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Bladed Fury Review

Edited by: Jade Swann

Bladed Fury tells the story of Ji, the daughter of Duke Kang of Qi, who goes on a revenge mission to stop her father’s killer, Tian, as his family becomes the ruler of Qi, and forces Ji’s older sister into marriage. With the help of the ancient gods Hou Yi and Jingwei and the spirits of fallen warriors, Ji sets off to save everyone and everything she loves.  

A CHINESE ART EXHIBITION

Bursting with style and basing itself on Chinese mythology and artistry, Bladed Fury immediately creates a personality for itself that never once presents anything that feels out of place. All of the graphics are 2D, which compliments the movement of the animation and the use of Chinese art from the era. Every area, character, and item keeps in line with the intended feeling of the game’s experience. Speaking more on the creativity of the character designs, the title seems to draw inspiration from a mix of Japanese anime with Chinese Warring States Period artistry, creating a unique world to journey through.

The revenge story itself may feel familiar to anyone who has seen this type of story before, but Bladed Fury never tries too hard to sell you on its narrative. It keeps the pace brisk to prevent the player from ever feeling bored. Not to mention, the story is dense enough with minor subplots sprinkled around the main plot, such as the princess in the afterlife wishing to return home, that it helps to make the world you explore feel lived in, and that there is far more going on than just what Ji is experiencing.

DIVINE INTERVENTION

The gameplay may end up feeling familiar to any regular player of this style of game, but it does not damage the experience in any way. The animation is smooth and crisp enough to make every one of Ji's attacks feel as though they have impact. The button combinations are also simple enough to be able to understand and execute. There are two attack buttons: one light attack using small knives and a power attack using a large bludgeoning sword. Because of the kinetic energy of the animation and its powerful impact on enemies, players feel a sense of satisfaction when performing combos, even with such a simple input.  

The truly unique game mechanic presented is the summoning spirits system. Almost akin to Mega Man's power adaptation mechanic, once Ji beats an enemy, they become a power she can call upon for specific attacks. Some are simple, such as a flurry of arrows from the sky, and some are more complex, such as using spider webs to slow the movement of the enemies on screen. This feature adds a level of personality and strategy to the game that also manages to show off the breathtaking visuals the title has to offer.

While the spirit system is very good, one negative is that it can make the game a bit too easy.  While boss fights can still be tricky even with the power-ups provided, having powers like slowing the movement of enemies, along with shooting a laser that can take down about a sixth of the boss’s health, can make it seem like you’re a little overpowered. However, this doesn’t really imbalance the game, as you are given a limited number of uses, forcing you to conserve and be careful.

The bosses themselves could be considered the weakest element of the game, as aside from their appearance, their attacks are only cosmetically unique. Most of the time, they are easy to defeat as long as their pattern of attack can be followed. Some bosses are more difficult than others, but that is really only when their attacks are near unavoidable. Aside from that, Ji's shield and high jumping makes her fairly powerful in a fight, meaning bosses are usually a breeze.

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

The interesting layout of the environments is how Bladed Fury presents its levels more vertically than horizontally. As the central narrative theme is the connection between Heaven and Earth, having the player feel as though they are climbing to reach the end of the level was a smart design choice. It makes you feel as though you are facing something larger than life, and that you are facing the unknown as you move either upward or downward. Something interesting of note is that the monsters tend to differ depending on whether you are at the bottom, the middle, or the upper areas of the level, which gives each level a different feeling depending on what point has been reached.

8

The Verdict: Excellent

While it has some familiar aspects, the amount of vision and effort given to Bladed Fury by the developers is something to be admired. It seems devoid of any technical flaws, which keeps the momentum going throughout the entire playthrough. If nothing else, seeing a game so enriched with Chinese culture is something to appreciate, as it is often so rare. However, even if it was missing that unique trait, the controls are tight and polished, and give the player the movement and power to truly feel as though they are an ancient warrior blessed with powers by the gods.

Liam Cunningham
Written by
Monday, 29 April 2019 05:41
Published in Action

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Hailing from Maryland, Liam spent his college years studying all kinds of media, granting him an Associate's Degree in film from Anne Arundel Community College and a degree in Simulation and Digital Entertainment from the University of Baltimore to learn narrative game writing. He has worked on his own internet serials for many years, including Colorless Commentary (a review series of classic Hollywood films) and A Look Back with Lac! (Reviewing classic Anime). Also, he has voiced and wrote for many anime parodies for fun as well as creating, writing and directing a Batman fan adaptation, The Gotham High Radio Drama. His favorite games include the Kingdom Hearts series, Sly Cooper, Metal Gear Solid, The Stanley Parable, and Super Smash Bros.

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