HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewEchoBlade Review

EchoBlade Review

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There’s no doubt that the visually impaired have had the opportunity to become stars in film and games most recently. Daredevil has been the poster boy for the blind superhero, patrolling the streets of Hell’s Kitchen armed with super senses and an ultra-supersonic skill, picking out sounds to map out his route. In games, there has been the excellent The Vale: Shadow of the Crown, where you play a nobleman’s blind daughter, controlling the game by listening to multi-direction sound, forgoing images on screen. 

EchoBlade is a game that again places you in the shoes of a blind protagonist, but uses sound to help you try and escape from a dungeon full of traps and enemies.

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We play as an unnamed hero, trapped in the depths of a dungeon in some place; in the olden days or a fantasy world. We are not told much, as there isn’t a back story, any cutscenes or history of the world. What we do know is that whilst trapped in prison, our hero is found wearing a helmet that makes him blind. You escape the confines, and make your way across the dungeon. Story-wise that’s it and some might find the lack of direction to be quite refreshing, refusing to buckle under any narrative weight. 

The gameplay takes place in the first person and acts like a Skyrim in the way you move and fight. As you haven’t your vision, you need to rely on sound to map out the area, utilising ultrasonics. You do this by pressing a sound button that sends a wave out, temporarily giving you an idea of your surroundings. Swinging your sword also has the same effect, creating a temporary map of the area. 

In exploration terms, your character can run and jump; much like you would in any normal action adventure. But only when you use your abilities can you see things; like torches highlighted on the screen or moving traps. Yellow items like keys are shining in the distance. You’ll need those keys as there will be doors to unlock, and that means a lot of backtracking. Remembering where you have been becomes tricky when the world turns to black.

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Luckily, in EchoBlade there is a useful tool where the footprints of your journey ping up, allowing you the chance to literally retrace your footsteps. It’s just you’ll need to constantly be on guard, navigating those traps and taking in some platforming in the later levels. 

Then there is combat. In EchoBlade you see opponents in red. And you have access to several options; a small and large attack and a block. It reminds of The Elder Scrolls games in terms of combat. It’s not hard though, particularly when you get into the rhythm of it and even the latter boss battles won’t trouble you that much. You also have the option of using a crossbow from afar, making the most of limited bolts; I rarely bothered to use that though. 

There’s also the opportunity to level up, making the most of your experience points to get perks that make you faster, stronger, and tougher. It’s not that complicated, played out through a simple skill tree. 

Visually and EchoBlade does a brilliant job of putting you into a world which disappears and reappears as you use your sonic ability. It’s a very clever system and I like the use of colour in terms of the enemies and the shiny items you need to get. It does wear a bit thin after a while though, and you’ll possibly want more than just the dungeon rooms.

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That said, the sound is good with some nice effects, whilst a dramatic score works well with the frantic action. 

If you’re after something with a unique gameplay element then EchoBlade will be for you. It works well throughout, providing something different to a traditional dungeon crawler. It’s not a tricky game, certainly not in terms of the combat, traps, and progression, but for the most part, I had a great time with it.

Yes, the uniqueness fades after a while and a bit more story and locations would be appreciated, but there’s a simplicity that many will love. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Unique gameplay
  • Nice visual ideas
  • Combat
Cons:
    Lack of story
  • The unique nature fast fades
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to : Eastasiasoft
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5
  • Release date and price - 5 July 2023 | £8.39
Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Unique gameplay</li> <li>Nice visual ideas</li> <li>Combat</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul>Lack of story</li> <li>The unique nature fast fades</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to : Eastasiasoft</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5 <li>Release date and price - 5 July 2023 | £8.39</li> </ul>EchoBlade Review
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