X-Blades got quite some attention before release, no doubt thanks to the scarsely dressed female hero. With a rope as underpants and suiting camera angles she seemed to be able to kick quite some butt. And on top of that it as the game would deliver gameplay which we rarely see these days anymore on PC, something that quickly aroused our interest.
Interesting at first sight are also the weapons Ayumi goes to battle with, something it always comes down to in her Lara-like searches for artefacts. The double swords function also as pistols, something that nicely gets taught during the first battles. What you also immediately learn is that combat usually gets done in nicely locked areas (fight and only after winning you can continue, see also parts of God of War) and that the camera will never become your best friend.
Also like in the previously mentioned PS2 title you’ll get to use magical attacks next to the constant slashing with your sword. These are very necessary and deeply expandable so that they make for a nice addition. Don’t expect a lot of originality though, but the powers do come in handy, especially during boss fights. Only thing is that we had hoped that the structure to use and assign them to certain buttons would be a bit smoother; probably a result of the console version. The controls are far from ideal but I prefer not to elaborate on that as a good controller will no doubt fix this problem.
Typical is also the way you can upgrade your weapons, meters and magic. Defeated enemies leave souls that you need to collect after which you can use them to get more and stronger attacks and improve your X-Blades skills by seeking and using hidden emblems. This keeps everything fresh during the course of the game and luckily so.
You will hardly ever be surprised by unique enemies or original settings. Most you’ll have seen done better in other games and the moments you mumble “Cool!” are far to be found. Hostiles never leave an impression, are very generic and display an offensive behaviour that the Doom 2 critters probable would describe as “mediocre”. On top of that the surroundings are often re-used which again shows the lack of inspiration (or limited budget). In short: usually you’re in some public square, get a couple of hostiles around you, and slash them. Afterwards you walk, jump or crawl to the next plaza and repeat.
Graphically we can’t complain although as said you shouldn’t get your hopes up high on situations that will make you jaw drop. Technically everything is ok and the main character is nicely and originally put in the picture, with nice animations and at times impressive graphical effects. Also the surroundings and opponents are sharp and clear with some great lighting effects and luckily there’s no shortage in color. Also the cut-scenes are worth a specific mentioning by the way.
X-Blades in short is a very simple game with very simple gameplay. Those that get their kicks from half-naked female lead characters have with Ayumi a new and tight toy and will no doubt enjoy the straightforward adventures and fights. Don’t expect more but maybe you’re not really longing for a game that tries to be more than it really is: a couple of hours of brainless innocent entertainment for boys and girls of all ages