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September 24 2007
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
23/11/2007THQKoeiOmega Force
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation

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Camels take to the battlefield.
Koei are most well known for thier historical battle styled games such as Dynasty Warriors and any new title from them is bound to generate a lot of interest - not only from the hardcore fans but also the casual gamers. In recent years that series, while good, seems to have run out of fresh ideas. But we have another reason to get excited now - a couple in fact. First of all Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War is a new series for Koei, it promises to bring in some fresh ideas and a new location. Secondly the game is the first release from Koei on the Playstation 3 - can the developers tap into the power of Sony's console? Finally while so many next-gen games offer around 10 hours of game - some much less - this should, like most other Koei titles, have a fair amount of gameplay. So what's it about...

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Equipping new items to the character...
In the 14th century a quarrel over English succession to the French throne escalated into what history would call the Hundred Years’ War. This ongoing war had exhausted the standing armies of both sides and there was a growing dependence on mercenary soldiers. Now, take charge as a mercenary leader and contract your army to the English and French. With arrows raining from above, knights charging on horseback, and cannoniers firing volleys at heavy infantry, armies will collide in unprecedented scale and startling chaos on the battlefield. Outwit your opponents and overwhelm them with dominating force to be the last one standing when the dust settles on one of history’s greatest conflicts.

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Using Heavy Fire from the catapault.
While there are characters and events taken from real life it must be pointed out that Koei have taken quite a bit of artistic license. Leading the English armies is the Black Prince, Edward of Woodstock while on the French side is Joan of Arc. In real life Edward died 36 years before Joan of Arc was even born! The battles also include characters and animals not associated with those battles in real life - camels and ninjas anyone? Still this is all being done to keep the game entertaining - and there's nothing wrong with that in our book.

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Bladestorm will get frantic.
Essentially this game allows gamers to immerse themselves in massive, and quite ferocious, battles between the English and French. While the Dynasty Warriors titles are very hands-on hack and slash this game allows you to be more of the commander with RPG elements evident in the game. It is, in Bladestorm possible to issue a single attack command in order to kill countless numbers of soldiers on the opposing forces. Indeed, the body count in this game can get pretty high! During the battles you will command is a broad array of troops including infantry, archers, and cavalry, as well as a variety of specialized units such as elephant units, cannoniers, and castle siege specialists. You will establish a reputation as a formidable warrior and leader of men, build your war chest and lure hardened warriors to your employ.

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Battle around the village.
Sadly, one area where this game could have really exceled was online gameplay, but that won't be an option. I'm not sure why Koei didn't spend the time to at least put in some one-on-one battles as it certainly could have added in quite a few more hours gameplay.

As you would have seen in the surrounding screenshots the graphics in this game really are impressive. Sure, the character models aren't the best we've seen on the system, and to be honest the backgrounds are a little on the plain side, but what makes this game so exciting is the scale of the battles. It's not uncommon to see hundreds of soldiers battling it out on-screen at any one time.

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War is a game which miliatary and action fans alike can, and probably will enjoy. The game will be hitting Australian shelves in late November through THQ with a RRP of only $AU99.95.