Blood Waves? Hmmmm. What could this possibly be about I hear you ask. Well, this is a game that certainly does what it says on the tin, but sadly not much else.
Within Blood Waves, waves of zombies will run at you from all sides – you have to shoot them dead. This is basically how the game works, and that is all there is to it.
The action takes place in one large hall, however a secondary room will open after you clear the first wave, where you can tool yourself up. You’ll earn a skill point and an upgrade point for each wave you clear, as well as collecting any cash that zombies drop as you shoot through the wave. This allows you to buy new equipment to fight off the zombie hordes, or you can use your upgrade points to improve your weapons and traps at the workbench. As well as this, you can improve your character skills; doing so is more than reminiscent of how you use plasmids in BioShock. However, these seemingly tactical elements make little difference to the monotony of how the game plays.
Blood Waves kicks off with a short tutorial, however it’s unnecessary as things are pretty straightforward. LT is used to aim while your right stick enables the firing action. The face buttons do stuff too though: B will perform a roll dodge, X will jump and A lets you interact. From there, the bumpers action the reloading and viewing of your inventory wheel.
It must be said that the roll dodge can be useful to avoid nasties, however jumping is literally pointless in Blood Waves. Pushing down on the left stick will enable you to sprint which can occasionally be helpful, and it is that same stick which is used to move around, with the right holding control over the camera. However, even with camera smoothing at the default setting of 100, Blood Waves feels so heavy to move around. This will see you wanting to increase the sensitivity of the controls for when the action hots up, but the problem with doing this is the weapon recoil will make your accuracy with some of the weapons poor, which can get very frustrating.
Blood Waves on Xbox One looks average at best, and things don’t move smoothly at all. The frame rate is sluggish and jagged from the word go, and the zombies are pretty generic looking, rambling and ambling towards you in basically the same way. That said, those enemies with different abilities, such as acid spitters, do appear as you fight through the waves. But honestly, you probably won’t want to stick it out to get to that point anyway.
Should you manage to battle through, then it doesn’t matter where you shoot the zombies either; they’ll recoil in exactly the same way until you pump five or so bullets into them. The fact that a headshot isn’t an instant kill, is quite frankly criminal, as this removes any sort of strategy for dealing with the hordes of zombies, bar just shooting at them as quickly as possible.
As this runs as a wave shooter, it won’t take you long to realise that if you don’t spend all of your cash tooling up in between waves, you’ll very quickly get overrun and just be left with your melee weapon (a knife) for defence. It’s impossible to judge how much ammo you’ll need for each wave though, and so a smarter idea here would have been to give you unlimited pistol ammo at the very least. Your knife is not the greatest weapon, and you’ll sometimes remain motionless and take damage after a few enemy swings despite frantically swiping away to defend yourself. It looks as if you are briefly stunned after taking damage, but as your character hardly flinches, it just looks poor.
So far, so rubbish, and the music is also pretty dreadful; repetitive, guitar thrashing, noise. Even if you like that sort of thing, it doesn’t sound great.
Further to this, your health slowly regenerates as you battle the waves, however if you die, you go back to the very start. You’ll also have to re-spend your skill and upgrade points as you’ll be starting completely from scratch. This doesn’t give you much incentive to repeatedly play through earlier waves as, to be honest, it’s all quite dull.
All in all, and if you can find it in yourself to take the fight to Blood Waves, then you’ll find a game that lacks sheen and finish in so many ways. Despite very briefly being a bit of fun, it is ultimately missing depth and individuality, which in turn will see it sink into obscurity after a short amount of time.
This is most definitely one to avoid.