We've been keeping tabs on Wild Blood [$6.99] every since Gameloft announced that they would be utilizing Unreal Engine 3 in their iOS games. Being one of the games taking advantage of that engine, there's little doubt that Wild Blood is a nice looking game. However, an uneven difficulty curve, control issues, and a few other technical missteps keep this adventure from reaching the lofty heights of the tale it's based on.

While Wild Blood takes its cues straight from the Arthurian legend, it's story is mostly its own interpretation of the tale. In it, you play as Lancelot, one of the Knights of the Round Table. After catching Lancelot having an affair with Arthur's wife, Guinevere, Arthur ends up distraught and gives carte blanche to his sorceress, Morgana, to open the Hell Gate, unleashing a host of demons onto the land. Thus, Lancelot's tale is to recruit allies (including familiar faces such as Merlin the Wizard), rid the world of demons and take down Arthur and Morgana. There's something about playing a game set within Arthurian times that simply makes it more intriguing. Thus, while Wild Blood's story isn't particularly exciting, it at least has more meat to its backdrop, more so than many other games.

Meanwhile, Lancelot will hunt Morgana and her demons via standard hack 'n' slash gameplay. A virtual stick controls movement while a variety of virtual buttons allow Lancelot to slash, dodge, dash and launch a variety of weapon-related spells. Lancelot also eventually discovers a bow and dual weapons for ranged and fast attacks, respectively. A fully manipulative camera system lets you swipe the screen to view the world. Finally, a loose auto-targeting system rounds out the controls.

Wild Blood's controls mostly works, with some key exceptions. Attacks and movement are adequate for playing, although I'm not the biggest fan of using a virtual stick for movement (it feels too much like a ported game than a native iOS game). However, the camera controls just don't work for me. Swiping to move the camera is too slow (forcing you to swipe more than you need to move the camera) and there's no option to adjust the sensitivity. When you're caught in the middle of battling enemies, there's not a lot of time do things like adjust the camera. Yet, Wild Blood forces you to focus too much on the camera, and it ends up frustrating.

Thankfully, not all aspects of Wild Blood are frustrating, as the game features a nice current/skill upgrade system that allows tons of customization. There are tons of stats available for improvement, with upgrades available for damage, critical rating, techniques, and spells. These stats are separate for each weapon, giving you three separate sets of improvements to work towards, in addition to general 'armor' attributes (health, speed, e.t.c.). While this leads to a large amount of variety as to character development, one of the possible pitfalls becomes spreading your gold too thin across a variety of upgrades, especially with the uneven difficulty curve as you progress.

While the first half of Wild Blood feels pretty balanced, you quickly learn that there's an uneven difficulty curve, especially towards the latter third of the game. Bosses become particularly tough, with stats being heightened significantly. While this would seem obvious, the biggest issue is that your own stats don't seem to increase at the same proportion. This is where the game seems to lead you down the primrose path of IAP in order to buy more gold to increase your stats. I understand that this seems to be a recurring theme in games lately, but having IAP pushed in this regard in a game of this caliber just feels wrong.

If single player (or dealing with the issues above) isn't your forte, Wild Blood includes a multiplayer mode that has you taking Lancelot against other Lancelots (and other characters, of course). There are multiple game modes, such as Team Deathmatch, a ranking system with complete stat tracking, and a decent match filtering system. However, the gameplay itself just feels bland. The rankings don't seem to offer much incentive to keep playing, while the control issues I mentioned above still apply, except with the added issue of latency. Sure, it's an alternative to single player, but not that good of an alternative.

Seeing how it uses Unreal Engine 3, you'd expect Wild Blood to look awesome and in that regard, it certainly succeeds. Wild Blood has some very beautiful graphics, with good particle effects, detailed textures, and nice fantastical backdrops. I spent most of of my play-through on the Retina iPad and it was a visual treat. Unfortunately, even this aspect of Wild Blood isn't perfect, as I encountered numerous occasions of frame-rate slow-down.

