BladeStorm: Nightmare Preview
Not only will we get a greatly updated game, we'll also get a better title. It was originally known as BladeStorm: The Hundred Years' War when it launched for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2007. It didn't fare too well with critics but here's hoping a graphical upgrade, some new content, and several other positive tweaks will make it that much better. BladeStorm: Nightmare (ironically, the working title for The Hundred Years' War before it came out) is coming to the new consoles and players will either side with England and France. The time period is between 1337 and 1453, when that war just never ended.
When you begin, you'll create your own mercenary and then choose a side. You'll appreciate a huge amount of customization options; not only can you select the basics (gender, skin color, etc.) but you can also tamper with every aspect of the body. For instance, you can fiddle with a myriad of facial features, and that includes the freakin' pupil size. Then you can adjust things like limb length and the amount of fat your character will have, and this is before you dive into equipping the character. You typically don't see this level of customization for strategy titles, so it's a nice little bonus.
The game boasts a gigantic amount of missions and if you're ambitious, you can actually play all the missions for both sides of the war. As for the gameplay itself, you might appreciate this unique blend of action and strategy; it's not Dynasty Warriors but it's not Age of Empires, either. During combat, your mercenary heads up an entire army unit and that team can - of course - be customized: You can select foot soldiers, lances, light cavalry, archers, and mounted units, and each unit has a distinct set of strengths and weaknesses. You can actually control up to four units at once and each group can be ordered to attack specific targets or other entire units. Over 200 soldiers are going to leap into the fray at your command!
As for the additions, there will be over 32 new characters, including the legendary Joan of Arc, Edward the Black Prince of Wales, and a French military commander named La Hire. There's also the Nightmare Mode, which drops any historical accuracy for the sake of creative license. In the first mission in this mode, you'll lead a group of mercs that have acquired a sword that can control monsters. Coincidentally, when you arrive in Gascony, you'll find that the English and French are engaged in a pitched battle against a legion of monsters. At that point, the game ceases to be about England vs. France and becomes Humanity vs. Monsters. Some of the new screenshots hint at very big non-human foes, too.
Large-scale battles and a horde of strategic options sit at the core of this experience. The combination of historically accurate military encounters and fantastical fighting makes this a much more appealing production, and you might really take to the rock-paper-scissors style of strategy. You'll have to be a big strategy fan who has a penchant for giant battles with a heavy action flair; if you are, BladeStorm: Nightmare could be the game for you. After a series of delays (it was originally supposed to launch last year), the new iteration is now scheduled to launch for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 17. Let's hope the new improvements and additions make for a worthwhile experience.
2/6/2015 Ben Dutka