- Publisher: SQUARE ENIX INC
- Importing photos via the character creator is amusing.
- Social play through the clan system is a nice idea.
- Getting your timing down in fights can be frustrating.
- It's an already expensive game that pesters you to spend even more.
Bloodmasque's neat historical setting and photo-based wizardry can't cover up its derivative and repetitive combat system
- Full Review
Ninteenth century Paris is certainly an interesting place to set a videogame - especially when its streets are crawling with vampires. You see, in Bloodmasque's alternative history, vampires control the earth, ruling over humanity with an iron fang. The only people that can stop them are a small resistance movement of half-breeds. This is where you come in.
The game a mission-based riff on the Infinity Blade formula. You accept missions, travel to locations around Paris, explore them, and then talk to characters to initiate combat. Once in combat, tapping the screen will launch an attack, while swiping will dodge. If you dodge at the correct time, you will trigger a counter-attack that allows you to pull of an entire combo chain. Once your special meter is full you can trigger an elaborate attack sequence that results in a load of extra damage.
The vampire you're attacking will transform mid-combat, forcing you to drain its health bar a second time, and finally stake the undead fiend. Battles play out pretty much the same way each fight. While it's initially fun, it quickly becomes repetitive.
To liven things up, Square Enix has included a clan system. Depending on the clan sign of the mission, the sign you choose yourself will have one of four results. You will either acquire more gold (which can be used to purchase weapons and armour), more blood (which levels up your ranks), increased battle damage, or gain better loot.
You also recruit two other hunters which join you in battle. These are player characters that you borrowing based on their level, equipment. and the clan sign they are aligned with. Upon mission completion, you can not only congratulate them with a thumbs up, but sync with them, forming a bloodbond, which will cause them to appear more frequently when you are recruiting for future missions.
One of the main focuses of the trailer and marketing campaign for this game was the ability to meld a photo of yourself onto your character's face. The game has you take three pictures: one of a casual expression, one pleased, and one angry. From there you can fine-tune the placement and lighting of the pic to better blend with the character model. The longer you play, though, the more disturbing it becomes seeing a face that only wears one of three expressions.
With a ten-to-twenty hour main story mode, plus extra challenge missions afterwards, there's a lot of content here. The story is told awkwardly via loading text, voiced cut-scenes, and strangely silent cut-scenes. The combat can be quite frustrating as well, requiring either some grinding on earlier missions, or spending real money on IAP upgrades. It's a fun concept, and an interesting world, but the grind-heavy duels leave the whole thing feeling rather bloodless.