Sword Madness! GIMME MORE SWORDS!

Gaming’s biggest week, E3 was in full swing this week and the last few days have been filled with conferences from Ubisoft, EA, Sony, Microsoft, Bethesda and Nintendo had their treehouse reveal of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild yesterday. (AND IT’S GOD DAMN GORGEOUS LOOK AT IT!


(This is just the trailer, You can find extended gameplay footage if you Youtube the game)

and While Zelda is a longtime favourite of my child-hood and the game that got my late mother hooked into gaming and is totally an example of what I want to touch upon, I want to talk about a few games that I’ve discovered and stumbled upon.

For Honour – It got metal as hell.

I cannot wait for For Honour (which is releasing on Valentines Day next year, I’ve never been so glad to be single.) I’ve followed the game since it was revealed…2 years ago?(ish) at E3 before. We got a single trailer describing the Oni on the Samurai faction and that’s…kinda it. If you actively searched for gameplay, some Youtubers have had the privilege of playing the game after being flown out a year or so ago.

The fact that it has a heavy focus on dueling within a large battlefield arena is enough for me to get excited. The fact that it’s including both Samurai’s and Knights is a second reason I’m excited. It’s battle system, the art of war is my third reason for excitement. You basically have three stances when fighting a ‘hero’ character. High, left and right. To defend yourself, you have to match the stance your opponent is attacking in. (So if they are using a left stance, you have to match it to defend) and then attack with a stance that your opponent isn’t using.) It’s a unique type of system.
It now turns out the game is coming out with a campaign mode for all three character types.

Yeah, Vikings are included. I’m not a huge Viking person myself, but it does look fun as heck with a giant axe. (I’m sensing a theme here…I should probably play warrior on XIV)


(Note: if you see other Youtubers from E3 recording this, be careful whom you watch. About 1 out of the ten I stumbled upon had no clue on how the Art of War system worked and just…ugh, so terrible.)

Absolver – Never miss a beat!

+10 awesomeness for a RWBY reference right?! Open-mouthed smile

Being developed by Devolver Digital (Makers of games such as Serious Sam, Shadow Warrior and Hotline Miami) The games tagline is basically. “What if we had no guns?” and it does so beautifully. You can watch their VoD from their twitch segment: >Here< since aside from their reveal trailer, not much else has been revealed about the game.

It’s essentially a martial arts action games. You can expect the usual things like Parries, heavy and light attacks, you can switch between fists and weaponry and it has such a lovely looking art-style that it carries this really nice charm and despite it’s simplistic combat system, it carries a surprising amount of depth.

You carry four stances, each have two attack types (light and heavy.) and you can customise your own combos with attacks that you acquire in an RPG like way. Drops from enemies may include a weapon, but an attack like a jab or a reverse roundhouse kick. Each attack has their own stats like speed and damage, but many carry secondary effects that may make it easier to break your opponents guard or absorb attacks better. You manage this in a “deck” like system. Switching out the “cards” for your combo’s to tailor to your play-style.

Remember I mentioned the four stances earlier? They have no fancy names, but each stance carries with it, it’s own combo string which you can customise. This means there is almost no limit to how you can create your fighting style. Maybe you’ll have two of your stances dedicated to being hard-hitting, one for being swift and another if your opponent needs their guard broken. It seems like that the stances aren’t separate entities either. While you can select which one to use, at the end of a combo, you’ll switch to another stance. Giving endless combo opportunities to players who can master the Combo deck and find a combo that can flow endless from one stance to another.

Button mashing would be a problem here though. With such a simplistic system in play, what’s stopping you from hammering light attacks that are fast and furious until you run out of stamina? A counter system that’s been designed to tackle just that problem.
The best way to do this is thinking of each strike like it’s an active reload from Gears of War. You have a small white bar that you must “reload” to get a faster reload off.
In Absolver, each strike you have begins to fill a bar, if you time your next attack incorrectly and hit it outside of the small “sweet spot” within this bar, you’re character will be somewhat slower, leaving you open to a counter. Yet get it inside, and your fighter will find a nice flow between each strike.

A combat system with so much simplisitiy on the surface and yet has a surprising amount of depth that is held up by various systems the developers have placed into the game and you got a fighting game that is truly skill-based and a direct reflection of you as a person. I cannot wait for Absolver. No doubt I’ll make myself the Nimble swordsman type. Swords are still cool!

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlords.

It’s a new Mount and Blade. Big epic siege battles with thousands of onscreen soldiers. I’m terrible at anything that doesn’t let me use a sword to smite my enemies. No really, I tried playing Warband earlier. let’s just say I am a bad trader!

 

The common thread these games share is that it’s all melee focused fun. I’m all for the new Battlefield One game and even I was enthralled with the space combat that the new Call of Duty showed off. But I feel that sword based combat still has alot of fun potential. It’s always generic first person shooters lately. Let’s give our ancestors some love in GLORIOUS COMBAT!

*ahem*

I got a bit ahead of myself there…

I’d love to see more developers slowly break out from the gun monotony. Few are willing to experiment with things that aren’t first person shooters. We need more First Person Slashers, or first person mages. Just something with less guns and more…swords!

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