Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Watchlist: Strength of the Sword Ultimate

Title: Strength of the Sword Ultimate
Developer: Ivent Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Releasing late 2015
A Fighting game combined with a BRAWLER!  With a huge sword, rocket launcher and a FLAMETHROWER!The game is a 3D, third-person, arcade-style, action-game that combines the tactical and skill-based combat of a Fighter with the progression, overwhelming odds, and awesome boss battles of an old-school Brawler!
The two-man team behind Ivent Games is getting a second chance. Two years ago, they released their hard-as-nails 3D brawler Strength of the Sword 3 on PS3, where it slipped into obscurity. In their own words, they "were basically invisible in the store. We weren't even featured in the indie section." Now through the nature of Kickstarter, the developers hope to bring their game to PC, expanded far beyond that initial Playstation release.

Strength of the Sword is all about gameplay. The loose story of defeating an ancient evil is merely a framework for challenging, flashy combat against punishing enemies. Playing the PS3 version reveals a game where knowing your enemy, learning their patterns, mastering countering and parrying, when to block an attack and when to dodge then move in for a combo, is all critical to success. Button mashing is only a quick way to die; this isn't God of War. Mastering Strength of the Sword requires precision and practice. Rather than facing hordes of enemies, you only fight a few at a time, the challenge coming from handling each enemy's strengths and skills. Armed with a selection of swords, shields, support items like throwing knives and grenades, and your repertoire of combat maneuvers, you dance around your foes, rushing up with leaping stabs, deftly dodging and blocking, moving in to deliver combos and mana-charged attacks on staggered enemies. It's fast-paced, tough, and satisfying.

The Ultimate version seeking funding on Kickstarter expands on the game in myriad ways. More customization and new weapons in the campaign will allow for greater combat depth and online and split-screen co-op means you can tackle the increasingly challenging enemies alongside a friend. But the biggest additions are PvP and Dark Mode. The developer's plans for PvP sounds similar to the Nidhogg formula, as you and your opponent push back and forth across connected regions to reach the opposing player's castle. Dark mode expands on PvP by introducing the ability to enter matches as a Dark Swordsman, a powerful boss-like enemy with random and devastating abilities. 
Strength of the Sword Ultimate is estimated to release later this year. You can support the game now on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight; the original PSN game is available for $4.99 on the Playstation Store.

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