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Video Game / Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War

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In the 14th Century a quarrel over English succession to the French throne escalated into what history would call the Hundred Years' War. The ongoing war exhausted the standing armies of both sides and dependency on mercenary soldiers grew.

This game from Koei is loosely based on The Hundred Years War, with many gameplay elements from the Dynasty Warriors series. The player creates and plays a single mercenary, but that character in turn can join or summon squads of soldiers to support him or her in battle. It's possible to run around unaccompanied, but it's very easy for a single soldier to be overwhelmed by enemy squads.

In 2015, this received an Updated Re-release in the form of Bladestorm: Nightmare. Among several improvements are the ability to control up to four squad leaders, unlockable 'ace' characters, and a new 'Nightmare' mode story line that sees England and France forced to join forces against a massive army of fantasy creatures led by... Joan of Arc?

This Game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: There are a few female characters who fight for both England or France, the female rapier units, and yourself if you choose a female mercenary character.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Unlike most of the other Koei/Tecmo beat'em ups, you don't play a predetermined famous hero. Instead you are an anonymous mercenary of a particular skill set.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Can be invoked by both sides. If the commander of the town is taken down, the town immediately falls under control of the other side. Great if it's your side that captured it, bad if the enemy forces captured one of your towns.
  • Alternate History: While the game loosely follows events in Real Life, things can change. For instance, one mission has you save Joan of Arc when she's imprisoned.
  • Anachronism Stew: The game contains a lot of characters who never would have met in real life. For example, Edward the Black Prince died long before Joan of Arc came around, but you may run into both of them in one map.
    • Exotic units are also present which probably weren't present in 14th/15th Century France, such as elephant units, camel riders, and Asian units such as South China spearmen.
  • Annoying Arrows: Archer units, although usually more annoying when controlled by the player, as the computer controlled ones don't fire as often as a player can.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: There are 18 different unit types in the base game, and those unit types have sub-unit types that have different strengths and weaknesses, making it almost impossible to know what your current squad is strong or weak against. Fortunately, if you're weak against something, that unit's icon glares an angry red, and if you're strong against something, it glows a refreshing blue. Avoid the red, crush the blue, swap when needed.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Some squads can feel this way, often rushing headfirst into the first enemy group they run into. You can also invoke this trope on enemy troops by getting near them. They will usually attempt to overwhelm you unless you have friendly units nearby as well.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: Pretty much every named character you encounter on the battlefield. Some are tougher than others though, and will largely depend on if you're facing them with units that they're weak against.
  • Badass Crew: You can be one if you're controlling a unit of soldiers who are strong against the current enemy forces you're currently fighting against. However, they can quickly turn into a Red Shirt Army if you encounter troops you're weak against.
  • BFG: Some siege units for breaking down castle doors are large cannons. You can actually control them if you want, but they're not very good against mobile opponents.
  • Boring, but Practical: Cavalry units, particularly horses, are probably the most efficient troops to use on the battlefield due to the fact that they're strong against a lot of unit types, and more importantly, can run away quickly if you find yourself on the losing end. Just try not to run into any pikemen while they have their pikes down.
    • Spears units are also very efficient. They don't have much in terms of weakness and can take care of many swords units (which are often the base commanders so that makes them very useful for base raiding.)
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: English units are always red, while French units are always blue no matter which side you're on. Do not mix this up or you'll find yourself wondering why you can't hurt the English soldiers when fighting for England while the blue French units are killing your guys left and right.
  • But Thou Must!: At several points in the game you have to fight decisive battles for the differing sides, effectively playing both sides, in order for the story to progress.
  • Character Customization: The vanilla version allows you to make a character's gender, facial features, voice, and name.
    • Nightmare allows additional changes such as different hairstyles, hair color, and length, width, and spacial sliders of facial features. They also allow the player to have multiple characters for one playthrough.
  • Combat Pragmatist: You are encouraged to be one, due to the nature of this game having units that are strong against some, and weak against others. For example, swordsmen decimate the rapier units that are often guarding small towns, but will quickly die to halberd units in larger towns, which in turn are decimated by rapier units. The game will also give you clues as to what units the one you are controlling are strong/weak against, so it's often a good idea to switch to different units depending on the situation.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On higher difficulty missions, enemy generals will often activate their Bladestorm ability frequently, and seem to have a high health pool. They also hit rather hard unless your current troop levels are close to theirs, but even then they will make your squad seem like a Red Shirt Army, wiping them out rather quickly.
