Blades of Time Review

I really wanted to like Blades of Time…really…It looked on the
outside like a weird combination of Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia
with a dash of God of War thrown in, but unfortunately this sequel to
2009’s “X-Blades” has a few too many obstacles to allow it to rise above
mediocrity. Ayumi is the scantily clad eye-candy heroine of Blades of
Time, a fantasy action, hack `n slash adventure. There is a completely
inane storyline about Ayumi arriving on a mysterious island called
Dragonland, rich in treasure but naturally fraught with peril.
No
previous adventurer has ever returned from Dragonland…naturally. Of
course it’s never quite that simple and Ayumi finds herself caught up in
a battle between factions who are fighting for control of the land.

Despite
some large environments to explore Blades of Time is fairly linear
which honestly I don’t have a problem with. The next areas won’t open
until you’ve met your objective in the current area. A quick press of
the d-pad will bring up a compass to point you in the direction of your
next objective so you need not ever worry about getting lost or knowing
where to go next. The compass will also provide hints to the locations
of treasure chests where you can find upgraded weapons and firearms or
various other battle perks.

A standard skill tree is provided
which allows you to expend your earned experience points to buy a wide
variety of power-ups including magical attacks. These include an almost
overwhelming set of combo attacks. Earning a new combo transports you
to an arena to practice your new combo which isn’t very realistic but is
helpful. The problem is, and you’ve likely heard me say this over and
over again, is that there are so many combos that its simply not easy to
remember them all and even if you do, many don’t have any greater
effect on the battlefield than your standard attacks so likely you’ll
find a few attacks that you like and stick with those.

Combat is
just ok. The schemes are fine but there isn’t the gritty feel that you
get with so many other similar games and the effects of combat are also
boring and mundane. Between battles the game features numerous
platforming and puzzle solving sections. The platforming sections are
made needlessly difficult and frustrating due to a lousy camera view.
This often leads to you falling to your death. Fortunately checkpoints
are quite frequent, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying and if
there’s anything I hate in a game its frustration and annoyance being
used as a substitute for challenging level design.

Blades of
Time’s key feature is the ability to allow Ayumi to rewind time. Now
this isn’t like Prince of Persia Sands of Time where you could rewind to
recover from falling to your doom, but rather it’s a battle aid. You
can run up, attack a foe several times with your sword, and then hit the
rewind button. This creates a clone of Ayumi who will then mimic the
moves you just did…in this case you now have the Ayumi clone attacking
the enemy along with the true Ayumi. The one caveat is that if you
rewind time it not only affects Ayumi but the enemy as well. This if
you’re fighting a boss, his health meter will go back to what it was
when you rewound time. So in a sense you’re giving a boost to the enemy
as well. Kind of stupid if you ask me…and it makes for more careful
use of the power. Add to that the fact that health is always in short
supply and boss battles become a chore.

It’s clear that
developers Gaijin Entertainment spent most of the design budget on
Ayumi. She looks good and has a ton of animations. But none of the
character models look nearly as good. Voice acting is
decent…enthusiastic although Ayumi’s voice doesn’t sound like you
might think it should. While Blades of Time has some fun elements it’s
bogged down with too many frustrating platforming sections, irksome boss
battles, weak character designs and a muddled story, and this game is
strictly a renter if nothing else is available.    

Verdict: 40/100

Details:
Genre

Action
Style

Third-Person 3D Action
Themes

Time Travel, Melee Weaponry, Female Protagonist
Release Date

April 18, 2012
Developer

Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. (KDEI)

Written by: Brent

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