Welcome back to Neko’s Shiritori! We had the honor of reviewing Koei Tecmo’s latest release: Bladestorm Nightmare for the PS4!
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War was developed by Omega Force and published by Koei back in 2007. To briefly summarize the previous game: parts of the Hundreds Years’ War, which happened back between AD 1337 and AD 1453, is covered within the game, meaning you’ll likely see mentions to England, France, and various characters within that timeline. The never ending battle leads to greater needs of mercenaries by both countries as war of attrition wanes on soldiers. This is where you as the player are presented with a role.
Bladestorm: Nightmare is effectively a re-release, taking advantage of the current gen’s higher specs as well as introducing an extra mode called Nightmare. The Hundred Years’ war component of the game still remains intact, with much of the gameplay carrying over. New gameplay features include being able to swap between up to four army units which are used for various strategies in conquering and holding positions to progress your overall state.
Graphics have a noticeable improvement on a PS4. For PS4 standards it feels somewhat like an upscale over the PS3 version so no matter how you look at it, it’s still a port. The visuals are quite enjoyable as the opening movie showed off the graphics. In the actual flow of the game, the sheer amount of volume in the wide battlefield is a little rough.
This game revolves around the concept of conquest and unit formation. Instead of taking one hero unit and plowing through armies of men with your super powers, you instead play as a mercenary leader incrementally engaging in battles to win positions and advance the story. The immediate disadvantage of this is that you cannot simply press buttons to defeat foes with combos. On the other hand, this game tackles territory that doesn’t really exist elsewhere; fusing real time action with squadron action.
Within the game itself, you can lead units of various types. Traditionally in fantasy medieval war, we have units such as swordsmen, cavalry, and archers. The game uses a strength and weakness method which forces you to strategize tackling different points of the map. Generally, you have 3 buttons to use unique skills beneficial in certain situations. Engaging in battle is automated via proximity. You use your units to match up favorably against enemy units to increase morale and seize bases with high efficiency.
Plot in this game is actually integrated into the action. While there’s components of historical figures put throughout the game, it’s still full of fantasy elements that leaves the game not all too deep. Due to the inability to actively slash a blade, this game is more like selecting a place you need to conquer and wait for the progression. This is not a turn based game, though the real time strategy aspect does feel like it is a fictional war zone with ever changing events within the long battles. Since battle maps cover an extremely large amount of ground with literally armies of men, progression feels more like a test of endurance. You maintain full involvement with how you use your units, but you don’t need to micromanage so heavily either. Naturally, staying with your squad is extremely crucial as you must move as a unit to be effective.
Like many games similar to this, there is loot when you defeat enemies. This can range from items to equip to currency in the game. Between battles you have access to a tavern which allows you to upgrade skills, purchase equipment, and do a myriad of things. Battles can appear monotonous since you capture base after base, though the game stays fresh by using multiple player squads lead by different commanders to coordinate attacks onto distant bases. You have to consider what you are sieging, what units you have, and where you are in determining your strategies. Conquests are long as you engage in many skirmishes and rapidly learn and improve.
Considering this game is an updated remake, the content is greater than the original game. Nightmare mode is a separate addition that functions like an extra side story that involves more fantasy elements. Be wary that due to SCEA regulations, the digital download version of Bladestorm: Nightmare Review will initially only have the Edit Mode available while the rest of the game installs since it is 14.9 GB in size.
Personally, we would recommend the demo for anyone who is on the fence for this game that never played this before. The demo immediately goes into the first battle of the game, in which it functions as a tutorial that instructs you how to switch squadrons, which positions to go, and how to strategically conquer bases. The demo ends once nightfall occurs after completing several captures of the first map you spawn in.