Being a long-time Jedi Knight player (JK2 and JK3), and also an app/mod dev for JK, I had quite the expectations regarding this game. Devs promised me exciting fights, exhausting duels, a lot of skill-based gameplay and... I got it.
For those who didn't really fall for lightsaber dueling or don't think Star Wars Universe has anything to do with Blade Symphony I'm gonna try and convince you to this game without any further comparisions to my favorite franchise.
The whole idea of this game is to create a competitive environment for players to duel with various melee weapons (but really mostly swords and such). The goal was to make it pleasurable, fast, dynamic while keeping it more advanced/difficult than just your average arcade game in TPP where you hack and slash your way to victory.
It's a game of strategy, analysis and customizing your gameplay to fit your style. I wanna talk about the latter first: It's really well done, you get to choose from 4 characters, and each one of them has got a completely different moveset and playstyle. I mean it, you don't get two same moves for any of the heroes.
I've noticed 1-2 similiar moves but then again they follow up into something else, have different range, different purpose, are from a different "string" (I'll talk about it later). If that's not enough for you, you get to choose a sword type - there are 5 at the moment.
Each one of them has got different properties and different "defensive" ability. You also get to choose what the sword looks like but that's a detail.
Let's talk about the gameplay: It's brilliant. How do you mix dynamic fights with tactics? You put 4 categories of attacks, each one of them countering 1 of them, at the same time being weak against another. Attacks also have exact "trails" - some leave you open, some attack from the left, some attack from the right, some make you spin and attack everything around you, but there are still openings your opponent can use. So can you. Combat is still fast-paced and you feel the adrenaline rush. Add "strings" to that. Attacks come in patterns but you can break the pattern, reset it and completely confuse your opponent. It's truly a game of skill, predictions and observation. Choose the right style, combo the way to surprise your opponent, fake an attack, reset your pattern, parry, use the openings in the opponent's pattern - seems simple, but is ingenious.
There are a few gamemodes but really you should know you can take part in FFA, duels (1v1, 2v1, 2v2) and Hero mode. Hero mode chooses one of the players to be the "hero" - he gets empowered attacks but all the enemies are trying to kill him at the same time.
As for the audio: it's neither bad nor good. I didn't really puy much attention to it and for the most part I just had my own music running in the background. Have to say I've played a bit with the in-game music and it wasn't irritating at any part. Only thing I could wish for is some better hit-sounds.
Graphics are just ok, living up to standards but still pretty simple. That's ok, you wanna stay focused on the fights and there's no irritating visual stymulus coming from the game itself. Some of the fighting areas seem a little bit empty and poorly designed but it's not much of a deal at all. Lastly I'll just say that camera work is intuitive and you can actually adjust it in any way imaginable (e.g. angle, yaw, shaking, moving, rotation, height, distance).
I can really recommend this game. If you like dynamic sword fights with a bit of tactics you will enjoy this game. It's simple, but holy ♥♥♥♥, in its simplicity it's beautiful.