Tag Archives: Arena Combat

Black & White Bushido coming to Xbox One

Endemol Shine Group have announced the launch of games developer and publishing label Good Catch, along with their upcoming Xbox One release Black & White Bushido.

Black & White Bushido is already available on PC through Steam but the Xbox One version is set to add online multiplayer, two new difficulty levels, and some gameplay and graphical enhancements.

Black & White Bushido is a 2D brawler for up to four players, taking the gentle game of hide and seek and injecting it with razor sharp samurai swords. Each of Black & White Bushido’s arenas are divided into distinct monochrome sections which the two opposing forces, Team Light and Team Shadow, must use tactically to secure victory. Lurk in the dark or blend into the light before launching an attack on an unsuspecting enemy.

With five different arenas to choose from, players can engage in one of three modes, capture the flag, death match or training, and can play in 4 player local and online multiplayer plus a single player challenge mode.

One Piece: Burning Blood review

One Piece: Burning Blood taps into the absurdness of its source material to deliver an action packed, creative, and pleasantly in-depth 3D fighter. However, this is clearly a title for those already engaged with the anime, for everyone else it trends a bit too close to bizarre and its minor flaws will be felt more keenly.

With the anime, One Piece, telling the tale of a bunch of superhuman pirates with peculiar looks and even more peculiar abilities, it’s no wonder it proves an ideal setup for a 3D brawler. Here the large roster of unique characters have a place to shine, showing off their variety of over the top combat techniques and their complex interconnected narrative that links the characters together. It’s oddly compelling stuff, and Burning Blood does a great job of focusing its own story on a specific arc of the anime so not to completely overwhelm newcomers.

This concept of accessibility is further evident in how the mechanics are taught to you. The story mode is the only option available to you when you start the game, and as you follow the events of the Paramount War as the anime’s primary protagonist Luffy, new attack and defence techniques are gradually introduced. By the end of Luffy’s adventure you’ll be fully aware of the complexity of Burning Blood’s combat system, including guard breaks, support character buffs, switching between characters mid-battle, and the numerous yet intuitive attacks and special moves.

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It’s a combat system that’s complex enough to offer strategic scope but simple enough to be intuitive. Meanwhile, with fights taking place in sizable 3D arenas, controlling spacing and mastering the dodge become important skills.

In fact you’re encouraged to learn multiple disciplines as the adventure unfolds. Sometimes a fight is a simple brawl, whilst others task you with staying alive for a certain amount of time against a far superior foe. Some battles will require you to frequently break your opponent’s guard and slowly chip away their health, whilst others encourage aggressive speed. It’s a nicely varied set of objectives revolving around combat.

However, there are clearly some balancing issues. Some missions feel like their result is entirely down to luck, with your opponent’s utterly destroying your health bar in a single hit and taking hardly any damage themselves. Getting stuck on such battles is highly frustrating and can easily ruin your immersion and enjoyment. Fortunately the most infuriating of these battles are largely restricted to optional missions. The camera also has a tendency to frame larger characters horrendously, completely obscuring your view. Mind you, the cinematic angles it achieves during special moves is tremendously effective at immersing you and highlighting the excellent, and faithful to its source material, aesthetic.

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As you play through the Paramount War you’ll unlock additional modes and characters to use outside of the story. Additionally, once you’ve completed Luffy’s adventure, three new characters are unlocked for the Paramount War story, allowing you to witness the same events from a different perspective. Here’s where the variety begins to suffer, with many of the cut scenes reused and only the fighters changing. Fortunately the other modes offer something new, however, with the roster locked behind complete the story mode, you may find your choice of characters restricted unless you persist. In-game currency can, fortunately be used to purchase characters but at hefty prices.

Combat outside of the story mode is more structured. You choose three characters to bring into battle and can switch between them on the fly to utilise shred attacks and preserve your fighters health through lengthy battles against the AI, local opponents, or online. Beyond your standard verses modes and their leaderboards and stat tracking features, is the more creative Pirate Flag Battle. In this mode you pick a pirate faction, and every online duel you complete works towards capturing points on a map. It’s a neat social feature that helps encourage online play, although its longevity will very much depend on if the community stays with it.

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Indeed, One Piece: Burning Blood is a fun and well-designed 3D fighter that makes great use of its source material. However, it struggles to balance its positive aspects with its negative ones, providing a focused story that’s easy for new comers to digest, but compromising on variety; and offering an immersive cinematic camera, but occasionally obscuring your view when larger characters are in play. Meanwhile, keeping content and characters locked away hurts the verses mode. But if you’re a fan of One Piece then Burning Blood is a wonderfully faithful brawler of one of the most intense story arcs of the anime.

Thanks to Bandai Namco Entertainment and Xbox for supporting TiX

Clash review

Clash provides an enjoyable arena-based combat scenario for up to four players but is severely limited by its content and local multiplayer focus. Certainly Clash can boast an attractive and charming aesthetic but in the end it’s not nearly enough to hold on to a player-base.

Clash has 2-4 players duke it out in a simple, fast-paced arena battle across four maps, each with their own gamemode. Team Deathmatch splits players between two teams as each run, jump, and dash their way around an appropriately sized map, meaning to kill opponents for points. Deathmatch is much the same but with an all-against-all twist. Meanwhile, King of the Hill has two teams competing for points earned from standing within a sphere that randomly appears around the level, and Crystal Hunt spits out gems from fallen players you need to collect, with the first team to 20 being the victor. It’s an unremarkable and predictable arena combat experience but one that proves highly enjoyable.

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Titles like Clash tap in to the competitive spirit wonderfully, encouraging frequent replay as you and your friends explore victory and defeat over each other’s slain characters. It’s compelling stuff that works splendidly within a party setting. Clash’s beautifully rendered backgrounds, immersive soundtrack, and quirky, unique characters adds an element of charm that can further pull you in, and it’s easy to learn, smooth, lightning fast combat is a joy to experience. However, you can only experience it locally.

Clash is restricted to local play only, furthermore, there are no AI opponents you can call upon. Instead Clash requires a minimum of two players to even begin a match. Moreover, only four maps are present, each locked to a specific gamemode, and whilst they offer a handful of secrets and are well designed arenas that complement their respective modes, it’s still a criminally limited amount of content.

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In very little time at all you experience everything Clash has to offer, and whilst playing with friends locally unlocks the fun, it’s short lived. The learning curve is almost non-existent, the controls and mechanics are so simple you can master them within minutes. After playing a session this can’t help but leave you wanting. There’s no real skill involved. The level layout is also easy to read, allowing you to shift quickly across it to square off against your target, then all it takes is an unblocked dash to wipe them out. The block – a shield that lasts a few seconds – offers reprieve from death for a moment and a limited window for counter attack or fleeing, but despite a slight cooldown for its use it fails to provide meaningful tactics or strategy to the combat.

Clash looks beautiful and has a unique charm to its character design that’s hard not to enjoy, but ultimately it lacks substance. It’s in dire need of more maps, and perhaps that would be enough to raise it to average; greatness, however, is a target far beyond its reach. The mechanics and maps lack tactical depth, a lack of AI opponents and/or a campaign doesn’t cater to solo players looking for fun or practice, and a lack of online play restricts it to a niche market where there are better alternatives already.

Thanks to Xbox and FennecFox Entertainment for their support 

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