In short, the things like the music and graphics are decent. The graphics are very simple, but you can tell what’s going on, and it has a rather charming style to it. The music is fitting and nice to listen to, but it’s nothing spectacular. The story is almost non existent, it’s a simple “Good Guy is on a quest to stop Evil Guy.” story. So due to the simplicity of the other features, I’ll focus this review on the gameplay itself.
The game is a hack ‘n slash, character action, spectacle fighter, whatever you wanna call it. The gameplay seems simple on paper, but it actually has a fair amount of depth to it. That doesn’t mean you should expect something as deep as say Devil May Cry, or even a simpler Metal Gear Rising. But for what it is, it’s a lot of fun when you get the hang of it.
The game controls as follows: (with a 360 controller)
A - Use
B - Special Stance
Y - Attack
X - Guard
LT - Lock On
RT - Energy
Now, these controls may seem a bit strange at first. That’s one part of the game that’s hard to get used to, using Y to attack and X to guard. Now, if you’re a fan of action games like these, you’re probably used to using X/SQUARE for attacking. NOPE, instead you get the awkward feel of the Y button. When I first began playing it, this was quite an obstacle for me. I frequently found myself guarding when I wanted to attack, or just missing the timing of some moves.
So now that that’s out of the way, I should take a moment to talk about the combat itself. When you approach an enemy, you have a set of options. You can use Y by itself to combo together 3 Basic Attacks, this combo is your bread & butter. You can use Y while holding down RT to combo together 3 Energy Attacks, which are slightly faster and do a little more damage, at the cost of depleting your energy bar. Or you can press B to enter a stance, which allows you to follow up by pressing Y to do a Heavy Attack. You can also follow up to that with B-Y-B-Y for the full combo of 3 Heavy Attacks. X gives you a basic Guard stance, when you are attacked in this state, you parry an enemies attack, and leave them open for an Ion Burst (I think that’s what it was called). This will temporarily stun your enemy, allowing you to do a sick nasty combo on them. Holding down RT by itself lets you boost around and go fast. It depletes your energy, though.
All of the attacks can be used together to form long strings of combos, and doing longer combos fills up your combo meter, which makes you do more damage or something. It works the same as Devil May Cry’s CUHRAZY meter does, filling up more or less depending on what attacks you are using and how much you’re using them.
So, now that the basic mechanics are out of the way, it’s time to talk about what makes it good and what makes it bad.
The game has a very Dark Souls-esque difficulty to it. It’s really hard. Whenever you die, you get that feeling of “Are you kidding me?” and then immediately continue playing, because most of the time it’s your fault for dying. But that brings us to the 'most of the time’ part. Whenever the game feels like it starts to have a good flow, and truly feels like what an action game of this genre should feel like, there’s always something to trip over. Whether it’s the control scheme, the awkward timing of the parrying, or some enemy hitting you in the back and stopping your combo and momentum.
All in all, it comes down to one thing. Is Proxy Blade Zero a good game? No.
The controls are clunky, the flow of the combat is interrupted frequently due to some poor balancing choices, and to top it all off, it has no graphical options due to it being a direct XBLA port. However the game can be fun if you’re willing to see it for what it’s worth; Which is a $2 indie game made by one dev team. (It’s $2 at the time of this review.)
+Interesting combat system
-Awkward control scheme
-Sharp learning curve
-Repetitive gameplay near the end