Blade Symphony, a multiplayer game featuring sword combat akin to Jedi Knight’s lightsaber duels, has now gone free-to-play, a decision which is proving unpopular among many fans.
This announcement came from developer Puny Human through Steam - the reasons given for this change are to increase the shelf life of the title and bring in new players.
Until now, players had high regard for Blade Symphony. Praised for the depth and fluidity of its combat mechanics upon release, it has amassed a dedicated fanbase. In the wake of going free-to-play, however, a slew of negative reviews have come in on Steam.
Some paying consumers are angry with others receiving the product for free. Many of the new reviews are players taking advantage of the free-to-play status. Criticisms include the frustration of facing veteran players, as well as issues with frame rates, physics, and clunkiness of fight mechanics. Professional reviewers praise the smoothness of the fight mechanics, but their coverage was written in 2014. Standards have changed.
It should be noted that over time, this negative wave has been counteracted somewhat by glowing reviews from other players, some with similarly low hours in the game. These praise the soundtrack, challenging and strategic mechanics, and sheer entertainment value.
As something of a peace offering, the developers have announced that they're taking care of their first customers. Those who spent money on the game will have access to ten incoming exclusive items. The door is also left open for more exclusives down the line.
The game came into being as a passion project born of lead designer Michael Chang’s appreciation for the iconic lightsaber-fighting mechanics of Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. Development began in 2007, other developers joining Chang to form Puny Human and bring his vision to fruition. A Kickstarter in 2011 successfully drummed up enough public interest to raise almost $20,000 to acquire an engine license. Finally, in 2013, the game was available in early access, with a full release occurring in 2014.
Despite the negativity stemming from this most recent development, hopefully, increased interest and ease of development will allow for Puny Human to refine this title in the near future.
Have you tried out the free-to-play ‘Blade Symphony’ release? Were you a purchaser of the original game? Let us know in the comments below!