X-Blades PlayStation 3 review

A couple of problems but a whole host of action, as Louis gets to grips with X-Blades...

Add together Tomb Raider, a bit of the original Doom and a touch of Devil May Cry and you might get some idea about how this game looks and feels.

Let me start by saying that this is not a perfect game. It has its glitches and its gripes, like most other games. There are puzzles and situations that frustrate and there is the control interface that is a little awkward before you get used to it. However, the visuals are fantastic and the gameplay is frantic to the point of frustration at times. In one level alone, I hacked and slashed and blasted through nearly 700 monsters. The whole level took less than five minutes to complete. As an average, that is more than two monsters per second – on easy!

Let’s start from the beginning, though.

You play Ayumi, a treasure hunter in the style of Lara Croft, who must work in very warm surroundings because she wears very little clothes. Her job is to obtain artifacts, and she does this with style and extreme prejudice. She is helped along by two specially-designed blades which also double up as pistols. In addition to these weapons, she can use magic to wipe out the many hoards of evil monsters that try to cut, gut and zap her to pieces.

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Don’t think that these monsters are just useless drones, though, because if you haven’t unlocked the appropriate magical power, then you’ll find this very hard going indeed. The reason being these monsters are of an elemental nature and require specific attacks to be able to defeat them. Fire monsters require fire or ice attacks to defeat them, whilst only a fire attack will work on an ice elemental. This is repeated throughout the game, with different creatures, attacks and puzzles along the way. Some are easy, such as: find this part of the artifact or the other, some are more involved such as: how do you find your way out of a room of spikes?

It’s alright having all the elemental magic, but you can only use it when you have gained enough rage on your rage meter. To get this rage, you have to fight and the more you fight then the more rage you get. Can you see where I am going with this? In addition, each time you destroy a creature, an earthenware jar, a tomb or a similar object, you gain souls. In turn, these souls can be traded for the magical powers that you need to defeat the bad guys. The more souls you collect, then the better the powers.

The only glitch I found with the powers was using the teleport ability – it only tended to jump me about five paces. Yes, the game can be repetitive in places, as can the fighting moves, but the sheer rush of playing this game can be addictive. There seems to be a perfect balance between the numbers of creatures, the fighting ability of the character and the total mayhem. Sometimes you can be fighting hard for five minutes and come out of the situation with numb hands, a sore wrist and the most amazing adrenalin rush.

As games go, this is a no brainer. You don’t have to think too much, there are fantastic visuals and a decent enough storyline to keep you interested. The underlying gameplay is basic and there are some troubling glitches in the AI in places, but you’re having so much fun in the heat of battle, you can’t help but give it a pass.


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4 out of 5