Blade Symphony: PvP sword duels

Steam page | Website. $10 until 5/14.

Blade Symphony has been in early access for a while, but on May 7 it reached v1.0 and was officially “released.” As a nut for nonstandard PvP, and slavering for some more melee action after a ton of Dark Souls 2 PvP, I gave it a shot.

In short: it’s quite good.

There are four characters, each with a unique set of moves. There are five swords (longsword, jian, rapier, katana, scimitar), each with unique attributes (for example, rapiers do much more damage from thrusting moves, while longswords do more in a slicing move.) You can choose any character/sword combination you like, and everything’s available from the first match – there’s nothing to unlock but cosmetic skins for the characters and weapons (and there’s workshop integration, with a ton of custom assets).

Each character has three stances: light, balanced, and heavy. The stance determines speed, damage, and parrying ability (as you might expect, heavier stances are slower, deal more damage, and parry lighter stances). These stances form move chains – the second light attack is always the same, for example. You can switch stance mid chain, creating custom combinations. One neat feature is that a shimmering trail shows the path of your next swing, which makes it easier to move your character into position.

Unfortunately, there’s no stamina mechanic – you can attack as often as you like, though reckless attacks will be punished. Attacks also feel pretty weightless – all the characters are fast and attacks flow quickly. Some of the characters attack in fast leaping/dancing patterns, which is fairly ridiculous. There are also – SIGH – jumping and jump attacks.

There are 2v2 and FFA modes, but I’ve only played duels, about sixty so far. They’re as you would hope: short, but not too short, tactical, engaging, and fun. If you’re interested in PvP sword duels, this is very easy to recommend.

MP only? No bot support, correct?

If yes, I expect this to never really take off and die quickly.

Well, yeah, obviously. That’s why you grab a game like this early – you play it for the first month while the interest is there and then you move on.

Believe me, this game would hold no interest with bots.

I picked this up for $3 during the holiday sale. It felt pretty rough, so I decided to hold off on playing it, but now might be a good time to jump back in.

It’s actually quite fun, though I do wish there was some sort of stamina