History With Dragons – Bladestorm: Nightmare On PC

And that's just how it happened.

If you’ve been looking for a goofy fake video game name to use in a joke I’m sure would be hilarious (I believe in you), bad news: the name Bladestorm: Nightmare is taken. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a half-historic, half-zany, real-time tactical murderfest from the folks behind Dynasty Warriors, good news: Bladestorm: Nightmare [official site] is coming to PC.

It’ll have players lead a mercenary squad through the the Hundred Years’ War in one mode, then in another see France and England united to fight dragons. Sure!

Bladestorm: Nightmare is a revamped version of 2007’s Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War, a mostly-historical hack ‘n’ slash which was only released on consoles. It loosely retold the 14th and 15th century rumble from the perspective of a mercenary squad switching sides, though with unreal moments like being able to save Joan of Arc. This new version takes a few more liberties with recorded history.

Along with the straight story, it has another mode, Nightmare. This sees dragons and monsters rampaging across medieval Europe and yes of course you get to murder them all.

Publishers Temco Koei have been gabbing about Bladestorm: Nightmare for a while, but only announced the PC port yesterday. It’s coming to Steam in May. Here, have a trailer:

39 Comments

  1. Mokey says:

    Looks a hell of a lot like Kessen, one of my favourite early PS2 games (and also from Koei).

    • Wowbagger says:

      Oooo Kessen, how could I have forgotten that gem of a series? It was a breath of fresh air after Dynasty warriors.

  2. Wedge says:

    I never could figure out what sort of game Bladestorm was supposed to be. Felt like an awkward continuation of the weird direction things went with Kessen III, that I never really understood. Like a sort of odd RTS hybrid where you can switch between having direct control of various blobs of troops. Always glad to see KT/Omega Force with more PC versions though. Holding out hope to see one of their anime based Warriors games make the leap to PC, seeing as Bamco has released anime games on PC and KT has released normal Warriors games on PC. Or at least SW4 would be nice.

    • Aysir says:

      One Piece Warriors 3 is coming to PC

      • Wedge says:

        I had not seen the news on this and am now super excited. Played a TON of Pirate Warriors 2 on PS3

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      shevek says:

      I’m still quite fond of Bladestorm, even though it can get a bit drawn out and repetitive. I think it’s most useful to approach it as a Dynasty Warriors-style fighting game where you control a squad of troops instead of a single general. Tactical in the sense that your choice of squad and how you use them moment-to-moment matters a lot, but not really an RTS because the greater battle you’re part of is just a way to generate objectives for you to fight over.

      • Aysir says:

        My one gripe with Bladestorm was that the campaign wasn’t persistent. Taking a fortress meant nothing when you start the next mission and everything starts all over again. Tying it to a more Kessen 3 like system would’ve made it great. I just hope that Nightmare is a sign that Koei are still interested enough in Bladestorm to one day do a proper sequel.

    • Baines says:

      Samurai Warriors 4 is supposedly getting a PC release in Japan.

      That’s the real problem with Koei’s PC releases in the West. They actually do a lot of PC releases, but the majority are restricted to Asia or Japan only.

      • Wedge says:

        The problem was they mostly did disc-based PC releases, which isn’t worth distributing for the niche audience elsewhere. However DW8XL was their first Steam release, so I’m hopeful to see that again going forward. I think it’s done reasonably well saleswise so that they should be encouraged.

  3. dorobo says:

    I would never trust koei. They are basically making the same boring thing for decades just adding a new skins to it.

    • Aysir says:

      If you think that’s true, then you’ve never really played them properly and shouldn’t really comment on things you don’t have much experience with.

      • Great Cthulhu says:

        No true Scotsman, aye? If he played the games and his experience was that they are sameish and boring, then that’s a perfectly valid opinion, and he has every right to share it.

        • Aysir says:

          Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Gundam Warriors, One Piece Warriors and Bladestorm have as much in common as Tekken, Street Fighter, Dead or Alive, King of Fighters and Virtua Fighter. If his opinion is that all large scale action games are just reskins of one another then why click on a link about a game that is a large scale action game and then go to the trouble of commenting on it.

