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  • Chad Myers

Game Review #404: Blade II - The Return of Evil (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.



Category: Action, Adventure, RPG

Release Date: 6.19.2019

Price (at time of review): $25.00

Buy Blade II – The Return of Evil from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

This Isn’t Wesley Snipes’ Blade II

As the eShop swells with each new title, the teams behind these games have to make sure to promote them correctly, as they only have a small window on the eShop’s “Coming Soon” list, and then an even shorter time at the top of the “New Releases” page. So, when a game chooses a stealth drop, I become a little skeptical, almost feeling as if they don’t want too much attention on their release—or something ominous, or, of course, it was already a hit previously—but, sometimes I get lucky and it’s not a sub-standard release, but rather, a fun experience brought on by a game I’ve never even heard of before. So goes the case of today’s game, Blade II - The Return of Evil, a ported mobile game by Korean developers, ACTIONSQUARE.

Meager Mobile to Nintendo Power!

The story is here, it just isn’t one I’d hang my hat on, as it’s pretty thin, and one we’ve seen over and over: a kingdom has fallen to a dark entity, and it’s up to our heroes to restore balance. You start off by choosing your character class. The classes are: The Gladiator, The Assassin, The Wizard, and the holy monk, named simply, The Fighter. The Gladiator and The Fighter are male characters, where The Wizard and The Assassin are female.

I played with both The Assassin and The Gladiator—who looks very similar to Geralt, from The Witcher series—but before choosing your character, you first play through an opening scene, getting to briefly try each character’s style out. I was then treated to an incredible cinematic scene that I was not expecting to be so well-done. After choosing a character, we are then shown another lengthy cinematic scene in which werewolves are hunting down a stagecoach that has the lead commander aboard. This sets up the scene in which the game truly begins.

With Loot We Shall Prevail

Back on the mobile scene, Blade II had micro-transactions, and was a game that was more pay-to-win than just a pure gaming experience for the price of admission. Well, that has changed since it’s port to the Switch. It has shed the micro-transactions and given us a full-on, fast-paced, hack-n-slash action RPG that would give most games on the Switch in this genre a run for their money. Now, saying that, the game isn’t perfect, and pales in comparison to the likes of Diablo III: Eternal Collection; but after Diablo, it’s fair game, as there are many titles vying for your money in that genre, and Blade II makes a solid case.

Now, each level is quite linear in its approach, as you’ll begin the level and hack your way through a plethora of different enemies that range from the fantastical to purely monstrous. As you work your way through, you’ll enter an arena area at the end of the level where you face off against a stage boss that has multiple life bars. The combat teeters the line between a button-smashing hack-n-slash and a more refined action game where you string together combos and use your dodge roll to evade attacks, like Dark Souls or Bloodborne. Each character possesses three unique special moves, and a ton of unique moves to combo together. The Gladiator, for instance, can call up a floor of large glowing swords that will clear a large crowd, which can make all the difference when you’re facing off against a super-tough stage boss in the latter acts.

Upon clearing a level, you’ll be ranked with 1 to 3 stars, and then rewarded. As you level up, you’ll also unlock new moves in the skill tree that can be purchased and added to your character. You purchase these moves by collecting gold from the fallen monsters you’ve slain throughout the levels. The drop rate is high, and you won’t lose your XP if you perish in a level. You’ll receive loot at the end of each level, depending on rank and how well you performed.

Another thing that surprised me is how well the gameplay ran on the Switch. Even the load times felt very quick, which made the game flow better, since each level can be beaten in about 5 minutes or so. There are seven different acts that make up the entire campaign, with each act containing 10 levels. That being said, when you have 70 levels, and this being a mobile port, some holes would show—and they do, in the way of repetitiveness in some of the level dragons and the enemies, especially the bosses as they get re-skinned or just have a different weapon. There are some epic bosses that are fun to battle though, and the presentation and quality in the game feels triple-A.

Audio & Video

The sounds effects and music in the game are all done well, with the game having full voiceover work—though not in English with full text. The sound is great, but there were some slight hiccups with the visuals, as I noticed a few low-res textures scatter about, and some mild blurriness, but nothing that hindered me from enjoying this game. I can say it is more noticeable in docked mode, as I really didn’t notice anything in portable mode, but even in docked, this is still a solid game.

It’s A Wrap!

Hack-n-slash dungeon-crawlers that have us looting and working skill trees for RPG elements aren’t new to the Switch, and I’d even say it has a fair amount of competition. Though it may feel a bit grindy for some, it was a delight during my playthrough, as this game could easily pass for coming out from a triple-A developer with its beautiful graphics and fluid, smooth gameplay, though it can feel slightly repetitive. The pacing also allows this to be a game you play in long stints or in bite size portions.

I haven’t heard anything in the way of a physical release on this one, and I know the price tag may seem a bit high, but for what you’re getting, I believe it’s more than fair. I recommend picking this up and trying it out for yourself. If you’re a fan of this genre, you’ll be happy you added this one to your collection.

Score: 8/10

Buy Blade II – The Return of Evil from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.





*Review Code Provided by ACTIONSQUARE

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