E3 '07: Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire Hands-On Preview

"One thing about the Wii that surprises me, is that there’s never really been a casual action game people can use the remote to play." And with that brief moment of clarity from D3 assistant producer Arthur Kawamoto, we were off.

Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire is everything a hack ‘n slash fan could ever want. The story (penned by author Richard Knaak) involves a young man journeying across the land in a quest to unite the Dragon Blade. Each piece of the blade is guarded by a dragon, and beating a dragon for a piece of the dragon blade grants you a dragon-related power (sense a theme?).

The story isn’t really revealed too much yet, but that doesn’t matter too much; Knaak may have a decent following, but people will want this for the combat. Using the Wii remote and nunchuck, Dragon Blade brings a very refreshing feel to the hack ‘n slash genre. You control your character’s sword by swinging the remote left, right, up, or down, and you’re able to perform combos on the fly by just stringing together attacks.

Where the game really takes off, however, is in the use of the Dragon Blade’s powers. All of the powers were available (we were in God Mode), and quite a few were shown frequently. The basic power you’ll receive is the use of a dragon claw. By performing an action, your sword transforms into a flaming red dragon’s claw, and you can use it to swat at enemies, punch them, and more. There’s also a second power which allows you to dual-wield the dragon claw, giving you TWO dragon claws. You’re able to control the right claw with the remote, while the left claw is controlled by the nunchuck.

In addition to the claws, you can also use the dragon’s tail. Similar to the whip from Castelvania, you lash out at enemies with it; you can’t grab objects, though. Some of the dragon powers aren’t really related to combat, either. One of the grants you wings which allow you to double jump, or dash around quickly. The wings also act as a shield, with your character folding them around himself (very Batman-ish).

For the most part, Dragon Blade plays like a normal hack ‘n slash with very linear progression; that’s all changed with the boss fights. Arthur said that the fights were meant to be epic compared to the other portions of the level, and he meant it. Each boss fight is a dragon you’ll have to beat to unlock more powers. At the beginning of the fight, you need to weaken the dragon to make him susceptible to damage. After weakening him, you can attack him. After attacking him long enough, you can enter a "final" stage where you input remote actions, similar to God of War’s technique.

Honestly, that’s the best way to describe Dragon Blade: it’s God of War with less brutality and Wii controls and worst graphics (to be fair, Dragon Blade is still in development, so the second part could change). For gamers looking for a game where you can kick a lot of ass, use the Wii remote as a sword, and fight huge boss battles, this will likely end up a solid title when it’s released in September. Just don’t expect a huge deep and emotionally moving experience.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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