Released at the height of finals, Gaijin Entertainment’s PC port of “Blades of Time” may have gone largely unnoticed. However, its particular brand of mindless hack-and-slash action might be exactly what is needed to cope with the posting of grades on Wolverine Access over the next few weeks.
Blades of Time
“Blades of Time” follows the antics of your stereotypical first-person fantasy game. It is here Ayumi is a scantily-clad blonde heroine, travelling through the dangerous Dragonland in search of treasure, power and Zero, her long-lost buddy. Ayumi quickly learns that she can rewind time, a la “Prince of Persia,” and this becomes an essential skill when dealing with hard-to-kill enemies, invincible-but-easily-fooled nemeses and puzzles. Mostly puzzles.
“Blades of Time” is definitely not a game to be played for story. Gaijin has put a lot of effort into placing various collectible journal pieces that follow different narratives throughout the areas — each voiced by a different silly caricature — as if to apologize to the player for the nebulous circumstances surrounding Ayumi’s plight. The game, otherwise, is extremely linear and the universe and its intricacies are not explained well.
Despite feeling like an obvious console port, gameplay is fun. Mashing mouse buttons and keys is about as intense as the game gets, and that level of cerebral activity is just sufficient enough to keep your mind off the various stressors of real life without really forcing you to actually think about doing anything. There are guns, but among somewhat unfriendly camera angles, the gimped damage and the fact that the enemies honestly don’t give a damn if you’re shooting at their friends, the player is better off running face-first into a mob and trying to slice, dice, freeze and burn them to death before getting exploded into tiny pieces.
There are, unfortunately, a number of things that make “Blades of Time” feel like a wasted investment on PC. The fact that the game can be played with a 360 controller is a clear indicator of its origins — “Blades of Time” was a console game and obviously still is at heart. The way the game reacts to some of the interactions possible with mouse-and-keyboard play causes some seriously infuriating camera bugs, and the difficulty in adjusting the camera without bouncing your screen around is another issue in itself.
Gameplay offers little opportunities for individualized experiences, and the number of available spells and items makes for personalizing your character next-to-impossible. “Blades of Time” is NOT a roleplaying game, though, and succeeds in its aim to provide high-octane combat that’s easy on the eyes and the mind.