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Blightbound (PS4) Review – More Crashes Than Bashes

Blightbound PS4 ReviewWelcome to Blightbound, a dungeon crawling, skull-cracking 2d action game from Ronimo Games and Devolver Digital. If you have ever played a game of this ilk, you will know the drill all too well. Kill stuff, level up, kill more stuff, rinse and repeat. I do like games like these, they are combat and loot-based comfort food. Think of it as a two dimensional, hand-drawn Diablo, if you will.

However I will say, straight off the bat, that this will be one of the hardest reviews I have ever had to write. I have had a week or so of constant technical issues followed by two days of semi-enjoyable game time. In the initial week, I could barely complete a level without my PlayStation 5 grinding to a halt. I am a glass-half-full kind of guy and can find the positives in anything but even I struggled in those dire opening days. Praise the day-one update!

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Blightbound PS4 Review

Hack, Slash, Repeat

Blightbound is a tale of a group of legendary warriors who defeated a Shadow Titan but the consequences of this were vast. A blight crept through the land, corrupting all the creatures it touched. Now you must recruit a new uncanny band of warriors, mages and rogues, create a base to work from and send the corruption back from whence it came.

You start your adventures from your base camp, the Refuge. As you fight through hordes of skeletons, abnormalities and tentacle-clad monstrosities you acquire new loot, currencies and if you’re lucky, a new hero or two. These heroes are split into three classes and have varying abilities and powers within each class. Even through my initial pain, finding new heroes to experiment with kept me interested in playing.

Generic Stereotypes

Each of these generic stereotypes acts as you would suspect, the rogue deals with backstabs and sneaky tactics, the wizard dishes out healing and attacks from afar. The warrior just bashes stuff and draws aggro, which is always the way with those fellows. Each new hero of each type has slight differences but they all fit into these three molds. It was nice using characters in unison and using their abilities in combos to defeat your adversaries.

For example, a tactic I used quite a lot during battle was to go wading in with the warrior and use his ability to attract the attention of the enemies. In the meantime, the wizard would put a shield around me, heal me and use ranged attacks to pick off unwary foes. It was a tactic that worked well and in most cases, was very efficient.

These champions can be levelled up in various stats and can be laden with numerous armours and trinkets. Want more critical damage? Here you go. Want more health? Whack on a health trinket. You can, with only a few slots to play with, tailor your favourite hero to your liking. As well as this, as you progress you can unlock new NPC’s and features located at the refuge.

A Dungeon Crawler For Anyone

I felt Blightbound did a good job of showing you how to play the game, just a click of the right analog stick would remind you of all your current characters abilities and all the missions were clearly explained and user friendly. On the whole, as far as dungeon crawlers go, Blightbound is quite light, easy-going and even when you are choosing your missions there is a wide variety of difficulties to suit any type of player.

Aside from the performance issues which now seem non-existent and were infuriating, Blightbound did have a few other issues that may put some people off. Especially if you play single player. I found the AI to be appalling. From the other characters getting stuck, not activating switches or just generally being crap at their job, playing alone was, at times, a lonely, dark place.

AI-Based Nincompoops

The number of times I had to leave an area just to get an AI-controlled player back into the mix was shocking. They would clip through walls, get stuck behind pushable objects and were, on the whole, a nuisance. I had times where three switches needed activating and my two AI companions kept standing on the same switch, pair of nincompoops, it was blood-boiling.

Some segments of my game time got a tad repetitive, for example sometimes if a mission I needed to do was set to ‘impossible’ difficulty I would replay older levels to reset it. This tied to my tear-inducing opening days of software crashes meant I repeated levels a lot and the enemies and level designs did start to get a bit same-y. A bit more variety and randomization would have gone a long way.

I also thought that the back-end side of things needs a little work. I paused a mission once, I was playing alone, and then had to nip off so I put my PS5 into rest mode. On my return, after waking up my console it booted me from the game saying the party lineup had changed, in a bloody single-player match, the nerve of it! So that was irksome, it was like it thought the game was connected in multiplayer rather than single-player, which I suppose could be easily fixed.

Graphically, I enjoyed Blighbounds‘ visual style. It has a hand-drawn comic-like quality to it and it fits the style of the game well. On the sound front, I was less impressed. From lacklustre music to the short drab incessant dialogue lines, the sound work did need a bit more time. Over the course of my playthrough, the drab one-liners did start to grate on me.

There Are Far Better Games In The Genre

While there are some things I like about Blightbound, I find it hard to really recommend it. I do feel my views have been tainted by my initial struggles and if you are playing it after reading this, you may not even see the turmoil I faced due to the day one patch. I enjoyed collecting and using new characters, I got some entertainment from multiplayer with my boys and using our abilities in unison to whittle down our foes was amusing.

Playing alone really felt substandard compared to playing multiplayer. Your AI-controlled teammates are more of a hindrance than a help and you will spend more time babysitting them than congratulating them on their warrior-like prowess. The levels and enemies can also get repetitive when you repeat stages and when playing for longer periods.

While Blightbound does have some positives, there are far better games in the genre. If you are gagging for some multiplayer-based, loot grinding dungeon delving, you may enjoy this one. I did after the day one patch, just remember what I went through to bring you this review. It was not easy for either me or my poor PlayStation.

Blightbound is available on PS4 now.

Review copy provided by the publisher.



The Final Word

My opening days with Blightbound were ridden with crashes and bugs. Luckily the say one patch fixed most of these and you, if you buy it, will never have to suffer as I did. When I got through the initial pain, there are parts of Blightbound I liked. I enjoyed combing abilities together, I really enjoyed multiplayer and collecting new heroes is delightful. Be wary of playing alone though, the AI is tosh and the game can get quite repetitive in longer sessions. There are better examples of dungeon crawlers out there but Blightbound does have some good qualities mixed in with its bad ones.