  • Cool Sword: The legendary Excalibur for the English and Durandal for the French.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The pikemen are the most blatant example of this trope. They are only good against cavalry, but get destroyed by almost every other unit. They also have an extremely limited attack options, which is to lay down their long spears in front of them, and a quick stabbing attack which has a long Cool Down.
    • That said, however, they are extremely useful when you run into enemy Hero Units who are usually (but not always) on horseback.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Can usually happen when you're controlling mounted units such as cavalry, who are strong against most foot soldiers. But also played straight if you run into mobs of units who are weak against your current squad's weapons. However, they can utilize this trope against you as well...
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: Usually played straight with archer units, particularly horse archers, whose goal is to circle enemy formations while pelting them with arrows. Can also be played straight when fighting a higher level enemy general, who often has a lot of health for you and your allies to whittle down.
  • Disk One Nuke: In a roundabout way. The Nightmare storyline is intended to be completed after you've finished the main storyline (Hundred Years War), carrying over your character, skill books, equipment and so on. However, Nightmare has an "easy" mode for new characters at level 1, and characters can be played with either scenario interchangeably. So you can play Nightmare and complete it, then take that character into Hundred Years War with all the bonuses and upgrades you earned, including skill books for non-fantastic classes, which are normally rare, expensive, or both.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Happens after the battle of Crecy. Regardless of which side you fight for, English or French, they will extoll the exploits of their regular forces, and then give just the slightest nod to the mercenaries. Well, the French will. The English will not, even though you essentially won the battle for them. Possibly a clever reference to the fact that the French did use mercenaries during this battle whilst the English in real life did not.
  • Easy Communication: Like in Dynasty Warriors, you can always see where units are, and where enemy and friendly generals are located. In addition, when you take over a town, you'll get congratulated by a friendly general even if they are on the other side of the map. Also, when generals are defeated, they will say something to you before they leave the battlefield for a few minutes, particularly if you defeated them.
  • Easy Logistics: You never have to worry about feeding your troops, and for troops that have an ammo supply, if you run low while out in the field and can't make it back to a friendly town to refill, you can simply un-control them for a few moments, and then when you take control of them again, they'll have magically restored some of their ammo on their own.
    • Capturing a town also lets you reinforce your current squad from the town, even if it's far behind enemy lines.
  • Gang Up on the Human: Zigzagged. While enemy formations do generally try to go after you, they will also attack friendly units first if you're not the closest thing to them first. Usually played straight with enemy generals, who often will go after you first even if they're engaging allies at the time.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Played with, you can get guns in this game, and they are extremely powerful with only a few weaknesses, but they have a lot of pre-requisite quests, and you won't acquire them all until late in the game. But someone siding largely with the French units will run into said missions sooner than someone siding mostly with the English.
  • Hero Must Survive: You can lose as many soldiers or squads as you like, but if you are defeated, you immediately fail your contract and retreat back to the tavern. You only get paid for the days you actually survived and whatever loot you managed to scavenge before you fell. You don't get injured, fortunately, but the war grinds on without you, and you can find yourself underleveled or underequipped for the story battles if you fail a lot.
    • Averted for the most part in Nightmare: if one of your squad leaders is defeated, you are automatically swapped to one of the other ones you control and the battle keeps going, though the defeated player character doesn't return to the fight until the next day. You can still lose the mission completely if all of your squad leaders are defeated, however.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Main use of cavalry units, who has a charge attack, an attack to let them get out of being surrounded, and a defensive ability. One English campaign also falls into this trope, where your objective is to take over several towns near each other (although you can take your time if you want to take over other towns first)
  • Hold the Line: You can theoretically do this with any troops, attempting to slow down enemy forces by engaging them until you can either defeat them, or at least buy enough time to escape.
    • Taken literally with one of the pikemen attacks, where they brace themselves on the ground while holding their extremely long poles in front, which will usually destroy any mounted troops foolish enough to run into it. Which might be you, if you're not paying attention. Truth in Television: Pikemen utterly wrecked mounted charges in the Medieval eras, and were significantly more cost-effective than a mounted soldier: while the pikes in this game are huge polearms with fashioned metal heads, countering a mounted charge could be as simple as a long shaft of wood with a stabbing tip carved in it.
  • Instant-Win Condition: When the town's enemy commander appears, if you can defeat him, every other enemy unit in the town will disperse and flee, and the town immediately falls under your faction's control. However, getting the commander to appear isn't as easy as just rushing to the town: you need to defeat defense squads (and for castle towns, capture surrounding towns) to lower the town's defense rating, and more fortified towns have higher defense ratings, requiring you to actually wage war to capture towns instead of just rushing about.
