Blades of Time review (PS3)

Time manipulation is a mechanic found in many games, and for the most part, we have seen it all. However, Blades of Time puts a new spin on things.

Ayumi, the scantily clad protagonist, is a Teasure Hunter on an Island called “Dragonland” where she is looking for fame and fortune.

Reverse it

Enemies on Dragonland do a great deal of damage, and frankly, Ayumi alone does not stand a chance; but with the power of her time manipulation, she can do a considerable amount of damage. Instead of rewinding time and reversing damage, the power creates multiple clones of Ayumi that re-enact her previous movements.

The time manipulation mechanic allows for a variety of strategies to hack and slash your foes to pieces. For example, attacking an enemy, rewinding time, and attacking side by side with the other clone can turn out to be a six-on-one brawl. You can also distract a shield-wielding enemy while a clone attacks it from behind.

There are considerations to be made, however, as reversing time also reverses any damage you did to enemies.

The combat is limited to two buttons, which makes for interesting combinations. These combinations, coupled with a multitude of special powers and power-ups, create exciting combat mechanics. Multiple times I found myself in awe with how exciting and well the combat came together when the clones did something right.

Tall tales

Blades Of Time, however, falls far from being a good game. The story of Ayumi was confusing, drab and had no depth to it whatsoever, and the dialogue is horrendous. Ayumi cannot stop talking. Throughout most of the game she will talk casually during battles without taking a single breath in between sentences, gunning for word after word.

For most of the play time you will wish she would be quiet, or that there was at least a button that would disable her voice. Every now and then she also exclaimed that something was “cool” or “awesome” which sounded rather forced, like your parents trying to act “hip.” The poor dialog unfortunately does not end with Ayumi, as the rest of the cast’s voice acting is no better.

Getting through

Ayumi has a compass to lead her through the game. The compass has two arrows, one that shows her to the location of treasure chests and the other to the next objective. The beginning levels are repetitive and are filled with monotonous moving from area to area with no clear indication of why (other than the compass telling you to go there).

The puzzles in the levels are repetitive and easy to solve and rarely differ when a new puzzle is encountered. Later on, the levels become a little bit more fun and exciting as different challenges are introduced. In one level, Ayumi is on a world where the sun will burn her alive if she  is out of the shade for too long and in another world, floating coral is present throughout, allowing her to fly for a brief period.

The levels are beautifully designed with lush forests, scorching deserts, snowy cliffs and other arrays of detailed landscapes. The levels were so well done that I found myself more excited about seeing what level I will visit next than finding out how the story would unfold.

Even though combat is extremely fun, there were a few downsides to that as well. Sometimes quick-time button events are used on the wrong enemy, or healing Ayumi failed because she was attacking an enemy. This led to her dying often. There were multiple times when an enemy attack clearly missed her, yet it still damaged or killed her.

In the end

Blades of Time also offers a multiplayer component, allowing the player to fight alongside a friend and/or AI player. The multiplayer can be played co-operatively or in versus mode.

Unfortunately, the other two modes aren’t that great as the structures you face have high health, and it just feels like you are flinging yourself at a structure just to chip away its health bit by bit.

Blades of Time is a game that did more wrong than good, with poor dialog and an easily forgettable story. The one thing the game pulled off extremely well is the combat, but that is unfortunately not enough to make it stand out among the crowd.

Blades of Time is a game that you will not miss out on if you give it a pass.

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Blades of Time review (PS3)

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