Saturday, 28 March 2015

Bladestorm: Nightmare

I'm no expert on the Dynasty Warriors series. I've played around two of them, and though the hack-and-slash genre isn't exactly my go-to genre of choice, I've found them to be pretty fun. Dynasty Warriors was a spin-off of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a game released for the Amiga and MSX in 1985. Originally starting as a pretty straight forward Beam 'em-up on the original Playstation back in 1997, Dynasty Warriors then expanded into the realm of having the player take on entire armies all at once. Outside of the main series- which by the way has around 14 titles under its belt- the franchise itself also has a shit-tin of spin-offs, crossovers, etc. From Hyrule Warriors that lets you command Link in the midst of a gigantic Deku Scrub battle, to the Gundam series that allows you go toe-to-toe with various massive Mechs, the franchise is clearly flourishing. However, this latest offering from Omega Force, despite looking quite similar to Dynasty Warriors, pulls its attention away from the Han dynasty in China and instead sights its sights on France and England during The Hundred Year's War. Does it stand apart from the Dynasty Warriors series, or is this just a re-skinned version of a game you've played many times before?


Developed by Omega Force and out now on Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and Xbox One comes Bladestorm: Nightmare; a game that you'll enjoy if you liked the Dynasty Warriors series, but will hate if, well, you didn't. Nightmare is actually a re-release of the 2007 game Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War. I haven't played The Hundred Year's War, but Nightmare doesn't just visually upgrade the game, but also changes some elements to the gameplay, most importantly with the addition of 2-player online co-op. As I said before, Nightmare takes place during The Hundred Year's War, a conflict (or rather a number of strung together conflicts) that embroiled England and France in bloody warfare between 1337 to 1453. That's not to say it's completely historically accurate though, as in Nightmare there are creatures including Goblins, Dragons and the like. Whereas Dynasty Warriors places you in the shoes of  famous figures in Chinese history, Nightmare goes down the opposite path and puts in the role of a generic freelance commander. Before each battle you can choose which side to fight for, and as expected battles are large scale, expansive and incredibly hectic.


Compared to what Dynasty Warriors does (and yes, you'll see a lot of Dynasty Warriors comparisons here), the character you control in Nightmare isn't a fantastic fighter. Instead, the person you're controlling is more adept with commanding other fighters. In fact, though Dynasty Warriors (and yes, I'm getting sick of typing that) fans will love this game, Nightmare isn't about bashing buttons. Once a mission has been started, you start out on the battlefield. As the freelance commander, you must run around and essentially rally various garrisons across the battlefield. Taking a command of a garrison literally puts them under your control, so instead of just running around and slamming the attack button amidst a giant enemy army, in Nightmare you must wage various large and small scale wars across a rather big battlefield. There's a huge array of fighters and weapons to use too, so throughout a mission you'll find yourself playing through a number of fighting styles.

Switching from garrison to garrison occurs easily, and once you get a nice in-depth battle going, it can be pretty exciting. Whether you're surrounded by a sea of bodies, splintered shields and swords, or simply just standing back a bit and watching a f*cking massive battle take place, Nightmare is a game that is both equally fun to watch as well as take part. It's a nice change-up in pace compared to Omega Force's other efforts, and it could easily be considered the smarter brother of Dynasty Warriors. Like I said, fans of Omega Force's other series will slip into Nightmare pretty easily, but even newcomers to all things Omega Force will find their feet quickly enough after their second battle or so.



Overall Bladestorm: Nightmare is a pretty decent game. It's the kind of game that will most likely become monotonous to most gamers out there though. Personally, after 20 or so hours of large scale battles, the appeal of it was starting to run dry. There's only so many times I can command an army of 200 fighters while trying to take on a Cyclops, after all. But before that sunk in I had a lot of fun. Packaged alongside a whole slew of extras including the original The Hundred Year's War campaign from 2007, Nightmare is certainly a game to look into if you're a fan of large scale battles, commanding multiple armies at once, taking on a evil Joan of Arc who has an army of Dragons and the chance to do all of this during co-op with a friend by your side.

Bladestorm: Nightmare cuts its way through the competition and gets a 3/5.

★★★☆☆

Denis Murphy


Bladestorm: Nightmare at CeX


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