Review by Garamoth

Reviewed: 06/13/18

A bargain bin Dark Souls clone

In Blade & Bones, you’re some kind of mute samurai dude looking for seven swords guarded by seven bosses in a small, metroidvania-ish open world.

Blade & Bones is not great. It’s pretty terrible. It’s a tiny crappy Dark Souls wannabe, with lame graphics, wonky combat and lots of broken parts. Hit detection is terrible: sword swipes just don’t connect when it clearly looks like they should. For some insane reason, regular enemies have more health than the bosses. On the other hand, enemies are quite happy to literally sit there and leave you alone unless you get too close. And leave them alone you should, as all swords except the worst one break after a little use and the number of swords in the world is finite. As far as I can tell, some items cannot be obtained because the characters bug out before the end of the quest. Trophies are bugged too, some in a good way, some in a bad way. One trophy for “finding all items of category X” popped when I found the first one and you get the trophy for finishing NG+ when starting NG+. Then again, lots of other trophies lose count if you don’t do it in one session. Oh and the game crashes frequently too. In particular the game crashes if you go near a fake door that doesn’t actually open. I mean, going near a door, who’d want to do that?

Then again, it helps that whatever its flaws, Blade & Bones has a speck of what makes Dark Souls, well, Dark Souls. You know, the discovery, the sense of mystery. You are plopped into the world with little explanation and there is a little bit of the thrill of finding what does what. Secrets are littered here and there and some items allow you to reach other items and areas. The bosses, while clearly Souls rejects, have a few twists to them. While the world is small, there are a few interesting sights. The concept that you're mute but can "talk" with broad attitudes (friendly, hostile, etc.) has some merit, but sits mostly unused. Blade & Bones also has a bit of that “so bad it’s good” quality: one pointless character plops out of nowhere and pesters you with preposterous voice acting (multiple times!) and the game bombards you with its dry, uninteresting lore with hilarious earnestness. If the game had received a bit more love, it could have been a minor hit with the Dark Souls crowd. In particular, the freedom to go anywhere from the start and the ability to tackle the bosses in any order could have made it a decent game for speedrunners too. As it is, I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you’re committed to trying everything Souls-inspired.

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Product Release: Blade & Bones (US, 05/09/17)

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