X-Blades is a collection of poor choices pushed together into one big mistake of a game. It is a poor Devil May Cry clone with boring gameplay, an annoying main character, bad acting all around, and atrocious level design. You control Ayumi, a horribly voiced warrior, playing through a game from the early 1990s thrust into the third dimension.
X-Blades’ story is almost non-existent. What little story you do get doesn’t make any sense anyhow. Besides, nobody played Streets of Rage II or Golden Axe for the narrative – they played those games to control a neato character and beat the tar out of pixelated gang members or monsters. X-Blades works much the same way except the monsters are three-dimensional and instead of approaching from off screen they appear out of conveniently opened portals every time you walk forward a bit.
What made classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade and The Simpsons arcade classics was tight gameplay mechanics and well-implemented multiplayer. Good cooperative multiplayer can make mediocre games good and good games great. X-Blades’ mechanics are good. It is initially fun to slaughter monsters with swords, guns, and magic, but the lack of multiplayer kills the experience by shining a light on the repetitive mechanics, lackluster level design, and game length padded with too many enemies per area.
X-Blades exemplifies bad video game design. Locations serve no purpose. The main character is designed around attracting young males rather than fitting in within the context of the game world. It is a brawler with no cooperative multiplayer. Games have advanced past the point of “beat those guys up because they are bad,” and X-Blades makes a point of sitting in the corner saying loudly “lalala I can’t hear you”, hoping that if it ignores how outdated it is then everybody else will, too.
Pros: decent mechanics
Cons: no cooperative multiplayer, outdated design, wave after wave after wave of baddies
Plays like: Golden Axe, Devil May Cry
ESRB: M for Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence