Die By The Blade

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Die By The Blade (Steam) – Review

‘Die by the Blade’ is a new 1v1, action fighting game in which you fight for your life as you clash blades with your samurai-punk opponent in this one-hit kill game, developed by Grindstone and published by Triple Hill Interactive and Toko Midori Games.

Unfortunately, there is no actual directing narrative behind this title. It throws you straight into the action which I was neither disappointed nor excited about. With fighting games, the combat and gameplay are normally the shining factor, and it is no different here. Sure, a story is a nice motivational tool, but it is not a necessity.

Die by the Blade is a game that demands focus and timing to land the perfect attack as there are no health bars so being the first to land a hit is key to winning the battle. You can dodge and parry and fake attacks in hopes of catching the other person off guard and exploiting any mistakes they make by swinging early or going for a parry on a fake attack swing.

While there is no health bar each match is first to two wins. The combat actions consist of switching stances for either a high attack, mid attack or low attack both players’ current stance is displayed at all times too so you can counter and deflect an attack at any given time. Rounds are very quick though so keep that also in mind.

The combat was something I rather enjoyed as it is the star of the show and is impacted little by the character you picked. It is the blade chosen to use in combat instead, from a range of traditional Japanese blades to defining your move sets and playstyle. You will always come across unique and brutal styles of combat as you play either online with friends, in the matchmaking or playing local and testing your skill against the challenging A.I.

As you play you will master the combos and learn amazing finisher attacks with rewarding visuals as you destroy or decapitate your opponent. While this review was written before the official release, I was lucky enough to join a few online matches with staff from Grindstone and the game handled servers well, so hopefully on release matchmaking will not run into big issues.

Graphically, Die by the Blade is set in a cyberpunkish-influenced Japan setting as the level designs and outfits blend a mixture of Japanese culture with a neon futuristic theme. The characters users pick can also be customised with stylish cosmetic items to make them feel like your own and give each flairs of details.

In terms of audio, the menu does feature a Japanese-themed track with heavier elements mixed into it which is a nice touch. At the same time, in the game though, there is no music present to distract the player. The only sound you will hear is the swinging of the blade, the grunts of the characters and the clashing of weapons; the sound effects are amazing.

Die by the Blade does recommend controller be used but it can be played on a keyboard and mouse. It does feel like a controller was the desired preference as it felt easier to learn everything while using one. The difficulty of the game is rather high as you will get punished even by the A.I for making the slightest mistake with online being just as brutal.

While the gameplay itself was fantastic as I mentioned earlier, my main issue was the camera in between rounds. It starts off the round with a panning camera that moves from the right side before being set in the middle but while this is happening the round has started—the A.I especially, will capitalise on this as they will be quick to strike when you can’t see your character. A slight few seconds before the round starts would be nice to go with the camera angle coming in.

In conclusion, Die by the Blade is a game that will test and push your skill to the limit. While no one likes to lose, it is rewarding to learn from the small mistakes and improve on the smaller movements while making use of the opponent’s weaknesses. This is one simple yet decent fighter, bring on the next opponent!

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The Good

  • Amazing combat
  • Brutal but rewarding gameplay
  • A nice mixture of visual themes was used
  • Interesting audio and decent sound effects
  • Stable online play

The Bad

  • The camera angle at the start of a round
  • Rounds can be over very quickly

Written by: Shane Walsh


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