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Blightbound Review

Blightbound Review

Dungeon crawler? Multiplayer Co-op? Pretty visuals? Blightbound at first glance ticks all the right boxes to show promise, and on leaving Early Access the devs seem to think it's ready, but how deep does the rabbit hole really go…

It is immediately obvious how beautiful Blightbound is, the art is nothing short of incredible and the voice acting accompanies it perfectly. It really does draw you in quickly; the storytelling is on point and every frame is clearly oozing with passion. As soon as you get in-game and start running around, the animations coupled with the high frame rate continue to bring this amazing art to life with an extreme level of polish. The audio design has depth and ties in perfectly. The art team should be incredibly proud, and I'm sure they deservedly are. It's honestly the absolute high point of Blightbound and if nothing else takes your fancy the game should be experienced for the art alone; it really is that good!

Please note I played using mouse and keyboard and from the start I got the feeling it would be better suited to using a controller. Nothing is particularly wrong, the movement and combat feel on par with some of the best titles from the golden days. Think Streets of Rage or even back as far as Double Dragon, but the big issue these classics never had to contend with or even consider was mouse placement. If you liken it to a side scrolling beat-em-up which (it does very much feel like) you would think that your character direction determines the direction of your attack — but that's not the case, and I often found myself attacking nothing but air and frustratingly getting stabbed in the back. I expect this is less of an issue when using a controller but why they chose to overlook what could have been a simple issue to fix is hard to understand, and sets the depressing theme for the rest of my playtime.

This is where Blightbound starts to fall; it seems no matter what you do there is a constant reminder that simple quality of life issues, while almost insignificant to most, can easily compound into a frustrating and lacklustre experience.

The gameplay in general is very basic, and it's a dungeon crawler so you could say that's to be expected, but there are flashes of what could have been absolute brilliance let down by a severe lack of depth. Loot, crafting, shops, traits. You're constantly left wanting more at every turn, even the brilliant combat quickly becomes stale and you realise that if you're not playing this as a trio of friends it's going to be back on the shelf in a very short time.

There is the option to take AI characters with you and that's a very welcome thought in what is clearly never going to be a super high population game — but a thought is maybe all it should have been. It's worth noting the devs have been working on the AI since leaving Early Access, but even after some work it unfortunately would serve the game better if it was removed. Everything the AI does just hinders and ruins your time. They are overly aggressive, often killing things before you even get them on screen. They don't respect traps and puzzles correctly which leaves you frustrated, and with a lack of ability to give them even the most basic of commands, it often pulls you out of what immersion the art design brilliantly sets up. It's just broken on every level no matter which way you try to look at it, and makes it clear that playing with other people is the only way to experience the game.

Loot — one of, if not the most important part of any good dungeon crawler — is also unfortunately poorly implemented. There is never a point you feel excited by it; it's just an endless void of unsatisfying drops with little substance. You don't get that chasing the carrot feeling you long for from any good crawler and it's yet another system that just feels unfinished and shallow.

I could go on but I'm struggling to find the positives in a sea of negative experiences, none of which are even that bad individually but as a whole make for an experience that just wasn't ready for a full release.

I will say if you even remotely like the look of the art then Blightbound is a must buy to experience that alone, it's worth every penny in that regard, but if you are looking for anything more then I’d sadly give it a miss. I really wanted to like Blightbound, it's clear there is some real passion and brilliance in places but it just never reaches anything close to its potential. The rabbit hole is horribly shallow, the promising first leap into the magical world being cut horribly short as you hit the earth with a deafening thud.

6.00/10 6

Blightbound (Reviewed on Windows)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

I will say if you even remotely like the look of the art then Blightbound is a must buy to experience that alone, it's worth every penny in that regard, but if you are looking for anything more then I’d sadly give it a miss. I really wanted to like Blightbound, it's clear there is some real passion and brilliance in places but it just never reaches anything close to its potential. The rabbit hole is horribly shallow, the promising first leap into the magical world being cut horribly short as you hit the earth with a deafening thud.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
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