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Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire

Developer: Land Ho! | Publisher: D3
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Action

Release Date: 09/25/07

When Nintendo first announced the Wii, the first thing many people probably thought of was “this is gonna’ be great for sword games”. So what sword games have we actually seen on the system in the time it’s been out? Well, there was Zelda, where swinging the Wii remote essentially did the same thing you could do in earlier games by pressing "A". Same goes for Prince of Persia. Oh, and there was Red Steel… but the less said about that, the better. And aside from that there was… anyone?

While there may have some competition in that area in the future from titles like the upcoming Soul Calibur Legends, Dragon Blade looks to be user-friendly while still interpreting Wii remote moves into attacks that make sense – slash your sword upwards and you’ll slash upwards in the game. Slash to the left or the right and your in-game persona will follow suit. Then, string together these straightforward moves into combos and proceed to kick ass.

The game is under development by Land Ho!, a development studio started up by former Panzer Dragoon staff, and features a story penned by Richard Knaak of Dragonlance fame, which centers on the elemental dragons that comprise the game’s bosses, one of which, a water dragon, was shown at E3. The game will be split up into 6 worlds with 20 different environments in a stage-oriented framework (so while the game may look Zelda-ish, it’s far more action-focused).

The Dragon Blade of the game’s title is actually a versatile sword with a flaming aura that the game’s protagonist can later upgrade with different forms, all of which follow this easy-to-use, straightforward mantra. Early on, players get a giant flaming fist they can use to swipe, jab and uppercut. Afterwards, they’ll get the ability to use a second flaming fist as well, which uses the nunchuck appropriately, for example allowing the player to swipe the two together to clasp the flaming hands onto an enemy. Later on, they’ll get a whip, as well as some other upgrades like a rad-looking pair of flaming wings that can be used to double-jump. Movement is naturally handled by the control stick, and while the D3 folks resisted our pleas to try out the game for ourselves, it all looked pretty straightforward.

In addition to the standard fighting, the game will also include “Core Break Attacks” for the game’s multi-tiered bosses. If you’ve played God of War or Resident Evil 4 you know what to expect here - context-sensitive press-the-button minigames worked into the overall battle. Hey, it’s not original, but it worked for those other games, so why not here?

At the moment, it’s hard to say just what level the graphics will be at when the game is finally released, but there is one aspect to the game that’s impressive, and that is the actual flaming attacks of the game’s protagonist, with the sword, hands and whip all moving fluidly and impressively. With any luck, the rest of the game will follow suit as well (although to be perfectly honest, the build we saw had environments that looked a bit bland).

Regardless, the game looks to be shaping up to be a solid action game when it hits the Wii this fall, and it promises to be a treat for Wii owners hoping for a good original title that makes good use of the Wii’s motion-sensing capabilities and isn’t just some minigame collection.

Progress
The graphics look like they could use a bit more work, and hopefully the final product will be deeper than just fighting endless hordes of enemies. However, the core gameplay seems solid and it could make for an excellent action game in the Wii's library later this year.

By Jake Mcneill - 07/18/07
ESRB Details: - Fantasy Violence -
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Screenshots for Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire

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