BloodRayne hasn’t received the attention or props it deserves. The video games were mediocre but they contained great characters and a memorable story. Rayne is one of the most recognized and sexiest video game characters ever created. Why has there been no BloodRayne 3? Majesco has been having financial problems for as long as anyone can remember. A PSP game was canceled and a 3DS game was as well. The last game, BloodRayne: Betrayal, was a 2D platformer but received low sales. To satisfy everyone’s bloodlust for Rayne Digital Webbing released 26 issues of BloodRayne that ran for a good 3 years and ended in 2009. The series has a fantastic story and really shows Rayne’s weaknesses and strengths. However, the series falls flat in the art department.
With mostly one-shots, BloodRayne does surprisingly well for itself. Rayne is trying to uncover the truth behind the Brimstone Society, an ancient secret cult that set out to kill all vampires and mythical creatures that endangered mankind. There is deception, deceit, betrayal, and mistrust running through the whole series. Just when you think things are going one way they greatly shift to another and it keeps you reading and tearing through issues.
The three mini-series are great as well. Plague of Dreams is all about Rayne’s half-brother who’s threatening the world. Red Blood Run is set in China where a secret cult is harvesting young women and turning them into vampires. This is where the story makes the biggest twist and the climax starts. The final mini-series, Tokyo Rogue, has an interesting encore/sub-plot of the years after the events of the original Brimstone Society drama. It doesn’t directly tie into it, but there are elements that point to it. The writing is very good despite Rayne’s battle taunts being a bit cheesy. I loved the characters and got attached to many of them.
The art was inconsistent throughout the entire series. Several issues looked downright ugly with disproportionate anatomy, Rayne looking like a man in some issues, and her body shape constantly changing. Some issues looked brighter and more vivid while others lacked any detail at all. This is a crying shame because Rayne is a gorgeous woman and deserves the best attention in drawing her. I liked the various outfits she was in, but the art just really threw the series off.
Other than the art issue BloodRayne is a great series for fans and non-fans alike. If you never played BloodRayne I suggest you try to after reading these comics, I know I want to dive back in and sink my teeth into the first game.
Suda 51 is known for his crazy art style and weird games. He’s pretty much the Quintin Tarantino of the video game industry. You may know his other games such as Killer 7, No More Heroes, Lollipop Chainsaw, and Shadows of the Damned. His latest work isn’t his best or his weirdest. Honestly, the game is very short and lacking in every department. Let’s start with the story, you play a hitman named Mondo who works for a hire-to-kill agency and takes on different people. The goal for this is never explained, and honestly, the story makes zero sense. There’s no wrap-up, no climax, no real anything. You just run around killing things for people with no real purpose. There’s something about a guy named David who killed Mondo’s mom and then something about taking back the moon from him. I can’t tell you any more than that because there isn’t anything else, the story could have been interesting but it seriously sucks.
Suda 51 is known for having fun and flashy combat. The combat here is very flashy but very shallow and dull. You just mash square and dodge around a lot to hopefully trigger a slow-mo event where you mash the attack button and can do extra damage. Mondo also has a gun arm called the Musselback. There are 4 different weapons you can unlock through gigolo missions (more on that later) but I honestly never used any of them except the default machine gun attachment. Your arm works off of blood that you gain from killing things and this also fuels your blood drive. Holding R1 and pressing square allows you to instantly kill enemies that aren’t immortal or shielded. All of this sounds fun and dandy, and it may look awesome, but there’s nothing else to it. Upgrades are bare-bones and only let you auto-heal and manual heal while giving you only 5 new attacks which end up being useless. The combat is seriously flawed and simple.
Outside of that, there’s nothing else to do. The missions are varied and the best part about the game are the boss fights and the visuals. The game has Suda 51’s signature art style similar to Killer 7, but it’s technically dated like all his other games. The textures are blurry and ugly and it just lacks any technical flair. Other than the main 12 chapter story you can unlock side missions that are timed with various objectives or gigolo missions. These basically are dating mini-games where you have to stare down a woman’s body without her noticing. Once your “guts” are full you can offer gifts to win her heart over. Before you cry foul there is a purpose: to unlock the Musselback attachments. However, doing these side missions that you unlock will feel pointless because after you beat the short 5-hour story you won’t want to come back. The enemies repeat often, there are very few set pieces in the game, you won’t care about the characters, and the story is confusing and non-existent.
