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Overture: Blade Symphony Now On Steam Early Access

Blade Symphony is the sort of name I can't help but appreciate. It is blunt yet majestic, giving us a crimson-flavored taste of exactly what we're going to get (swords!) paired with a certain high-class flourish, an alluring suggestion that this is far, far more than mere cyber-ninjas dueling each other into awesome giblets. One day, I will name my child Blade Symphony, I think. That way, no one - and I mean no one - will mistake what he or she is all about. For now, though, the videogame of my future offspring's namesake is available for all to play via Steam's early access program. The Jedi-Knight-II-inspired showdown sim will run you a few bucks, but it looks quite intriguing, to say the least.

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Hm, the action looks a little robotic in places (not entirely surprising, given that it's highly influenced by an older game) yet powerfully meaty. The way blows linger for just a moment - as if to say, "Hey, I totally just stabbed you, jerk" - is practically poetic.

Apparently, however, Blade Symphony is about as a far from a simple hack 'n' slash as you can get. Puny human developer Puny Human explained:

"Forget button mashing. This is the skillful duel game you've been waiting for. Pair your character up with a sword type to completely change your way of approaching combat. Fencing foils and sabres are great for parrying, feinting, and thrust attacks. The mighty Katana can slice up your opponents handedly by cutting multiple times over a single attack."

"Every attack has openings that are determined in real-time and efficacy is entirely up to you. Did you start an attack too early? Turn away and end the attack in a safe location. Did your opponent stupidly use a lighter stance? Go in and punish him!"

Also of note: all unlockable upgrades are cosmetic only. Everything that plays any hand in match outcomes - swords, styles, stances - is yours from the get-go. The plan, then, is to create as even of a playing field as possible. Balance willing, only skill will prevail.

It's hard not to like the sound of that, but lofty promises only mean so much until they can be tested with cold, unfeeling steel. Or your delicate and handsome hands, I suppose. Will you be taking up your blade and/or symphony and giving it a go?

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