Video Games

Stray Blade Review – IGN

Standing out from the pack can be difficult when it comes to creating another Dark Souls-inspired action game and throwing it in a pile. In theory, developer Point Blank Games has got the right idea of ​​how to do that with Stray Blade, focusing on traditional storytelling in a bright fantasy setting to make it more relatable soul-like. created something But while it makes a great first impression, every part of it falls short of both its own ambitions and the high standards set by others in the genre. Inconsistent world building and shoddy combat mechanics keep the game from reaching its true potential.

As the capable and curious Phalen, slay big bad guys, break magical seals, and yada yada yada – you know the drill. As much as I fell in love with my relationship with Bhoge, my altruistic spell-casting sidekick in the scraps of . dialogue and lore pickup. As I was following the main path, I felt like I was pausing to hear the two characters riff about their local environment, their backgrounds, or their missions too often. Storytelling tropes like opaque souls are tired these days, but Stray Blade feels overcorrected in trying to swing in the opposite direction.

At least the world itself is pretty clean. It’s grand scale and bright colors really help make Acrea look like a fairy tale fantasy world full of magic. The places themselves aren’t that different other than the colors and plants. Do the same kind of platforming and caving in each region. There are many nooks and crannies hiding crafting materials and lore stones. During the roughly 18 hours it took me to complete Stray Blade, I found myself getting distracted by sidetracks.

At least the world itself is pretty clean.

That said, the layout of these areas is often confusing and lacks many good landmarks to help you navigate. The in-game map and on-screen compass also do a mundane job of helping you find your way back to your task. not. A compass, on the other hand, can tell you which way to go, but not which way to go. So we often have to rely on contextual cues that Boji occasionally flags to point us in the right direction. There are quirks that only appear in places that are not quite in the right direction.

Each area is filled with hostile enemies who don’t like your presence. These enemy types are exhausted fairly early on, with stronger versions swapping colors and adding new attacks here and there later. It’s severely limited by stamina, but it tries to spice up a well-worn formula with complex results. The weapons themselves come in many forms, from powerful hammers to swift daggers, each with light and heavy attacks. Some of the more unique weapons, like the esoteric weapons you have to explore in the middle and late game, were a lot of fun. Some of my favorites include an unreasonably large molten sword that explodes on impact, and a katana that grows in size with each swing in a combo.

You’ll run out of these enemy types pretty quickly.

Enemy attacks are color-coded, red ones need to be dodged and blue ones just parried. Perfectly timing your dodge or parry restores some stamina. Parrying on time, especially enemy poise, can drain his meter. The problem is that timing windows are all over the map, mixed with muddy reactions and some deceptive enemy animations, which can give nailed-down defensive maneuvers a frustrating learning curve. Missing is especially annoying as it can easily catch you with a very tough stun loop.

The red-light/blue-light concept itself helps make combat easier than its contemporaries in Stray Blade, but it’s also far less expressive. Attack in the opened window and repeat until the enemy dies. True difficulty scales with factors such as enemy behavior. Enemy behavior periodically goes off the rails, leaving them idle or running in awkward circles. In some cases, enemies avoid walking away from cliffs rather than dying. Farren’s sword. When fighting multiple enemies at once, Stray Blade’s truly abysmal lock-on system is either sticking to one enemy and refusing to change targets, or if they do (usually killing the original target). (if prompted) to select an enemy. The lowest sense you should aim for next.

Stray Blade’s truly awful lock-on system either sticks to one enemy or chooses the most pointless enemy.

The skill tree is large, but it’s a bit misleading as all the actual “skills” are gained from outside this tree, usually by defeating bosses. It’s like an elaborate stat sheet that encourages you to experiment with different weapons, as it relates to the number of kills you have with each one. Both your power and your overall sense of growth are in control. The former is more painful than the latter. I spent a lot of time on my adventures picking up materials, but it didn’t seem to be enough to craft all the blueprints I had holes in my inventory.

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