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Bloodline Champions (PC) Review

Updated Fri, Jan 21, 2011 by Stow

And yes, there's a ton of achievements to be had here.  Only unlike every other game, getting them earns you real currency to spend in the shop!

Do you crave intense skill-based PvP?

Do you appreciate timing and reaction based combat, with solid pings to both US and European servers to make those tactful moves possible?

Do you enjoy team based combat, both deathmatch and objective based?

If you said yes to at least two of the three, you’ll be in love with Bloodline Champions.  Bloodline Champions is an arena combat game.  You control a single character and fight alongside friends to rout the enemy team one way or another.  Movement is controlled with WASD, and every single attack has very specific aiming to it based on where your mouse is.  If you want to melee someone, you have to be clicking in their direction, and they can dodge it if they rotate around you.  There is no targeting in Bloodline Champions, and thus the skill ceiling is very high.

When talking about Bloodline Champions, it’s important to eliminate one major comparison that is often thought of by the misinformed.  This game is not meant to compete with Defense of the Ancients or League of Legends or any of those related games in their genre.  Bloodline Champions is about team combat at its finest, with no items, no levels, no grinding.  You spawn with the exact same power from one second in than you’ll have an hour in.

You’ll experience CTF combat, capture point combat, team fights in glorious death match combat with many games coming down to a nail-biting 1v1, and there are even bots to fight against by yourself if you’re looking to try out skill combos or just get used to a new character (called Bloodlines in-game)  There’s something for every PvP combat lover out there!

Cautions

This game is not rated by the ESRB. It has a very passionate community that loves to win, so some words will be exchanged from time to time and the occasional blood fountain for an overkill. Tiny things aside, this game is good to go for everyone to enjoy.

Gameplay

97Excellent

One thing to notice is the actual size difference.  Size does affect your vulnerability to projectiles and your hitbox, so size DOES matter in Bloodline Champions.

Teams are split anywhere from 2v2 to 5v5, and each character picks a character that falls into one of four archetypes:

Tanks : There is only one taunt in this game, and it’s pretty limited.  Tanks in this have a higher health pool and excel at taking damage, controlling enemies with various negative effects, and doing quite a bit themselves.  They’re extremely vulnerable to being kited unless your aim is precise.

Melee DPS : Melees in this game are faster on foot than the other classes, and deal more damage with basic attacks than any other class.  They have multiple ways to move around the map, and each have ways to leech health or otherwise survive when focused on.  You take bonus damage when attacked from behind, so running from them is not an option typically!

Ranged DPS : Your typical ranged class is all about demolishing people with rapid fire.  Just having good aim and constantly bombing someone with your basic attack is enough to send people packing.  They have strong area of effect attacks, and at least one lethal charged up shot.  They’re slower on foot than the other classes, but have at least 2 panic buttons to go to when being chopped up.

Healers : Healers always have one spell that can be spammed to keep people alive from afar, but the heal has to be aimed too! It cannot be intercepted by the enemy, but you can miss your allies or get a lesser heal due to them being too far outside the splash.  Healers have multiple shields and debuffs to keep themselves in the game when focused, and are among the hardest targets to come up against 1v1 simply because they can keep themselves alive much better than you can!

Balanced teams are almost always preferred, but good players can survive without healers long enough to kill their opponents.  Once the brawl begins, the action pretty much never ceases (well, except when you die!)  Cooldowns are very short.  As you land attacks, you build up an energy bar that can be used for EX versions of attacks with amplified/different effects, or save for your ultimate, which often turns the tide or outright wins the game.

Timing and precision are important.  You gain absolutely nothing when you miss an attack, and you probably just stood there for a split second and ate one in return.  If you use a counter attack ability too early, an enemy might just watch you twirl your weapon in place and laugh, then punch your face in a second after it wears off.  If you time your Stalagmite right with Glutton, you’ll pull their healer from the back lines right into your team.  If you miss, you have a 10 second cooldown or you just pulled their tank into your team instead—not a good thing!
The sky is the limit, and no two games will ever play out the same way!

Graphics

82GoodIn a game as intense as Bloodline Champions, the graphics can get in the way of the actual combat. The team at Stunlock Studios did a wonderful job of making the game flashy for a top-down perspective, but simple enough to see exactly where attacks are coming from and what attack they are before they hit, so you can dodge them or activate counterattacks. There is no “what the hell just hit me” moment, unlike a lot of arena games or games like Heroes of Newerth for new players. While the game does look good in motion, screenshots look pretty plain and this isn’t a game you’re going to show off to your friends for its graphical qualities.

One of the things they nailed, oddly enough, is the combat text mid-combat. It’s the perfect size and duration on screen. It lets you know you’re affected by buffs or debuffs, the stack amount, and disappears shortly afterwards. So many games make it difficult to see the strength or amount of debuffs in play, but this game does it quite well. It’s pretty important since every character has a way to make big red words appear over another’s head, and some many at once!

Sound

82GoodAll of the attacks have good audio cues to indicate impact, flight, and channeling. Since the battlefield is wide, some attacks will be happening off screen and you aren’t totally left out due to the good sound effects. Everyone has laughs and gloating for getting killing blows too, even the healers! The music that accompanies the combat could use a little more variety, but the themes themselves aren’t bad by any means. If anything they’re more energetic than you’d expect, and are probably the best in the arena combat genre, though that’s not saying much.

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Bloodline Champion

Having already spent 24 hours with Bloodline Champions, my time with the game continues in this "Time Extended" coverage. Unfortunately I've still not played a tournament or found myself a guild but that's all because I'm finding it too bloody hard to step away from the 3v3 solo rated matches

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Bloodline Champions by Stunlock Studios falls somewhere between DOTA 2 and World of Warcraft's arena combat. Having now spent 24 hours with the game, I'm ready to let you know my thoughts on this free-to-play face pummeler.

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