Blades of Time Remastered Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Gaijin Entertainment

Published By: Gaijin Entertainment

Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs

Thank you so much to Gaijin Entertainment for providing a review code

Blades of Time is a title that I feel most won’t remember from the Xbox 360 and PS3 era of consoles. It’s an action oriented platformer that didn’t get a ton of attention during its initial release; when it did initially release critics were very mixed on its reviews. Finally years later, this title makes it to a Nintendo console. Having the ability to play it on the go is unfortunately not enough of a reason for this title to have gotten a remaster.

Story

During your adventure you play as Ayumi, a treasure hunter who has adventured to an ancient island. The entire game takes place over a number of levels/chapters. The plot kind of becomes difficult to decipher as you’re spoken to by a spirit dragon girl and then you learn you were part of a guild, then you meet your buddy zero and then Sky Guardians come and it’s all very confusing. The story isn’t cohesive and I’m not sure what the developers were trying to do with it. I’m assuming the developers understood their own game’s plot, but I found it hard to understand and it wasn’t interesting enough to spend too much time thinking about it.

Gameplay

Blades of Time Remastered is a 3D action platformer with a wide variety of gameplay mechanics. The combat system is a type of hack n slash that feels somewhat similar to the God of War series. Every fight usually involves you swinging your swords at enemies and countering or dodging their attacks until you have killed them.

Blades of Time’s combat system has a few other mechanics than just slashing away at enemies. Swords only work when your enemies are on the ground so, for the ones in the sky you have a gun. Yeah, you straight up have a rifle that you can use to take out any airborne foes. A bow & arrow might have suited this title a bit better, but using the gun is still good fun and it’s relatively easy to use.

If you’re looking to dive into the arcane during this adventure, you’re in luck as Blades of Time also has its own magic system. As you fight enemies, your rage bar fills up and allows you to cast spells. In the beginning you don’t have access to spells, but soon you begin to find shrines that give you magical abilities. There’s lots of different spells ranging from different elemental types like fire and ice. You can also gain passive magic abilities that make existing abilities even stronger. For example, you can unlock an ability that makes enemies that have been frozen take more damage from fire spells. One really useful ability that’s separate from the other magic is the ability to heal yourself. This much like your other magic refills as you fight against enemies and can really come in handy. Overall, the magic is a bit weird and I found the hit boxes to be kind of hard to detect sometimes, but overall it’s a really neat mechanic.

Besides the combat, which is the game’s main focus, there’s also some platforming segments and a few puzzles to solve along the way. The platforming and puzzles are never too difficult and stay relatively simplistic. You can unlock a few abilities that you use to navigate each level, like the ability to fly to far away platforms. The most unique of the abilities that you’ll learn is the time rewind. The time rewind is used often and allows you to bring back time and create clones that mirror your past actions. It sounds really cool in practice, but it’s unfortunately very wonky to use. The time rewind can be difficult to use correctly to time puzzles and fight with. It really doesn’t feel fluid and it more of a chore to use. It’s clunky and while it was interesting, I would have rather not have to use it at all.

Blades of Time is an interesting title as it blends so many different gameplay mechanics together. Sadly, I feel the game really loses its focus and each part of the game feels adequately implemented. That doesn’t mean Blades of Time isn’t fun, it can be, but it’s shallow and doesn’t require a lot of thought to play. It’s a good game for some mindless hack n slash gameplay.

Extras

Ayumi is a treasure hunter, so it’s only fair that there’s treasure to collect during your playthrough. The treasure you can find are artifact such as swords, guns, rings and talismans. Each of these can be equipped and provide passive abilities. Be careful though, because they’re all found in specific locations in every level. Some are even invisible and you will have to use your compass to scout them out.

Blades of Time also offers an online multiplayer mode, along with its single player story, called Outbreak. Outbreak is an interesting mode, because the game shifts pace from simply a hack n slash to a hack n slash with MOBA elements. You get to choose between Ayumi and 2 other characters (one being your pal zero) to command your army. Battles take place on a battlefield where you fight off against the other player’s army. Your goal is to destroy the players towers and then make your way to their base and deal the final blow. The gameplay is similar to something like SMITE, or League of Legends, but more hack n slash style, and definitely less strategical. It’s a really interesting addition, however, because you actually get to fight against the other person, it can get very chaotic. While you’re in the menus you can equip new weapons that can be purchased with the currency you earn or found on the battlefield during a match. There’s a fair amount of content to this multiplayer mode, but I fear that it may not last for long. I have a feeling in the near future the online for Blades of Time will have very few players left and if that happens, unfortunately we’re back to having just a mediocre 3D platformer. It’s a shame, because Outbreak is actually a pretty good time though I should mention there are in-game purchases

Presentation

Blades of Time presents itself as fairly average hack n slash. The locations and environments are nice and differentiate from each other enough to stand out. Ayumi’s design and other NPC designs are kind of lackluster and don’t look much better from the game’s original release. In fact a lot of the textures look blurry, and after looking at them long enough it makes the game less appealing. My biggest problem with the games design is the voice acting, especially Ayumi’s. She sounds incredibly robotic and like everything she says is being read right from a script. All character voice lines lack feeling and it’s a shame, because it holds the characters back and makes them hard to like. The soundtrack is fine, but like everything else about the presentation it isn’t anything special.

Technical Issues

Before writing this review I waited for the update that Gaijin Entertainment said would be released soon for Blades of Time. The update has been released and was meant to address some of the performance issues and bugs the game has. Now that I have played Blades of Time before and after the patch I can say that the patch only helped a bit.

The frame rate is almost always running slower than it should be especially when you’re in combat or using the time rewind ability. I do have to say I did have less frame rate problems during combat, once the patch released, but they were still fairly frequent. The time rewind ability is what really causes the game to slow down and almost every time I used it the game had to stop, for a moment. I also had problems with some of the platforming as I clipped through them and fell right through the level. Falling through the platforms was a bug that I was hoping would be fixed, but I still had it happen even after the patch. Blades of Time also has a variety of cut scenes that caused my game to sometimes freeze and all I could only hear the audio. I didn’t have as many problems with the cut scenes after the patch, but, the slowdowns were still there. Finally before the patch I had Blades of Time crash 4 times on me. After the patch I didn’t have it crash again, for the levels I had left. I appreciate Gaijin Entertainment, not leaving Switch players with a complete mess of a game , but Blades of Time is still going to need more improvements if they want to fix this mess.

Summary

Blades of Time Remastered is a remaster I thought we would never see and one I wasn’t sure if we needed. I played the original and I admit, I was a little excited to hear about it coming to Nintendo Switch. Sadly, the game just lacks an overall sense of polish, the story is incomprehensible, and the performance is abysmal. For now I’m going to cross my fingers and hope there are more patches to improve Blades of Time Remastered, but in its current condition I think it’s a tough recommendation.

5/10

Pros

  • There’s Some Mindless Fun to be Had With the Combat
  • Interesting Magic & Unlock System
  • Nice Environments
  • Multiplayer Is Enjoyable

Cons

  • Story is Uninteresting and Hard to Understand
  • Voice Acting is Rough
  • Character & Enemy Designs Don’t Look Good
  • Blurry Textures
  • Countless Technical Problems, frame rate, bugs, and more
  • Multiplayer Probably Won’t Last Long
  • Entire Game Lacks a Degree of Polish

Comments or Questions Leave Them here