Blaze & Blade is a pointless PC conversion of a substandard console role-playing game.
Blaze & Blade is a pointless PC conversion of a substandard console role-playing game. It squanders its scarce few good ideas by quickly degenerating into mindless, repetitive, and boring action sequences.
Blaze & Blade is a port of a PlayStation game, and it shows. Although the game can run in a high resolution, the graphics' simple polygonal geometry and the flat, plain texture maps make it look crude. The game's anime-inspired graphics may look cute but otherwise have little to recommend them. The four squat characters you'll control, as well as the various creatures and characters they'll encounter throughout the game, all look silly at best and unrecognizable at worst - that is, you might find it difficult to discern what exactly you're fighting. You'll wonder whether what you're up against is a bird or a fish and why the game's so-called demons look like teddy bears.
The game sounds at least as plain as it looks. You'll hear the same repetitive yet forgettable sounds over and over again, just as the game's soundtrack drones on and on to the point that you'll either shut it off or just learn to ignore it. As such, it's a mixed blessing that the laughably mistranslated dialogue text throughout the game isn't audible speech.
The mediocrity of Blaze & Blade's presentation is also at the core of the gameplay. Blaze & Blade starts out fairly promising: The character-creation process lets you choose from various traditional fantasy standards such as elves, dwarves, sorcerers, and rogues, and then you get to name the character, choose his manner of speech and his natural protective element, and finally assign bonus points to his attributes. Unfortunately, in practice, none of the character-creation process's details really matter much. That's because once you start playing, you'll realize that Blaze & Blade is essentially just a poorly executed action game. The gameplay is reminiscent of Square Soft's Super Nintendo action-RPG The Secret of Mana, in that you'll guide the designated lead character through all kinds of enemy-infested areas while the leader's companions follow closely behind and assist in battle. Unfortunately, unlike in The Secret of Mana, the continuous combat in Blaze & Blade just isn't any fun for a variety of reasons.
For one thing, there's no real collision detection in the game. You can essentially walk right through your enemies, and the only indication that your characters' badly animated attacks are even connecting with their targets are the white numbers that pop up indicating the amount of damage you delivered. Each character in the game has merely one type of attack, and the few rudimentary special abilities available to some of the character classes, such as the ability to defend with a shield or use medicinal herbs, aren't interesting to use. The magic spells in Blaze & Blade don't look good and aren't very interesting either, and they're too difficult to switch between in the heat of battle. And furthermore, unless you're directly in control of a spellcaster, he won't even use his magic. In fact, most any character class except the bow-wielding hunter is more a liability than an advantage in battle if you're not controlling him. Your characters will stay in single file the whole time and will only attack when something gets close, which makes them tactically worthless. They won't even heal themselves if they get hurt.
The problem of your companions' ineffectiveness is alleviated if you play Blaze & Blade with three other human players on a single computer, but doing so won't rid you of the boredom of trudging through its boring areas looking for keys and such while fending off hundreds of mindless monsters. And because your characters gain levels so quickly and so often, even the typical role-playing reward system of progressing through a game to gain more levels becomes trivial and unexciting in Blaze & Blade. In fact, since your enemies magically reappear onscreen a few seconds after you clear them out, you don't even have to progress through the game to level up. You can just stay in one place and keep beating the same weak foes to keep getting more levels.
Blaze & Blade even has a cumbersome interface and an inexplicably confusing manual, which makes it impossible to justify the game's learning curve in light of how utterly simplistic the game really is. Blaze & Blade might appeal to a scarce few younger role-playing gamers who like anything that looks like anime, but most everyone else will be struck by how plain and unenjoyable it is.