The mobile gaming industry has been updated once again with the introduction of the Unreal Gaming Engine. Gamefloft’s all-new RPG – Wild Blood – has ushered in a new era in tablet/mobile phone gaming and it looks like it will go a long way. That being said, it does still have a long way to go. So here’s a quick look at this third person RPG set in a magical medieval time, tested on the iPad 2.
In case you’re not too familiar with the tale of King Arthur, here goes. Once upon a time in a place called Camelot, there lived a King and Queen. King Arthur, thought to be a wise and just man, loved and married the lovely lady Guinevere. Shortly after they were married, a lonely Knight named Lancelot (the black Knight to some) came strolling along into the kingdom, bringing with him a drama that could have very well been the start of the first soap opera.
Was Lancelot a dwarf? The Doors seemed too large and so does his sword
To get to the point where this game begins – Lancelot and the King get along famously. Unfortunately for the King, Lancelot also gets along famously with the queen. The queen falls for Lancelot, Lancelot makes off with the queen in tow and the king is naturally pi**ed off! He goes nuts and hands over power to the ‘Wicked Witch of this west’ Morgana Le Fay, who also happens to be his half-sister, and the whole kingdom goes to hell—literally. When Lancelot returns, he battles Morgana and her demons to rescue the captured Guinevere, who is held as a prisoner in Avalon, and faces off with Arthur. So with a sword that’s twice his size, the famous, or should we say, infamous knight returns to battle his old friend and now mortal enemy, and his evil half-sister Morgana.
The game looks brilliant for today’s standards. Backdrops of battered castles, villages and the hanging gardens in their full 3D rendered form look stunning from a visual perspective. The details are quite intense and can be compared to some of the higher-end PSP Vita type games. But while the layout of the game looks remarkable, it’s the gameplay that will have you up in arms. In some instances, it can get downright frustrating, especially with the camera angles.
The jilted king
The controls are positioned very well and make for comfortable gameplay and handling; however, if your character is caught in a corner of the screen, there’s a really good chance that you'll get blindsided and beat down real bad. The controls are also a tad sticky and rolling out of the way to avoid demons with long protruding lances isn't easy. It’s worse still when taking on the much larger minions with humongous hammers and cleavers. You tend to get a little caught up in their armpits and with combos in full swing, will not find the time to roll away from their swipes.
There’s a sequnce in quite a few of the later levels where you're switched to first person mode, shooting an outsized crossbow at enemies bombarding you with hell fire, fiery arrows, miniature dragon attacks, and even little flying “pigs” (not sure how to describe them really) hurling fireballs at you in all shapes and sizes. The control system for this particular section of the game is by far the worst setup yet. It’s just not designed right and fairs very poorly with laggy timing and no defence provided.
Plenty of action
Combat scenes are indeed quite epic, bringing the Unreal Engine roaring to life. Hacking, slashing and running willy nilly into enemies, bashing them about and firing powered-up arrows is all quite entertaining. Upgrades aren’t cheap, so make sure you save wisely and upgrade only when necessary. But don’t fret, there’s plenty of coin to collect all over the place so you won’t run short of change too often.
After making your way through various battlegrounds, collecting various bags of money from annoying damsels and villagers in cages and fighting off beastly looking bosses, you reach a point in the game where, on completion, you’d wish you hadn’t bothered spending your hard-earned money on the game. No teasers folks, but completing this round will send you back to the very beginning of the game, requiring you to play through all levels once again. And this time you’ll play it in Hard Mode! This is a necessary evil and seems like a cheap trick on the developers part to extend gameplay. The game gets increasingly frustrating as Save Points are quite a bit ahead of boss fights meaning, should you face defeat, you're going to have to go through the whole scenario of fighting off minions and then reaching the boss all over again. In Hard Mode the slightly defunct camera work gets even more annoying as you'll be surrounded by enemies from all angles coupled with a boss distracting you and if caught amidst a large cluster, dodging them all is not just a tedious task. Needless to say, our 'blood' went 'wild' at this point.
Gold prices are up
Wild Blood also features a Multiplayer mode where you can connect with friends and play Team Deathmatches (4 players on each team) and Capture the Flag.
The Bottom Line and Price in India
Gameloft’s take on the King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot love triangle drama in Wild Blood is pure entertainment and the game does look really good. However, priced at Rs. 421 ($6.99), it seems a bit steep considering the flawed camera work in most cases and weird start-from-the-beginning-for-no-real-reason feature that the game comes with. The Unreal Engine does manage to deliver quite well on the visual and combat front and the storyline also has its appeal, but for that kind of cash, you’ll have to think long and hard about how serious a mobile gamer you actually are. Buy it, if it’s ever out on sale just to experience the new style in mobile gaming.
The most painful exercise in aiming
On a different note, we’re quite looking forward to seeing just what the Unreal Engine will be catering to next. Mobile gaming, as it is, just went up a notch.
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