iPad Game Review: Braveheart HD
Reviewed by JadeDragon
No, you won't find Mel Gibson or the famous Scottish knight Sir William Wallace in this game. What you will find is non-stop action hacking and slashing in Gaijin's new iPad title Braveheart HD. This gorgeously rendered game takes you on a journey to seek out the Holy Grail, but the brave knight isn't doing this for any order. The King has promised half of his land and his beautiful daughter in marriage to the one who finds the Holy Grail. The stakes are high, but surviving the journey is no small feat either.
Braveheart HD isn't an RPG in the traditional sense. If you take out the quest part and people interaction part of an RPG, leave just the non-stop dungeon hacking and slashing you've got the core of the gameplay in Braveheart HD. The game has one character and two types of weapons, melee and range. Once you?ve created your hero knight and chose the weapons, the game drops you into a dark forest where enemies closing in on your from all directions. The enemy attacks plus the terrain remind me of some of the Diablo and Neverwinter Nights games where you see the field and the swarming enemies from top down. Richard, your knight, has a very inventive move with his melee weapon flail. By spinning Richard on the screen, your hero will start a danger spinning move that knocks down those who touch his deadly flail. He does slow down eventually, but if you keep spinning him, he can wreak havoc wherever he goes.
Less inventive but equally important and deadly is his range weapon that includes different crossbows with different kinds of ammo. Both melee and range weapons have upgrade paths; and you are not stuck with one melee or range either. There are total of 10 weapons you can choose from, some have fire properties others have more power or speed. The reason you might need all these weapons and upgrades is the endless number of enemies that come in different shapes, speeds and attacks. The wide range of enemies make you feel like you are playing a full blown RPG. You can take out a large number of enemies using your spin move, but others like to stay out of the range of your flail, like some flying enemies, spell casts and bosses. This is where your range weapons come in, so don?t slack on upgrading these.
Braveheart HD not only has a hectic gameplay but also many missions. With more than 25 levels in story mode, and some of these missions are so tough that you will try multiple times to complete, you have a lot of gameplay in store. After you complete a story mission, you can go back to the area to do some hunting. The Hunt mode is there for your to make some money, find some treasures and level up your character. While money can buy you better weapons, some special powers and even spells, experience points you gain in these fights are super important as the enemies get tougher and tougher as levels go up. One nice thing about the Hunt mode is that you can pick your fights: before you go into a hunt, you can have the game search the area and see the difficulty of the hunt. You can decide to pass the hunt or take it on depending on the level your character is at or the levels of the weapons you are cultivating. This stretch out the gameplay time considerably. Finally there is a Challenge mode where you can hone your skills in timed attacks, special missions or boss fights which is really hard to beat.
While having a melee weapon, a range weapon, spells and special ability at any given mission, Braveheart HD deals with controls gracefully. The spin move works incredibly well and you can use gesture control to move your character while he is spinning. Shooting range weapons require two hands, one to hold the screen and another to shoot. Casting spells and using special abilities only requires tapping, and health potions are used automatically when your character is about to die. The only part you really have to pay attention during a tough fight is the ground: enemies drop lootable goodies on the ground, and enemy spell casts mark their spots where they want the cast to fall. So move on top of goodies and gold to pick them up and get out of spell casters? marks.
Graphics in Braveheart HD looks better than some of the older version of Diablo and Neverwinter Nights. Five different areas in the game have different terrain and enemy designs are console level. You will see wood spikes coming out of ground attacking your hero; lightening, fire and ice effects look good, tree enemies fall into a pile of splinters when they die, and more special effects that make this game one of the best looking action games in the fantasy genre. Menu screens, trade, weapon upgrade and character level up screens are all well done. The entire visual package is very polished.
Braveheart HD has both music tracks and sound effects. Music is limited to the title and menu screens where you choose your weapons, upgrades and trades. Once you get into a mission, sound gets eerie as music fades and night creatures shriek out. Most special sound effects company weapons smashing, enemy crying and hero grunting. Visual special FX often has accompanying sound FX, like lightening hits the targets, fireballs dropping from above, etc. You can turn on or off the sound but you can?t play your own music.
If you enjoy dungeon crawling part of the RPG but don?t enjoy being an errand boy doing all the quest, here is your change to shine! Braveheart HD provides you with a perfect playground where you can hack and slash your way through without worrying about fetching something for someone or rescuing a princess as you would in a real RPG. The game is extremely well done in terms of visual presentation and controls. The gameplay is very deep with ton of replayability. We like the weapon selections and tough fights that you have to try a few times to get through. And when you do finish it, you can go onto Open Feint to show off your achievements. The game offers incredible value for your money.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Console level graphics, enemies and terrain look great.
Sound: - 4.5 - Not a big collection, but what?s there is good.
Controls: - 5 - Unique controls that work very well in the game.
Gameplay: - 5 - Solid gameplay with a good number of missions. Three game modes add lots of gameplay, and tough missions help hone skills and shape character.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Upgrade both melee and range weapons because you will need both to be strong.
-Always have full stock of health potions before going into a battle.
-Keep moving and watch out the spell casters? marks.
Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Release Date: Dec 18, 2010 (v1.1)
Buy App: Braveheart HD
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