Oh boy. Where to start with this one? You know that game you and your friends came up with in 2nd grade over your juice boxes and shark shaped fruit snacks? The one that would be so wicked awesome? With all sorts of enemies to slash, magic spells and those super special forms you can turn into to? And then a spike trap or two like in Indiana Jones? Remember that game?
This is that game.
Let's have some background info on just what, exactly, gave birth to X-Blades before we talk about the game itself, believe me, this makes the game all the more hilarious. And no, as far as I know, it was not put together by a bunch of 8 year olds.
The Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Gaijin Entertainment is obviously not a Japanese developer, oh no, they belong to that other land famous for creating anime based games: Russia. Here, in all its unaltered glory (I swear to Jabootu I did not touch this) is the origin of the company:
2001 - In this year three persons, Anton Yudintsev (president), Kirill Yudintsev (creative director), and Alexey Volinskov (technical director) have established the company Gaijin Entertainment. A little bit earlier, these talented people had the time to get experience in development of computer games; we shall specifically note one of their many creations - Doom 2D, which became most known among old gamers.
Glad to see we're in good hands! Doom was a great game! Oh wait...Doom 2D? What the hell is that? The Most Informative Article I Could Find in 2 Minutes of Searching
At least this game was lovingly sent over by an experienced publisher:
The Publisher: SouthPeak Games
The same guys that blessed us with Two Worlds, which is actually a cult classic at this point, Roogoo for the XBLA, Monster Madness....Legendary...hmmm...and the forthcoming, Velvet Assassin. I would make fun of them as I planned to, but this was released today: They made a huge profit in 2008
Now that we have a little bit of background established, which frankly, doesn't need me poking fun at it, since you too can google Gaijin Entertainment and enjoy, let's break down the run away Game of The Year!
Straight from the main X-Blades site:
"Long, long ago, in an age that only the gods can now remember, the universe was ruled by two powerful beings that were revered and worshipped by all races - but the ‘brotherly’ relationship between these two creatures was always in question from the beginning of time, simply because no one knew who the real number 1 was. While the Enlightened was on the side of good, helping his people how and when he could, the Dark One was quite the opposite, full of hate and devilish works - and so the never-ending battle between the Enlightened and the Dark One persisted for centuries. Humans suffered terribly thanks to this constant combat between the two – combat which shook the universe to its very core. Finally, thanks to a trick, the Enlightened succeeded in banishing the divine power of the Dark One, imprisoning it in an Artifact - but in doing so, the Enlightened lost his own divine powers, because the two divine beings were inseparably linked to one another. This is how two Artifacts came to be hidden in a huge Temple - and how the Enlightened prevented the downfall of the entire universe. However, these two artifacts contain total, absolute power - both good and evil. Any human being who comes in contact with the powerful stones will be horribly cursed - and the power of darkness will once again be awakened.
The game begins when a map which has been lost for countless years suddenly turns up - and it shows the location of the artifacts. The adventurer Ayumi starts searching for the immensely valuable stones. Powerful forces against which she is helpless threaten to awake in her body. Now it's up to her to discover what the secret of the curse is - and at last defeat the darkness."
In the opening, Ayumi informs us that she's a treasure hunter, following an ancient map to a lost artifact and that she works alone, otherwise she'd have to split the loot. That rings a bell....what does it remind me of...Tombs....Raiding of said Tombs...dual wielding pistols...nope, can't think of anything that's a blatant rip off of.
They suck. Remember the old Tomb Raider joke about how 80% of the game's polygons went to her boobies? All the care and design went to Ayumi. The environments all look the same, you even backtrack through them! The enemies have very little variety (oh wait, we're getting to that!) and look like they're from Vagrant Story. No wait, that had some decent graphics, let's say Granstream Saga (Has nothing to do with Unlimited SaGa). You can almost count the polygons that make them up, which is really sad since the main characters all look like hand drawn anime characters.
The spell effects are equally atrocious, with zero dynamic lighting, zero variety, and they blend in with the smoke trails left by certain enemies. This is the same system that powers Gears of War!?
Actually, not bad at all. Unless your trying to do a combo....or a precision jump....in which case you need to get used to the controls a little bit since it's a case of being perhaps *too* tight. Much like the side of Ayumi you're forced to watch all game. Once you get used to them, you too can execute the highest sword combo, "the dancing swords all-round strike!"
Burning Finger doesn't sound like such a bad name now..
Do you like Hacking and Slashing? I mean, do you REALLY like Hacking and Slashing? Do you REALLY, REALLY like Hacking and Slashing with LESS VARIETY THEN DYNASTY WARRIORS? Seriously, at least Cao Cao has different combos, a musou move and if you get bored of him, you can use one of 49 other characters. Ayumi has no real combos, no real variety to her attacks since the "Fireball" and "Ice Blast" look nearly the same, function the same except that the Ice Blast freezes, and in order to use Magic, you have to build up rage by hitting all the peons. Over and over.
The prices for some of her more powerful skills are so exorbitantly high that you'll be nearly done with the game before you can afford them. At least the very first skill she learns, Earthquake, is useful. Since you'll be relying on it, a lot.
See, the whole point of the game is to explore the Ruins. Each "room" is its own separate level. You get trapped inside with enemies that respawn until you kill enough, which is helpfully shown by a health bar. That's um, it. Really. Every now and then you get a boss fight, some of which are a complete pain since you have to kill all the minions, hit the boss before the minions respawn, and repeat. One of them took me 22 minutes. Of doing the same thing. Over and over and over and over and over. All because of the ridiculous health pool of the boss! We've progressed since Perfect Weapon.
I have to cite this...this is just too good...straight from X-Blades.com, which yes, has a separate section titled "Innovations":
"X-Blades" is an opulent action spectacle in Anime style for fans of short-duration combat games. Two gun blades are the trusty companions of the heroine Ayumi - and she uses them as an effective sword in hand-to-hand combat and to shoot various projectiles. Her attack potential can be increased by a wide range of spells which are progress-activated. This is where the RPG character side of the game comes in: when Ayumi has collected enough experience points, she can activate various skills which will decide whether she becomes a good or a bad character. This development leads to two different game endings.
The Anime-style level design gives "X-Blades" its unique atmosphere and flair and around 40 fantastic Indoor and Outdoor Worlds gleam resplendently in a lavish maelstrom of color. The optical effects of the action and magic are really striking, thanks to the use of modern cinematic stylistic devices like Bullet-Time and Motion Blur.
The opponents in "X-Blades" leave nothing to be desired - also designed in Anime style, around 30 classes of them await the heroine - and apart from that, she also has to destroy nine Boss opponents (including a gigantic Wolf Entity and a Giant Spider) with the help of various combat strategies.
Does your intelligence feel insulted?
Gun Blades as innovation? Anime-style? Fighting a Giant Spider and a gigantic "Wolf Entity" are NEW!? Motion blur is new!?
BULLET TIME IS A NEW INNOVATION!!??
Simple achievement list. Really, the full 1k can be done in perhaps a weekend. Grinding is required for some of them, and the complete a level without being hit is easy, but 6 levels? That gets annoying. I fully intend to get the full 1k in this, but then again, I hate myself.
The Wrap Up
Stay away from this game, unless you like completely derivative games with the depth of the kiddie pool.
Unless you get the Russian PC version. Cause then, well, Ayumi is nekkid. After all, this whole game was just an excuse to stare at a painted on thong for 8 hours.