Overall, Killer is Dead is Suda 51’s weakest game. It has the sexual spice, the visual flair, and the weirdness, but not in the good way that it has been put to use before. The combat is bland and shallow, the story sucks, the characters are lame, and there’s no reason to go back. That’s not to say it isn’t worth playing through. Only fans of Suda 51 will really get the game’s concept or general design and appreciate it from an artistic standpoint, but the average gamer will think it’s a load of garbage.
Let’s face it, everyone knows most F2P MMOs require a lot of grinding and this is usually what keeps me away from them. Scarlet Blade seemed appealing because of the scantily clad women and the game just looked good and fun. I gave it a shot (which I rarely do for MMOs) and it was great for the first few weeks until I go to level 23 and the grinding had to start.
Scarlet Blade has a simple story about Free Knights and Royal Knights Arkana who are AI women. The Royal Guards want to destroy the creator of the Arkana is a rebellious war while the Free Knights worship her and stay loyal. The story is somewhat interesting, but it is stretched thin over 40 levels of missions that you end up forgetting half of it. The characters aren’t interesting at all and are basically all text that you read. The main attraction of the game is the busty women and the fact that you can buy lingerie unsealed and have your character walk around nude. The combat seemed fast and satisfying, but after a while, the grind started kicking in.
The game’s main missions have you just killing different amounts of respawning enemies that roam the area. This gets tedious and boring after a while, but leveling up a character is always addictive, however, the rewards for doing so are poor. You only get one EXP point per level so it takes forever to properly acquire a good arsenal of attacks. I concentrated on 6 and even that took forever. Most missions rewards suck, they give you pet energy potions and mainly potions for yourself. You rarely get anything good like armor or a weapon, in fact, nearly every enemy drop was useless junk that could only be sold at a store. Very disappointing loot and even the large raid areas didn’t provide good loot. The game just disappoints on that level completely.
After about level 8 I had enough gold to buy all the best armor and weapons for my character, but there’s one set of certain levels. Once you buy it all that’s it until you reach the next level set. There were various other things that this MMO did that others didn’t like collecting cards to use for gambling that gave you boxes of items, you can complete puzzles every time you level up to unveil some sexy artwork and things like that. It isn’t anything that would get someone to play the game, honestly, I got bored after hitting level 23. One thing that I was concerned about was that the various item ranking systems are complicated and nearly useless, there are also so many of them. You can sell your item to rank it up more but must unseal it to sell it, you have to use Stardust Crystals to level up your armor and weapons, but the stats are so small you won’t notice a difference. Honestly, the game offers very little reward for all your effort.
There are some social poses your character can buy and learn that add to the sex appeal of the game. These do nothing more than offer you something to ogle at, however, some poses can make your character rest and heal up. There were other items that I found useless like megaphones that make your text in the chat gold so it stands out. Maybe items were useless and I just sold them, why an MMO would offer you so little for so much effort is beyond me. Two items I did require were actually useful. After a while, you get a mech you can use that uses CP points that do a lot of damage. Another item is a suit that is used in PvP only, these items were powerful and came in handy a lot.
There are various other systems like storing items, buying items, weapons, armor, synthesizing which even at level 23 I still didn’t have any materials to do this. The game is pretty bare-bones and there isn’t much incentive to keep playing once the grind starts kicking in. I did get a bike at level 10 which looked cool, but there are no customization features and upgrading your bike is nearly useless. All it does is increase the moving speed by one point with every crystal you use. You can take a look at other armors and apply them to your current armor, but honestly, these systems are all useless. I tried PvP battles and they seemed fun, but I couldn’t get any kills. The action was so hectic I kept losing track of my mouse cursor and did not even know who I was attacking. The battles rotate every hour and it was fun at first, but it’s not worth it. You can collect dog tags to turn into medals for the show, but once again, what’s the point?
After killing thousands of creatures and grinding to level 23 I started running out of quests to keep my levels going. I had to do repeatable quests and just kill dozens of creatures to level up. After a while, I figured there are better games out there to play which there are. Scarlet Blade is a good concept but seriously needs more content to be considered worthy of your time. Despite all that there are a lot of areas to explore and the game is huge, I found some challenging bosses and overall had a good time, but the nagging feeling in my mind was that the paltry rewards just weren’t worth it.
