Mark Marrow
06 Apr, 2005

Blood Will Tell Review

PS2 Review | Sega tackles a new samurai title, but this time our hero has swords for arms and a bazooka for legs… Confused? So were we.
Samurai games have always been rather boring in my opinion. Same old predictable storyline, and the characters always seem dull and somewhat uninteresting. Well, not to worry; Sega has produced one of the most bizarre and intriguing storylines for its latest game, Blood Will Tell – an action/adventure title that sees our hero, Hyakkimaru, stripped of 48 vital body parts at birth. To substitute this misfortune, a magnificent craftsman replaced his missing limbs, joints, organs and also added a few unique touches here and there.

Like mentioned before, Hyakkimaru is in quite an interesting situation, with the absence of 48 vital body parts. And this is the purpose for our quest, to regain the body parts that were stolen from Hyakkimaru at birth. Gamers will take the main role of Hyakkimaru, as he travels across the land in attempt to destroy all 48 Fiends that have possession of his body parts. Get a part back and you’ll be on the road of becoming whole again – literally. Probably the most fascinating aspects of Blood Will Tell is that once you reclaim a body part our hero becomes more complete and new abilities are accessible. For example, find your eyes and you’ll be able to see the game in colour, while getting back your leg you’ll be able to pull off the dash move. Every body part enhances your abilities throughout the game, making each body part as vital as the next, since they help you both progress through the game and rebuild your body.

Like any samurai game, the importance is in the hero’s weaponry, and Blood Will Tell is no different. Hyakkimaru has his trusty sword, and you can find and equip new and more powerful swords as you go, but Hyakkimaru is also sporting a few extra advantages that sets this man aside from everyone else. Pull off his arms to find built in swords, as well as a built in bazooka in your leg. As much as we would like, the bazooka would be a number one choice for killing, however, Hyakkimaru needs ammo to feed this cannon and therefore it should only be used when absolutely necessary. As well as this, our hero also has a built in ‘gun-like’ sword feature on his arm that continuously shoots out swords at enemies at a distance, a feature that also uses ammo. Each weapon has its own advantages and disadvantages and it’s this that makes combat that little bit more interesting. When using your typical sword you’ll be able to pull off some powerful hits, while by using your two arm-swords you’ll be able to pull off some weaker, but much quicker, combos. So it’s vital that gamers play attention to their enemies and see which weapon best suits the situation. It’s also important that gamers don’t favour a weapon either, since the more enemies you kill, the more your weapons will increase in strength.

A machine-gun for an arm, how neat would that be?

A machine-gun for an arm, how neat would that be?
Setting aside the bizarre premises of this game, Blood Will Tell plays like your standard hack n’ slash game. Combat is easy to pick-up and there are a number of various killing techniques enabled for our gamers. For instance, gamers can press the triangle button to begin a scroll of button mashing that will see gamers franticly pressing every button shown before the enemy is dead. If you press each button successfully before the time runs out or you press an incorrect button, you’ll be rewarded with rice balls (representing health) as well as ammo and other vital items. This technique is an important aspect to combat, since there are later areas in the game that are vastly scarce of health or ammo items lying around.

Fighting, as with any game like this, is its most enjoyable aspect; however, to mix up the experience a little, Hyakkimaru isn’t alone in his adventure. He meets a young boy or girl (it’s still hard to tell – by its voice and its appearance) named Dororo, the world’s greatest thief (or so he claims) early in his adventure. Why does he join? Well, he wants Hyakkimaru’s arms. Not much of an interesting way to join, but I suppose it’ll do. Dororo follows you throughout most of the game, assisting in solving puzzles, fighting and accessing areas. Unlike most secondary characters, Dororo isn’t deadweight. You can order him to fight from a distance, fight close combat and even search the area for items. It’s a neat addition to the game and he can often become vital when trying to fight off fiends.

As much I hate this little fellow, Dororo is playable in some areas of the game. As he claims to be a thief, he takes part in the more stealthy and platforming areas of the game, such as sneaking into enemy bases to find out secrets and such. Although most of his missions are rather uninteresting and a little cumbersome, they do break up the action and keep the game refreshing.

It’s a long way up

It’s a long way up
While the combat area of Blood Will Tell is pretty compelling, the rest of the game is just plain awkward, frustrating and outright stupid. The game’s idea of searching for 48 body parts is rather interesting, and the powers they enable is downright one of the coolest ideas seen in a game, but apart from that Blood Will Tell’s story is very stupid. As gamers progress through the game they’ll travel across the land and help people and towns that are having trouble that’s no doubt caused by one of the 48 fiends. Sure it’s a good idea, but the stories for each of these towns are extremely cheesy and very confusing. For example, you’ll have to save a town from a man who's killing everyone, and once you kill him, the town dislikes you because of it. Apart from the actual story itself, the story telling is beyond laughable. It’s one of the most appalling aspects of the entire game. It seems that Sega had hired a bunch of 10-year old kids to write the story, not because the story sounds amateurish, but rather the story-telling just includes some stupidly over-exaggerating words and confusing twists that aren’t needed to properly tell the story, and would’ve best been left out of the game.

The camera is downright awkward. There’s a strafe option, where the camera positions itself behind the main character, but soon your hands become sore from holding R3 down as well as trying to control your character. The camera often gets stuck behind walls, is poorly positioned and often makes it hard for gamers to see what’s ahead of them, which becomes frustrating when you run into twenty bad-guys you couldn’t see because of the camera’s position.

Blood Will Tell’s graphics aren’t a great aspect of the game either. They are very outdated and seem like something that was expected on the console a few years ago. Some poor animation, character models, and texturing highlights this game’s poorly executed graphical consideration. The sound isn’t much better either; sound effects of enemies sound awkward and the music in the background isn’t that exciting, and because of this it’s very doubtful that gamers will feel that increase in adrenaline that is expected from these sorts of games.

All in all, Blood Will Tell isn’t particularly a bad game, but it’s far from a great game. It’s plagued by way too many downfalls that make this game somewhat laughable at times. While the combat and game’s premises are downright cool, the rest of the game seems outdated and is something that could have been expected to have been seen back in 2002 – in graphics, voice-talent, music and more. Blood Will Tell is a refreshing entry into the hack n’ slash genre, but it’s doubtful that many fans of the genre will enjoy the experience that Blood Will Tell offers.
The Score
Blood Will Tell is one of those games that you wish the developers had spent a little more time with. The game features some fantastic ideas, but most of that is kicked in the arse with the terrible execution of important game elements that actually make games good – graphics, sound and camera issues, for example. A title that would be more recommended for renting than buying.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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9 years ago
that has to be the stupidest premise i've ever heard...

i think i'll pass...
9 years ago
The second screenshot makes it look really budget.

I think ill pass on this one icon_razz.gif
9 years ago
I thought the premise sounded great icon_lol.gif
Shame the execution of the whole game was so badly done...
9 years ago
Not one mention of Osamu Tezuka...odd, considering his name is plastered all over the box and PR material icon_razz.gif
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