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Wake me up if they release a better sequel
Blood Wake (Xbox)
Member Name: Wolfzilla
Blood Wake (Xbox)
Advantages: Graphics, fairly amusing
Disadvantages: controls frustrating, lacks any sort of spark
One of the first Xbox games, Bloodwake wasn't treated to well by the critics or the general public. Not that it got much attention mind, near enough everyone was too busy with classic games like Halo and Dead or Alive 3 to really give it much time of day.
I was pretty sceptical about it. Any game you can get preowned for ?5 just a year into a console's life can't be very good, but I was bored and felt that burning sensation in my pocket.
The game is a Combat Boat game. Im actually completely unaware which genre it belongs in, so just made that one up on the spot. In the game you control one of a variety of types of boats/ships/water based vessells that are outfitted with state of the art weaponry, where you must complete a variety of missions. Usually stuff like 'Destroy All Enemies' or 'Protect the base'.
The game's story is actually fairly amusing, if amazingly cliche. You are controlling a young man named Shao Kai, a Lieutenant in one of the two warring factions tearing apart the seas. But on a routine patrol mission, your crew and fleet were attacked under mysterious circumstances, with you the only survivor. Found by members of the Shadow Clan, a feared pirate group whom had been a major enemy in your past. But instead of killing you, their leader, Ped Zeng made you join his clan in exchange for him rescuing you, because he feels your skills as a skipper would make you a great help to him in his battles against the enemies of the clan.
The graphics in the game are very good. The water effects are actually superb, better than anything that has come before it. The rest of the graphics are pretty good as well, with the boats looking suitabley battle worn and even the buildings on the shores looking good. The explosions and pyrotechnics aren't the best the Xbox has seen, but they are definitely solid and look good enough to earn some praise.
The sound in the game isn't so hot. The music is fairly bland and un-memorable, given that I can't really recall any tracks standing out, but that is also sort of a good thing, seeing as I don't recall any music being bad either. The sound effects of the various weapons going off, and even the splashes of the water are pretty well captured though.
Controls in the game are as follows:
L:Fire Primary Weapon
R:Fire Secondary Weapon
A:Change Secondary Weapon
The response times for these are all pretty good, but I do have some complaints about the controls. For a start, L and R should be the other way around. The majority of games, if they are going to use a trigger for fire, use the R one, so maybe it is just me, but I would think most people have become adjusted to that. Second of all, controlling the steering of the boat can be very frustrating. When you are trying to turn, the boat occasionally just goes crazy and regaining conrol takes some time, enough time for enemy ships to take pot shots at you.
Speaking of the enemies, the AI for them is actually quite decent, so you won't be up against ships that sit and wait for you to hit them, offering the occasional obligatory fire, they will actually try to take you down.
But even with that said, the Story mode isn't all that tough. While it has plenty of missions (20+), they don't seem very tough, and I completed the game within a week of buying it.
To add some spice to things, there is a pretty decent multiplayer mode, which allows you and up to 3 friends (as well as bots) to take part in a variety of games such as Free For All, which is your basic deathmatch, and Domination, which is capture the flag, amongst a few others. You also have a fairly wide selection of different ships in this mode, most of which have to be unlocked via playing the Story mode.
The thing with the game, is that it is just so flippantly average. I don't think I have ever played a game that this applies to so much before. It has good graphics and a decent engine, but for some reason it just doesn't capture the imagination in the least. The story mode is ok, but it isn't good enough to pull you in. You could easily start the game and not be motivated to finish it, mainly because the story isn't all that exciting, and the game, while quite fun, isn't quite fun enough to make you want more.
The multiplayer is the same. While it isn't boring, it doesn't have the same enjoyment level on multiplayer as games like Halo, DOA3, Time Splitters 2 or Rocky where me and my friends often have memorable multiplayer matches. You might occasionally here us talking about the time I TKO'ed 4 people in a row on Rocky or the time my friend scored 1 kill but sufferred 30 deaths on Halo, but you won't ever here anything that happened in Bloodwake being brought up. To be honest, we have only tried it a few times, and while it wasn't a bad experience, it just lacked any sort of real spark to distinguish it from the crowd of multiplayer titles.
At the end of the day, I would say the 3 stars I give the game is what it deserves. It looks too good and plays well enought that it doesn't warrant a bad score, but the controls, coupled with the fact that until I played it for the purpose of this review it didn't even leave my Xbox game rack for over a year definitely sees to it that it wont be getting any sort of positive score.
I would recommend the game to anyone who has some sort of thing for Water-Based combat or just needs a decent game that can be acquired fairly low cost for a week or so's entertainment. The multiplayer aspect of the game is decent enough, but there are so many better multiplayer Xbox games that it never really stood a chance of making any sort of impact on the grounds of its multiplay.
So, if you are really bored and you see it cheap, there are worse things you could spend your money on than Bloodwake. But it just so happends that there are also much better things. Average sums the game up in a word. It has its good, it has its bad, but overall the two even themselves out to such a degree that the game is neither here nor there.
Review Originally posted at Epinions.com
Summary: A decent game, and would make for a decent week's entertainment. It isn't great by any stretch mind.
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