Scarlet Blade may feature sexy busty women, but in the end, you are going to start really grinding at level 23 and the rewards just suck. The game has too many synthesizing and item leveling systems so it becomes confusing, and overall the game just isn’t worth your time.
This is exactly how you do a game series reboot right. I wish I could end my review on that, but I need to tell you why. Tomb Raider suffered through a few mediocre games during the first run of the series during the late 90’s-early 2000’s. The first reboot did well for the series by maturing Lara and giving us better controls and a more cinematic experience. Now comes Tomb Raider in 2013, a fantastic game that shows the more human side of Lara. The game starts out with you and a science crew on a ship on the way to an archeological site, but things go awry when Lara decides to head to the Dragon’s Triangle off the coast of Japan. A mysterious storm destroys the boat and Lara and team are stranded on this island. There is a mysterious cult trying to sacrifice people to a sun goddess to end these storms. Lara has to deal with this if she wants of course.
What makes Tomb Raider so memorable is the struggle she goes through while surviving. She is nearly raped, suffers tremendous injuries and has to cope with herself in dealing with the fact that she has to kill to survive. She is not comfortable with this at first and really struggles to pull the trigger. This adds layers of depth to her character that weren’t seen before. Not only is her personality more memorable, but her looks have changed. No longer is Lara wearing the short shorts and tight shirt with her huge bust. She has been knocked down a few cup sizes and is much younger, straight out of college in fact. It’s hard to really describe her more than this, you have to play the game to really connect.
The gameplay in Tomb Raider has completely changed, but yes there is platforming and gunplay. Both are tight and very well crafted. Gunplay consists of using scraps to create a pistol, bow, machine gun, and shotgun. That’s it. As you progress and find salvage in crates and dead bodies you can upgrade these to look like and feel like better weapons. There are many upgrades that increase damage and accuracy as well as adding new ammo types. Lara’s animations are very well done and realistic and this falls into combat. She scrambles around and ducks behind cover, the guns feel great to shoot and you can see how inexperienced Lara is, she’s not a Navy SEAL or commando. Unlike other games like this, her stumbling animations don’t interfere with the game at all. You can still move around, you can dodge, and there’s even some melee thrown in. As you upgrade your skills (done at various campfires throughout the game) you can dodge and through quick time events can do some pretty gruesome kills.
While gunplay is tight and fun, exploring is just as important. This island is massive and you can go anywhere, there are no limits. Fast traveling via camps really helps, but there’s a reason for moving around everywhere: collecting hidden items. These range from relics, GPS caches, documents etc. There are hidden tombs found throughout the game that hold area maps for these items. These tombs consist of cleverly made physics puzzles that are really fun to complete. You get rewards like art and 3D models to view. The whole game just has an amazing atmosphere and is just so much fun to explore.
On top of all the climbing around you get a climbing axe which is an important tool for climbing and combat. Your bow is used for shooting ropes across valleys and canyons to pull items to solve puzzles, break doors, and access to new areas. The whole exploring ideal in this game is just fantastic and really fun. I did have to think about how to get to new areas and actually try to navigate and experiment, that’ good game design. There is a Survival Instinct ability that highlights map markers, objectives, and when you unlock the skill, you can see items through walls.
The story itself is a bit confusing, the whole spiritual thing is a bit unbelievable in such a realistic world like this, but that is what Tomb Raider is known for. Lara is the main character here and what she goes through was the main story for me. I loved every second of the story. The voice acting is awesome and the graphics look amazing, some of the best on PC yet. The new DirectX 11 features like Tessellation and the new TressFX technology applied to Lara’s hair look nice, but there were a lot of bugs and glitches for Nvidia users during launch (they are now fixed). You will need a monster rig to play this game on highest settings.
The multiplayer was tacked on late in development and is pretty boring. The combat was designed for cinematic gameplay, not multiplayer. It feels just like it does in the story, but it just doesn’t suit multiplayer well. I played all of three rounds and got bored of the game. Some people may like it, but there are better multiplayer shooters out there.
Overall, Tomb Raider is one of my favorite games of all time and is really memorable. The voice acting is solid, and Lara’s new personality makes her more human and more relatable. The graphics are outstanding and the gunplay and exploring mechanics are fun and very cinematic.
