Game Reviews

Wild Blood

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Wild Blood
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Wild Blood is a funny sort of mish-mash of ideas, influences, and inspirations. It's nowhere near as close a homage to mainstream gaming franchises as some of Gameloft's other efforts, but nor is it especially original.

And that lack of focus is the game's weakest point. It doesn't know whether it wants to be a 3D Zelda clone or a straight-up hack-and-slasher like God of War, and in that confusion it ends up being neither.

That's not to say that Wild Blood isn't a rollicking good adventure, and it does have moments of spectacular violence, but its flaws and frustrations keep it from ever ascending to the heights of its mixed bag of inspirations.

Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy knights

The game is a re-telling of the Arthurian legend, albeit with a hefty dollop of fantastical, angsty drama dumped on top. You play as Lancelot, who returns from a quest to find that his affair with Arthur's wife Guinevere has become common knowledge.

Cue the opening of a gate to Hell and the ransacking of once fertile lands by evil demon sorts. It's up to you to close the gate, butcher the demons, and somehow make amends with your King and former friend after doing the dirty with his beloved.

You start off with a humongous sword and a set of armour, and battle your way through ten levels of hacking, slashing, and finding keys. You move Lancelot around with a floating joystick, and swipe a finger around the screen to change the way he's looking.

A big button controls your standard attacks, and it's surrounded by smaller buttons that let you throw out magic moves, sprint, and dodge incoming projectiles and axe swings.

Wild at heart

As you progress through the game you'll pick up a set of axes, which let you deal out more blows for less damage, and a bow, which is basically useless except in the few instances when the game forces you into using it.

Killing enemies, completing objectives, and smashing up scenery all give you coins, which you can spend on potions to use when your health or magic power gets too low, or on upgrading your weapons and armour.

You can also spend coins on instant resurrections, and there are times when, in spite of the premium price you've paid upfront for the game, it feels an awful lot like a freemium title. Too often you're short of coins when you most need them.

Blood simple

Quite often when there are more than four or five enemies on screen, the game slows down dramatically, even on the current generation iPad. Matters are made worse when you use one of your elemental powers, with the combination of pretty effects and monsters resulting in an almighty chug.

A multiplayer mode, with Capture The Flag and Team Deathmatch variants, rounds off the package in a surprisingly accomplished way. The simplicity of the button-mashing combat makes for a level and entertaining playing field, but slowdown still raises its ugly head.

The clumsy nature of touchscreen controls means Gameloft had to hedge its bets with Wild Blood. Too complex a combat system would have been rendered unusable by the demands of the hardware, but what we're left with is an underwhelming, sluggish brawler that feels like it could be so much more.

With a greater focus on exploration and utilising new tools, Wild Blood could have been an entertaining, lithe adventure. Instead, it relies on bludgeoning and button-mashing, which is only fun in small bursts.

Wild Blood

A flawed but enjoyable romp, saved in part by a fun multiplayer mode, Wild Blood isn't vintage Gameloft, but it's entertaining in small chunks
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