Hands-on: Unchained Blades (PSP/3DS)

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

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When XSEED Games announced that they would be publishing UnchainBlades ReXX in America for PSP and 3DS as the digital-only Unchained Blades, I was curious, but not quite sure what type of game we would be getting. After a few minutes with the PSP version, I am thoroughly convinced that XSEED made the right choice.

I dropped in at the middle of the game, so I didn’t get too much time with the story itself, but what I did see was a successful mashup of multiple gameplay styles. The dungeon navigation takes place in first-person view, and transitions into a classic turn-based RPG when you run into random enemy encounters. In battle, one of the main battle features is the “unchain” ability, which involves defeating the enemy leader to weaken the followers, and allowing defeated monsters to join your party in battle. Up to four of these followers can be equipped to each party member, assisting in combat by absorbing damage and unleashing devastating special attacks. The game also features a full skill map that allows you to choose which points you wants to allocate to specific skills upon leveling up.

While only the PSP version was available, XSEED has stated that the 3DS version is identical aside from map location, which is toggled on/off via button on the PSP and permanently fixed to the 3DS bottom screen.

The game will feature an English voice-over cast and provides over 50 hours of gameplay. Unchained Blades boasts character designs from 14 celebrated artists, including Pako (Shining series), Toshiyuki Kubooka (Lunar series), Kumichi Yoshizuki (Someday’s Dreamers), Shinichiro Otsuka (Summon Night), Sunaho Tobe (Hexyz Force) and Kazushi Hagiwara (Bastard!!), it has a diverse set of character designs unlike any other game.

With Takashi Hino (Grandia) as the scenario designer, Toshio Akashi (Lunar) as the director, and a soundtrack composed by acclaimed game music arranger Tsutomu Narita (Xenoblade Chronicles) with Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) contributing the theme song, development was entrusted to the hands of industry veterans.

Unchained Blades will be launching Summer 2012 as a download-only title for both PSP and 3DS.


In a world inhabited by mythical beings, where colossal labyrinths called Titans tower over the land, there’s a legend that any being that can approach the Goddess Clunea high in the sky shall have a single wish granted. A powerful and self-absorbed dragon named Fang aims for those heights to meet with the Goddess and learn the name of the strongest monster in the world. His drive to find and kill this ultimate opponent and firmly establish himself as the dominant monster of the land is mighty enough to entreat the gods, but his boldness is also his undoing. Upon proving his worth by easily disposing of the formidable creatures that guard the Goddess’ tower, Fang approaches Clunea with nothing but disdain and demands. Deeply offended, she strips him of his dragon powers and banishes him to the surface.

Bereft of the power he once wielded as the Dragon Emperor, Fang must now adjust to surviving in a far weaker form as he navigates the dangerous mazes of halls in his quest for revenge upon the Goddess. Never having the need for something as petty as friends when he was the most powerful dragon in the land, he quickly discovers that teaming up with others also seeking the Goddess and utilizing their various combined skills is his only chance at traversing the treacherous path back up to the top of the world.