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Unskippable: X-Blades

By Shamus
on Saturday Apr 11, 2009
Filed under:


I had trouble enjoying this Unskippable because of the way the cutscene made me hate the game with an unquenchable passion. This antipathy is particularly deep in regards to the main character, who has the personality of Paris Hilton, but less intellectual. From her preposterous outfit that makes Lara Croft look like a nun to her heroic display of vapidity, stupidity, and skankidity, there was just nothing notable or likable about this character. Her personality is abrasive, her voice is grating, and her dialog is narcissistic expositional pablum.

Perhaps you could just ignore the cutscenes, plot, characters, and dialog. You could sweep the narrative aside and enjoy some mindless button-mashing violence, but apparently the gameplay is also insufferable. A male player might be able to overlook both the narrative and the gameplay to enjoy some cheap T&A, but they ruined that by making her look underage and giving her a voice actress that makes Yoko Ono sound like Judy Garland.

So… I guess I won’t be adding this to my “buy” list.

“But, you’d think she’d know to wear practical footwear. Or for that matter, pants.”

Comments (38)

  1. antsheaven says:

    Yeah, played the demo, noticed that besides the protagonist is totally unlikeable, the gameplay is also… well… not worthy of buying, I suppose.

    Imagine Tomb Raider + Devil May Cry + a sprinkle of Onimusha and much less clothes.

  2. K says:

    It is impressive how a single cut-scene can reduce my interest in a game to zero, even though it is a clone of DMC (which I like) coupled with anime (which I like), sporting some naked polygons (which… well… I’m a guy, don’t blame me?)

    Edit: “Coupled”. Freudian slip right there!

  3. Veloxyll says:

    DON’T TOUCH THE ORB, IT’S FATAL TO HUMANS says the wolfman, not realising he’s talking to a woman who hasn’t figured ot that pants are supposed to cover the behind.

    I agree with our satirers. Wolfman wins, game over ende.

  4. Justin says:

    There are plenty of ways to make a half-naked female character that is not completely ridiculous.

    That was not one of them.

    In other news, the ad bar at the bottom of the screen was too wide for the playback frame, making the X impossible to reach. Wtf?

  5. Quanity says:

    “Paris Hilton, but less intellectual”

    Although the quality of the main character is described perfectly by this, I didn’t think it was possible to use this sentence fragment in any context. Up to now.

    I’m reminded of “Jar Jar, you’re a genius!” :)

  6. Yar Kramer says:

    Indeed, Quantity. And that phrase never existed on the Internet until now, either!

  7. illiterate says:


    Haven’t watched it here, Justin, but it is an annoying phenomenon. Ad bars are often set to fixed pixels, no matter how resized the window is. The other day I tried playing tribal wars from my cellphone, and experienced this.

    I first tried RDP from my phone to home PC with a proper browser, but then switched to skyfire. Neither was really an enjoyable way to play.

    I suppose I could have, yanno, not played. But do you know how long it takes to build a smithy, even if you have all the resources ready right then? Farming can’t wait!

  8. Henebry says:

    Nothing notable? To the contrary, by your own account she her personality is notable for its “vapidity, stupidity, and skankidity.”

    In fact, I wonder whether the point here was to make the player hate her. We’d need to know how the game unfolds, but she’s so far over the top that it’s hard to imagine they weren’t aiming for the effect.

  9. LintMan says:

    Funny, I enjoyed that Unskippable exactly because the game looks so terrible and the main character so awful. So much more deserving of the abuse than some of the other, less obnoxious, videos. Snark is the engine that drives the internet, and boy is she snark-worthy.

  10. Josh says:

    The voice sounds a lot like the actress Hudson Leick (who played Callisto on Xena: Warrior Princess, and was the voice of Jen in the game Primal), but I couldn’t find anything to determine for sure one way or the other.

    I hope it wasn’t her, because I’m normally a fan of her work.

  11. Rutskarn says:

    I enjoyed it somewhat, but would not have at all if the snarkers had been even one tiny bit less openly hostile towards the protagonist.

    Because I really, really hate her. And not even a Wesley Crushers kind of hate, either. If I met this character, somebody would die; it’s really a matter of which breaks first, my restraint or my will to live.

