-style, but it even means that youare always guessing at timings and often hoping for the best.
This is fiddly in combat where surelyshielded enemies require two of you to take them on at once, but it'struly excruciating in the puzzles - most of the puzzles areexcruciating, really - like you create duplicate Ayumis to weigh downswitches again and again and again. And again. If the puzzles are nobetter than the voice acting, at least Blades of Time tries to breakup its combat with a little variety when it comes to level design.
The first few environments are prettyin a rudimentary sort of way but also fairly bland - they look likesets for a direct-to-video caveman film that might star Lou DiamondPhillips or Elizabeth Shue, perhaps. Later offerings show awillingness to experiment, however. There's a desert world baskingunder a sky filled with twinkling galaxies in which you have to stickto the shade or risk burning alive, for example. Or perhaps you fancyvisiting a stage made of chunks of floating coral where you're gifteda limited ability to fly.
The first few environments are prettyin a fundamental kind of way but also fairly bland - they look likesets for a direct-to-video caveman film that might star Lou DiamondPhillips or Elizabeth Shue, perhaps. Later offerings show awillingness to experiment, however. There's a desert world baskingunder a sky filled with twinkling galaxies in which you have to stickto the shade or risk burning alive, for example. Or perhaps you fancyvisiting a stage made of chunks of floating coral where you're gifteda limited ability to fly.
Later the first few hours of Blades ofTime, I dreaded the worst. By the time I reached the end, I could seewhy this scrappy series has at least a few die-hard fans. Maybe, ifyou've got an eccentric uncle somewhere who's feeling a little queasythese days, you'll find yourself coming to the same conclusion.