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            phuzz says:

            I’m certainly in the camp of people who feels that all those fighting games are basically the same. I’m aware that to an aficionado they all have their individual strengths and weaknesses, but I’m just going to sit there and button mash.

          • dorobo says:

            Well I worked for Koei for a couple of years so thats why I came in and commented on it :) I don’t even have to play it. It’s clear from this video. Those mindless masses of enemies still move like synchronized dools from 10 similar games back. Im pretty sure koei invented this one button many enemies genre but it never evolved. They kept doing the same thing. They have a loyal fanbase in japan and maybe in some other parts of asia but not in western countries. If they keept doing a good thing over and over I would have no problem with it :) btw I dont play fighting games like tekken but I respect those they have pvp element in those and some skill involved so they are not borring and total waste of time.

        • Philomelle says:

          They are same-ish in the same sense that Civilization, Quake and Diablo games are same-ish, in that they all come from the same genre and use the same core visual style. Thankfully, we live in a world where the game’s genre and artwork do not constitute the entire meat of its design, and Warriors games are representative of that in how heavily their in-depth mechanics change from title to title.

          It’s one thing to say that you don’t like the genre, but to claim that all Warriors games play the same is utter nonsense.

          • dorobo says:

            Are those armies of enemies still stand around and do nothing if you dont attack them i wonder ?

          • Philomelle says:

            They… haven’t done that since at least DW3? Yes, the AI aggression was pretty shit early on, but opposing squads still engaged and fought each other regardless of where you were on the map. But that’s been steadily fixed and by 5, it’s been very possible to fail the mission long before the time limit because the enemy force would eat up your objectives. In 7, AI Guan Yu is such a beast that he’ll sometimes complete objectives for you.

            For someone who “worked for Koei a couple years,” you demonstrate a spectacular lack of knowledge about their body of work or even the specific series you’re trying to criticize. Perhaps it would be better if you spent on time on learning about things before attempting to discuss them as opposed to smug failures at sarcasm.

          • dorobo says:

            I was just a small cog in that company and I have better things to do than research dynasty warrior games.. I just tried to be helpfull to some as I feel you need a very specific taste in games to like these.

          • Philomelle says:

            Bladestorm isn’t even the same genre as Warriors, so I’m not sure how what you said is even remotely helpful.

            Neither am I really sure how being a small cog in a company justifies being ignorant about their history and body of work. Not knowing anything about whoever I work for doesn’t sound like it would reflect well on my portfolio.

          • Baines says:

            AI aggressiveness has actually regressed over the years. While players say that they want a challenge, they tend to reject aggressive AI in practice.

            The Warriors formula has what I see as a design issue when it comes to attack interruption. There is no middle ground. You either ignore a hit (but take damage) or you get completely knocked out of whatever action you are doing. (Koei has played with ideas like super armor, but they don’t solve the issue.) Crowd control moves tend to be further along the combo chain (traditionally the first wide area attack for a character is the last part of a Normal-Normal-Normal-Charge string), which means a group of aggressive minions can prevent a player from reaching the attacks that he needs to perform to deal with that group. In a worst case, and it doesn’t take much to reach a worst case when you have 10+ enemies and you only need one connecting attack ever second, a player can be poked and juggled for an extended period. As the games are designed with the idea of the player powering through hundreds of minions, Koei shies away from aggressive minions. Unfortunately, that leads to minions that largely do just stand around and exist to run up the KO count or to refill the Musou gauge.

