Just to warn you up front, Dragon Blade gets ripped to shreds in two or three reviews over here at IGN and it is a couple years old, but there are also a few good reviews as well, so read on and let me add mine to the pile . . . I've so needed this game lately.
I like MMOs and I like playing "cute" games with my kids, but sometimes I need the difficulty to be raised a few notches, and Dragon Blade reminded me that games can be tuned a bit more difficult and be a bit more unforgiving. I NEEDED that.
What I like about this game is probably what most people hate . . . the graphics. They're "Everquest I" awful. You know when you see repeating textures forming an unintended pattern on the ground, that you're playing something that's going to remind me of everquest. I remember loading up Everquest back in the 2000's and thinking . . . you gotta be kidding me, these graphics are horrible. Then the social atmosphere of EQ overtook me.
So, because I think in terms of MMOs. This is like hack-n-slash meets a solo person "raid encounter" from Everquest. You grind on regular mobs and then you fight the raid boss for uber loot. Let me give you an example of game play here by talking through one of the encounters.
This is King Tyl (please excuse the poor quality graphics . . . it's a photograph of a television set showing a game with dated looking graphics as it is)
King Tyl is hear to kick your butt. He's bigger than you, and he has a massive arm that delivers a wicked punch--both to your face and to the ground to cause shockwaves. He's also fond of dashing at you and running you over . . . only to punch the ground when you get up.
The key to beating any boss in this game is to discover their pattern and exploit that in their weak moments.
So here's what I figured out on this particular fight, which I died on a number of times and had to restart . . . I'm guessing 15 times at least.
King Tyl shoots streams of fire at you when you are away from him, so you need to dodge right and left as you get close to him. When you get close to him, he switches from streams of fire to ground shockwaves. To get him to perform a shockwave, you need to time it just right so that you run into his close range and then back out and then run back in again. Right after he does a shockwave to the ground he will be vulnerable for about a second.
After hitting him when he's vulnerable, King Tyl punches three times in his close vicinity and then braces to charge. You need to run slightly more than half way to the other side of the small small arena at that time. The moment after he charges is the moment he is vulnerable . . . that's when you break out the right dragon arm and just work him over with about four or five swipes with either your sword or your dragon arm.
If you get low on health (because you will make mistakes), you need to run to one of these "bells of health" (groan at the bad pun) and refuel.
Where it gets tricky is that when you defeat his "powerful" version, you need to have at least a good half bar of fire power left (there's a life bar and a fire power bar . . . you know, health and mana . . . just like in EQ) to finish off his "exposed" version. This is a common denominator in boss fights in Dragon Blade. You slash your way through a blue bar of life to expose a green bar of life. Once you get to the green bar of life, you have about 3 minutes or less to defeat your enemy or they heal themselves up to about a fifth of their blue bar.
The resulting fight is a weaving in and out and back and forth to finish this guy's complex pattern off. It's not an easy task, and when you defeat him after your 16th try, you . . . and your kids scream with delight. Not only because you *finally* beat this guy, but also because he drops the left arm of dragon killing awesomeness.
We had fun playing around with this new feature after the fight. When your character has his left arm drawn he slowly walks toward you with these ominous arms of fire. If you turn up the volume on this clip, you'll hear me saying in a funny accent, "where am I going?" while the character is walking away and then "I'm coming for you!" when I spin him around. hehe.
I gotta warn you though, your wrist and arm are going to be sore after playing this game. Since you use the wii remote to waggle your way through this game, it gets to be a bit painful.
Bottom line with this game for me is this: If you're looking for a challenge on your wii system, this might be a good game for you to pick up . . . especially if you can find it in a blockbuster for 10 bucks like I did.