Review by CardigansFan
"A game that had a lot of potential"
Browsing through Blockbuster, I was looking for some game I really wanted, but instead, I found this. It looked cool, kind of like Devil May Cry, but more Japanese. Sadly, I found this game a complete disaster.
It's kind of a generic story: you are trained by a master swordsman, you make friends with another master swordsman, your friend's girlfriend (or some girl) dies, he thinks it was your trainer's fault, gets stronger and kills him, and your friend becomes the person you want dead most. So, in one phrase, revenge caused by stupidity. I liked how the story was slowly revealed to you, but hated how it was a complete fantasy. I can get past the weird enemies and such, but how does 3000 years not make any visual difference to any of the characters at all? And to add, the main character looks like a total fruitcake; he doesn't even look like a guy!
I like hack-n-slash games, and this game is why I think people think games of this genre are mindless. One button can give you a combo of about 20 regular hits, another gives you a single, twirling, special hit, and another button casts a spell. If you ever play Dynasty Warriors, you'd know how you can press the special attack button at different times to give you different finishing moves, and your attacks, but in this, it's the complete opposite. The special move will always be the same no matter how many times you use the regular attack, regardless of if it's in the air or not. The upgrade system is pointless. In many games, you upgrade to kill enemies faster, have more stamina/health, etc. In here, you upgrade to keep up with the enemies. If you don't upgrade attack, it will take more hits to kill the same enemies in further levels. If you don't upgrade health, you will die faster because the same enemies take away more health in further levels. And the amount of "orbs" (what you use to upgrade) you get from enemies and from end-of-level bonuses is measly, because you won't get much more than half way (if even half way) towards upgrading your character by the end of the game, unless you try really hard or re-do levels.
The spells are kind of messed up, because you get can get a Level 2 spell before you find the Level 1 version of that same spell. There's also not much of a difference between the spells in terms of levels. The first spell you get looks nothing different from the same spell at level 2. The only obvious difference between levels is their strength or effectiveness, which also isn't too big.
Putting the bad attack and upgrade system behind, now we go to the even worse levels. Not only is the game extremely short (I beat it on Medium in less than half a day without any effort), but it is very repetitive. They are always point A to point B levels, and most of the time, there is only one way of getting to point B, and when the road does split off, you still get the same distance to walk and the same amount of enemies. You can easily improvise in this game too, for example, in the 3rd level (the monastery), if you can spare some time and a little bit of effort, you can essentially skip through about 90% of the level in less than a fraction of the time it would take to normally do so.
And now the enemies and their AI. Horrible. Just plain horrible. There are maybe 10 unique types of enemies, all the other types are just the same enemy with a stronger weapon (but still same strategy and moves), or maybe just recolored, making them stronger. When they appear, you have to walk right up to them and WAIT before they attack you. Just as they barely attack, they also move like slugs. Sure, they might jump from time to time, but other than that, they just saunter their way towards you (or maybe even in a different direction), and if you get far away enough, they disappear, and then reappear when you go back to the area they first appeared. The bosses are EXTREMELY repetitive, because you fight each boss at least twice in different parts of the game, leaving 3-5 actual bosses.
Did I mention how easy this game is? They give you all these fancy jumping and running moves, when the only move you'll ever need is wall running. You can run vertically or horizontally across a wall an infinite amount of times. The glide jump just makes it easer to go from one wall to another. The pole jumping is also useless, because it is easily replaced by wall running. Combine that with the bad AI, easy game difficulty, and the small amount of levels for less than a day of actual gameplay.
The way the game flows is also disappointing. While you can upgrade your character's stats and find better spells, the moves you have and the swords you wield will always be exactly the same. There's also no costumes or armor, but then again, not too many games of this type have that feature.
The counter-attacks in this game are a joke. If you attack at the same time as an enemy, you engage a counter-attack, but unless it is a boss, you will just about always win. If not, it will pretty much be a deadlock until you run out of defense points. However, if you counter-attack, you can still run away and not get hurt easily, so while your enemy is slashing away at air, you can just attack him from behind. You can also evade just about every attack in this game, so there's no real point to try a counter-attack.
The terrain or walls for one level will pretty much be the same mesh or texture used over and over again. Same goes for the enemies. As said in the gameplay sections, there's only about 10 actual unique enemies, all the other ones just either have different weapons, or are different colors, but even then, it's still the same posture, figure, movement, etc. and they're all very boxy and undetailed, too. The only thing they got right in this category is the in-game movies (which were very good and detailed, but short), the bosses, and the main character, but they even managed to mess up that; while he looks very realistic during gameplay, it sends a shudder down my spine when I see the sloppy, pixelated shoes on the character.
Again, repetitive. The music isn't too much to brag about because, come to think of it, I barely noticed there was music, it was all drowned out by the stereotype of a Japanese person yelling and the *cling-clang* of the swords non-stop. The enemies rarely make any real sounds, and all your character really does is yell.
I can't imagine a person enjoying this the first time through, so why torture yourself with the same old crap and *slightly* harder enemies (I didn't notice much of a difference between Easy and Medium modes, maybe just that the enemies took more hits to kill).
This game had a lot of potential. There could have been a lot of things improved or fixed, but then again, this game should have just been re-done completely from scratch, starting with a better-looking main character. If you even want to bother with this game, then I suggest you rent, but only if you haven't played Dynasty Warriors, Devil May Cry, or any other popular hack-n-slash game. If you have played either of the two mentioned before, you'll probably want a refund for your wasted time.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 01/08/07
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