    I honestly think this protagonist might be every single character cliche I dislike, rolled into one.

    1.) Over-the-top macho.

    2.) “Tough girl” that’s really just annoying.

    3.) About 4.5 square inches of clothing, perhaps 1.3 inches of which serve a practical function of some sort.

    4.) Hammerspace Weapons–wouldn’t want to deform that girlish silhouette, would we?

    5.) Ignores any sane or rational advice. This has no negative consequences for her whatsoever.

    6.) Gets other people killed in her own selfish pursuits, doesn’t care, and is ostensibly supposed to be a hero.

    7.) Is supposed to be the best at what she does, but is never displayed to have any talent or skill at it whatsoever. Look, she’s a great treasure hunter, despite wandering around without any gear, supplies, or pants. Also despite wandering around without, I dunno, checking for traps or other, incidental artifacts. Just trust us, okay?

    8.) We’re supposed to like them regardless of 1-7. Fission friggin’ mailed.

    I’m not sure there’s any possible way this game could get my money. If the protagonist was voiced by Felicia Day, I wouldn’t buy it. If it came with a free copy of Grim Fandango and (I assume) an emulator, I wouldn’t buy it. If it was autographed by a game developer (not the developer of this game, but some other, competent developer), I wouldn’t buy it. About the only thing I’d get this game for would be if it came with an exclusive demo of Portal 2.

    And Portal 3.

  12. jalapenodude says:

    For some reason, this post is showing up for me in the Chaotic Evil style, despite the fact that I’ve got the rest of the site set to Lawful Good. This appears to be the only post on the site that does this–all of the others default to the style I’ve selected. I’m running Firefox 3.0.8 on Vista, if that matters.

    …and as soon as I posted the comment, the problem ceased to exist. Odd.

  13. bettylovesbombs says:

    @ #13 jalapenodude
    I’ve been encountering the same problem but in reverse; I have the site set to Chaotic Evil and when I go to read comments on any post it throws me back to Lawful Good. It’s harshing my comment lurking vibe.

    Using Firefox v 3.0.8.

  14. DmL says:

    Nevermind the girl, the camera made me sea-sick.

  15. Mark says:

    While most everybody here seems to be commenting on X-Blades and its review, I found the Halo Wars review more interesting. Once upon a time I used to play RTS’s. Last one I played was over 10 years ago (Age of Empires II, I think). It both amuses and frustrates me that neither the interface problems (i.e. getting a combined arms force to get from point A to point B without having half your forces get stuck in some forests that the AI seems to have no problem navigating around), nor the mission design difficulties (arbitrary time limits, idiotic captives that have no clue how to not wander into the middle of the firefight, or how to get home) have been resolved in the last decade or so.

  16. Sigma says:

    What are you talking about? It is a great game, as the main character displays her body, and that is all we care about.

  17. Scott W. says:

    Mark, re Halo Wars: Yahtzee did point out his hope that Halo Wars was essentially an RTS-genre game devolved to the point where Halo fratboys (and, by extension, hopefully Yahtzee) could play it; stripping away the complexities and so forth.

    If true, this process may essentially simulate an RTS produced when the genre was new, with all of that now-outdated style’s advantages and flaws.

  18. Rutskarn says:


    You know, if you liked the game, as well as a bit of harmless cheescake, there’s no problem with that at all. I’m glad you (presumably) enjoy it.

    I was just pointing out things that would grate me to absolutely no end. Even if the gameplay was perfect, the character model and personality would probably sicken me.

  19. OEP says:

    This character is begging for a mute button.

  20. Sharnuo says:

    Oh joyous joy of arcane wonder. Another scantily clad shell devoid of any shred of personality other then being a sex object. Haven’t seen that before.

    When will people ever get bored of that?

  21. SolkaTruesilver says:

    For the people who cannot seem to remove the add bar: put the video in fullscreen mode, remove the add, then go back to normal size.

  22. Rutskarn says:


    We’ve got about, say, 10,000 years of practice by now.

  23. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Oh, Shamus, I just noticed this future game.


