Blade 2 impressions

We bring you some impressions of Activision's Blade sequel.


We got a chance to check out Blade 2 at Activision's E3 booth this year, and we came away with some pretty strong impressions of what the combat-heavy game will be like when it's ready to ship. It's centered, obviously, on the recently released Wesley Snipes action movie, and it seems to incorporate some of the film's key elements--most notably the destruction of throngs of vampires.

The game seems to consist mainly of straight-up 3D action, with you controlling Blade from the third person. You move around with the left analog stick, and the camera moves about right along with you. The right stick, though, is reserved for hand-to-hand attacks, and the scheme used by the game is very similar to the one used in Shadow Man: 2econd Coming. Basically, you press the stick in the direction of the enemy you want to attack, and your character responds with an attack in that direction. The scheme lets you engage multiple enemies from various positions, so in that regard, it succeeds. The way the moves segue into each other, though--especially when you're switching focus constantly--seems kind of suspect at this point, so we hope that there's work being done in this area.

Blade also has access to a number of weapons, including his trademark katana. You can use any of these weapons whenever you want, including the shotgun, handgun, and glaive, though you can draw your sword only under certain circumstances--namely, when your rage meter is filled. You do this by killing enemies and taking damage, which, at least as far as the E3 demo goes, happened frequently enough, given the sheer number of vampires thrown at us. Using the sword is a lot like using your fists, with a nice spike in damage and an increase in range. Still, it's kind of disappointing that you can't use the weapon at will. It's also something of a mind-boggling abstraction, as there is no logical reason why the character wouldn't use the most powerful weapon available to him at all times. But in the context of the game, it makes sense, so it probably isn't a huge deal.

The other weapons we saw were the shotgun and the glaive, which is Blade's thrown weapon. The shotgun lets you shoot distant enemies, and it has a decently powerful burst effect. The glaive, on the other hand, has sort of an arcane game mechanic regulating its use; basically, you have to press down on the right stick to "charge" its range. When you let go, it travels as far as you've charged it for. Given the way the weapon is used in the movie, it would be good if it were a little simpler and faster to use. Hopefully, something of the sort will be implemented.

As mentioned before, the demo level we got to play was pretty combat-heavy, though there were a few instances when we had to attack some switches to make some doors open. According to the Activision rep conducting the demo, the game will be primarily action-based, with a bit of light exploration thrown in to add character to the environments.

In any case, we'll have more on Blade 2 for you as soon as we get an update. As of now, the game is scheduled for release in October.

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