FIE Swordplay Review
Fast paced and fun combat
Most actions feel real
The multi-player mode adds a good amount of variety
Good character customisation options
Quite a few graphical glitches with the weapons
Moving can often feel weightless and floaty
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy Core
Most mobile games these days are big piles of steaming shite, often being shameless cash grabs. Most of these, upon further inspection, have so little to do they just become chores more than anything else. This is why I am delighted to stumble across FIE Swordplay, a metaphorical gem in the murky mess that is the mobile gaming industry.
FIE is a fencing game. Kind of. It uses real fencing physics and moves, and it looks the part, but if you were to take up fencing, this is not what you would be doing. Like many movies, FIE has simplified the sport, primarily by mixing up the three weapons used in fencing; Foil, Epee and Sabre. Because of this you can hit with the side of the blade, score a touch on any part of the body from the waist up, and fight without the limitations of right of way rules. This is not a bad thing, however, as it makes the game far more accessible as well as increasing the excitement of each bout.
The game is split in to 2 modes: Campaign and multiplayer. In the campaign; you progress through multiple countries by duelling in each country and working up enough XP points until you can fight that country’s champion. There are 7 different types of bouts in the game: from the standard first to five (points), to a Guitar Hero-styled rhythmic button-mashing sequence.
The ultimate goal is to get to Rio, which would be far more interesting if they didn’t use the same arenas as every other location. The repetitiveness of the campaign can make the game feel boring at times, but the different variety of styles used by the AI opponents offer a reprieve to the unchanging scenery. However, the same can’t be said for the end game, which is a dull slog of fighting the same people again and again in Rio.
The multiplayer easily adds a few hours more to your playtime. Keep in mind, this isn’t real-time multiplayer. Instead, you will be fighting AI controlling other players characters. This doesn’t sound like much, but the repertoire system plays right in to the multiplayer’s hand. The repertoire system is one of the 2 customisation options available to the player and allows you to choose and master your play style. Each repertoire is a set of 3 moves, which will be the only moves you can use during a bout. For instance, I use the classical repertoire which consists of the “Thrust,” “Lunge” and “Parry” moves. In the single player, this limitation doesn’t really effect the game too much, as the AI isn’t restricted to 3 moves (though they do tend to stick to the same ones). This limitation is something the AI has to work with in the multi-player as well, as it will use whatever repertoire that player uses.
On the whole, the actual fighting in the game feels smooth, correct, and real. The weapons will often go right through an enemies body when you score a point, though, and walking backwards and forwards can sometimes feel “floaty,” but just like the real thing, to score a well-earned touch can be amazingly satisfying.The concentration meter is an interesting addition to the combat, and I feel it works well: Once the bar fills up, your next attack will go straight through an opponent’s parry, or you will dodge an attack that you did not parry successfully, whichever comes first. Keep in mind that your opponent will never have a concentration bar, and the size of the bar and the speed can be changed depended on what equipment you are wearing.
The game also has uniform customisation, consisting of alternate designs on the masks and what weapon you fight with. You can even dress up as a pirate, something that has never ceased to amuse me. It seems like quite a small thing, but the customisation of your equipment gives the game a personal touch and a layer of depth not usually found in a mobile release.
But there is one large problem with the game. The use of micro-transactions. Now as it’s a free game, I can cut it some slack but it is still a problem. The game has 2 main currencies: which is just money. It is easy to earn and after completing the campaign and spending a good few hours in the multiplayer (also level-capping the game), I can tell you that it does not get harder to earn money. I’m actually confused why there is an option to pay for it in the first place. The game also uses “energy” as a sort of point system, each bout taking away one “energy”. When you get through all 6, you have to wait or spend the second type of currency. This second currency will buy you energy and flags that will offer improvements to your player. This is harder to obtain but still not too hard thanks to the amount you get for finishing a multiplayer tournament. Each currency is- luckily- used for separate things, and are kept separate for the whole game.
Overall, A worthwhile game that is worth your time, and one I would heartily recommend.
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