In a war where right and wrong are blurred by the smudge of soldierâ€™s blood, there is but one side for a mercenary: the one that pays the most. It helps that the Hundred Yearsâ€™ War is a very profitable war. Assuming you survive, of course. Before you jump into the war, however, you have to create a mercenary.
When it comes to the character personalization it is limited to a choice of eight faces and three voices per gender. It sticks out like a sore thumb when you have a young looking face on an adult body. The voices arenâ€™t good either â€“ a German accent on an anime-style face is just strange.
Once you have your character, you select a side to fight for in your first mission: England or France. Both sides are willing to pay the same so it doesnâ€™t matter which you fight for. Itâ€™s like a soccer game, except with less blood and archers shooting arrows instead of drunken fans throwing beer bottles and streaking across the field.
After that you get onto the battlefield where you learn to use the units in a short tutorial mission. This mission also doubles as an easy way to get some levelling in before the â€˜real missionsâ€™ because you have an unlimited amount of enemies to fight. However, as a tutorial mission it does a good job of familiarizing you with the units and controls.
There are three types of unit to begin with: Bowmen, Sword Horsemen and Greatsword. More types will become available as you progress. Each unit type is weak against another so it becomes a game of rock paper scissors; Picking the best guys for the skirmish at hand is essential. Indicators above the squad leaderâ€™s head help in determining the better targets with any given units at your command.
As a leader you have a choice of three techniques for defense and offense. Once you use a technique it takes a while to recharge. However, by holding down a button you can sit back and watch them slaughter the enemy while you wait for the techniques to recharge. The more you lead a certain unit type the better your technique becomes, and the more effectively you use them. You can also forfeit your squad control and attack the enemy with your characterâ€™s moves.
The main goal of each battle is to invade various enemy bases until the leader appears and you kill him. Once you capture a base a few items appear as a reward and your characterâ€™s level of fame is increased. Unfortunately, after the thrill of pulling off triple digit combos and capturing bases for new items and fame wears off, youâ€™re left with repetitive battles and very little payoff.
Once you finish your first contract you go back to the bar where you receive the war dairy. Itâ€™s filled with info on the units in the game including the vulnerabilities and strengths - useful if you still want to continue playing. From here you can listen to gossip, buy accessories, or get a new contract and fight another battle which feels exactly the same as the last.
The developer calls this Bladestorm: The Hundred Yearsâ€™ War, but it may as well have been Dynasty Warriors: Europe Edition. Then again, Hundred Yearsâ€™ War is an appropriate subtitle as after a few hours of fighting, you feel like youâ€™ve been playing for a hundred years.