Release Date: March 3rd, 2014
Available On: PC, Xbox 360
Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the PC. There may be differences between versions.
Character action games, or stylish action games depending on whatever the genre is being called this week, tend to be games that I float to. Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising, and others continue to rank among some of my favorite games. Originally I was interested in Proxy Blade Zero because it looked like an independent effort into such a genre. Sadly, it doesn’t really manage to get very close to some of the big competitors.
With no real story to speak of (the most you know is that your a robot samurai dude trying to stop someone named Anima from doing… something) Proxy Blade Zero wasted no time throwing me right to the wolves. Well, the robotic future wolves, but wolves nonetheless. At only 7 levels long, one of which is just a tutorial, Proxy Blade Zero only clocks in at about two and a half hours. Not only does it have a short length, but there’s little reason to replay it as it lacks any sort of extra game modes, though you can at least replay the campaign on different difficulties.
Proxy Blade Zero fighting systems feel like they’re designed for small scale fights. I could press X to attack, and mix it up with B to preform special attacks but I never really figured out how to preform specific attacks. The Y button was used to parry enemy attacks and doing so would give me a few seconds to counter attack and stun them. While it’s not a bad system, the lack of any kind of weapon selection means that at the start of the game and by the end of the game I was using the same basic combos. The big change up system here is supposed to be the boost. By holding down the right trigger I was able to drain my boost bar to dash around very quickly, or I could speed up my attacks and do extra damage. Since the boost bar recovers rather quickly, I honestly didn’t see much reason to do anything other than boost attacks. So it’s sort of a pointless feature.
The fighting system in the game is clearly meant for one-on-one or one-on-two battles, as any fight that has more than two enemies quickly became a mess of enemies piling themselves on top of me and continuing to catch me in an endless stuck lock. Enemies come in a few different types. A large hammer-wielding robot quickly became the bane of my existence as even blocking his attacks still stunned me, something that wasn’t a problem when it was on its own but with even just one more enemy around was basically a guaranteed death. Another robot would randomly put up a guard that, if hit, would cause it to counter. Grenade throwing robots came in swarms, forcing me to constantly keep moving and barely get any attacks in. Along each one isn’t so bad, but the game regularly threw swarms at me and it just didn’t work very well.
Worse, level design is just boring. There’s no reason to explore or ever do anything other than walk forward. There’s no collectables or hidden items of any kind. Sometimes you’ll have to take a right so you can open the door on the left, and sometimes you have to hit an elevator switch, but there’s no needed exploration. There’s a couple of boss fights in the game, but neither were really memorable. The first one basically just consisted of memorizing the strategy until I was able to kill him, while the second, who was also the final boss, is just a really dull slog until he died. With no other gameplay type of any kind, even at the short length mentioned before, Proxy Blade Zero just feels like it drags.
And that’s really it for the game. I can says it looks pretty and the soundtrack is decent, but once the game started to swarm me with enemies and forced me to travel down yet another straight line I just couldn’t take it any more. It may want to be one of the greats, but Proxy Blade Zero is just not good enough of a game to be worth anyone’s time.