Blades of Time Review

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Title: Blades of Time
Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher: Gaijin Distribution
Website: http://www.bladesoftime.com/
Genre: Action, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: Mature 17+ Blood, Violence and Language
Release Date: Out Now – 14/05/19
Price: £17.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

What the Developers say

Ayumi, the gorgeous gun and sword-wielding treasure hunter, sets out on a journey to an ancient island in search of new adventures. While rich in bounty, the island is also filled with the magic of Chaos, being at the same time home to blood thirsty monsters.
 
Key features:
 
– Time Rewind. The ability to rewind time will help Ayumi to solve different puzzles and fight with armies of monsters.
– Meetings and encounters. While traveling Ayumi is sure to meet lots of cuddly, funny and mysterious characters. Each of them will make a contribution to the story of the blonde’s risky adventures.
– Beautiful in-game world. The world of the game is packed with a variety of fantastic landscapes. Here players can find everything: from snowy valleys to dense jungle, ancient cities and temples and even sky islands.
– Martial arts. Over 40 different combo attacks as well as spells of different magic schools will help Ayumi to defeat all the enemies that stand in her way.
– Precious time. Ayumi’s ability to speed herself up in no time will help her to catch up with enemies, flee from her pursuers and travel all over the in-game world, making use of its unique landscape features.
– Coop and PvP are available in the special “Outbreak” mode.

https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/blades-of-time-switch/

Introduction

The Gaijin Distribution published title, Blades of Time, is the latest in a long line of ports from the last generation of home consoles to land on the Nintendo Switch. Whilst many have been obvious choices, and some a little less so, Blades of Time was the first that made me truly question why. This hack-and-slash, action-adventure title from 2012 is neither steeped in nostalgia nor back by popular demand. The media opinions were somewhat of a mixed bag, and it seemed that Blades of Time would be left to rest alongside the Xbox 360 and PS3. 

With that in mind, the surprise announcement that Ayumi, the female, sword-wielding protagonist, was receiving a new lease of life on Nintendo’s hybrid console did leave me wondering as to the motivations behind it. Did it represent an opportunity to right the wrongs of the original? Was it a chance to inject new life? Or, was the potential for a quick cash-and-grab too strong a pull to ignore? Find out, with our Rapid Review of Blades of Time.

Audio & Visual

It is rather unfortunate for Blades of Time that we choose to start with the audio and visual elements of a title here at Rapid Reviews UK, because the early signs do not bode well. The age-old saying, ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression’ is difficult to ignore as you traverse the world that has been created. The game splutters in fits and starts, reminiscent of a car which has remained stagnant for quite some time – a fitting analogy now I think on it.

Now, this car has the potential to be a nice one. Not a classic, but a nice one. On the surface, it looks great. While it requires a spot of polish and maybe some decals to invigorate it, the car has the makings of something special. With a little TLC and a fix of that faulty engine, the car could be one to take out again. This release represented the perfect opportunity to do so, yet the development team haven’t taken it.

The game looks like one from the previous generation and feels that way too. The graphics are mediocre, with texture pop-in and frame-rate dips running rampant on-screen. It is a real shame as the environments are luscious and inviting. I wanted to explore the places where this story is set, but the visual indiscretions of Blades of Time forbid me to do so.

Audio-wise, the game is much more inviting. I enjoyed the voiceovers and environmental sounds. I also felt the enemies had been well-crafted, as much in artistic design as the atmosphere created when they descended upon you. This was in part due to the audio elements used, and the development team deserve credit for that.

Gameplay & Replayability

Hack-and-slash titles often paint a picture of mass destruction and button-bashing madness. The action-adventure prospects of Blades of Time ensure it is more than that, and the two are well-suited. Although linear in its design, there are puzzle elements and a variety of enemies and boss battles to keep things interesting. The combat is also varied, with strategy required to defeat the hordes – something I was pleased to see.

The storyline is one which sets a scene one has seen many a time: gain your powers again having lost them previously. The beauty of Blades of Time lies in the powers that you gain, and of the many available, I wish to showcase only one. Straight out of the Prince of Persia playbook, you can rewind time. Not only can you rewind time, but your character also remains where they are, meaning there are then two of you. One is free to be controlled by you to complete an action again, and the other is recreating whatever you did previously.

Picture the scene, you are in a battle with a fierce foe and have just pulled off your special move. You rewind time by using ‘L’, and watch as the special move is pulled off. At the same time, however, you approach and complete the special move once again. This tag-team attack is an excellent idea and one I utilised time and time again to devastating effect.

Experiencing this in all its glory was the first time where I felt I could see why this title was being given another shot at stardom. It only served to remind me though that this was a missed opportunity by the development team. A straight port of Blades of Time is not sufficient in today’s market, and I think it will hinder its efforts to be a success a second time around.

To strengthen its claim for your hard-earned cash is an online multiplayer element. Known as ‘Outbreak’ and found in the main menu, you compete against another online player and their horde to play what is effectively a game of ‘Capture the Flag’. You have a base, and so do they, and you must defeat theirs to win the game. Of the games I played online, I found that the same gameplay lag was evident here. It also became stale quite quickly, and for a game that offers daily login bonuses and XP upgrades, this is rather unfortunate. It felt like yet another case of poor execution.

It is a real shame that Blades of Time has not been given the attention it deserves, as I can see its potential as an enjoyable hack-and-slash romp. The game required some extra time in the cooker, and with seven years between its original release and this port, it is hard to be forgiving of its pitfalls.

Conclusion

In a gaming world where competition is fierce and expectations increasing by the day, the margin for error is slim. While many a gamer is willing to overlook graphics for the sake of gameplay, or sound for the storyline, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore poor development and publishing choices. Unfortunately, for all that Blades of Time may offer on the Nintendo Switch, one can’t help but feel that this was a rushed, ill-planned effort to release on a console increasing in popularity each day.

Rapid Reviews UK Rating

You can purchase Blades of Time on the Nintendo eShop at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Blades-of-Time-1559439.html#Overview

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

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