Dead or Alive is one of the longest-running fighting games dating back to the PS1 era. It is also one of the fighting games that probably adds the least amount of features or changes through each sequel. DoA 5 doesn’t really add much, so fans of DoA 4 will be a little disappointed here. The fighting system is nearly unchanged, and all you will notice from the beginning is a new story and a graphical upgrade. The game looks pretty good, and there’s a long 65 mission story, but is it worth the $60 purchase if you are just happy with DoA Dimensions or DoA 4?
The only new additions to the fighting system are the Cliffhangers and the Critical System. Both are underwhelming and just add to the already complicated fight system. However, it is more enjoyable to button mash than other fight games that rely on things like jump canceling, jump this, cancel that, etc. DoA is based around a triangle fight system that is based on holds and counter-attacks. This means you have to be quick and read your opponent’s moves, most fighting games aren’t like that. This is also a problem because predicting moves is very hard in this game, and having counters and holds for high, low, and mid strikes is just ridiculous and creates a very high learning curve that will turn most new players away.
The Critical System allows you to do extra damage when the word pops up on the screen, when it turns red you can do even more damage, but the timing for this is a serious pain. You spend more time trying to read and predict all this stuff than just button mashing which is a lot more fun. Some fighting games are more fun when learning the moves and the fighting system (Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs Capcom), but Dead or Alive isn’t. You have to focus less on the fight and more on the animations and things that pop up on the screen. I spent hours trying to learn all this, but in the end, just resorted back to button mashing which I felt more confident in.
Cliffhangers are cinematic events in which you Power Blow (a super-powerful charged attack) into a certain Danger Zone and a quick time event coming up. This was fun, but it is hard to figure out the special Danger Zone in most stages and leads right back to that issue where you are distracted from the actual fight. DoA 5 just adds too many distractions, but for people who don’t mind (probably hardcore fans) then you may like these new ideas. Despite all of this the fighting system is very fun and fluid and is all martial arts with no fancy fireballs or magic attacks.
The story mode is back and is pretty well developed, but is confusing for newcomers. You had to have played past story modes because they pick up after each other. Kasumi is just trying to stop Alpha 152 again and the Mugen Tenshin clan (Ayane, Ryu Hayabusa, and Hayate) are after her. In the meantime, Zack is trying to recruit people for Dead or Alive 5, and most people will find the story mostly uninteresting. It is better than most fighting game stories though. The graphics look great and pretty much push the consoles to their limits. There is a new dirt and sweat feature added to characters, but you can only guess why. Dead or Alive is 70% female fighters with large breasts that jiggle with every move in very little clothing. This isn’t a bad thing because most of the characters are well known and very well developed with unique personalities. One of the features in every Dead or Alive release, for me, are the new costumes I can unlock in the game because they are so well done and make the women look even more beautiful.
The story mode also has bonus missions, but after halfway through starts becoming impossibly difficult. Dead or Alive isn’t really a combo type of game, but pulling off 7 and 10 hit combos can be a serious chore. Online modes are fun as always, but most players will get discouraged at the good long-time fighters. This just proves that you must master the triangle system because once you get locked into a combo you’re stuck. Health bars deplete quickly in this game so fights can last only a minute or two.
Overall, DoA 5 doesn’t bring much to the table to call this a true sequel, graphical upgrades, a new story, and just a couple of new additions to the fighting system, but they hamper it down. There are also no new characters just a few cameos from Virtua Fighter. Plus, the stages are actually pretty boring. Construction site, a street, a Japanese house. Yawn. DoA 5 is solid and fun but wait for a price drop.
I usually regret playing Atlus games because they are frustrating and difficult experiences. The games are usually excellent, but the difficulty always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I have only been able to complete a couple of Atlus games due to this. Catherine is no different, but shouldn’t be taken lightly. RPG fans stay away. If you just want to experience the story go on YouTube. This is for hardcore puzzle fans only. I mean the hardest of core puzzle gamers. This game will leave you infuriated, angry, full of rage, and probably with a few smashed controllers. The game is plagued with issues, but for some reason, there’s the story that makes you want to see the end. Thankfully the game isn’t very long. Just prepare the video walkthroughs because you will need them.
This experience is coming from someone who hates these kinds of puzzles. This game is complete to taste. I hate block-pushing puzzles, but here we are with a very deep game that includes these. The first three stages aren’t that bad. Starting at stage 4 things get frustrating and forget about progressive difficulty. First off, the story is very engaging and it’s a love story. A man named Vincent Brooks is in love with a girl named Katherine and she wants him to marry her. Suddenly a sultry seductress named Catherine comes along and somehow Vincent wakes up with her naked next to him. The rest of the game is him trying to hide each Katherine from the other.
