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Video Game Review: Archeblade
Arche Blade recently came onto steam as part of the new “Early Access” category where you essentially buy into a beta or alpha of a game that will constantly be updated. However, this game is free-to-play so no buy in is necessary. So I decided to give it a whirl.
This is entirely a competitive multi-player game where the developers like to say “it is like a fighting game with a different perspective” which is true to some extent. Everything is third person (besides the sniping mode of one character) and everything is about precision combat, aiming your strikes and delivering deadly combos.
To me though, this doesn't feel like a fighting game as much as just a straight up action game. I'd also say the combos you can do feel more like something from Dynasty Warriors than it does Street Fighter as all the combos are based off left-click, right-click combinations. You do also have the ability to block and mastering your timing with blocks can give you a significant edge. Each character also has a special utility move which can range from the ability to sprint, dodge roll, teleport, and even gain a second of invulnerability to name a few.
Currently there are 12 playable characters with more on the way. These characters are always on a rotation for use for free but each is also available for purchase (oddly enough) at different prices. Each of these 12 characters feel fairly distinct with only a few that have similar play styles. The game also has an anime style to the character designs which I particularly like. (Except I'd say one character is far too sexualized)
As for balance between the characters it is hard to say. This is a skill based game so sometimes it isn't clear if you lost due to imbalance or you were simply outplayed. In some situations it does feel like some characters are hard counters to others which can be very disappointing if you are being countered in one of the 3v3 matches. Game Type is also important to consider when it comes to character balance and I can say with certainty that not every character will do well in certain game modes.
Do keep in mind though, that this is still in beta, so imbalance issues are to be expected.
There are currently 4 game types which each have their own map. There is a team death match mode which is in a small grassy area that is default a 3v3. Custom games can change the rules and I have actually been in 8v8 team death matches.
There there is a Point Capture game where you take various crystals to gain points over time, similar to Arathi Basin in World of Warcraft. This game type is played 7v7 and has the largest map.
There is also a different kind of Team Death Match where each person has 1 life per round so once you die you're out. This one is played 4v4 and certainly takes the most amount of skill.
Finally there is an arena match where it is every man for himself. 8 people go into this and only 1 will end up on top. This one seems to be played the least and I personally do have more fun in team matches.
This game does feel a bit sluggish at times. When you first get into the game the combat will feel stiff but I got over that pretty quickly. There are also clearly still some kinks to work out as sometimes certain abilities won't register or work improperly but we can assume these issues will be fixed over time.
The servers themselves are rather unstable but still perfectly playable. I have gotten lag here and there but not to the point where it makes me want to turn the game off. Sometimes the game will crash on you as well but there matches are drop in and drop out so you should be able to get back in fairly quickly.
My one major gripe at the moment is that finding a server to play on can take some time. The "quick play" option doesn't work (at least for me) and I manually have to select servers. Often when trying to manually connect, it will fail or the server fills up. There currently aren't that many servers and if you are looking to play a specific game type you may have to wait. I usually end up in EU servers just because no slots are available on any American ones which can result in some wonky lag.
Balance and server issues aside, this game is fun. The combat is fast-paced and feels quite rewarding when you outplay someone. It is also very easy to get into and I'd say after a couple games as any particular character, you will get the hang of them. A few more games and you'll pretty much know them in and out. The play styles are also varied enough to where there really is one out there for anyone.
The game modes also are pretty enjoyable and all of them are being played. Hopefully that keeps up as it is pretty common for any competitive multi-player game to become simply team death match only with very few other game types being played.
This also costs you nothing to play so I'd give it a shot. Also takes up very little hard drive space and isn't that taxing on your computer.