Written by Mark Mackay

March 1, 2009 | 08:51

Tags: #action #adventure #cry #devil #hack #may #review #slash

Companies: #topware-interactive


Many of you will be pleased to hear that no opportunity has been missed to integrate a gratuitous thong shot in the gameplay. When Ayumi runs, she bends down low, bum towards the camera and, um, 'prepares for combat'.

The levels of are laid out in an almost gauntlet-style format. Rather than having a single beginning point and an end point, each level is essentially an arena with an entrance and an exit. In each arena the object is to take down all the monsters before moving onto the next zone and the number of critters that must meet their woefully lustful end is denoted by an bar on the bottom right of the screen.

This format gets dull very quickly, as you might have guessed. It always feels like you’re going from one boss fight to another and you’re left wondering when the real game is going to start. At first I thought I’d inadvertedly selected some kind of extra survival mode or something, but this is in fact the game proper.

As you kill demons they drop souls that can be collected by standing in their general vicinity, which encourages them to make their way towards you to be absorbed.

X-Blades X-Blades PC - Gameplay
The ever-present HP bar for the room at the bottom right of the screen is always there whether you're in a boss fight or not.

The amount of souls you currently possess is displayed in obtrusively large numbers at the top of the screen. Pressing the button to attack using your blades three times performs a combo and successfully hitting combos on demons starts a multiplier. Hitting enemies in quick succession for extended periods of time can earn you up to five times more souls than you might have received expiring the ugly gits one at a time - so far, so very, very bland.

Just like in other hack and slashes of a similar vein, souls can then be spent on special abilities used to spice up the otherwise button mashing nature of the combat.

In the purchase menu though, each spell gives a brief description of what happens when you activate it, but no indication of how powerful it is. Some of the spells cost tens of thousands of souls which take a lot of thumb-chaffing gameplay to rack up - so the last thing you want to do is blow them all on a crappy ability. Unfortunately however, this seems to be just another occupational hazard for a g-string-clad swordswoman.

X-Blades X-Blades PC - Gameplay
Some bosses are susceptible to a particular spell but if you havn't opted to buy it, the battles can last for what seems like days.

Some bosses are particularly susceptible to one spell too, while all the others barely scratch them. This is all well and good but there’s no indication of which of the spells might be good to buy for an upcoming boss, so if you don’t have the right ability or enough souls to buy it by the time you reach a boss then you could be in for a 30 minute-long, very repetitive boss fight.

Your new spells can be assigned to four different shortcut buttons so you have to decide which ones are most suitable for a particular arena and swap and change accordingly. Whoever did build the temple was kind enough to scatter around combat upgrades for the discerning treasure hunter to collect while they work though, so the tedium at least has a goal.

Should you collect all three parts of the gold, silver, or ruby upgrade medallions then it'll unlock greater power for Ayumi’s blades, bullets or buttocks? Sorry, magic. Bullets, blades or magic.
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