The story gets tense in spots like any well-written drama. When you are in the Stray Sheep bar you will receive text messages on your phone that you can reply to. Be careful because this will affect your morality meter which will impact the way Vincent handles inner conflict. I had a lot of fun replying to these texts because it’s almost like you are actually doing it and in this relationship yourself. Atlus did a great job bringing you into this problem. Of course, every night when Vincent dreams you are brought to an area where you climb an endless tower of blocks with other sheep, and that’s where you start to hate or love the game.
I can’t really explain the methods of all the block-pushing because there are over a dozen that you learn throughout the game. You can push blocks horizontally, but it’s not so simple. There are other types of blocks like heavy ones, ice, traps, randomly changing, and other blocks that will make your life hell. It was nigh impossible to figure most of these out without a video walkthrough because otherwise, you will be restarting dozens of times due to trial and error. To make things harder the stage is crumbling underneath you. To make things even tougher you are awarded medals at the end. The only way to get gold is to keep your step multiplier up throughout the whole level and never mess up. Sure, there are checkpoints every so often, but I had such a tough time that even the video walkthroughs didn’t help sometimes.
There are items you can pick up that help that creates one extra block, allow you to jump 2 blocks, kill enemies, and turn all blocks to normal. You can pick up coins along the way to increase your score as well. At the end of each stage, there is a boss that you must run from and tries to kill you. These change up the pace but just made things even more frustrating. You just can’t catch a break during these puzzle levels. Even the controls are terrible with reversed control when crawling around behind the blocks, delays, and strange quirks that will make you die just because of control problems.
I really felt like this was a puzzle game with a love story wrapped around it. The game is tough, and I highly suggest a rental first because most people won’t even finish this game. Don’t think this is something like Pushmo with a reset button. Some levels take over ten minutes to complete. There is a co-op mode you can unlock, but all you will do is lose friendships. The best parts are the story in between and questions that you answer that even make you question the way you view romanticism and maybe even your own relationship. I even liked how you could see how other people answered. Besides these puzzles and answering text messages, there is no other gameplay apart from talking to people.
Overall, Catherine is a love/hate thing. Puzzle fans will fall in love with this, but RPG and other genre fans will hate it. I only hated the puzzle stages but loved the story. With the puzzle levels being 90% of the game I can’t really give this a higher score even if I wanted to. It is gripping, exciting, steamy, and can go any way. The anime cutscenes are beautifully done, and even the English voice acting is tolerable, but I would have preferred the Japanese voices with English subtitles. If you insist on wanting to know the story and characters, rent this and keep a video walkthrough handy, and maybe a spare controller or three.
Some games are infected with sequelitis where a developer makes the same game over and over again. There are a few series that are actually good every time (Assassin’s Creed, God of War, Mortal Kombat, Battlefield), but they are rare. Some games should just stop being made altogether (Need for Speed, Call of Duty, Dynasty Warriors, Final Fantasy), but no one will listen. Then there are the games that everyone begs to have sequels for and the developers, or publishers, just will not listen. Instead of another great game, they give us another billion-dollar Call of Duty because that’s what publishers want. Here are 5 games that I think need to come back because we dearly miss them.
5. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords
The KotOR series is considered the best Star Wars game series of all time. It brought a whole new story and characters to the Star Wars universe and made them work. You got attached to them, you liked them, you hated them, and the story played on the Force and light and dark side masterfully. KotOR II wasn’t much of an improvement on the first game, but it was enough to garner just as many sales and high scores. Some people consider The Old Republic MMO as an unofficial sequel, but it’s just not the same. BioWare has received countless emails and letters from fans, but no such sequel has ever seen the light of day.
Okami received such high scores, but poor sales. It was part of the reason why Clover Studios no longer exists. Sure, everyone knows who Amaterasu is and what Okami is, but a lot of people have never played it. Okamiden for DS is really considered a sequel, but it technically is. Everyone has wanted a true console experience with some next-gen flair, but thus far nothing has been seen except a Wii port. Will we ever see Amaterasu again? Probably not, but here’s to hoping someone’s listening.
