Picture this: 200 soldiers in Medieval times fighting a wall of wizards, dragons, griffins and goblins, all battling in the name of the now evil and scantily dressed, Joan of Arc. Sounds pretty epic right? Koei and Omega Forces revamped their former title Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War to include these various elements of fantasy and magic to help draw in a new crowd for their real-time tactics game. I guess the question is; did it work? Lets take a look.
Before the review begins, take note that this is not a review of the original game Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War but the new content that’s been added called the Nightmare portion of the title.
The beginning of this adventure starts in the tavern. This is where you can create your characters that will lead various battalions into battle. The actual creation of the characters was detailed and fun. You can customize just about everything about your character, from skin color to eye size to voice frequency. This was an impressive aspect to the game because it allows you to be whoever you want to be in this crazy battle filled game and you can make just about as many characters as you want. My character was blue skinned with crazy green eyes and a huge scar across his eyebrow. Pretty badass I would have to say. However, you can make your character as crazy or as normal as you please. Unfortunately, this was the most fun of the game.
Once you create your character, you get placed onto the battlefield. You are asked to choose classes which range from archers to knights to horseback warriors. Each class has its advantages and disadvantages, I chose horseback because I felt that this was the most daunting against large groups and you can get off the horse when you need to. With very few instructions, you embark onto a journey of boring fights and confusing objectives. While the battles can be large in size, they are small in entertainment level. The encounters are confusing, using various moves that have a recharge time and don’t always hit the enemy, even if you’re close to them. On top of that, it isn’t clear when the battle is actually over and when you should move on from the fight. The cool part about the battle system though, is that you can gather a ton of troops to bring along for battle and they can be super useful when combating giants and trolls.
As I continued in the game, the battles became repetitive and the distance between battle spots were far away from each other. At times, it could take a full minute just to travel to the next site, with not much to do along the way. The battles were large and as more soldiers came on screen, the frame-rate dropped dramatically. With that said, having over 400 characters on the screen at a time was incredibly ambitious and looked cool when they were all fighting at once. The leveling system was fun and allowed for the player to become stronger but in my opinion, the gameplay became too easy. As I leveled up, it felt like I was no longer challenged by the hoards of enemies, making the title even more mindless. Different enemies have various strengths and weaknesses however, it is all just for show. Their stats never really come into play and once you are above level 4 or 5, enemies are just there to be in the way. In total, completing the Nightmare portion of the game can add up to about 25 hours played but with that said, hours of gameplay does not equal fun. If anything, completing this game almost feels like a chore that you need to finish before your parents get home from work. Its long, tedious and in many ways, frustrating.
All in all, if you like a game that feels like it should be on the PlayStation 2 but has giant, button mashing battles with hundreds of participants, this game is for you. If you were looking for more of a complete and exciting experience, I suggest you move along, because as this title suggests, this game is otherwise a nightmare.
Large battle sizes
Combat at times can be exciting and fun
Graphics are almost less than last gen, in battle especially
Gameplay is methodical and boring
Quests are confusing and rarely hold attention
Joan of Arc as an evil anime witch?