Bladestorm: Nightmare: Omega Force’s eight years’ war

April 23, 2015


Not content to keep the Dynasty Warriors-style action games focused on the warfare of the Three Kingdoms in China, Tecmo Koei created Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War early in the last console generation, a game that instead focused on the clash between France and England. With Bladestorm: Nightmare, Koei Tecmo revisits the conflict on current consoles, adding an alternate fantasy storyline for you to play through. Unfortunately, it fixed none of the systemic problems plaguing the original, and the new story mode fails to really deliver. Still, though, it may appeal to its fans, who know what to expect at this point.

Bladestorm: Nightmare’s normal, “historical” storyline places you in the role of a wandering mercenary on whichever side of the conflict you prefer. You can fight alongside the English, or with Joan of Arc in defense of France. There is some pretty heavy customization available for creating your mercenary, though outside of cutscenes, all you’ll ever see of them is the armor you equip. The story is broken into a series of cutscenes wrapped around long, drawn-out battles, in which your goal is generally to go from one castle to another on the far side of the battlefield, conquering smaller towns and castles as you make your way across. This is actually how both stories play out, the only real difference being that the fantasy story replaces human opponents with all manner of monsters, from ghosts and goblins to griffins and giants.


Unlike in Dynasty Warriors games, however, your mercenary is pretty much useless alone. Instead, your strength is in your ability to command and lead a squad of troops. You’ll begin each battle in charge of a default squad; I generally chose swordsmen, but you can switch troop types and squads at any time. This enables you to take advantage of type matchups as you fight across the battlefield. The various strengths and weaknesses of each type are realistic, but honestly, they don’t really make much difference unless you’re on the highest difficulty level. Otherwise, you can probably just march in and crush any opposition once you have a sufficiently high level of experience with a unit type. The experience and SP you earn in battle goes a long way toward upgrading your proficiency and power with each unit.

Each squad has three special skills available to use, based on its type. Knights can charge into the ranks of the enemy, archers can shoot armor-piercing arrows and ghosts can cast a variety of ranged magic spells. Outside of these abilities, you pretty much have to keep the shoulder button glued down to get any kind of damage done, meager though it is. Many battles turn into a waiting game, waiting for your special abilities to cool down. That’s really all the gameplay here. None of the fighting feels anything but repetitive. Between the brief bouts of fighting, you’ll spend a lot of time traveling from one place to the next, searching for someone to fight or just running straight toward the final objective.


Visually, Bladestorm: Nightmare looks very much like the PS3 game it used to be (and still is, if you pick it up on that platform). While some units have a decent level of detail, and while the environmental draw distance is impressive at times, the troops are all generic and it’s impossible sometimes to know which ones are on your side when you fight against a similar enemy. They also occasionally pop up almost directly upon you, which can be confusing given how far away the battlefield can extend. The music and voice acting are both completely forgettable at best and grating at worst. The fake French accents are hard to hear, too.

I know I’ve spent a lot of time pointing out all the negatives in Bladestorm: Nightmare, but it gives the fans exactly what they wanted: a Dynasty Warriors-like game set in Europe. The Hundred Years’ War is a very intriguing period of history, and the original story set in it does still hold up. Nothing here will bring in new fans, but it does give a little more variety for the core fans to enjoy.

Pros: Fans of the genre will get exactly what they are looking for
Cons: Listless combat, too much downtime during battles, sub-par narrative

Score: 2/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.