Blood Waves Review
Taking inspiration from Resident Evil’s infamous Mercenaries mode, Light Road Games’ Blood Waves has players fighting their way through waves of the living dead. Should you grab your gun and fight, or are you better off playing Capcom’s titles once more?
Blood Waves Review
The entirety of Blood Waves takes place in one temple-themed room. Players will take control of an unnamed heroine, and will fight their way through waves of zombies. It’s a very simple concept, boiled down to its basic elements. There’s no story to speak of, and sadly not much variety either. Sure, there might be a bomb, acid, or electric zombie thrown into the mix, but everything you come across is painfully generic. It feels like the development team threw together a number of gameplay assets, rather than create a carefully crafted world.
All of this would be forgiven if the gameplay was solid, but the bland over-the-shoulder third person setup gets a number of things wrong. The aiming and weaponry cribs notes from Resident Evil, but a stamina system akin to the one found in Dark Souls has also been thrown in. Though it is nice to have the option to sprint or dodge, tying it to a meter that drains quickly was not the smartest of moves. The main character kind of hobbles along, and the way zombies attack means that dodging is a foolish thing to do. As a result, the general feedback loop of running a few seconds, shooting, and running some more proves to be most successful.
The gunplay works as you think it would, with players starting with a Colt M1911 and moving up to shotguns and even RPGs, but it often feels like the knockback system works against the player. Sure, headshots can put you ahead, but the general feedback you get from taking down enemies is lousy. Enemy hordes will often take multiple hits without batting an eye, and the stock blood splatter makes everything look cheap. In later waves, multiple zombies will come at you at once, rendering most of the basic weaponry impractical. The key to victory is to get one of the good weapons and upgrade it to oblivion, which goes against the idea of variety.
Between waves, players can access a back room and buy traps and upgrade their weaponry through cash dropped from enemies and Skill and Survival Points. Skill points can provide perks like increased stamina or more health, and act as a basic leveling system that allows players to create the perfect build. Players can also use a workbench to upgrade each weapon’s damage, firing rate, magazine capacity, and bullet stock.
The biggest thing people can buy are the traps. With such names as “The Zombie Grinder,” “The Deadly Spinner,” and “Flamethrower,” players can set up multiple traps before each wave. Zombies will more or less walk into these things, and though they did not completely dismember the competition, they did help. It’s just far too easy to block yourself in and let everything else do the work, especially when said traps can be repaired. More balance would have gone a long way.
Blood Waves feels like a pale imitation of Resident Evil’s Mercenaries mode. Though the traps players can set add some variety, the lack of character and polish in this title is blatantly apparent.