            This is true to a degree with generals as well. Generals can be more aggressive, but the problem here is that Warriors movesets are designed for plowing through hordes of minions, with additions over the years making it easier to keep steamrolling the enemy. Attack strings and elements both. (Ice and Death were obviously designed for affecting a few enemies out of a group, having a much harsher effect when the player is on the receiving end of such an effect.) Dynasty Warriors Online hammered home the issue whenever human-controlled characters faced each other. Landing that first poke means that you get to keep hitting for the full damage string/juggle, and maybe tack a Musou on at the end. Koei has added abilities to break up the action, but if anything they make the whole thing more random and/or worse. For example, you pretty much have to keep at least one musou stocked when fighting a general in DW8 on Hard or higher, because on Hard they’ll use Air Musous to counter being launched (whether intentionally juggled, Storm Rushed, or simply accidentally lifted slightly off the ground), which can be a one-hit KO even from full life.

            Heck, with Dynasty Warriors 8, Koei even regressed from any real overall stage battle. (DW8 was heavily scripted, both spawning and despawning troops on both sides as the player advanced through the script.) Koei did at least back away from that mistake, with games like Samurai Warriors 4 and Hyrule Warriors returning to the older gate style. (I can’t speak for Samurai Warriors 4, but in Hyrule Warriors the AI forces on both sides can again actually achieve stuff even if the player isn’t there to help.)

            (Personally, I think Hyrule Warriors has been one of their better change-ups to the overall mechanics of Warriors games. But even it has some design issues.)

          • dorobo says:

            Maybe im wrong but to me it seems pretty similar. Armies of enemies plus added dragon :) Anyways I was not warning die hard fans like you but people that might buy it and will drop it after ten minutes. And I guess im just plain bitter that some companies have such recources an spend them making shitty products.

            Look there’s plenty of people working shitty jobs in a game business. Where do you think all the shitty games come from? Do they have to love it?

            Ok im done here.

    • Philomelle says:

      Yeah, because Dynasty Warriors, Atelier Rorona, Ar nosurge, Zill O’ll, Dead or Alive and Fatal Frame are all exactly the same game.

  4. Xzi says:

    While I don’t put too much stock in to professional reviews, a quick look at a few sites shows that the original release of this probably had some glaring gameplay issues. Meaning its concept is likely better than actually playing the game. Probably one to avoid with so many other great games being released right now (especially in the realm of indie).

    • Aysir says:

      ‘probably’? did you read the reviews or not? Bladestorm was well received on release. It’s a strategy game more than an action game and focuses heavily on the rock/paper/scissors relationship of military units. It’s not about waging a one person war against the enemy.

      • toshiro says:

        The metacritic score for bladestorm: the hundred years war, was mixed or average: link to metacritic.com

        Stop lying.

        • Aysir says:

          Admittedly Jim Sterling is about the only reviewer I trust to handle Warriors games with any degree of fairness. But Eurogamer and Edge were also highly positive about it. But you go ahead and make all your judgements based on a score aggregate system.

          • toshiro says:

            If your original claim was that: “Admittedly Jim Sterling is about the only reviewer I trust to handle Warriors games with any degree of fairness. But Eurogamer and Edge were also highly positive about it.” my reply would not have been a metacritic score. But your original claim was: “Bladestorm was well received on release.”. I consider this settled.

          • Baines says:

            He probably means “well received by people who actually played it”, not “well received by reviewers who have a history of not caring about Koei’s action titles, who write cut-and-paste reviews, and who might not even be playing the game at all.”

            Because the latter is how the game review industry has long treated Koei’s action games. It is a safe target to give low scores to and to mock. The reviews often have been rote cut-and-paste jobs. And yes, there have been cases where there is some measure of visible evidence that the reviewer may not have even played the game before writing the review. (My standard example for the last was the Gamespot Samurai Warriors 3 review. Not only did the gameplay and feature part of the review include no information that couldn’t have been obtained from reading the back of the box or a press release, the setting part of the review had the reviewer talking about the wrong war in the wrong country. The reviewer had clearly Wikipedia’d the wrong war for his background information, when even looking carefully at the box (much less playing it, much less actually looking at some of the game features that he’d written about) would have warned them that he’d looked up the wrong war.)

        • Philomelle says:

          It’s ridiculously silly to use Metacritic scores as an argument on Rock Paper Shotgun, a blog that spent several years arguing that number-based review scores are a load of bollocks.

