Diablo is a good game, right? That’s a widely considered truth – Diablo is a good game, and the Xbox 360 port was a well-achieved spin on the action-RPG genre. Unfortunately for Blood Knights, it’s not Diablo, and it never will be. It doesn’t have the depth, the graphical fidelity or the legacy that Diablo has, and as such it cannot get away with the weaknesses fans forgive of the seminal action-RPG hit.
Blood Knights is an unashamed clone of Diablo – even down to the names of the loot drops – and is brazen in its approach to lifting mechanics from the game. The two main characters, the human-turned-vampire Jeremy and the long-time bloodsucker Alysa, are close and ranged-attackers respectively, and pretty much their entire characters (yep, personalities and all) are based on traditional Diablo classes.
If they had some depth to them, this may be forgivable, but every exchange of dialogue is riddled with clichés, and in a story that seems directly lifted from the PlayStation’s Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver, you’d think Deck 13 would at least try and disguise their obvious inspirations. The game is at times genuinely funny, but we’re not sure if it’s supposed to be – you just end up laughing at the ridiculous dialogue and long-outdated fantasy stereotypes.
Played in co-op mode, the title has some legitimate depth. We won’t go as far as saying Blood Knights requires strategy – it’s embarrassingly easy – but it requires a bit more thought than the solo adventurer’s option of tagging your AI partner in and out. Enemy AI is limited to ‘stand around’ and ‘attack’, and once you realise there’s a dodge mechanic, any feeling of genuine threat instantly dissipates.
The whole thing looks like it was supposed to be released a generation ago – in fact, it’d look bad even on an Xbox or a PS2. Animations sometimes just don’t load, and you’ll find yourself having a conversation with a stoic mannequin of a character model. Environmental textures and assets are repeated to the point of exhaustion; if you had some engaging gameplay to take your mind off them, you wouldn’t notice, but you find your eyes constantly scanning the screen from top to bottom because it’s all just so dull.
Blood Knights may have been a serviceable game if it was released five years ago, and lasted a little longer than four hours. Unfortunately, the mediocre combat and forgettable story combine to make this a game good for achievement farming an precious little else.