Monday, February 16, 2009

X-Blades Impressions

If there's one thing that's true in life, it's that sex sells. For example, most men will not pay to look a girl, but most men will pay to see that same girl naked.

X-Blades seems to be banking on selling the sex. The heroine of the game, Ayumi, has some odd belts and buckles to give her more of a "costumed" look, but it doesn't change the fact that her main ensemble appears to be a bikini top and a g-string.

Let's get something out of the way here... X-Blades isn't a bad game. It's a pretty-simple hack-n'-slash sort of game, with a few interesting ideas thrown in. In addition to shooting her gunblades, or chopping with her gunblades, Ayumi has a variety of magic attacks she can do when she has enough rage. The rage meter fills when Ayumi takes hits, or when she slices into enemies. The meter fills quickly, but just a few attacks can deplete it. As Ayumi battles, she can collect souls that she can use to unlock more magical attacks.

The problems stem from the fact that these ideas are executed in the most mediocre fashion. The entire game takes place on some island, where the architecture is pretty much the same throughout. This leads to bland, uninspired levels, many of which you revisit at different times. The plot is a paper thin one; Ayumi tells you she's a treasure hunter, and she tells you she found a map that lead her to the island. Once there, she nicks an artifact and finds herself cursed. Desperate to remove the curse, she immediately begins chopping bad guys. Speaking of chopping bad guys, most enemies will either swarm you or stand still and shoot at you. Combat consists of chopping and taking damage until you can spam a magic attack, then starting over. The magic attacks boil down to the same three spells, just with different elemental variations. There's your ranged attack, a magic that adds elemental damage to your melee strikes, and an area of effect attack. "Levels" consist of going into a room, breaking things to look for souls or combat enhancing artifacts, and killing enemies until they open the door to the next room. This sort of thing gets boring after awhile, so if I don't review it, it's because I got bored and didn't finish it.

Ultimately, X-Blades plays like a budget game. There's some simple hack-n'-slash fun to be had, but the emphasis is on simple. The problem is that they're charging full price for it, apparently because you look at Ayumi's bum the whole game. And while I might say X-Blades is worth renting or checking out if it was budget-priced, there's simply no way I can recommend it at full price.

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