          • fuggles says:

            Is it though? If you just want a snapshot of how well a game is recieved universally, what is the other option? Picking one trusted reviewer assumes they are never wrong, but debacles over fallout, dragon age 2, braveheart prove this to be wrong.

            Steams system of thumbs up or down is pretty good, but as a system metacritic is as good/bad/open to manipulation as any other. You can develop silly better than halo arguments but looking at the product in isolation it seems fair enough.

          • toshiro says:

            That is an opinion you have more than a reply to me. If one claims it was “well received on release” as an counterargument to that it was not, what would be the method you utilized to determine the level of truth in that statement? You might very well have a better method than mine, but since you did not present that, and until you do, I will not take your opinion into consideration.

          • Philomelle says:

            @fuggles
            The problem with picking a trusted reviewer in this particular case is that there isn’t one. Warriors games have always been in this unfortunate space where publications simply shovel the latest title off to a random reviewer regardless of their familiarity with the franchise, creating a situation where numerous people talk about the franchise as a whole from their experience with one game and a pile of screenshots from other titles, not knowing the actual intricacies of the gameplay.

            The trick here is that when you talk to someone who is unfamiliar with the series, you’ll get a blanket description of the game’s modes without any awareness of minute gameplay. Talking to an actual Warriors fan will get you a discussion of combo chaining, special moves, crowd control and cancels, aka things that are actually important in a spectacle brawler. It’s why I stopped listening to “professional reviews” of the franchise; none of them discuss the actual game.

            Bladestorm further suffers from the fact that it’s technically Kessen IV, but it suffered from people thinking it’s a Warriors title and reviewing it as one. It’s not and never will be. Hell, if you look up the negative reviews on Metacritic, one of them is outright reviewing it as a Warriors game and another few are confused as to what it’s supposed to be. You cannot just shove a game to someone completely unfamiliar with the series and expect a review that makes sense.

            Metacritic has a general problem where a lot of its “scores” are simply numbers attached to major publications instead of authors, and finding someone who reviews a title with familiarity is nigh impossible. More often than not, you can get a better and more reasonable analysis of the game just by asking your friends or even checking out the Steam reviews.

  5. Drake Sigar says:

    “It’ll have players lead a mercenary squad through the the Hundred Years’ War in one mode, then in another see France and England united to fight dragons. Sure!”

    With Valkyria Chronicles and now this, I’m really starting to dig the idea.

  6. David Bliff says:

    I really hope they leave the voice acting as-is. The French accents are amazing.

    link to youtube.com

    Bladestorm is fun.

  7. SuicideKing says:

    Looks a bit like Totally WAR: BladeFACE.

    Good enough for a goofy name?

  8. EhexT says:

    Bladestorm was awesome – it was significantly prettier, smoother and with better draw distance than Dynasty Warriors series games (which is frankly an abomination – their games run and look like PS2 games and they’re consistently outdone visually and performance wise by a Wii game) and in terms of gameplay it’s frankly unique.

    Unlike the usual DW formula you’re not a one-man-army-killer – in fact you are pretty damn weak solo and most things can easily kill. The (very fun) gimmick of Bladestorm is that you can walk up to any random formation of people and command them, at which point they’ll form up and mimick your attacks (while also giving you access to special abilities dependent on which army formation you are commanding) with the option of sending them charging in to attack at will. It is a ton of fun, because it’s very Rock Paper Scissors and when you charge your mounted knights into a formation of archers they go FLYING. Incredibly satisfying.

    In terms of story it’s a strange japanese interpretation of european history – meaning it is nothing like European history at all. Let’s just say it doesn’t take long for Wizards to join the ranks of Archers/Knights/Pikemen/etc.

    • pepperfez says:

      As I was doing some reading on proto-feminist thinkers recently, I was pleased to see Christine de Pizan, maybe the first European woman to earn a living through writing and best known for her critiques of classical misogyny, is a character in Bladestorm. She is a magician and she looks like this. Never, ever change, Japan.

    • dorobo says:

      They still try to conquer european markets..