Hands on with Gameloft's Unreal game Wild Blood
By Will Wilson 22 August 2012
Game Name: Wild Blood | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPhone, iPad | Genre: Action, Adventure | Networking: wireless (adhoc)
No, Wild Blood - Gameloft's first Unreal Engine-powered game - isn't anything like Infinity Blade.

Despite the teaser and artwork suggesting a game about slashing and dodging, it actually has more of a God of War feel in its general freedom of movement and basic combo attack system.

The plot is suitably over-the-top, with you playing as the legendary Sir Lancelot fighting back hordes of demonic foes conjured up by the (in the game world) mad King Arthur's magi and witches.

This doesn't take the form of endless waves of enemies, as with Dungeon Hunter 3. Instead it takes the form of long sprawling levels (ten of them, to be exact) set in a very stylised, and stylish, depiction of dark ages England.

Wild at heart

Refreshingly, while the game has been obviously inspired by third-person action games like the aforementioned God of War, it's a lot harder than you might expect - if you're familiar with Gameloft's previous efforts - to find a single inspiration for Wild Blood's design.

During my hands on with the title at Gamescom, I ran, rolled, and smashed my way through lots of evil imp-like creatures in a run-down town, collecting up experience and climaxing in a boss battle with a hulking dragon beast four times the size of my character.

Combat is a simple two-button affair, with one taking care of standard attacks (auto-latching onto your nearest foe and automatically launching at them if they're far away) and another dealing with powerful magic attacks.

The different weapons - from dual axes to large bows - offer different kinds of magic attack and combo moves that are suited to specific situations. If you're surrounded by small enemies you'll probably want to deploy your axe's spin attack, whereas a large foe is best despatched with the sword's impressively over-the-top pyrotechnics.

You also get a 'sprint' button that, when tapped, doubles up as an effective dodge move. Although, given the character I played had been extensively levelled-up before I took control, I found myself more viciously slashing about than dodging.

Is it real?

Those curious to know how well Gameloft has performed with the Unreal Engine at its fingertips will be pleased to learn that the game looks fantastic.

Tiny details, like laundry wafting gently on the wind, sit alongside more striking graphical flourishes, like a flock of birds gliding across the setting sun, to create a world that feels a lot more solid than most titles on the App Store.

While Gameloft's own internal engine - used to power games such as Modern Combat 3 - looks pretty good nowadays, I did get the feeling from the detailed, warped buildings around my character that the company's artists have had a lot more freedom to go to town with this one, either through the tech or just thanks to the prolonged development time.

There's still some time yet before we can get our hands on the finished article - Gameloft hasn't confirmed a release date other than "September" - but Wild Blood is shaping up very nicely.

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