ChronoBlade is a sidescrolling RPG brawler and is a bit of a genre hopping mashup of gameplay elements that seem like they are unlikely to go together. You have to pick one of four champions and go on an adventure through realms from Norse legends. The setting is pretty confusing and has random shoutouts to other universes. The opening video showcases the arrival spaceships belonging to the “Chronarch Imperium”, and the forces have previously laid to waste a billion worlds. This might sound familiar to Warhammer 40K fans, but little from all this strange lore actually makes it to the game, where you mostly end up fighting cute creatures such as foxes, badgers and endearingly squishy spiders. Each hero has an intro sequence as well. There are four of these, Auroph, Lophi, Lucas and Thera. Aurok is a likes to get up close and specialises in hand to hand combat. Lophi is a summoner with a floating ball companion and weapon that can engage with enemies ahead of, and behind her. Lophi’s intro video is reminiscent of L from Death Note, but looks entirely different in the actual game. Lucas wields a sword, and Thera uses a polearm of spear. As such, all the four heroes are tanks, what sets them apart is the kind of elemental damage that they do, their skill kits, and gear used.
There are three modes of gameplay in ChronoBlade, Adventure, Arena and Limited Dungeons. The Adventure mode involves relatively mindless button mashing for the first two campaigns at least. In fact, you do not even need to mash the buttons, as you can keep them pressed for continuous attacks. The combos are very simple, and there is rarely a requirement for actually blocking, or any kind of tactical play. In fact, there is even an auto mode, for those feeling particularly lazy. You have to finish each map within the time limit, and there is a boss battle in the end. The controls are a little strange, while engaged in combat, the up and down arrows move the character around the vertical plane. While running though, the character moves around the horizontal plane, away from, and closer to the screen. The unwieldy control scheme unnecessarily takes away from the precision of combat. Despite all this, the game still manages to be fun, precisely because of how easy it is. After the first two campaigns in the adventure mode though, the difficulty suddenly spikes.
This is about the time when you will have to upgrade your skills, and your gear. The attributes of the character are decided based on the skills and gear. In ChronoBlade, there are no inherent attributes, such as intelligence, dexterity or strength. This means that the character is always a blank state, and the entire build involves deciding on the skill kit, and the gear. The gear sets are named after various norse gods. The game feeds you with plenty of in game currency and materials to max out all your gear, but not enough skill points to max out all your skills. It makes sense to go for a few runs in the early campaigns to figure out which of the skills work best for you. Better skills become available at the higher levels, so it is also a good idea to level up only two skills, and keep the remaining points in reserve.
The Arena mode is the really fun mode. Here you get to go toe to toe with other human players. The problem is that with such a small roster of heroes, it is very likely that you will be matched against another player with the same hero. In such a case, it becomes difficult to keep track of your own character. The rounds are fast paced, and challenging. The control scheme is again awkward here though, and is not sufficiently refined for true competitive gameplay. Even then, there are leagues and seasons, and interested players can work their way up the ranks.
Finally, ChronoBlade has a Limited Dungeons mode. This is far more difficult than the adventure mode, and requires serious deliberation on the kit and gear loadouts. This is because the specific enemies in the dungeons are vulnerable to certain kinds of elemental damage. The elemental damage types are fire, water, earth and air. Depending on the skills and gear, each hero has defensive and offensive capabilities that are stronger in certain elements. These have to be matched with the enemies in the special dungeons for optimum gameplay.
This is a fun game, offering plenty of mindless button mashing action, but lacks the chops to to deliver on its competitive esports ambitions.
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