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Blind Fate: Edo no Yami

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: 101XP
Developer: Troglobytes Games
Release Date: Sept. 15, 2022


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PC Review - 'Blind Fate: Edo No Yami'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Sept. 15, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Walk the dark path of a blind cyber samurai in Blind Fate: Edo no Yami, an action platformer filled with robotic Japanese folktales.

Blind Fate: Edo No Yami follows the story of the titular Yami. In the game, the world has fallen into disaster, and humanity has regressed to the Feudal era. Outside of human habitats, robotic creatures known as Yokai dwell, and they remain the only source for advanced technology because humans have forgotten how to craft their own. Yami is a samurai who was sent on a mission to kill a powerful Yokai, but in doing so, he aroused the anger of the Yokai's guardian, who left him permanently blind. Yami is saved by an AI named Tengu and rebuilt as a cybernetic warrior with abilities that are far beyond what he once had. Now he must get revenge and regain his honor.

Blind Fate is basically a Japanese Horizon: Zero Dawn. It hits almost all of the same plot points and does so closely enough that it's difficult to shake the similarity. Almost every single plot twist is guessable from the first five minutes of the game, and it takes an exceedingly long time to reach the twist that you probably guessed at the beginning. There's some interesting stuff here, but nothing makes it shine in terms of plot or character. Yami is a reasonable protagonist, but he needs more people to play off of. Tengu is probably the star of the show, with a weird mix of kindness and sarcasm.

When you start up Blind Fate, it seems to be a neat concept. Your character is effectively blind, but they have various technologies to overcome it. Your AI friend can reconstruct imagery of your surroundings, but since it is based on old data, it is more of a still picture and can misrepresent locations. Enemies are invisible to normal sight, but you can shift into a smell, hearing or heat sensor mode, which allows you to figure out their location based on contextual clues.

Hitting an enemy makes them briefly visible, whereupon you enter the simple but engaging combat. You can attack, parry, and dodge attacks with the tap of a button, but you must watch the stamina meter to make sure you aren't helpless at a critical moment. You also have a ranged attack that has limited ammunition but can be very effective against certain foes. It begins as a close-range shotgun but can be upgraded to a screen-filling laser.

Combat depends on the Weakness meter. Most enemies have a Weakness bar that fills up as you attack them, but it drains very quickly when you aren't attacking. When the meter fills up, you can strike at their weak point by shifting into one of your sensor modes. Select the correct one, and you can complete a quick minigame to deal massive amounts of damage to foes. Early on, this is the most critical way to deal damage.

The combat is a lot of fun. The game rewards immense aggression, and you basically need to be attacking nonstop to keep the Weakness meter filled. That means you need to learn enemy tells, so you can block or dodge while keeping up your assault, all the while making sure you don't run low on stamina. Different foes have different patterns, and later on, you can get upgrades that let you juggle enemies in the air for easier Weakness breaks. It's a simple but engaging combat system.

Alas, I have never played a game with so little confidence in its core mechanics. Blind Fate does everything it can to minimize your time with the fast-paced combo gameplay by taking away your abilities, engaging in gimmick fights that don't use the same mechanics, or with enemies that don't require you to do anything special to defeat them.

The last is what soured the game for me. Once I got a couple of upgrades, I found that most enemies in the game could be instantly killed with a single dash attack or instantly put into a stunned state, whereupon they can be killed by a QTE, destroying the game's flow in favor of me repeating the same QTE on every single enemy. The last area is comprised of enemies who don't stand a chance against the protagonist, so the climax of the story feels extremely lackluster.

Likewise, the sensor modes feel incredibly underbaked. Early on, it has a few cool concepts. For example, there is an enemy who doesn't have a tell for a very powerful attack in most sensor modes, but if you're in heat mode, you can see it charging up. These moments are few and far between, though. After the halfway point of the game, I spent all my time in hearing mode, which is also where collectible items tend to appear. It feels like the basis for a cool idea, but it didn't make it to the final product, turning this extremely interesting concept into set dressing.

Except for the final boss, the boss battles are incredibly dull. One involves repeating QTEs. Another involves some extremely awkward platforming and the loss of most of the cool combat mechanics. Another is an escort quest where you beat up weak mooks while they try to attack a stationary target. Like the rest of the game, it feels like the dev team didn't have the confidence to ask the players to use the combat system, which is a shame because the last boss fight is a lot more coherently designed.

I went into Blind Fate really enjoying it, but it doesn't manage to pull off what it's trying to do. You can explore previous levels to unlock alternate paths with new abilities, but it basically amounts to being able to smash something you couldn't before, and all that really awaits you are some basic arena fights and a few upgrades. Aside from that, it's a short and easy game, and there isn't much in the way of replay value.

Visually it's a fairly nice-looking game during actual exploration, with all of the enemy models being nicely visible and easily read. The 3D cut scenes show how little animation the models can actually do. One particular character basically seems to have no real animation at all, leading to goofy moments where they fight off-screen enemies or "type" on a keyboard by standing in front of it with the camera panned up enough so their hands and the keyboard are off-screen. Thankfully, these moments are rare, and most of the storytelling is done through nicely drawn still 2D images. The voice acting isn't bad but nothing special either, but it would be nice if they could decide on what accent everyone is using. The music is largely unmemorable.

Blind Fate is a game with great ideas but doesn't live up to them. The combat system is a lot of fun, but the title does everything it can to not let it shine. Outside of the combat, you're left with a predictable story, dull levels, and a boatload of QTEs. I can see a sequel that polishes up some of the mechanics that feel half-baked, but at the end of the day, Blind Fate doesn't really do anything that stands out.

Score: 6.0/10

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