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Blood Knights - Impression


Blood Knights

Author's Note: This impression covers the PlayStation 3 version of the game. Content is subject to change on other platforms.

Back in 2011, RPGamers were introduced to Deck13's work with Venetica, a game with interesting ideas that were never fully realized. This seems to be the song and dance of Deck13 creating games with a cool premise that it can never seem to follow through on. Its second RPG, Blood Knights, might actually be worse than its predecessor as it is just broken in every sense of the word.

Broken is a harsh word to use when discussing video games because it often brings a sense of dread and confusion. Confusion as to why nobody playtested the game and dread because it makes you question what's awful about it. Blood Knights' premise has Templars and vampires (are we surprised?) at war, and Jeremy the Vampire Hunter becomes one of those things he detests when he is forced into a blood-bond with the deadly vampiress, Alysa. They are the hope that will calm the storm between humans and vampires... supposedly.

The plot is very hard to take seriously because of the game's trite writing. There's a lot of repetition in dialogue, the characters are one-note and it's so cheesy that it could be enjoyable. However, the story elements surprisingly are the least of Blood Knights' problems.

The problems lie in the game's mechanics and overall pacing. There's a lot of forced co-op elements to ensure interaction, such as using one's vampiric strength to toss your partner onto a ledge, and then being pulled up in turn. These actions are forced into a lot of the gameplay, and half the time they aren't even necessary. Players can also pick up foes and suck their blood to restore health, which is awesome, but in practice the player rarely scores enough (or any) blood for it to be worth the effort.

Blood Knights is also glitchy. There are some games where it is easy to overcome the technical flaws, but Blood Knights's glitches often disadvantage their player through no fault of their own. In many auto-save areas, players will often spawn with full health, half-health or no health without any real reason for it. To make things worse, enemies often receive full health back when the camera pans away for a moment. The camera is definitely not your friend here. I wish I could say I was exaggerating this point, but it happened far too frequently, making certain sections more painful than they should have been.

Even more strangeness is the character balance, as those who play as Alysa only have about 1/3 of the health that Jeremy does. Even though players can share blood between them, more often than not they will find themselves getting a game over despite their partner's current state of health. Those who also play Alysa must learn to cope with the loose twin-stick controls, which should be great in practice if the environments weren't too small to take advantage of it. Those who play as Jeremy will find a much easier time with his hack'n slash skills, but the game forces you to use both, so mastering both characters is key to what little success can be found.

There's also quite a bit of freezing and slowdown as well. When there are too many enemies on screen the graphics will rip and tear, and that lack of polish is very noticeable. It makes you wish in a lot of ways that this game had been playtested. Blood Knights is also all the more laughable by its stiff voice acting and questionable script in which a character reminds you frequently that "he needs to use his healing powers!" It gets very hard to take the game seriously, which is a shame because the vampire elements are interestingly done and surprisingly thoughtful.

If I hadn't encountered the glitches and constant frustration, perhaps RPGamer would have a proper review for this game. However, the glitches are far too overbearing, even making it impossible to progress at times because you don't know which you'll be hit with next. This impression is written with a warning: don't even bother spending your hard earned cash on this trite game it's not worth losing your spouse over, nor is it worth the constant aggravation it will cause you.

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