    • Likewise, if you have a mission to accomplish, such as "take these 3 towns", the battle will end as soon as you capture the last objective.
      • Perfectly justified: That condition is the one on your mercenary contract. Why would you risk your life for a second longer than what you were paid for? Because you can usually complete a contract in a single day, and if you want to maximize your pay and rating, you need to completely ignore your contract requirements until the last day, running around doing "optional objectives" and getting all that sweet loot.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: "Bladestorm" mode, which activates automatically when you get a full morale bar (largely from killing enemies, but can also be acquired by touching deer or an enemy dropping a wine bottle; it also gradually increases when your health is low) makes your squad immune to damage, much stronger, and much faster. It's one of the only ways to defeat a squad that your squad is weak against, and will utterly crush a squad you're strong against. However, enemy generals can also activate this ability, and on harder missions will do so whenever they want.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Joan of Arc does this in one mission, and the player can invoke this as well if they rush towards an enemy stronghold or large group of enemy troops before their backup can get there.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Largely played straight. They do arc if you fire from an extremely long distance, but most fights take place up close so you may not notice it. Averted with one ability longbowmen receive, where their shots do arc and can be fired from a much farther distance than a regular straight shot.
  • No-Sell: If a squad is weak against another squad, even if they have a numerical advantage, their attacks will do almost zero damage. While this might make sense when using, say, daggers against armored knights, it can strain credulity when your squad of armored badasses carrying swords as big as they are can't even scratch the squad of essentially unarmored rapier wielders.
  • One-Man Army: Can be played straight, but usually not recommended due to the game's emphasis on squad and army battles consisting of large groups of people fighting. You can get quickly overwhelmed if you try to take on 50 guys by yourself. However, you do move faster on your own (second only to mounted units), so if you're in a losing fight, you can run away much quicker by releasing control of your current unit. But if a mounted unit is chasing you, you can't outrun them and they're hard to outmaneuver due to most fights taking place in open fields.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. England has three Johns.
  • Private Military Contractors: You are the medieval equivalent of one. The game mentions the heavy use of mercenaries on both sides, and you can change sides freely with no repercussions whatsoever. So you could theoretically take over one town for the English in one mission, then the very next mission requires you to take back that town for the French. In fact, an easy way to get money is to take a 5+ day contract for one faction, take over as many towns as possible on the map before completing your contract, and then taking a 5+ day contract for the other faction and doing the same thing!
  • Shop Fodder: Enemy officers and captured bases can drop a variety of "replica" artworks that sell for very small amounts of money.
  • The Siege: The Siege of Orleans mission. If you side with the English, you have to Hold the Line in Orleans long enough to escape, while siding with the French will have you assault Orleans and drive out the English instead. Also played straight with larger, walled towns, where you need siege equipment to break the doors down in order to attack it. Capturing all the surrounding towns will also open the doors.
  • Status Effects: There are a couple in the game, such as being on fire draining health, but like most other games, they're not practical in most areas, so you're still better off just killing everything as fast as you can.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: There are a variety of units in the game that you can control, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses against various other troops. For example, swordsmen are strong against rapier users, but they get defeated easily by halberds, who in turn get destroyed by the rapier units.
  • Take Your Time: While many missions are limited in scope (usually 3-6 days, which each day lasting about 10 minutes or so), story missions have an "indefinite" time period, meaning you can conquer the entire map for your side before doing the actual mission if you wanted to.
  • Timed Mission: Each day of battle is 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes is up, night falls and the battle stops. Entirely justified (and somewhat historically accurate): night fighting is a very specialized technique that didn't really start to gain traction until the 18th century, and was incredibly dangerous even then. While battles could rage for days, weeks, even months in the various Medieval eras, when night fell, opposing armies would disengage and regroup for the next day.
  • Took A Level In Bad Ass:
    • Played straight with Joan of Arc. When you first meet her, she's just a peasant girl on foot without much combat abilities who gets defeated easily. Later on, she's wearing plate armor and riding on a horse leading an elite unit of cavalry.
    • Can also apply to the player as well, who's fairly weak as well in the beginning, but as they gain experience and knowledge of the various types of troops and their strengths/weaknesses, can quickly learn to adapt to changing situations.
  • You Are in Command Now: Regardless of the circumstances, if you walk up to a squad of soldiers not already under the command of a general, you can demand they follow you and they will do it. While this makes sense when you're a mercenary of renown, you can also do it when you're just starting out, and the soldiers will follow you just as readily.