She’s a witch, she has pistol heels, and wears her hair for clothes. Men want her, and women want to be her. Her name is Bayonetta and she took the gaming industry by storm with near-flawless combat and a very intriguing story with amazing visuals. The game had attitude and style like no other since Devil May Cry. It’s been a good 3 years, but not a single word of a sequel has been in sight. Will there ever be one? Platinum Studios is still alive and kicking, but they have been pumping out brand new IPs every year. Stop and make Bayonetta2! For some reason, Sega won’t let them.
(Xbox, PS2, PC)
Tim Schafer is a mastermind when it comes to storytelling and character development. I never quite enjoyed a platformer as much as I did Psychonauts. There was just something about it that made you want to keep playing and never put the controller down. The characters were wonderfully created in such a way that you fell in love with them instantly. The gameplay was varied with some ingenious level design, but like most games like this, it got high scores and low sales. People even protested to Microsoft to make the game compatible with the Xbox 360 and it actually happened. It’s even available as a downloadable Xbox game under the Classics section. The PS2 version wasn’t as popular due to the system’s lack of power, but by far you should have played this masterpiece by now. So Tim, where’s the sequel?
1. Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
Never before have I waited for a sequel longer than Psi-Ops. This third-person shooter was just superbly developed and I had a blast with this game. I even love the band Cold thanks to the “With My Mind” music video on the disc. You got to play as Scorpion when you beat the game! Using your mind powers to infiltrate enemy bases was never more fun, and the game had a well-crafted story that made people beg for a sequel. The cliffhanger ending stills rests in my mind and after a decade there has been no word of a sequel. If you haven’t played this game yet, go ahead and pick it up because you won’t be disappointed, just after you play it and find out there’s no sequel.
Most of the time when a sexy protagonist is on the front cover you know you’re in for a bad game. Lollipop Chainsaw is actually quite enjoyable if you look past the flaws. You play as the sexy cheerleader Juliet Starling who is part of a zombie hunting family. You must stop a goth kid from turning everyone in your high school and town into zombies. The story is pretty thin and not very interesting because the game isn’t even long enough to dish out a meaty story. With only 6 levels you’re looking for a weekend rental at best. With this being a Suda 51 game you can also expect crazy out the you-know-what. The game is oozing with style and visual eye candy, but is it any good?
The answer is yet, but with flaws. The first issue is combat. There are plenty of combos you can buy and unlock at chop2shop.com stations. You can buy health and other items like art, threads, and music. Once you start unlocking more combos the game is more diverse, but Juliet doesn’t feel like the limber cheerleader she should be. Basic attacks use her pom-poms, but it takes forever to make a zombie groggy enough for a chainsaw kill. I rarely used basic attacks and just stuck to chainsaw attacks. Her chainsaw is cumbersome, and the combat system in general needs more polish. I felt like I was controlling a giant fat guy rather than a nimble girl. Her animations are too long and you get constantly knocked back which means tapping B to recover every time. The combat is just sluggish and not as limber as games like Tomb Raider or Bayonetta.
The combat is even flawed with the chainsaw blaster. Aiming the thing is a pain because it always sticks to enemies like there’s a magnet. I can’t go for precise headshots or aim at barrels. You can use Nick Tickets which are special mini-games that use Nick’s head (her headless boyfriend) as a weapon. These are pretty crazy and funny like shooting his head out of a cone-like topper or swinging him around on a rope among others. You can use your rainbow power to become invincible for a while and start sparkle hunting. If you kill three or more zombies in a row you will a trippy girly pose scene of Juliet and earn bonus coins.
The combat is obviously the main focus because there’s not much else here. There are a few mini-games like pole dancing, jumping on zombie heads, and the few mini-games that are level specific, as well as a few chainsaw dash areas. The 6 levels are interesting and keep things mixed up, but it’s the bosses that are all different and interesting. Each one has some sort of musical skill from a different genre of music. Having to kill them is awesome and full of gore and guts which you will see plenty of.
Lastly, the graphics are not technically impressive but have lots of visual flairs. The blood from zombies flows pink with rainbows, sparkles, and stars flying out. The game is very girly but appeals to men due to the sex appeal and violence. Juliet herself is hard to like and is not as memorable as other females like Lara Croft or Bayonetta. She’s a dingy preppy cheerleader and is the exact stereotype of one. Nick says funnier things than she does, but the sayings just get repetitive and annoying after a while. Juliet is hard to like because she acts dumb, and is weak and selfish personality-wise. The game just isn’t long enough to flesh out the characters and story more.
