The fight was going poorly for Ayumi. Down to her last shred of life against a foe three times her size, she had just one chance to come out alive. So she fell back on her old standby: time manipulation. In a red flash, one Ayumi became three, and her once-living foe entered the realm of the dead.
6366788Keep your distance from the creepy spiders.None
There are situations in Blades of Time when Ayumi's mystical powers come together in such spectacular ways that you can hardly contain your excitement. Figuring out clever ways to lay waste to demons triggers "eureka!" moments, and that feeling resurfaces in a variety of clever puzzles. Blades of Time offers such a novel spin on traditional third-person combat that you might be able to overlook the unresponsive controls and the jarring gun combat for a little while. But no matter how enthralled you become, it won't take long for the harsh light of reality to illuminate the many pitfalls. Blades of Time is a great concept in an uneven package.
Like all women who don skimpy clothes and know a stunning array of martial arts techniques, Ayumi is a treasure hunter. Her multidimensional tale contains so many opposing factions that keeping everything straight is as difficult as the slaying formidable foes who try to kill you, and her annoying narration only further distances you from her plight. When the perfunctory ending sequence plays out in less than a minute, you wonder why you should even care about the outcome at all.
It's easy to forget about monsters during these quiet moments.
Although the story in Blades of Time is a poorly constructed mess, the events you partake in are anything but. Maneuverability is the binding force that makes chopping down foes a satisfying endeavor. Ayumi glides across the ground like an angel with a bad attitude, and a breezy dash lets you dive into and out of battle in a pinch. Attacks are limited to two buttons, which means you don't have much variety in your moves, and there is a noticeable lack of weight in your mighty attacks. However, such limitations are not a detriment. Positioning is imperative and health is in short supply, so rushing in to unleash a mini-combo and then sprinting back out is a sure survival tactic. Button prompts appear over weakened foes so you can deliver devastating finishers, and these elements combine into fast-moving, empowering situations.
But that's just scratching the surface. Tap a button to rewind time, and you see the fight play out in reverse before your eyes. You regain control of Ayumi when you stop this process, and you now have a partner at your side. A clone reenacts whatever moves you recently performed. Using this power, you can hack away at a foe, rewind the clock, and then hack away at the same foe simultaneously. Abusing this ability is not advisable. When you go back in the past, reality conforms to how it was in that earlier state. If you already took down an enemy's life bar, you undo that damage when you rewind the clock. This balances your power to some extent. Inadvertently healing a boss can cause fights to drag on endlessly, so you have to make smart use of your powers if you want to excel.
Kneeling at an altar gives you special powers.
Situations surface that force you to use this power intelligently. A creature may wield a giant shield that prevents you from attacking its soft back tissue. If you unleash a deadly sword-swinging show on that shield and then spin back time, you can open him up to damage. Distract him with your clone while circling behind, and you can slash away at his weak point without retribution. Outmaneuvering these hellacious beasts makes you smile with sadistic glee.
Exploitations temper some of that enthusiasm. There are fights in which you can cheese your way to victory by doubling your attacks until an enemy lamely falls at your feet. This is especially noticeable during sequences where long-distance foes can be taken out with your gun. By firing into the crowd, rewinding, and then firing some more, you can mow down meanies before they can come close to you. Although there is joy in hearing the echoing rush of two guns firing in symphony, such a victory is hollow. You feel like you're taking advantage of the system rather than making the most of it. This scenario is made worse by the lousy gun controls. Blades of Time's emphasis is on flashy movement, but your momentum is squashed when you whip out a firearm. Ayumi stands stoically still while letting loose a bullet barrage. By forcing her to be grounded, the game ensures you can't abuse your guns in every fight. But there are times when you need to rely on long-distance attacks, and whipping out your rifle feels emasculating.