This post has been a long time coming, so I apologize. I actually polished off "X-Blades" a week and a half ago, and a combination of things (including laziness, I must admit) have kept me from it.
But not anymore. DUN DUN DUUUUUN!
Remember when I said I had like 25% of the game left to go? Well, it was more like 10%. The bad news is, that's not the bad news. As I said in the last post, this game REALLY amped up the action in the later levels. While I still had that same problem of getting burnt out after an hour or so, just because of how intense and never-ending the action was, I must say I enjoyed this game very much right until the end.
And at the end, "X-Blades" lost me in a BIG way. For starters, the final fight pales in comparison to other much tougher boss battles throughout your quest. Battling Super Shredder -- er -- I mean your blue-haired friend gone bad, it's a one-on-one sort of deal, winner take all. 'Ole Shredder can freeze you pretty instantly, run super-duper fast and randomly with a flick of his wrist cause spikes to pop out of the floor to impale you. Oh, and in addition to being so fast, he's also impervious to your titular X-Blades.
Sounds bitchin', eh?
Well, several factors made this fight pretty weak.
1) After several in-depth fights in which you need to go through several steps just in order to get a slim window of hurting the boss, this fight is a straight-forward doge-and-punch ... only in this case it's not dodge-and-punch, it's a dodge-and-magic.
2) Which brings up the second problem — where those previous fights required some thought and a combination of several different magic spells, this Shredder boy is a being composed of Dark Magic ... I think it's pretty obvious which spell you have to cast again and again and again and again. Really, if you have the teleport spell to create some space to cast offensive spells, this fight is a breeze.
3) And if the fight is not a breeze, it's OK anyway since the game's health mechanics kind of backfire here. Throughout the game I liked the aspect in "X-Blades" of having to use your currency to purchase health. It's like saying "Sure you can stink at this game if you have the cash." But when you know you won't have to fight at all or need your currency after this last battle, there is nothing stopping you from just healing yourself and your rage meter over and over again.
So yes, I won this last fight with ease. Unfortunately, things going downhill don't tend to slow down. All along I knew there were two different endings to get. Frankly, after learning every "light" spell I could, I thought I would be getting a hero's ending.
I did not.
Instead, I cried while this blue-haired boy died in my arms. Uplifting way to beat a game, huh?
Pissed and confused, I went online and looked up what one has to do to earn this good ending. As it turns out, you are not allowed to purchase a single dark spell when you have the opportunity to at the beginning of the game. Meaning, after the first two hours or so, you're either screwed without hope for reprieve or you're made in the shade.
I'm all for alternate endings, but this one felt awfully like a sneak attack to me. And that's why I am posting THIS LINK for all of you similarly pissed off gamers. It's the YouTube video of the "good" ending, so that you all don't have to play through this one again if you don't want to.
Although, I think I might play this one again. Though "X-Blades" took some time to really find a rhythm and get its bearings, the second half of the game is as good as any hack-and-slash as I've played in a very long time.
I encourage you all to give it a shot and meet me back here soon for Gaming Along with "Ninja Blades."