Technology is marvellous and science fiction paints a wonderful picture of what the future holds. Sadly, though, the advancements come at the detriment of mankind. Normally, a hero is forced to step up and save the day, but even this can’t guarantee success. Blackwind paints this picture in its bleak insight into the future.
Developed by Drakkar Dev and published by Blowfish Studios, this is a futuristic top-down action-adventure title. Set in the distant future, you must smash your way through alien scum as you try to save a mining colony while protecting your family. It’s an audacious story that is plucked straight out of a Hollywood textbook, but will it capture the attention of its audience?
Blackwind is a hack n slash overkill.
Blackwind is a title that is full of hectic and fast-paced action. This was excellent as it was hard-hitting from the start, yet the developers rely heavily on hack n slash mechanics. This sadly impacted the finesse of the game and much of the combat was subsequently messy.
You are James Hawkins, the son of professor Hawkins, who is a lead engineer and scientist. The starship Pandora is shot down by the evil Raknos and you survive by becoming trapped in a prototype Battle Frame. As the ship crash lands, you fall to the surface of Medusa-42. The Raknos have decimated the mining colony and you master the Battle Frame to repel the aliens and rescue your father.
Solo or couch co-op action.
As a solo player, you have full autonomy over the Battle Frame and its support drone. You control every aspect of the gameplay and you feel empowered because of it. Yet, when you play with another, both characters are weakened! When the drone is detached, the Battle Fame cannot jump, nor can it shoot, and this reduces your options. Likewise, the drone cannot use melee actions, and you feel isolated from what is unfolding.
It was odd that a simple gameplay option would undermine the core concept so much. Furthermore, it was full of potentially game-breaking bugs. Annoyingly, the drone had a mind of its own. Occasionally, as a solo player, it simply wouldn’t move. Luckily, though, I was able to use a second pad to control it. This issue happened multiple times and if I had one controller, I’d have made no progress.
On to the positives.
So far, it’s been very negative! So, let’s lift the mood by looking at the overwhelming positives. First, it’s a great, albeit clichéd story full of emotions and interesting characters. You have to ignore the obvious “child in a Battle Frame” issue, as everyone else is oblivious. If you can overlook this discrepancy, you’ll enjoy its ass-kicking ways.
Second, the Battle Frame is as cool as hell! Who doesn’t want to be a much more badass RoboCop? This hulking mech crashes its way through cracks, boxes, and aliens alike. It’s loaded with swords, missiles, and unbelievable super abilities. Yes, the monotony of slashing through each enemy is repetitive, but I adored the gratuitous violence.
Third, there is a wonderful progression tree that enhances the mech’s ungodly powers. You obtain XP by smashing items, completing tasks, and killing enemies. Subsequently, you can upgrade the special abilities, missiles, weapon damage, and so forth. Enhancing yourself made the hectic gameplay easier to manage while giving you super cool combos to try.
The world of Blackwind is quite expansive, yet the story is linear. Consequently, as progress is made, you must revisit old areas and access previously unreachable locations. This may sound tiresome, but the wonders of alien tech allow you to teleport with ease.
This isn’t the only new technology you are treated to. As the story unfolds and you defeat gargantuan bosses, you unlock new abilities. Whether you’ll crash into the ground, hover across gaps, bend time and space, or more, you’ll love the drip-fed abilities. These game-changers break up the monotony while enhancing the futuristic theme.
Blackwind is a blur of colours.
With much of the action happening at a rapid pace. Blackwind is mainly a blur of colours. This isn’t a complaint, as the style adds to the ensuing madness, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Furthermore, the deadly aliens and monstrous equipment add to the Sci-Fi theme. The top-down perspective limits your field of view, and though this approach may not be for everyone, I liked how it focused my attention.
With so much happening and many contrasting images, I was worried there would be performance issues. Yet, the Series X copes extremely well with the demand and I experienced no frame rate drops. Disappointingly, though, the drone caused further problems as it navigated the air vents. The screen would go black and you’d have no clue where you were. This was unfortunate and annoying as it adds to the list of bugs.
I loved many of the elements, yet the audio was repetitive and annoying. The protagonist screams heroic one-liners that quickly become tedious. Furthermore, the acting is wooden and contains more ham than a butcher’s shop. Luckily, though, the sound effects are good and the soundtrack enhances the story. If the acting was better and the one-liners reduced, it would have been much better.
Mash those buttons!
The controls are a blend of button mashing and complex combos. In theory, it gives you a wide range of attacks. However, in reality, you mindlessly mash the buttons. Every fight is the same as you roll, dash, shoot, and hack your way to victory. It wasn’t terrible, but its lack of finesse leaves you wanting.
Thanks to its vast stages, Blackwind easily hides its collectables in plain sight. Many paths are locked and can only be opened once new abilities are learned. This was an excellent way to expand the longevity while forcing players to explore every location. If you love the hack n slash genre, then you’ll adore this and won’t want to put it down.
Blackwind is good, but it’s not for me.
I enjoyed much of Blackwind’s concept and theme. It tells a great but tired story and the weaponry is awesome. Yet, it never excited me. Its hack n slash action was made worse because of the cheesy one-liners. Furthermore, the bugs were annoying and game-breaking. Also, the co-op action didn’t work and made the final product weaker. Without the downsides, it would have scored much higher. I’m on the fence, but a copy can be purchased here! Can you master the Battle Frame and become a hero? Learn the abilities, slash your foes, and save your family.