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Wulverblade (Xbox)

Developed by Fully Illustrated, Wulverblade is now available on PC (Steam) for £11.39, PS4 for £14.99, Nintendo Switch for £14.99 and Xbox One for £11.99.

Wulverblade is an action-packed, side-scrolling, beat ‘em up game set in 120 AD Britannia. The Roman army has taken control of the south and is now marching north with their objective being to conquer the rest of the Island. You will play as Caradoc, Brennus and Guinevere who are the guardians of the northern tribes, ready to wage war against the Romans.

Wulverblade is a phenomenal looking game with significant attention to detail considering it is all in 2D. There has been a substantial amount of effort involved in filling the surroundings by placing scenery not only behind the character but also in front and around them. There have been times when the scenery at the front of the screen has obstructed the view of the character and more specifically, the drops from enemies which on occasion can be frustrating especially when it is much-needed food to replenish your health but thankfully, this is a rare occurrence.

Throughout Wulverblade, authenticity has been key, and this even goes as far as the music. With an intense and atmospheric soundtrack to accompany the fast and furious sound effects of brutal combat, I appreciated how the soundtrack didn’t overpower the more important sounds of the game. The voice acting was brilliant and believable, complementing the story and the tone of Wulverblade.

For a 2D side-scroller, there is a lot more to the combat controls than you would first expect, instead of just mashing X and Y, you also have dodging, parrying, grappling and jumping. All of these can be combined to give you different styles of attack. As you kill enemies you’ll fill up your rage meter which once activated, you enter rage mode which regenerates your health whilst attacking quicker. Once per level you can call in your wolves to aid you, they will, for the most part, decimate everything on screen at the time before running off again. I have found them particularly helpful during boss fights.

Possibly my biggest issue with the game stems from the fact that X is used for both combat and for picking up items. In my opinion, this was a huge oversight and led to unnecessary confusion as to which item I was picking up. Keeping in mind that enemies drop weapons, coin purses, food, notes and at times, dismembered body parts. There were too many times when I was attempting to attack a horde of enemies and instead, was picking up different weapons repeatedly.

You can play as one of three characters available which are Caradoc, Brennus or Guinevere. Each has different stats and starting weapons (you can always pick weapons up as you kill enemies). Having played all of them, Caradoc seemed to be the better choice as he felt more rounded and able to withstand a beating and the other characters’ stats just didn’t seem worthwhile.  

There are three modes of the campaign which are:
  • Standard – either easy or normal difficulty, complete the 8 story levels which are on offer. There are checkpoints and the ability to save your progress.
  • Arcade – complete the story where you are given just three lives and three continues.
  • Beast Mode – available once you have completed the story, you can play the entire story again as the Wulver!

There is another mode which is “Arenas” where you can battle waves of enemies, honing your skills and submitting your scores to the leaderboards.

The story levels are on average, approximately 15 minutes long and if you manage to complete the level before the timer runs out, you will earn a bonus to your end score. You will fight various Roman enemies with differing attacks from ranged, shielded and even some who are on horseback, forcing you to use a range of combat skills. At the end of each level, you will encounter a boss, each of the bosses is unique and will require their own plan of attack in order to be successful. 

You can play local co-op in Wulverblade which I thought was a nice feature but personally, I would have loved there to have been online co-op implemented, although I appreciate the costs involved in making this a reality would probably not have been realistic.

One of the best things about Wulverblade is the ability to play as the Wulver, it was an unexpected twist adding even more longevity to the game. I was also surprised at how much lore and historical information there is throughout the game. Told through narration as well as cutscenes and notes found littered throughout the levels, it was a nice accompaniment to the game.

Overall, Wulverblade is a very good game which provided hours of entertainment. It was a little disappointing that with the three characters available to play as only the story of Caradoc was told. If I had to give it a score it would be 8/10.

Wulverblade has 56 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. A vast achievement list with mostly progression-based achievements which encourage playing each of the modes available across the different difficulties. There are several achievements which are more creative, such as using environmental features to kill the enemies. There are also some achievements which are trickier (for me, at least) such as defeating bosses without taking damage. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements, then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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