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» Sys­tem: PS4 (tested), Switch , Xbox One, PC » Buy it from: On­line » Buy it for: £14.99

Well this is a pleas­ant sur­prise. While

Fully Il­lus­trated’s scrolling fighter pays trib­ute to the likes of Golden Axe, Fi­nal Fight and other brawlers of the Eight­ies and Nineties, it’s a love of Bri­tish his­tory which is re­ally the source of Wul­verblade’s bloody in­spi­ra­tion.

Set in 120 AD it tells the tale of Caradoc, and his two friends, Bren­nus and Guin­e­vere as they join forces to de­fend the north from the oc­cu­pa­tion of the Ro­man army. Michael Heald, Wul­verblade’s cre­ator, is a his­tory buff and you can wit­ness it in ev­ery frame of the game’s sick­en­ingly beau­ti­ful an­i­ma­tion. He spent a colos­sal amount of time re­search­ing the area where his game is set and has filled his brawler with a stag­ger­ingly amount of fas­ci­nat­ing in­for­ma­tion about the pe­riod. You’re re­warded with un­lock­able videos as you progress through the lev­els and you’ll learn plenty about the peo­ple you slaugh­ter and the weapons you evis­cer­ate them with.

And let’s be clear, Wul­verblade is one bloody game. Heads can be stomped to mush, war­riors can be dis­mem­bered or de­cap­i­tated and then you can throw their

limbs at any­one that’s still left stand­ing for good mea­sure. Caradoc is an all-round fighter, ex­celling in all ar­eas, while Bren­nus is Wul­verblade’s tank, and Guin­e­vere sac­ri­fices power for agility. All three play sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ently, and the com­bat en­gine that Fully Il­lus­trated has cre­ated is full of depth and com­plex­ity. Run­ning dashes, grap­ples, blocks, up­per­cuts and many more abil­i­ties are avail­able and there’s even an old-fash­ioned pow­ered-up strike that’s pulled off by press­ing two but­tons at the same time. Weapons are plen­ti­ful, too, with some al­low­ing you to ex­e­cute dev­as­tat­ing at­tacks, and it’s even pos­si­ble to sum­mon a pack of sav­age wolves to aid your quest. Bosses are also chal­leng­ing with a wide range of at­tacks that will pun­ish those who sim­ply try to but­ton-bash their way to suc­cess.

Add in a tra­di­tional, three-lives-only ar­cade mode, a wave-based arena sec­tion and a spe­cial mode we don’t want to spoil and Wul­verblade re­ally is some­thing spe­cial. Score 86% »

[PS4] Wul­verblade’s mul­ti­player is fan­tas­tic fun, echo­ing clas­sics like Fi­nal Fight and Dou­ble Dragon.

[PS4] Wul­verblade is an in­tensely bloody ex­pe­ri­ence, so don’t play it if you’re squea­mish.

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