Editors Note: Please note that this is a review that is in progress since we have not had a chance to test the multiplayer yet. We will update this accordingly soon.
+Character creation is in-depth and allows for heavy customizations
+Weapon selections vary between fantasy and non-fantasy campaigns
+Level-up system is unique, in-depth, and allows for complete control
+Difficulty is easy to overcome once weapon types and their weaknesses are learned
+Absolutely insanely large battlefields (58+ minutes to fully clear a map)
-Intermittent framerate drops
-White specks appearing on terrain texture collision points at times
-Combat can sometimes be lucrative and time consuming
-Disappointing A.I. that is absolutely useless in combat
-Aiming abilities for ranged characters such as the archers and casters are annoying
-Little Variation in combat theaters
What do you do when you re-release a game that was originally released on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 as “Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War” back in 2007? Well port it eventually of course, which is just what Omega Force and publisher Koei Tecmo have done by adding a bunch of new customizations, a new scenario, online mode, a free mode, and even an online portion that can be activated at any given time. With that being said, what exactly is the big draw to this game if there is one?
Taking place during the well known Hundred Years War, which takes course during the conflicts between both England and France for 120 years between the 14th and the 15th centuries, which documented historical figures that participated within this conflict. During these conflicts, players will get to see Joan d’Arc, Edward of Woodstock (The Black Prince), John Talbot, and even John Fastolf, and even Phillipe le Bon all the while traversing some of history’s most famous battlegrounds such as Crécy, Poitiers, and Orléans. For those of you who always wanted a history refresher, this game will offer quite a bit of that through its extensive campaign that can spread out to 100+ hours just to play “The Hundred Years’ War” and not even include the “Nightmare” campaign, which features fantasy twists to what happened after “The Hundred Years’ War”.
So what exactly is Bladestorm: Nightmare? At its heart, Omega Force designed an intricate a large scale RTS that plays off in real time. In this title players will make their officer, help lead armies, and take on large scale battles that will take place through The Hundred Years War and help bring the war to find a resolution. Unlike the original campaign, however, “Nightmare” is a campaign that is scripted to be a ‘linear’ twist of the original one, which takes place after the first campaign where the forces of England and france have been met with a rather fierce group of enemies that come as creatures that can easily be called demon’s, skeletons, and random fantasy creatures – their leader? The once famed Joan d’Arc has fallen and become their leader. Even though it was intended to be played at the end of “The Hundred Years’ War”, “Nightmare,” is a much more entertaining campaign that will let fans who prefer an altered and fantasy filled history to enjoy. Within this game mode, fans will once more take the role as their mercenary who works their way once more through Europe in order to track down Joan d’Arc. Upon joining this campaign, however, players get to carry over several rather important things – weapons, gear, levels, and distributed skill points without any form of restrictions or altered stats. Instead the game stays true to its intention in letting players join an expanded campaign. With that information shared, it is something to keep in mind when tempted to jump straight into “Nightmare,” versus “The Hundred Years’ War”.
So the question after that is going to surely be the technical one – how does the game perform on new-gen? Unfortunately it did seem the game itself ran into a few general hiccups that could easily be patched out given the time. The game itself ran into infrequent framerate drops compared the constantly plaguing the last-gen version. However, that doesn’t mean they are entirely gone, nor is the infrequent white dots that will appear where the terrain collides, but these are negligible and infrequent. However, when it comes to graphics, Bladestorm itself has been highly upgraded and has even with the newly added particle effects and lighting effects. Something that is seemingly common in games such as Dynasty Warriors and now their franchise Bladestorm, but this simply could be due to all the the enemies and actions the game is tracking in real time.
This can be mostly noticed when combining multiple groups of troops and their commanders into one large army and storming the battlefield. Players will find them using R1, R2, L1, and L2 in order to control those groups and attempt to take out their enemies. In this game, many will take note that it is a huge departure from the typical Omega Force combat setup. This time around, Omega Force has removed the capability of controlling just one character to allowing users to controlling a rather large battalion of soldiers. Within this ocean of soldiers players will find themselves having to direct and control them all as one giant and cohesive unit. Each of these units will have their own controls and can even participate in this games equivalent of the Musou attack. All this can be set up in the games central hub, which is a tavern where mercenaries gather in order to equip new armour, weapons, and even setting up their squads.
Thanks to the use of both L1, L2, R1, R2 on the PS3, PS4, and LB, Left Trigger, RB, and Right Trigger in order to access the controls for each of your coordinated groups. Thanks to these innovations, players can also change between the leaders they want to control using the controller’s d-pad, which will help in doing so. This also allows players to enjoy new weapon types, abilities, and even character leveling as players progress through both of the games main campaigns. For players looking to fight against both strengths and weaknesses to their weapon types, players will need to utilize multiple classes through the battles on the go. So how does this work? Want to wipe out a cavalry? Easy, grab a group of Viking Swordsmen or Pikemen and you will absolutely level the playing field. Are you the cavalry? Well prepare to be weak to both Pikemen and archers as they will seek to pick you off quite easily while you are talking out halberdiers and even archers, but that’s also while players could quite easily be taking out enemy sword and shield wielders. This is something that players will become quite well versed in by using enemy class warning symbols showing if players can take them out or not. The only issue here? Combat will become repetitive, quiet, and even a bit boring, but this is something that will wear off a bit over time and will bring players back to enjoy it, but that’s not the only charming thing of the game thanks to composer Jamie Christopherson.
With music composed by Jamie Christopherson (well known for his soundtrack he composed for Metal Gear Rising Revengeance) it’s not hard to find someone being drawn into the combat scenarios while leading forth a cavalry or group of undead mages to take on an enemy ogre during their time of war in order to take over enemy bases and run the battlefield. Thanks to his usage of both instrumental music that both cascades on the ears yet remains subtle; the game itself remains fulfilling and yet intriguing thanks to the atmosphere he helps create. Something that terrains, enemies, and even conversations in battle should have been able to manage on their own.
Overall, even with this as a review in progress, Bladestorm: Nightmare is a game that challenges players to the fullest and will push them to truly extend their battle prowess on the battlefield and show their inner tactician.
Bladestorm: Nightmare is now available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game is priced 59.99 USD on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and 39.99 USD on PlayStation 3. The title released on March 17th for North America and will launch on March 20th for Europe.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
Editor’s Note: This version of the game is based upon a pre-release retail version of the game. Our copy was provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at @GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.