Published by SouthPeak Games
Developed by Gaijin
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
I wanted to like X-Blades, I mean I REALLY did. I needed a game to hold me over until God of War 3 and early shots of X-Blades had my hopes up. That was a mistake. X-Blades isn’t anywhere near as bad as Onechanbara but it’s a far cry from ‘good.’
You play the role of a stripper named Ayumi that goes to a club and drinks herself into a psychedelic dream world and – er, no that’s not right but if you walked by someone playing the game and was told that was the plot you’d probably believe it. Ayumi is actually a treasure hunter that happens to dress like a stripper…seriously. She runs around in a white barely-there G-string and assless chaps with a white bikini top and gloves.
The story follows Ayumi as she acquires information from a shop keeper only to have a cosmic accident teleport her to some ancient ruins. The story and presentation values are weak all around and will not keep you glued to your seat at all. The gameplay is centered on mindless hack ‘n slash but it just doesn’t feel right. Sure you get to unlock powers the more you kill but the fighting mechanic just doesn’t feel as solid as it should. You have to look real close to see that you’re getting hit most of the time, there’s just not much ‘oomph’ when attacked by a lot of the normal characters and you will end up not realizing it until you look at your health or notice that you’re not hitting anything, If you get hit by the big enemies you’ll notice it but some of the normal enemies just don’t really impact you visually.
On the ground with the blades, the game is tolerable, but jumping and using guns is a WHOLE different story. To help things you can lock-on to targets which then allows you to roll out of the way via the right stick but in a lot of cases you’ll be surrounded and need to lock-off from your target so you have free movement to get to safety. The one saving grace to combat is the powers. Seriously, I recommend re-doing the easy levels (more on that in a minute) to build-up enough points to unlock powers to help you take out the more annoying enemies that cannot be easily dispatched with your blades or guns.
X-Blades is laid out a bit like Heavenly Sword in that it’s an arena hack ‘n slash. Each level is really just an arena where you have to kill the required amount of enemies (which is shown by a gauge and not an actual number) to proceed. The good news is that after you finish a stage and walk through the portal to the next area, you can always head back and the enemies will re-spawn but you are free to leave if you’ve already moved forward. There are a few platforming segments in X-blades, however the clunky jump mechanic really just makes these areas more frustrating than fun.
Graphically X-Blades isn’t terrible but it isn’t great either. Throw that in with recycled enemies and levels and it becomes a bit monotonous. Ayumi looks a bit more animated than enemies around her and the world has a heavy light and bloom direction.
Overall there’s some measure of fun to have with X-Blades but it is lacking in every other department. Sure Ayumi’s easy on the eyes and the action can get busy but the mechanics aren’t that fun and the story and presentation aspects won’t keep you hooked either. *Sigh* looks like it’ll be a long wait for God of War 3 to get my hack ‘n slash fix.
Worth it? I’d pay no more than $10 for X-Blades