Blackthorne (PC) Review

By Athanasios 03.11.2019 1

Review for Blackthorne on PC

Blackthorne, or Blackhawk for snobby Europeans (just kidding, snobby Europeans), is one of the lesser known creations of Blizzard - yes, that Blizzard! The reason was probably the fact that it was a title quite similar to 1989's Prince of Persia in terms of gameplay, whose style of platforming never really became all that popular, despite the existence of some pretty impressive representatives, like Flashback, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, or Another World. Here's a look at this world, where heavy metal corniness (intentional corniness) meets high fantasy, 25 years after it first hit the PC, as well as the SNES.

Those familiar with the early days of Blizzard, as well as pc games in general, will remember how extensive some manuals were back then when it came to the plot, as storage media wasn't exactly capable of storing tons of text, or sound and images for cut-scenes. The same goes on with the manual of Blackthorne, which explains in detail how the demonic Sarlac (not related to the pit-iful Star Wars monster) forced the parents of the protagonist to teleport him to the
"real" world, where he waited for quite some time, before being transported back to his realm.

…When in-game, however, the story is almost non-existent. Sure you'll meet some people who will provide a generic goal (go to 'X' and ask help from 'Y'), but in the end, and like its distant relative, the 1989 classic, Prince of Persia, a narrative-driven journey this is not. Also, and again, like Jordan Mechner's creation, this doesn't play like a typical run-and-gun title. Movement in Blackthorne is more realistic, and thus forces the player to think before acting, whether that's simply leaping over a gap, or stopping to slowly climb down from a ledge.

With that being said, this is not as tough as other similar games, although it definitely requires absolute focus, with dying sending you back to the beginning of the level. Yes, like Prince of Persia it's slow, and methodical, and as a result, can feel a bit tedious at times, especially when having to replay the same freaking - easy - spots, just because you've made one tiny mistake before reaching the finishing line… and yes, the replay value isn't exactly at its best here, as this is one of those adventures that few will repeat over and over again. Once it's done, it's done.

Screenshot for Blackthorne on PC

Despite the niche gameplay style, this can be quite enjoyable for the few evenings it will last. It's similarly simple in design with Prince of Persia, with the typical platforming and key-searching expected from such a title, but, thankfully, the level structure is of such a good quality, that few will actually care - and, typical of the developer, everything is Blizzard-ly beautiful, whether that's the initial caverns with their glimmering waterfalls, the gloomy jungles of the second area, or Sarlac's keep; very WarCraft-ish in look, and with the developers usual, vibrantly colorful palette.

Extra mention should be given to the other half of the equitation: the shooting business. Unlike other "cinematic" platformers, this doesn't throw action aside, and, even better, it's quite fun. The basic strategy behind firefights means that you have to "hide" in the shadows by pressing 'Up' on the keyboard, and come out to shoot when it's safe, as the rifle-carrying Orcs can shoot too. Simple? Yes. Repetitive? Probably, but the fact that Orcs come in various "tiers" means that it gets progressively harder to find an opening, especially when dealing with multiple foes.

The only problem with Blackthorne, besides the occasional dull moment, is its depressingly low replay value. It's one of those titles. You play, you enjoy, you reach the end... and then you put it in the darkest corner of the highest shelf, and probably forget all about it. Then again, good 'ol Blizzard now gives it for free. In other words, while it's not perfect, you now have enough reason to try it out... that is, if you can stop playing the latest Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft, Overwatch, or whatever the US developer has released.

Screenshot for Blackthorne on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Blackthorne is a fun little title, with a neat (if unoriginal) fantasy setting that those who love slower-paced, and realistic platformers the likes of 1989's Prince of Persia will surely enjoy. It's not something that you'll keep going back to, but for the few, pleasantly tough hours it offers, it's worthy of a look - especially since it's now free.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


the only blizzard game i like

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