LifeisXbox’s Bladed Fury review | Developer NeXT ain’t a stranger on Xbox with the rather good Iris.Fall. With Bladed Fury they bring something completely different and even better! This 2D action game features some great-looking scenes and addictive combat, making it a great choice for fans of the genre. Not everything is positive so be sure to check out the full review! On a side note, I think Xbox gamers that love the 2D genre are having a great time lately, and here’s yet another one that’s worth picking up.
We played Bladed Fury for three hours on Xbox Series X.
What we liked!
- Balanced combat system | Playable character Ji’s arsenal is a human-sized broadsword and a faster dagger. Pretty straightforward stuff but the combination of easy attacks and a deeper combo-system works wonders. Execution doesn’t take hours to master so everyone can enjoy them right away or learn them pretty fast. Tactical use of abilities is a must to defeat some of the harder bosses though. This brings me to a cool feature if you defeat a boss you collect their spirit which can be used as powerful but limited abilities that fill the entire screen. You can heal yourself with stones (kinda like Dark Souls) but you also have a healing spirit. Other spirit abilities are slowing down-time, some kind of black hole attack, and my favorite is an over-the-top transforming, almost futuristic, power weapon that fires a ridicules powerful beam. There’s more but I don’t want to spoil everything! there’s even more to the combat system, you have a shield function that shoots back projectiles, a much-needed dodge-mechanic, and a neat upgrade system for improving Ji. This works by defeating enemies and collecting orbs or finding hidden treasures.
- Formidable boss fights | The most exciting part about Bladed Fury, without a doubt. It takes every piece of skill to overcome them but they are extremely fun to play against. Attack patterns, how they look, even the implementation of mythology. It is very impressive how the developer NExT created the boss fights, especially the ending boss was one hell of a fight. Finding that Eureka!-moment, in other words, a weakness in the attack pattern comes from completely understanding the combat system and a little bit of skill.
- 100% in love with the art-style | BEAUTIFUL! I’m so amazed by the art-style and visuals, I love the Chinese influence. For example the typical characters and folding screens. Those screens often obscure your camera view and the shadowplay while walking behind screens it is a pretty unique visual trick. You even have a boss fight that you have to fight this way, making it a bit harder to fight him as you have to go in blind and dodge attacks ‘on feeling’. Murals, backgrounds, and animations are all high-quality, it might not be Ori from Moon studios quality but it manages to stand out between other 2D games.
- Mythology story works but drags on a bit | Ji is falsely accused of killing her father and to make things even worse her sister has also been kidnapped. What follows is a basic but decent story with many elements from ancient China mythology. There is a lot of dialogue with a few side stories that keep the game going. While I appreciate the story work I missed a bit of additional knowledge of all the different clans, clan names are thrown around and I honestly had no clue who they were. Halfway it was becoming hard not to press skip conversation as the story became a bit dull and predictable.
- Platforming is almost non-existent and would have been a welcome change | Bladed Fury shows some signs of becoming a platformer but it never comes to fruition. Focus remains purely on combat and some simple jumping between platforms to reach higher places. There’s one small section that introduces deadly traps and the tension from them was a nice change of heart. It kinda proofs my point that a bit more platforming, even challenging platforming would have been an asset!
What we disliked
Basic level design | The visuals are satisfying but when you look past that you’ll notice how extremely basic the level design is. There are a few multiple routes that Ji can take and I loved some of puzzles but layouts are almost always the same. A typical A to B approach with a few puzzles that break the habit. With one you are placing scrolls to open up portals, I really liked this mechanic and I hoped it would return in a bigger way. Sadly it wasn’t. They played it safe here and that hurts the overall experience og Bladed Fury.
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