This seems to be the perpetual theme of Wild Blood: every positive seems to be counter-balanced by an unnecessary negative. The controls, story, gameplay -- even the visual engine itself, all seem to work against the elements that Gameloft do succeed in implementing. It's a shame because Wild Blood has the potential to be a must-have iOS title. Unfortunately, as it stands now, it's a mixed bag.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • GSJ1977

    You might want to mention that it runs at 1024x768 with no AA on the new iPad...

    • JBRUU

      No it doesn't.

      • GSJ1977

        Yes, it does. If your naked eye can't see it then take screenshot and open it in an image editor. It's 1024x768 exactly, with each pixel being represented by a solid 2x2 pixel on the retina screen.

      • GSJ1977

        Hmm, my bad it seems. I just checked a different part of the screen I took and not all the pixels are 2x2, just... a lot of them. So it's some sort of intermediate res like 1536x1152 upresd?? In any case it's not full retina, but you're right it's not 1024, sorry.

      • JBRUU

        No prob.

        I don't really think its full retina but it's close for some art assets and models, which will explain why the damn game drops the framerate every minute or so and when using special attacks. I think it's also because this is GL's first UE3 game. I've seen a5 and a5x devices do far more impressive things than render a uber linear stage by stage fighting game with crap animations, so this is just an optimization issue. Hopefully.

      • GSJ1977

        Vanishing comments again! I wrote a comment (which is now nowhere to be seen) saying that I double checked and in fact you're right and I'm wrong about it being 1024x768. It's more like 1400x1050(ish) with no AA. In any case its definitely not full retina.

  • seniorgustavo

    Had a tough time with its control actions being unresponsive at times while playin this app, that I manage to ease down a bit and still continued playin more to explore BUT when I reached level 5 and just keeps on "dying" for what reason, coz of the CAMERA MOVEMENT indeed needs 2 or more taps to get the view u need (and its awfully bad) but before this happened I'd been a feast already for the enemies NEXT thing I know poor Lancelot dead, it's annoyingly frustrating died coz your Camera was fixed on the ceiling while u're in the middle of a fight and this happened not just 1 or 2 times, quite a lot.

    Deleted the app until the update comes.

    In-app Purchase (IAP):
    basic update ----- $0.99
    Major update ----- $99.99
    Gameloft inspired

  • alberson

    I'm still regretting the 8 dollars I paid for this game. Everything is cheap. And those IAP is a MUST, not optional. I'm sorry GL, but I'm not buying any more of your games.

    • Greyskull

      Don't forget, it was Gameloft who recently coined (pun not intended) the term "Paymium".

    • riChchestMat

      I've been steering away from Gameloft games ever since the first couple I tried. Even the free ones. I just think they are poor quality copies.

  • http://twitter.com/Rage_boi Vince

    "something about playing a game set within Arthurian times that simply makes it more intriguing"
    ..lol you enjoyed having the Arthurian legend being mauled by this game?

  • Himmat Singh

    Well, to be honest the biggest factor going against this game is the camera. As it is, I would give it a 3.5/5 on a day I have a good mood, 3 stars otherwise. Other than that, the controls may be a little intimidating, but not too bad. Graphics when in the game is good, but when it gets to the cutscenes, the graphics are terrible - out of sync lip movement, perverse animation. Has the potential to get to 4 stars I reckon if they clean up the camera and controls alone.

  • ImJPaul

    I got to level 6 and then I got crushed by the boss at the end of the level and then it said I needed some bow to kill it. How do I get to the last 4 levels?! Just replay level 6 or do I have to play all of it over again on hard mode?

    • ImJPaul

      Anybody?! Please?!

  • Spamstic

    Sketchy control schemes and bad cams are back with a vengeance on ios.I have yet to play 3d game on iOS where the cam works and the controls, even bastion suffers from it, it's playable but there is hardly any accuracy compared to a real controller.

  • Scape3d

    I'm really glad I didn't spend 7 bucks on this. Yikes!

    • jar0d

      Yep. And I won't pick it up when it is 0,99. I can't stand this IAP crap.

