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Review: X-Blades

I'm sorry to the staff at Gaijin Entertainment, but X-Blades is not a good game. There's a lot that the game tries to do, and it doesn't do anything particularly well. From the outset, everything seemed like it would be pretty good: hot anime chick plus swords plus guns in the swords plus magic should be a recipe for success, but they somehow managed to mess things up.

Upon first starting the game, you notice that Ayumi (the heroine) runs fast. I'm not saying that she's in shape and runs pretty fast, I'm saying that for the size of the environments, the character physically moves faster than she should. It is initially jarring, and later on it just gets annoying as it makes controlling Ayumi difficult. When you first encounter an enemy, you discover the dark secret of X-Blades; it's not Ayumi that moves fast, it's everything that moves fast. Imagine playing Devil May Cry if Dante and his enemies moved four times faster than they do normally, and you start to get a feeling of the disorienting feeling that you'll find when playing this game.

Fighting your enemies is a pain in the ass, too. Because the enemies are moving around similarly to a bunch of squirrels on speed, Gaijin decided to include lock-on technology. Now your camera is locked on to an enemy that's running everywhere. At Ayumi's disposal are two gunblades that she swings around or shoots at the enemies you've locked on to, but you really can't ever tell if they're doing anything. When you're locked onto an enemy, its health bar will appear on the bottom right of the screen, but everything is so freaking small that you can't really tell if anything is doing damage. The enemies don't really react to your attacks until they're dead. You're also granted magic powers which allow you to shoot fire or summon earthquakes or shoot ice or teleport places. It's the same, generic stuff you're used to from any game in the history of video games that includes magic.

Aside from all the glaring gameplay issues you're bound to discover while playing, you'll also probably start to hate the story. I won't spoil much, but there's an evil magic and Ayumi might or might not get possessed by it, depending on how you play. There's also a boy who Ayumi doesn't like because boys are gross and they get in the way. But it turns out that there's more to him than meets the eye. Uh, yeah. Ayumi's an annoying character, and during every cutscene, I was yelling at her for doing whatever stupid thing she was up to. For example, at the end of the first level, you are instructed by a good being known simply as "The Light" who tells you to not mess with this artifact, so Ayumi then decides to kill him and take it. Again, the main character kills a holy being that tells her this particular artifact will bring about death and destruction to the world. Need more reason to hate Ayumi? Take this quote from the instruction booklet: "Ayumi NEVER PLAYED WITH DOLLS WHEN SHE WAS LITTLE" (emphasis was theirs).

There's just something very derivative about this game. In fact, that's the best word for X-Blades: derivative. It just feels like somebody said "Let's make a game about a bunch of shit we like. Swords. Guns. Devil May Cry. Anime." It's a shame that they forgot to include the most important thing: fun. If you own a gaming platform that plays X-Blades, there is a 100% chance that that platform has at least four 3rd-person action games that are all leagues better than this one.

Players:1 player

Platform(s):PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Developer:Gaijin Entertainment

Publisher:SouthPeak Games