Video Game Blades of Time (PC) (2012)

Overview: An action-adventure, hack-and-slash video game. Play as Ayumi and progress through a dangerous world called Dragonland using your fighting skills and time rewind abilities.

20141211:
I watched a preview of this game today and immediately thought it looked familiar. Apparently the game is a spiritual successor to X-Blades (PC) (2009).

20160123:
Today I played this game and definitely enjoyed it more than X-Blades. Objectively, I played the game for 3.0 hours - more than twice as long as my recent X-Blades experience of 1.25 hours.

Ayumi (cut scene before the main menu)

Gameplay:
Basic movement in Blades of Time consists of standard movement (WASD and camera) with a dash and double jump. Meanwhile, basic combat consists of a light melee attack, a heavy melee attack, and a ranged rifle shot. Then as the game progresses, the player is given a 'Time Rewind' ability and various special attacks which are executed after filling Ayumi's rage bar.

Ayumi deals the finishing blow.

Comparison:
For the most part the sequel corrects many of the problem points I had with X-Blades:
i) Combat is now properly interspersed with the platforming/adventure experience,
ii) Skills are now unlocked at a more steady pace,
iii) Combat now includes the occasional finishing, and
iv) Enemies are now more spread out.

Ayumi meets a character named Michelle (cut scene).

In particular, many of these changes make the game feel more similar to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003). The game even incorporates a fun time rewinding ability (though I'm not always sure how to use it in combat). However, the time mechanic is less like that of the Prince of Persia series and more like the time mechanic in Braid (PC) (2009) or The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom (2010). In other words, instead of undoing a mistake, you're actually creating a copy of yourself.

Using 'Time Rewind' to solve a simple puzzle.

Some of the same problem points exist:
i) Ayumi's attacks seem to have a bit more feel to them than before, but not to the point where it feels good and
ii) Ayumi still can't block.

Why can't you block Ayumi! Dashing is fun, but kiting forever doesn't deal damage and kiting when your main damage is within melee range sucks.

(cut scene)

Finally, there was one major problem introduced:
i) Ranged attacks now require manual aiming.

While there's nothing wrong with manual aiming, it detracted from the hack-and-slash experience. Furthermore, in the time it took me to successfully aim my shot, the enemy already locked onto my exact location and fired a barrage of projectiles that take a chunk out of Ayumi's health bar.

Taking aim at an enemy in the distance.

As a minor problem, dying should result in better checkpoints and, whenever applicable, after a cut scene instead of before a cut scene (can skip with 'Esc' but inconvenient).

Steam: 3.0 hours (total game time)

Thoughts:*
Pros:
+ Absolutely beautiful environment (> X-Blades)

Decent water effects.

+ Decent combat, not perfect, but enough to be a '+' (> X-Blades)
+ 'Time Rewind' is awesome (not found in X-Blades)

Neutral:
~ Ayumi's standard costume is more appropriate (or less inappropriate) for a treasure hunter.
: X-Blades: bikini bottom
: Blades of Time: shorts (like Lara Croft)

Learn new skills at the Altar.

Cons:
- Can't block (= X-Blades)
- Ranged attacks lack auto-targeting (< X-Blades) - Story makes little sense (= X-Blades) *Thoughts include a quick comparison to X-Blades; I write '>' for 'better than' and '<' for 'worse than.'

Recommendation:
Overall, Blades of Time is a great improvement over X-Blades and enough to warrant playing.

A list of the skills and spells acquired thus far.

With that being said, it fails to be as polished as any game from the Prince of Persia series and there are surely better hack-and-slash games available.

Blades of Time (PC) (2012)

Beautiful environments.

Relevant Links:
Blades of Time Website
Blades of Time (Steam Store Page)
Blades of Time (Wikipedia.org)
Blades of TIme (PC) (MetaCritic.com)

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