After you beat the game there’s no reason to back except for ranking mode to beat scores and unlock new stuff. The game has a lot of potential but needs some more polish before it can sit among the action/adventure kings like God of War, Tomb Raider, and Bayonetta. The combat is sluggish and cumbersome, the game is short, and the characters aren’t developed as well as they could have been. There is tons of visual flair, but the game is lacking technically with some low-resolution textures and poor lighting effects. Lollipop Chainsaw is fun for a weekend, but nothing more.
X Blades was a pretty bad game when it came out with combat that wasn’t fun, a lame story, bad graphics, and just all-around bad. The sequel is much better but still isn’t great. Ayumi is back trying to find some sort of Dragon Sphere in Dragon Land but has to get through the Sky Guards who are trying to stop her from awakening The Keeper who is guarding this sphere. The plot is very “meh” and doesn’t have any redeeming value. The combat is decent with some fun shooting mechanics, but everything here is broken to some degree.
Take combat for starters. There are only light and heavy attacks and the same combos throughout the whole game. You can’t unlock new moves or combos just spells. These spells consist of fire, ice, and power. As you beat up on enemies your spell gauge will increase to one and two skulls. One unleashes a weak attack while two are powerful. If you fill your bar up all the way you get a health pack. This would be fine if unleashing this magic wasn’t done in a terrible fashion. Holding down the spell button to charge it then pressing the appropriate spell button slows down combat. Why can’t I just equip the spell and unleash it with one button? It doesn’t help that enemies can interrupt the spell charge leading to cheap deaths. Speaking of deaths, you can die very easily in this game causing you to constantly use health packs.
Platforming is just as bad because Ayumi doesn’t jump very far making you rely on her dash move. If you don’t judge a distance right she will just drop like a rock after her dash. That’s why you dash jump around floating corrals, but fighting on small platforms is a nightmare because the knockback seems to be glitched because she will fly across the level sometimes if hit by large enemies. You can shoot with guns you find throughout the game and this is at least decent. Shooting enemies feel good with the different weapons and can actually help you when you’re low on health and need to back off.
The third part of Blades of Time is puzzle solving. This is in the form of rewinding time and using switches that you stand on. Anyone who has played Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time will know what I’m talking about. This seems to be dull and confusing at first, but you can also use this during combat. Some larger enemies need two Ayumis to take them down via quick-time events which are poorly implemented here. I really felt this time rewind feature could have been used in better ways than opening doors and beating only a couple different enemies. You can use your compass to find hidden items that give you various stat effects, but these are really easy to find because the compass points you right to it.
The graphics are average at best. The textures have a pretty low resolution, but the art style is nice with varied environments and different suits that Ayumi wears. Overall, everything is just flawed in some way due to poor mechanics. The combat is repetitive and dull with the same attacks, puzzle-solving is boring and confusing, and the few platforming sections are hard due to bad jumping mechanics. The story is bland with boring characters, and even Ayumi isn’t all that interesting (she tries to be a new-age Lara Croft). The game is playable, but after you play it you will quickly forget about it.
Witchblade appears as a Manga but is presented in an American comic book format. This version follows the events of Takeru who is a high school student who is drawn to the Witchblade. Her best friend, Kou, is a demon hunter whose family has had a demon hunter’s sword for generations. It’s interesting to see average students suddenly having to slay demons, but the story is so short that their personalities aren’t developed, and you don’t really care for anyone in the story.
Kou himself is weak and can’t find himself to kill anything. Instead, he spends his duration screaming at Takeru to not give in to the hunger for death that the Witchblade is forcing on Takeru. The whole story is almost the same as the anime in which the US government tried replicating demons (instead of Witchblades) and they want Takeru to hunt them all down. The story has a rushed and abrupt ending, and I would have liked to see some more day-to-day stuff go on in the comics. There are only a few fights, and Takeru seems way too powerful in this story and doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses.
The main reason to get this is to enjoy the amazing art. The female characters are very sexy, and some images are borderline softcore porn. Not that I am complaining, but it’s nice that the artist stuck to the art style Witchblade fans love. Overall, for $20 this book is a great read for fans of the anime, but it is seriously lacking in a more detailed story, characters you care about, and the ending is too predictable, and comes around too easily for Takeru.