I command thee.
Bladestorm is a series that originally had heard about back on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The box showcased what looked to be a “dynasty warriors” like experience taking place with warriors in a different time and era. Loosely focused on the hundred year war that took place between England and France, I never gave it a shot because of my lack of experience or interest in the genre. Now they have released an updated version along with this new expansion pack, I’ve discovered it’s not at all like I expected.
Bladestorm is a strategy game, make no mistake. Players command a created character, taking on various quests to overtake various command posts with a wide assortment of troops and progressing the story. While the original game was focused on a retelling of historical events, Nightmare has fun with its setting adding monsters and creature fantasy into the mix. This expansion includes the main game also so immediately the player has a ton of content right from the start. This aside both campaigns feel rather similar in execution.
Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC, PS3
Multiplayer: Online co-op
Once a character is created, which can be used for either campaign, the combat begins with very basic attacks with the soldiers. Combat isn’t combo based like it would be in a “warriors” title though. Once players link up with a group of soldiers, various button commands appear. One might have them do a shield bash, the other a charged attack. The goal is simple, take the group of soldiers and charge them into battle. Each move takes time to recharge once used. The strategy comes into play when trying to take advantage of the various groups of weapons. Archers, horse combat, and maces are just small sample of the amount of weapons to use and each combat group can level up those skills also in order to use higher ranking groups.
Players can switch to nearby archers and attack from a distance, disband from them, head to the nearest sword holding soldiers and push forward the attack. A new addition to this version is the ability to have various group of troops with different leaders that players can split up and help cover the terrain even more so. Seeing as there is no fast travel around the map, this comes extremely helpful in finishing the missions as players either send one team off to another location, only to switch to them and take control. The two groups can even join up together for more powerful attacks.
Visually this looks like a last gen game ported over because it is, aside from the expansion, but it’s firmly rooted in its origins. No doubt impressive when seeing have hundreds of enemies and soldiers on screen but there is nothing that screams visual showpiece or takes advantage of the new systems hardware. Sounds wise, the voice actors do their part and the sounds of battle are suitable, this isn’t the reason for folks to get invested in the series. The gameplay is simple enough to keep players coming back, (if not a little confusing at first) taking strongholds over is exciting, and leveling up their skills and equipment can get addicting as always.
The original game released with little fan far for a lot of people. I even expected it to have extremely different gameplay from my own assumptions based on the original release. Hours later I see a game that oddly reminds me of an adult version of Pikmin except with perhaps not as much depth or cuteness. While it doesn’t have the best production values, it offers a lot of content to play through even if some of it feels a bit strategy-less at times. I walked away from Bladestorm surprised and also eager to jump back into. If the gameplay doesn’t dig its hooks into you after a few hours, you might find little reason to keep going. Players that get sucked in though will already be thinking of their next plan of attack.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.