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    Bladestorm: Nightmare, The hundred year chore

    Despite being from the same developer, Bladestorm isn’t really a Dynasty Warriors-type game Sure, you will be cutting through swathes of enemies on vast battlefields, only here you will be holding buttons down instead of mashing them for combos. It’s an attempt at being more strategy-based, but in truth, the systems aren’t enough fun and, crucially, without curing the hangovers from the original 2007 release, it all seems archaic.

    As a mercenary trying to make a name for himself during the Hundred Years’ War, you’ll control a variety of squads, each strong and weak against various enemies, across a sprawling campaign with set objectives. Here, it is like a Warriors game, as you thin out the enemy numbers in order to draw out a base commander. Kill him and your objective of capturing the base is achieved. There’s not much more to it than that, and although you can level up your fighter-types, most of your time will be spent in battles.

    It’s quickly apparent that horses are the best way to play, simply because the battlefields are so large that using anything else makes ita chore to get between fights. In fact, the only time you’ll switch to a different type is when you find yourself up against certain base commanders that are strong against the horse-type. This problem is enhanced because you also get to control other squads, who seem to possess no brains whatsoever. If you are off battling, you can switch to another squad and find them doing nothing. The solution is to group up and command a larger force, but this also leaves you vulnerable. You can’t leave a squad at a base, because you can’t predict which will need defending. The best cause of action is to group up and take your chances.

    There are moments of excitement-cutting through thirty enemies at once and levelling up is a blast, though has rapidly diminishing returns- but the whole experience just feels like a drag, designed to be played piecemeal, despite having a campaign that will take most people in excess of 50 hours.

    The new Nightmare mode is interesting, ignoring historical accuracy in favour of fantasy, allowing you to ride Griffons and fight Goblins. The fact that your created character carries between modes is nice, but since the opening boss of Nightmare mode is around level 30, you’ll be forced to play at least a few hours of the 2007 campaign before being able to approach it.

    But in all honesty, there’s just no escaping the sad fact that Bladestorm feels like a dinosaur. Last-gen visuals, dodgy voice acting, and repetitive gameplay mean that there’s just not much here for newcomers, especially if not played with the online co-op. Fans of the Omega Force games may find more enjoyment in Bladestorm: Nightmare, but only in small doses.

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