Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

When Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War was first announced, we suspected it was just Dynasty Warriors in European clothes, but now having the game in our hands, we realise that its differences are actually much more, with the only real thing it has in common being its large scale skirmishes and cheesy voice-acting.

But funny voices aside, Bladestorm lacks the cheese that is all part of the fun of a Dynasty warriors game. The rocky music is absent and in its place is a grand and rousing orchestral soundtrack, colours are muted and the soldiers armour is simple in its design, furthermore the gloriously over the top Musou commands featured in Dynasty Warriors are missing as Bladestorm is far more steeped in reality than Dynasty Warriors ever was (but that’s not to say there’s a complete absence of attacks of the magical kind).

The game mechanics also follow this more realistic approach. Whereas in Dynasty Warriors you’re able to just wade in alone, bashing hundreds of enemies in their heads in the process, here you must work with your units, or you’ll get defeated, simple as that.

But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves, a little backtracking is in order, we think.

Upon beginning the game for the first time, you must knock up your own mercenary (through a woefully bad creation tool) who will serve as your avatar. The creation tool offers so ludicrously limited options, that it renders its inclusion almost pointless, EA can certainly rest easy on their luxurious golden beds. After your guy or girl is created and before accepting your first contract, it’s worth checking what else the small and pleasant tavern has to offer. Essentially this serves as your headquarters where you can ready yourself for battle by purchasing weapons and armour, hire units to aid you, pick up tips from people and of course accept contracts.

Being a Mercenary you’re able to fight on the side of Prince Edward of the English or Joan of Arc of the French. There’s usually more than one mission on the go at a time, which is nice and all, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s little variety in the missions. It hardly ruins the game, but when it’s so repetitive a little change of pace can certainly make for a better game.

Out on the battlefield, mechanically it’s very different to Dynasty Warriors finger blistering combat and a significantly more strategic affair. As we already said (prematurely) in this piece, lone wolf fighting will get you more than a little bumped and bruised here. In Bladestorm teamwork is of the essence. It’s all about commanding the right unit for the current situation.

Basically, you’ll approach the unit you want to control and press the A button. Holding down the right button will cause them to attack, whilst pressing or holding any of the face buttons will produce all manner of different attacks and enhancements, many of which will have to recharge before you’re able to make use of them once again.

From a graphical standpoint, Bladestorm is shifting around lots of units and there are some nice touches such as the presence of wildlife. But we’ve seen far better looking crowd based games on the new generation consoles to know that this is quite frankly ugly and bland.

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War is a nice reworking of the large scale battle framework that Omega Force themselves created. Only its repetitive structure and unloved visuals prevent this from being something more.

7/10

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