Conqueror’s Blade is a free-to-play tactical Action MMO from developer Booming Games. This interesting array of genres promises a unique mix of player development, PVE story, epic siege combat, open world exploration and resource gathering and open world. With so many different ideas and mechanics mashed together, one has to question how it all plays out in this medieval hack and slash world. Well, dear friends, we need not question further as after a week of hacking, slashing and commanding my way through Conqueror’s Blade I’m here to give my report on what it's like to be on the front lines of Booming Games latest title. So grab that coffee, kick back and enjoy our review of Conqueror’s Blade.
In a world devastated by war, players take on the role of one of ten unique warlords set on conquering and bringing control to the chaotic lands. With weapons in hand, players set out on a journey of building an army to take on rival factions and players all in the name of conquest. The world of Conqueror’s Blade is a seemingly vast and open set piece where players can explore, harvest and challenge one another to combat with the victors take the spoils of the vanquished.
The world of Conqueror's blade feels a bit dated visually with many of the animations and character models falling flat and a bit underwhelming. The world itself is washed out with many of the colours simply variations on brown and grey. Whether for technical reasons, due to the large scale of the world and combat, or for some other thematic reason, it, unfortunately, left me a bit quite disappointed. That being said I was impressed with the design of the world structurally with the city centers, in particular, is quite impressive to explore and spend time in. However when entering the open world or even combat areas things again feel flat and uninspired.
Combat is an interesting mix of standard hack and slash and command based, tactical strategy. On the one hand, you control your personal avatar who through combat, harvesting, and crafting, unlocks skills, abilities and gear. This facet of combat feels much more like a traditional ARPG. Your character comes equipped with some basic left and right mouse abilities coupled with a few select unique skills to throw into the mix. With several progression options at your disposal, the game does offer some unique options for player development. The one caveat in all this is that the progression systems at work here can feel a bit overwhelming for new players.
On paper this looks great, however, the implementation once again falls a little flat. Clunky animations coupled with terrible balancing issues makes you sometimes feel like a god among men and at other times like a bug crushed under a giants heel. Not to mention that combat, in general, feels slow, clunky and at times bland. There never seems to a balance struck where combat is challenging by manageable. On top of this, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of heavy strategy for player combat, it essentially becomes you throwing yourself at the enemy and hoping your health and armor keep you alive longer than your enemy.
On the other hand, players will also control groups of NPC combatants who will loyally follow you into combat and do your bidding. The controls for troop management are streamlined which was nice while in the heat of combat allowing for quick redirection and strategic attacks at key moments. In fact, when it came to PVP combat this was actually the more enjoyable part of the experience. More than once I found myself hanging back and monitoring the flow of combat and then moving my troops to route enemy troops and players when the timing was right. In this area, Conqueror’s Blade shines a bit more.
Speaking on troop management it is important to briefly highlight that there is a lot of work required to raise up an army outside of combat. As mentioned a good portion of the game is spent harvesting resources which in turn are used to develop and recruit your army. In fact, as much of the game, in general, revolves around resource management and farming of said resources.
If you are someone who enjoys the long journey of crafting, management and development, Conqueror’s Blade has a lot to offer the player. Although it’s not as complex or robust as games like Black Desert in regards to resource management it does offer enough to keep players busy. The one downside here is that it can be a pretty huge grind for players who favour the combat and strategy. For myself, this part of the game was a huge chore and didn’t really add to the gameplay experience for me.
The open world, where most of the farming and grinding for resources takes place, feels pretty empty. There are some PVE type events taking place like bandit raids and at any time PVP encounters can happen but overall the open world experience felt pretty lonely and repetitive.
There are so many layers and mechanics at work in Conqueror’s Blade to try to get your head around as a player. In fact, it feels like a bit of a catch twenty-two (if you’ll pardon the expression) for the developer. On the one hand, Booming Games really feels like they are trying to take the tactical Action MMO to the next level of immersion and innovation in how we play in the genre. I appreciate the desire and effort they have put forth. However, because of the inter-reliance on each other, when one or more mechanic isn’t quite polished it really does pull the whole game down.
Conqueror’s Blade attempts to set a new standard for what a tactical action MMO can look like. The game does achieve some of what it sets out to do, with some truly great tactical moments and some epic battle sequences. However, clunky, simple player combat, overwhelming progression systems and lacklustre visuals and open world leave the game feeling underwhelming and a bit disappointing.