|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: TopWare Interactive / Gaijin Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SouthPeak Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Combat in and of itself can be quite entertaining at times. There are plenty of skulls to cave in, and the action (and blood spray) flows fast and free. However, the longer you play, the more repetitive the gameplay starts to feel. The fact one area starts to look like the next over time isn't just a feature of the game's visual design; you'll actually be backtracking through some of the same rooms you've already spent ample time carving your way through. This - and recycling a few of the same boss battles early on - just seems a tad lazy.
Another curiosity: getting killed will start you back at the beginning of the current area, but you'll keep everything (including souls) you've accumulated throughout your quest. This balances some of the overwhelming feelings that arise in levels where you've being cut down from all directions by dozens of evil creatures, yet it's hard to say whether the no-consequences approach is really a good thing. You can die a zillion times, and it has little bearing on the game itself.
Some players will certainly appreciate the attention put into getting Ayumi's physical design just right, but the overall visual style of the game is quite captivating. Brilliant lighting effects and an impressive level of detail in the ruins and enemies offer other forms of eye candy beyond the obvious. The cel-shaded anime cutscenes that further the plot in-between some levels are also nicely-done.
X-Blades is a beautiful, action-packed title with some serious flaws. It isn't really the kind of game you'll want to sit down and play for many hours on end, yet some of the repetitiveness can be remedied by putting the controller down for a while and returning when you've got the urge for some senseless violence and skimpy outfits. Despite finding quite a few things that proved substantially irritating at different moments, the battle-heavy action does indeed scratch an itch.
CCC Staff Contributor