      • presto77

        IAP's are ruining mobile gaming. I understand that the cost of games can't always be .99, but if you're already asking in excess of $6-$10 then IAP's should only be an option and not a requirement to proceed. I'll gladly pay $10 for a good game but I won't be nickeled and dimes after the fact for double or triple the amount.

        The sad thing is that it's almost like gambling for some people. Spending money so easily without having to enter your CC# every time or stump up the cash and before you know it you've spent $50 on a supposedly "free" game. I wonder if a day will come where restrictions are put in place regarding this. Maybe it's just a pipe dream tho...

      • http://twitter.com/Beards2 Beards_Game

        Got a question... would a free game with say, one game mode + levels with IAP to unlock, extra levels or multiplayer be shot down quickly by the anti-IAP people? 

        I'm planning on releasing a game that is free, but multiplayer and additional game modes would be IAP unlocked.

        What does the anti-IAP crowd think of that sort of methodology?

      • ZorakZoran

        I'll speak for me, in this situation iap isn't a problem, it's a problem when the game is crippled by it, forcing you to either grind for hours, or pay. A lot of games are destroyed by this lately.

      • swatbot

        I grew up using the pay if you want to play model, we called it 'shareware' lol. I've no problems with games that are free to try out then unlockable. It's been a standard part of the industry since the beginning. (Also, given that ITunes lists the in app purchases next to each app, I don't see how anyone can argue they are being deceived or something).
        What I don't like is games that are designed to suck money. For example, making a game that starts off easy, only to hinge on costing you real world money in order to keep up with the difficulty level or other online players in terms of upgrades or bonuses. It seems like a way to con people, even if it's legal.

      • swatbot

        Let me rephrase the difference: you can buy a game with iap that still unlocks a game with solid gameplay--skill, fun challenges, entertaining mechanics. etc. Sketchy iap games however rely on your wallet.

      • http://twitter.com/Rage_boi Vince

        So long as it isn't a pay to win situation..anything will do. 

  • tommet

    'Wild Blood' Review - A Legend Best Forgotten...

    There.  Fixed that for ya.

    • JBRUU

      Should've been the title xD

      • xepiczx

        Lol it should have been
        But still good game

  • http://twitter.com/D_LA_ROC D_LA_ROC

    I used to think Gameloft games were the best. When I played Prince of Persia Warrior Within on my iPhone, I couldn't believe it. It was an actual console quality game on my phone. I thought for sure Gameloft was going to be big and the games were always going to be great quality. But they end up taking a turn and making Freemium games and having IAP in all there games. I'd rather pay 15 dollars for a good, quality game instead of 6.99 or free with IAP. When I say good quality, I'm not just talking about graphics. All this iAP crap is because of piracy but now there's ways to even get the iAP free. The Devs should just start making better quality games and charge more but they won't and IAP is going to be the future of gaming.

  • http://twitter.com/klouud Timothy Polumbo

    The frame rate issues and slow-down seem to be a common occurrence with the new iPad.  Can anyone confirm that this issue (for this game) is an iOS issue and not just an iPad 3 issue?  I'm gonna buy it if it runs great on 4S... but probably won't if it runs choppy on everything.

    • Tommet

      It runs fine on an iPad 2. It's just an IAP fest that's not any fun. Should be the same way on a 4s...

      • xepiczx

        It also runs amazingly smooth on the iPad 3

    • ImJPaul

      Ya man. Smooth as butter on my iPad 3.

  • http://twitter.com/lmihai Mihai Leonte

    gameloft? enough said...

  • farnsworth_pro

     Please don't buy gameloft. They are working pretty hard at destroying the mobile gaming platform's long term viability. "Paymium"? Gameloft, your days are numbered. Ask Zynga what's up.

  • madreviewer

    I understand that the in app purchase suck however , do you guys want a game that encourage you to play it for days or month, or one that you buy for7$ and just finish it in two day

  • madreviewer

    I love that game

Wild Blood Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3