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Bladestorm: Nightmare; a dream come true?

Way back when the Xbox 360 and PS3 came out there was a game by Koei dubbed Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War. It was an action-strategy game where you would choose a squad of soldiers to control and lead them as a field commander. Your character is a simple mercenary trying to make some money off the endless fighting. The real characters of the game are the officers and generals of each army. The player determines which side wins which battles. Fighting in the war and completing side contracts awards the player fame and money. The more famous your character, the more contracts you’ll receive and with greater rewards.

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Joan of Arc as she appears in Warriors Orochi 3!?

Fast forward to the next generation of game consoles and Koei has workshopped Bladestorm into a new release with a new story. More than an expansion, Bladestorm: Nightmare offers so much more than the original iteration. Earning experience has been completely revamped. The Nightmare storyline offers an entirely different experience from the Hundred Years’ War story. Online play has finally been made possible so you can have 2 player co-op (an extremely useful feature in the massive fights in the Nightmare scenarios. Last but not least, when you pay to recruit units, a feature that is required to survive in the original game, you can put the recruits on reserve instead of being forced to assign them to your summons. That means no more wasted cash on units you throw out because the one you were waiting for is finally available.

First thing I noticed about Bladestorm:Nightmare when I played was that you now have to make your character(s) first in Edit Mode. Edit Mode lets you make a large pool of custom characters for you to choose from. After making a custom character the player can start one of the campaigns and choose which one they want to use as the main character. All other characters will become available to the player when they unlock the ability to use multiple units in combat. The biggest change when it comes to leveling up in Nightmare is that all of the player’s skill points go to a communal pool where they can be used for all units instead of having to start with a new unit at level 1 with no ability upgrades. Points can also be used to level up units whereas before the only way to level up soldier classes was to use them in combat. A smaller change but equally important is the addition of basic attacking for archer classes. Before now the archers were only able to attack when their abilities were up. Useful in a skirmish but as a  large-scale battle drags on their worth was lessened. Characters can also be sent out on assignments and will bring back loot that is way beyond what they should be able to get their hands on at level 1.

 

Another massive change to the game is the Army mechanic. In the original game the players would have to constantly have to swap the units they control to manage a larger fight which means losing a lot of experience due to getting experience for eabsnmch book only while you control them. The Army system lets the player recruit other officers and their soldiers into one condensed unit. Up to 3 other units can be recruited which opens up a lot of options for breaking the game. The entire army will move at roughly the same speed as the unit being controlled meaning heavy armor troops can be as mobile as cavalry. Different unit types can be mixed and matched to cover each other’s weaknesses. Type advantage and strength in numbers will make the player nearly unstoppable. At the same time the player can also split the army up and send them all over the map. While this leaves all characters with the same fighting strength of a single squad it also lets the players themselves have a global presence on the field.

Nightmare mode puts a magic sword on your character’s back and makes him/her the commander of monsters. Something strange has happened and Joan of Arc has turned on humanity. Everybody is blaming you for what happened because your character has the sword and demand that you fix everything. Nightmare mode doesn’t have day/night cycles or time limits. Just keep fighting until the battle is won or lost. All the monsters have their own books and sets of moves. Their presence serves to severely mess with the unit type advantage/disadvantage system. The monsters that serve as basic troops offer increased numbers maxing out at fifty per squad, twenty more than the usual.

At the end of the day, Bladestorm: Nightmare is still a re-release but rarely has a re-release been able to update the graphics, expand upon, and fix most if not all of the old problems of the original. The newer hardware can even
almost finally run smoothly when the screen has 200+ units on it.

Pros:
  • unique gameplay experience
  • fixed leveling problems
  • Old story mode upgraded with new mechanics
Cons:
  • Hundred Years' War mode still takes forever to get through
  • online functions are sometimes spotty
  • online loot function extremely unbalanced
Graphics Pixl Score 4 4
Story Pixl Score 4 4
Sound Pixl Score 3 3
Controls Pixl Score 4 4
Fun Factor Pixl Score 4 4