Gamescom Preview: Bloodline Champions (PC)

Aug 26, 2010

Eighteen months ago, the guys behind Stunlock Studios were simply a collection of Swedish University friends with a common interest in gaming.

Today, they’re working with publishers Funcom and are putting the finishing touches on their upcoming arena-based PvP game, Bloodline Champions.

And because Funcom are thoroughly awesome, they invited me along to check their new title myself at Cologne’s Gamescom in the comforting surroundings of a mock English pub – albeit a mock English pub that served a weird alchopopesque Spanish beer …

But I digress.

At first glance, there’s a lot about Bloodline Champions that looks familiar. There’s a Blizzard-esque portal to help you select your chosen character – or ‘bloodline’ as they’re called – and a built-in matchmaking system designed to align your character with your perfect combatees. Players can select one of sixteen playable bloodlines, all of whom boast the same basic skills and mechanics, but all interact and behave uniquely when it comes to tactical play and boast seven unique abilities each. The emphasis is on team work; with different bloodlines complementing each other in different ways – and different modes requiring different strategies – players must work together to bring the other team down.

The game accommodates up to ten players split across two teams and there’s a clear steer away from luck as nothing is left to chance. Spells and abilities are neither random nor fluctuate, meaning that outcome is entirely dependent upon player skill rather than good fortune. Furthermore, Stunlock think that the game’s intuitive system and pick-up-and-play mechanics will appeal not just to the PvP hardcore, but casual gamers, too.

Features include (and all exclamation marks are the website’s own, I assure you):

  • Experience intense, adrenalin-fuelled multiplayer battles with thousands of other players. Short matches ensure you will never get stuck in a long drawn out game – great for quick bursts of fun!
  • Grinding bases, levels and gold – you’ll find none of that here. Just pure, exciting, all-out player vs. players battles where you and your skills is all that matters.
  • Choose your character from a total of sixteen bloodlines, each with their own abilities and specialties. From the fire-wielding Igniter to the elusive Ranid Assassin, each offers a unique experience!
  • Easy to learn, difficult to master. Direct controls, cursor-based aiming, focused characters and an easy-to-learn interface allows you to enjoy Bloodline Champions just minutes into your first battle!
  • Thanks to a robust matchmaking system you will be off onto the fields of battle immediately after joining. Play up to five versus five battles, either with strangers automatically matched to your level of with a team of your best friends!
  • Keep an eye on your progression using an in-depth start tracking system that allows you to review your own as well as other players’ effectiveness with different tactics, abilities and bloodlines.
  • Short and intense battles, focus on player skill, and an elaborate stat-tracking system makes Bloodline Champions perfect for competitive gaming.
  • Vibrant graphics, a unique art style and a superb sound design brings the world of Bloodline Champions to life as you keep yourself busy with dealing out death and destruction.

What was it like in practice? Constrained by a right-handed set-up when I’m left-handed – and limited to only a few minutes practical gameplay – at this point it’s difficult to surmise with any certainty. That said, the brief time I did spend with the game was indeed enjoyable and loads of fun. Without more hands-on time it’s hard to say if Stunlock are bringing anything new to the table, but they’re certainly not bringing anything bad … which is always a good thing, right?

Bloodline Champions is set for release in 2011 on the PC. Visit the official website for more details on signing up to the public beta testing.

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