Bloodline Champions Review - Seems Familiar
By Kei Beneza, (dividelife) OnRPG Journalist
Bloodline Champions is a free to play MMO that resembles Warcraft 3's Defense of the Ancients custom map. The game revolves completely around PVP and greatly relies on teamwork. With other DoTA-inspired games like League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth hitting the scene, it was no surprise that games like this would follow. While the game resembles some of the titles stated above, Bloodline Champions also has its own unique features. It looks reaaaaaally similar to its game play brothers in my opinion, but is it really good enough to compete with the games it tried so hard to copy? I seriously doubt that this game is an MMO as it plays and runs like its predecessors (which would technically mean that DoTA is an MMO).
Upon logging in for the first time, players are opted to either play through or skip the in game tutorials. I would really suggest doing these tutorials as they help a lot in explaining the game's features. I must say, I was quite impressed with the voiceovers, especially since it's better to hear the instructions rather than reading it. Once you're done listening to the nice man's lecture, you'll be asked to fight a mock 1-on-1 and 2- on-2 match. After finishing the tutorials, you'll be opted to either create or join a game. It really is similar to Heroes of Newerth as players get to pick between an array of characters before starting the game, each with their own unique abilities that aids their teammates in battle.
Unlike Heroes of Newerth, Bloodline Champions only lets players fight character opponents (no creeps here folks). Characters don't level up either, making the game a bit... linear and very similar to a casual shooter game rather than a DotA clone. If I were to compare it with DoTA, Bloodline Champions play like a certain scenario in the game (DotA) where players are fully leveled and are all in the middle of the map mashing their brains out. It's actually more like an arena fighting game, than a strategic battle of wits, as players march forward and beat the hell out of each other 3 seconds after the round starts.
Spells and effects also work differently in this game as players have an infinite amount of mana for their skills and gimmicks. The catch? COOLDOWN! That's right! Even your attack button has a cool down, which makes it a bit annoying, especially with the honking sound playing every time you hit a skill that's still on cool down. "Ultis" or special attacks are also acquired differently in this game as you recharge your strongest attack by damaging opponents. Troublesome really... This means that if you really suck at aiming, you won't get to own people with your special sauce.
Another thing that caught my attention is the aiming system. Unlike its kin, Bloodline Champions makes players aim their shot rather than just clicking once on their target. It's really annoying in my opinion, as the whole idea of your BASIC attack having a cool down was bad enough.
The controls are laid out differently as well. Instead of the traditional (yet effective) mouse movement, players are forced to use the WSAD keys to move around the map. The spell keys are awkward as well, with three of them placed right next to your W button (Q,E,R). It would've been better if they were just placed on the number keys. I mean, it's not like you can move when you attack anyway, so why bother?
Yes, the game plays really slow compared to its counterparts. I don't really know if it's lag but the movement controls aren't really that responsive. Characters seem to have a slow startup before running your desired direction. Let's see... It's like a racing game where players must shift into first gear before feeling the actual speed of the car. Also, the main fact that you have to stop in order to attack makes the experience absurd and snail-like. Really... is there a way to adjust the speed? Kthxbye...
Bloodline Medallion? Pfft
One unique yet utterly useless feature in the game is the Bloodline Medallion. Unlike its counterparts, the game lets players heal themselves by pressing the F1 key. Also, players can revive each other by pressing the F2 when close to a downed ally. Note that these effects are negated when hit by enemy characters. It's actually not that bad if enemies don't see you all the time, but the game takes place in a small friggin arena, meaning you won't the have time to use it (unless it's 5-on-5). Kudos to you if you managed to revive your ally in the middle of the arena, that's skill.
I must say, the graphics did appeal to me, especially with the traditional isometric view. The characters move fluently and the spell effects look marvelous. Nothing beats a bunch of flashing lights when executing your special skill. The interface is pretty basic but is nicely labeled to avoid confusion. When it comes to visuals, this game gets a thumbs up. The camera angle needs a bit of tweaking in my opinion, especially since it's usually hard to see what's on top of you. Maybe an extra zoom out? Yeah, that should do it. The visuals aren't really that good compared to its predecessors, but heck, it's bearable.
Well, as far as I'm concerned, Bloodline Champions is still worth checking out. It's a bit slow for my taste, but I'm sure it'll appeal to some gamers. The matchmaking system is awesome, and the game does have a lot of characters to experiment with, so I suppose it would be a fun casual game for everyone.
Easy to learn
Just plain fun
Lots of characters
Aiming in FPSes were easier