Not going anywhere with that booty.
Control the scantily clad gunsword-wielding wannabe Lara Croft known as Ayumi, as she carves a path of rainbows and flowers through a mysterious and dangerous island full of clichés and other things you don’t care about. While rich with booty, the island is overrun with evil things, but good things too, like powers and stuff. What, you don't find this intro exciting? Then read Konami's boringly clean description of Blades of Time:
Play as the gorgeous gunsword-wielding treasure hunter Ayumi as she carves a path of destruction through a mysterious and dangerous island. While rich with bounty, the island is also caught in the throes of Chaos magic. Ayumi soon discovers that it is also the home of thousands of long-held secrets, including special powers and abilities that she can gain for herself.
I live in two worlds: one where I am keenly aware of what is around me and I analyze strictly by fact, and the other where I interpret what is really meant to be said when I read something mentioning guns, swords, and booty…
Playing Blades of Time isn’t all that bad. Not too bad anyway. The storyline, as you might have guessed from the description above, isn’t exactly memorable: a treasure hunter seeks, um, treasure while facing guardians and solving puzzles in an unknown location, which can be only accessed through a magic sphere and a guild master. The treasure hunter is a feminine bad-ass, but acts more floozy than not. I blame the clothes. She often talks to herself, stating obvious observations and asks obvious questions that have obvious answers. This is the first part of the game that instantly triggers the most annoyance.
While the storyline might not be the game’s strong point, the combat is. You have many options in deciding how to take out the enemy, such as weapons, spells, and abilities. One ability in particular is used often… extremely often. Some enemies are more heavily armored than others or are encased in a barrier that cannot be taken down with merely two shots. You do not have an auto aim to assist you either, so aiming is initially clunky. With the use of Time Rewind, though, Ayumi can go back in time while, as her current self, she can either flank an enemy, distract, or attack them. Repeat this process several times and you have a tiny squad of Ayumis wreaking havoc on one enemy, which does provokes a chuckle here and there. Between shooting an enemy and slicing them, using abilities like Time Rewind is a great change to an often monotonous hack-and-slash genre.
Levels add a mix to the gameplay as well. From one portal to the next, players travel from the inside of a volcano, to a jungle and a desert, which if Ayumi walks out into the sun, she burns and loses health. In addition to the sun, enemies attack you from the sky or underground, enemies who are quick on their feet but easy to kill, and enemies enemies that are slow but heavily armored. With this in mind, all of the abilities, spells, and weapons you acquire are put to good use. You will use everything you gain just to see what works best, and work off the game's emphasis on a varied playstyle.
Throughout each level are treasure chests where you find weapons and equipment that boosts attacks. Orbs are also collected from slain enemies, which are absorbed by randomly located statues and in turn, grants Ayumi magic or abilities called “gifts.” However, this part of the game seems like a failed attempt at a progression system. You receive gifts regardless of how many orbs you gather, so whether you kill an enemy or sneak past them, it won’t matter.
The equipment seems to simply encourage exploration and replay value, but whether that's worth your time is questionable considering what you find doesn’t drastically alter the gameplay. Granted, there are weapons that you find too, like a machine gun to replace your rifle and katanas to replace your swords, and a different outfit that covers up most of Ayumi’s womanly bits. But otherwise, treasure seems to be simply used for decoration.
If you want a break from campaign, there is an online mode called Outbreak, which can be played cooperatively or in versus, but again, the replay value here lasts you a short time. While fun at first, this inspired tower-defense mode quickly grows repetitive, unlike the campaign’s overall diversity, and unless you have a friend to play with or play against, searching for a quick match takes quite a while to find.
Blades of Time offers plenty of variety but without much substance. Combat is fun, levels are enjoyable, and enemies are challenging, but nothing is significant enough to be memorable. It’s fun for the moment, but easily forgotten by the weekend.