Blades of Fury seeks to fill the fighting void on the iPhone. Is it a success or simply a Soul Calibur clone? To be honest, Blades is both. One cannot play Blades of Fury without noticing the wholesale aping of the Soul Calibur style. Fortunately, the game also features the quality presentation and gameplay associated with the Soul Calibur franchise.
As I was booting up Blades of Fury, I told a friend that if there was one thing I thought nobody could nail on the iPhone it was a fighting game. Fighting games, after all, have fans who go out of their way to buy special controllers that put them back hundreds of dollars. Physical control and precision are so much of a necessity when it comes to fighting games, that I could not fathom being one hundred percent satisfied with any fighter on the iPhone that tried to use conventional fighting controls.
This is where Blades succeeds, it simply does not attempt to use all of the traditional fighting combos that would simply not work on the iPhone. For instance, there is no “fireball” combo. While this is immediately a shocking omission, the fact that absolutely none of the combos require more than one input from the directional pad means that players should never become frustrated with the digital d-pad. Also immediately noticeable is the lack of extremely lengthy combos, which are again largely a result of the d-pad only being used to initiate combos and not to fill them out. By breaking these two fighting game conventions, Blades of Fury becomes manageable and even fun on the iPhone. The system is actually analogous to Smash Brothers, except none of the attacks require you to hold the directional pad in the vein of a smash attack. While there has been simplification, Blades of Fury still feels robust.
Both single and multiplayer modes are available from the get go, and this review is based on the single player only. While I would have loved to review the multiplayer it is local only. Some may complain about the lack of online multiplayer, but getting a fighter to work online necessitates a certain lack of lag that the iPhone is simply not suited for. Heck, just try to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl online. What I have played of the single player definitely has me interested in the multiplayer, and once classes resume I am going to be sure to persuade friends to purchase Blades.
Blades of Fury delivers what you would expect from a traditional 3d fighter. Each mode is available from the start and they include Story, Arcade, Survival and Practice. Story has you carry out the destiny of your chosen character, fighting a series of 6 assailants accompanied by the laughably corny storyline. Arcade can be thought of as Story mode without story and Survival is essentially endless Arcade mode. Every mode features gorgeous environments, and the ability to play through as one of the 10 characters. Playing enough unlocks trophies, new character outfits, and even new characters (not all 10 are usable at the start). If that weren’t enough, one can save full replays of their battles to watch later.
All of this would be for naught if the mechanics of Blades were not up to par. I will reiterate that the controls work surprisingly well. They not only feel responsive, but work well enough that I feel as if every time I press my finger down I am able to do what I was attempting. Animation is key in a fighter, and Blades even knocks that out of the park. One can actually time attacks properly, and the hit detection is good enough to where hitting the air beside your opponent is not the same as actually hitting your opponent. The AI is a little soft at times, even on the harder difficulties, and this simply heightens my urge to play multiplayer.
The striking similarity to Soul Calibur is undeniable, and to call it a homage would feel like understatement. Creativity is definitely not strong with this one, but the near perfect execution makes up for it. Blades of Fury is a feature rich fighter, that well warrants its $6.99 launch price on the App Store. This game receives my highest recommendation, and only its inability to have more of an identity holds it back. For now, the identity of being hands down the best action fighting game on the iPhone will have to suffice.
Graphically astounding, but Blades heavily mimics Soul Calibur.
Incredibly and intentionally cheesy, with the ability to use one’s own tunes.
Honestly, I did not think they could do it. Gameloft made exactly the right decisions about how this game controls. Bravo!
Plenty of modes to play through, but the differences are not that significant when it comes down to it. Unlocking outfits and characters will keep one busy for some time. Lack of split screen ( a staple of fighters but just not possible here) or online means you have to know someone with the game. With the prevalence of iPods and iPhones in the market today this should not be too hard, but it is still limiting. Characters fight differently enough to make it a meaningful experience when replayed.
Completely worth the asking price, Blades of Fury has set a high bar for any iPhone fighters that follow.