Blade and Sorcery: Fantasy meets VR

Name: Blade and Sorcery

Developer: Warpfrog

Genre: Hack and slash/ first person RPG

MSRB( at time of writing): $19.99

Platform: Oculus Quest, Oculus Quest 2Game Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/629730/Blade_and_Sorcery/

While the drought of PS5 and Xbox Series X is annoying, its given a much smaller, and more niche system to forge ahead: VR

But maybe you see these fancy new helmets and wonder how good the games are. While VR is still getting its sea legs there are absolutely some great games on the system.

In particular, my favorite on the system is Blade and Sorcery, a medieval themed hack and slash that, while janky and barren in some parts, is more than enough to be worth the $20 asking price.

Blade and Sorcery stay thoroughly in it’s fantasy themed comfort zone, pushing no real bounds of it’s medieval setting. As of right now there isn’t a story, or even a tutorial to speak of. 

As it’s in early access currently, the story is sure to come through.

The game is set in multiple arenas, fighting against enemies ranging from nearly naked gladiators, to knights in shining armor. You’re armed with a multitude of weapons and spells, and you can take it from here. 

I should clarify that this game is still rough around the edges here, but when it hits it’s mark it absolutely nails it.

The combat is incredibly fun, with its ability to let the player form their own style of fighting, which is only available with VR. Playing a warrior immensely enjoyable with intricate swordplay, along with well done hitboxes that mix together and make you feel as if you’re in an actual duel, rather than playing make believe in your friends basement.

You can choose to cut an opponent’s leg, wait for an opening in their shield, or any number or even just grab them by the neck and throw them off a bridge ( personally my favorite war time strategy). It takes player choice and absolutely runs with it.

Some weapons take a bit of skill to use. I quite liked the bow because for as good as you may be, there still is that little element of luck, which gives a massive rush of dopamine when you nail a knight right in the throat from twenty yards away.

All this is supported with excellent sound design, from the sound of swords clanging together, an ax hitting someone’s head, or an arrow reflecting off a shield. The blood effects aren’t the greatest, but kills still stand out as satisfying, especially when in the heat of battle you cut the head off a fully armored knight, or slam an arrow into the gap between a bandit’s leather armor.

While the Blade aspect of Blade and Sorcery is well polished and fun, as of right now the Sorcery aspect is a little lacking.

 I hope you like playing Barbarian, because you have a grand total of three spells: fire, lightning, and gravity, all which does exactly what you think. 

The only interesting mechanic is using the elements to coat your sword in an element, which can help to take on different enemy types, like fire going through shields and armor.

Besides that, the magic is lacking, which is fine for an early access game, as the devs have stated that they’re looking to add things such as healing spells later. But for right now, the most fun I’ve had with magic wasn’t using it, but rushing enemy mages, who fire off balls of fire at me, and then proceeded to panic and whack me with their wands as I cut them down in one stroke. 

The enemies themselves tend to be a bit lackluster for me, as there’s no difference in weapons or fighting style. This results with enemies like fully armored knives carrying two daggers which I believe are meant solely for the bandits.

The only real difference is the types of armor given to each faction. Gladiators have little more than a medieval jockstrap, bandits are dressed like Robin Hood, and knights wear armor.

While the A.I is usually pretty good, there are parts that seem to just break them. Sometimes they’ll crowd around a staircase and stare longingly at you like a child trying to get dessert from their mom. It can be tedious backtracking to find out where they’ve gotten them stuck.

The maps are pretty sparse and bland for the most part, with a few key differences, like one map having sliding ropes. However, they rarely ever change the way you fight, or enhances the experience at all.

While I have my issues with Blade and Sorcery, they pale in comparison to how good the main gameplay is. I could spend hours hacking away at knights and bandits, roleplaying as the last defender of a once mighty castle.

With updates hopefully coming, as well as the VR market still being small, Blade and Sorcery could be the first step on VR’s road to normalcy. 

Even if it isn’t, it’s a game I can highly recommend and say that it’s definitely worth the asking price.

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