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X Blades Review

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Flawed and repetitive but with a kick ass heroine.

★★★★★

In theory, X Blades is a classic. For starters, it strips away any pretence of a story in favour of outrageous combat, and somehow feels more honest than other games that try to justify their violence with a thin layer of respectability or historical relevance. The pace of the action is undeniably fun too, with simple button strokes allowing players to unleash a whirlwind of violence and slaughter dozens of enemies in the flash of a blade. The best thing, though, is a kick ass heroine who wears next to nothing and wields blades that double-up as guns, a new gaming vixen who makes most of her male console contemporaries look like pussies.

But while it has all the right elements in the right places, X Blades is beset by unforgivable flaws that will drive veteran gamers to distraction. Repetition is the most irksome flaw, the initial rush of the hardcore hack and slash gore soon giving way to a humdrum sense of emptiness, made worse by having to play through the same environments twice, once during the day and again at night. The controls are also frustrating as they give players plenty of scope to hack up enemies, but are too clumsy when it comes to teetering along the edge of a narrow platform. Most annoying, though, are the Identikit enemies who assault you from beginning to end, their stupid attacks and inability to use any sort of tactics making the whole experience deeply unrewarding, a fault even the heroine’s peachy rear can’t make up for.

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