    I definetly suggest that you go there and just take a look at it, and.. I dunno, maybe comment about it. I’d be curious if you would be tempted to try it eventually :)

  24. Sigma says:

    I was being sarcastic at how annoying it is that they think we’ll like a game so long as there is nudity.

  25. mitian says:

    I just can’t believe the Wolfman lied to such a sweet girl.

  26. Rutskarn says:

    Sigma: Yeah, I wasn’t sure, just because of the whole “great game” angle. From what I’ve heard, it doesn’t really fit under that descriptor.

  27. JKjoker says:

    you know, i would definitely watch zero punctuation style reviews by the unskippable dude, i don’t like Yahtzee’s game choices lately, the X-blades one was the best zp review since sonic unleashed

  28. Anaphyis says:

    @Mark/16: You really shouldn’t take Halo Wars as a poster child for the RTS genre. The clue is in the title. I can get how some people can enjoy Halo as their favorite FPS, it’s still far away from God’s gift to humanity however. Or any decent FPS for that matter.

  29. hevis says:

    @14: I’m having the same issue, normally using chaotic evil but when reading comments, it switches to True Neutral if I’m using FF 3.0.8 and Lawful Good if using IE 8. Weird…

    Update: Just like @13, problem disappeared after I posted my comment..

  30. Bret says:

    Huh. Now I got that problem. Changes to dirty Neutral when I enter the comments. Using Chrome, by the way.

  31. Mari says:

    Thanks so much, Shamus. The hubs only views Unskippable on your site so I blame you for the fact that he frittered away pretty much the entirety of the weekend watching captured vid of some jerk playing X-blades on YouTube. An entire weekend. I could (possibly) forgive the time sink if I hadn’t been forced to HEAR that garbage in the periphery of my mind the whole time.

    For the record, what I learned from it was that X-blades is DMC meets GoW. With hours long boss battles broken up by hours long streaks of hitting things that aren’t bosses. I’m not kidding. This guy actually fought one boss battle for almost two hours. *blink* It makes my head hurt to think about.

  32. evilbob says:

    @mari: anybody who fought any boss in this game for nearly 2hrs has some serious issues with basic problem solving and should probably be looked at by a doctor. None of them should take more than ~15 minutes to kill.

    That said, I’m going to be probably the lone voice of dissent. I quite enjoyed this game. The cut scenes and voice overs are laughable to the point of being funny, but there have certainly been worse. The basic game play definitely borrows from several other games, but as a PC gamer, I’ve never played most of them. Several hours of fairly mindless hack’n slash fun.

    Oh, the PC version comes with French & German dialogs as well, but as I speak neither I can’t say anything on the quality of them.

  33. pwiggi says:

    @Yar: The origin of “Jar Jar, You’re a Genius!”:


  34. Mari says:

    @evilbob – Yeah, I pretty much gathered that this guy didn’t quite “get” that particular battle. Either that or he just enjoyed hitting things so much that he deliberately ignored the pretty obvious solution to the battle in favor of whacking it for hours with a stick. I watched for fifteen minutes or so before getting very annoyed with his refusal to go for the back (which was inches short of being so obvious you were bludgeoned with it) and wandering away.

    I was hoping to at least be titilated with some amazing breast physics (pardon the pun) but no such luck. You’d think that a game with such an obvious T&A marketing strategy would have invested a little more in the physics of jiggle at least.

  35. evilbob says:

    @mari: they didn’t really make her breasts large enough for the physics to be very noticeable. I’d rather they keep them at least a somewhat normal size than enter into the realm of the absurd. The physics are there, just not overly noticeable.

    Oh, and a correction on my previous comment, it’s French & Spanish, not German.

  36. Wil K. says:

    8: Henebry
    In fact, I wonder whether the point here was to make the player hate her. We'd need to know how the game unfolds, but she's so far over the top that it's hard to imagine they weren't aiming for the effect.

    Indeed, I’m inclined to agree with one of the posters on the Escapist forum, who suggested that the game would be infinitely cooler if after that scene, you actually get to play as the wolf – the creature defending the artifact that all these annoying treasure hunters come after. Now that would be cathartic XD

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