Mirror of Fate HD introduced us to Trevor and Simon, the vampire hunters of the Belmont clan. Well, they've finally met their match. At least, that is, in terms of having names that fail to inspire terror. In Blood Knights, you play a fierce soul-bound vampire called - and the fingertips quiver just to type the word - Jeremy.
Jeremy is roundly screwed over by his order. He's linked to a vampire to give him the powers to get the job done, then left for dead when they realised their mate was now irrevocably linked to a vampire. Top tip, guys - don't leave an undead character for dead. They're great at surviving that stuff.
This leaves Jeremy with the ability to swap between his own swordfighting persona, and his vampiric archer soulmate, Liz. Jeremy can whip off a distance-closing heavy attack, a crowd-clearing whirlwind attack, and pull distant or unreachable enemies closer to him with what amounts to a Force Pull power. Liz's powers suit an at-a-distance approach, with flaming arrows, and a grenade that acts as a panic button if you get hemmed in by werewolves.
There's an RPG system of chests, loot, levelling and skill trees, but it's a little threadbare. Similarly, the perks in your skill tree contain less in the way of thrilling new powers, and more in the way of percentage modifiers.
The game feels exploitable - Liz can hover around the aggro radius of enemies, and use her twin-stick style archery to pick them off. Jeremy is more fun, with quick cooldowns allowing you to cycle through his powers, but it all feels very unpolished. Frustrating long checkpoints, for example, are annoying. But here, they reset your inventory and collectibles, forcing repeat menu-work on you. And while Blood Knights isn't brutally hard, death can come quickly and easily if you leap off the wrong ledge, or accidentally swap characters mid battle. These are the moments you'll want to stop playing and, sadly, they're a little more persuasive than the combat or RPG elements.
It's better with two players, as the ability to survive moments of stupidity easily outweighs the loss of character-swapping flexibility. But either way, Blood Knights holds as much annoyance as satisfaction.
- Good mix of styles, with pleasant co-op
- Progression is weak and statistical
- Redundant in a world with Diablo