So what we have here is a game from Koei/Omega Force that isn't a slight spin on the Dynasty Warriors formula! Off to a good start. Bladestorm is a war game, based during a group of wars that are called the Hundred Years War. In it, the French king dies, and France and England are fighting over who gets to take the throne. You play a random mercenary during this time, as you try to make a name for yourself, and acquire riches and the like. Koei actually does a decent job sticking to history in this one, and avoids most of the butchering it's done to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Warring States eras. It does a good job explaining the events of the era, and allows you to fight in some major battles.
The basic gameplay works like this : you start in a tavern, where you can buy items, equip stuff, listen to gossip, and take side missions/main quests to advance the story. Once you pick a mission, you go to the battlefield and then when you win, it all cycles back around. The game plays as a hybrid of RTS and hack and slash gameplay. You have your mecenary character, and you walk up to the majority of troops on your side and take control of them. There are around 15 different types of units you can take control of, from swords and spears all the way up to elephants, chariots, and magicians. Once you get squad with you, you can run around the battlefield attacking officers or trying to take bases. There are side requests that show up fairly frequently, but don't usually deviate from a few kinds. The main goals in the missions are just as narrow. You either need to take a base, defend a base while taking some bases, or you need to take different bases across the map. And that's it. That's how you win Every. Single. Stage. It does not help you only get 10 minutes per "day" and when the day ends everything resets. So if you are about to take a base, or about to kill an officer and the time ends, you have to start the next day in an allied base and try again.
So your enjoyment of this game will hinge almost entirely on how much you like the basic gameplay, because you will doing it. A lot. There are no mini-game or diversions to be had. Once you've completed the main goal, the battle ends and you go back to the tavern. Here, you can use money to buy stuff, and you can also use skill points to upgrade the troop types you can use. You upgrade things like attack and defense, the skills they use in combat (work off of cooldowns) and a few other things like movement and the amount of units you have when you summon a squad. Leveling up you squad types is the only solace you get from the battlefield grind, and goes a long way towards making this game enjoyable.
The graphics are sub par at best, but the game does get an impressive amount of troops on the screen before it starts to slowdown, 100-200 or so. The AI is fairly dumb, sometimes it will hunt you down out of nowhere with it's amazing eagle eye vision, and sometimes it won't notice you until you stab half the squad in the face. Sadly, the game suffers from a terrible freezing problem. The game probably froze about ten times during my playtime with it, so you have to save pretty much every chance you get, just in case. You should be saving plenty anyway, and keeping safety saves as well, as some of the achievements have been known to glitch if you finish the story before meeting the requirements.
Overall, the gameplay is fun (for the first 30-40 hours anyway, it lasts 50-60) and the story is presented fairly well. All the different squad types and the ability to level them up adds some enjoyment as well.
The graphics are decent, but the freezing problem is a terrible letdown. The game also lasts too long (as previously mentioned) and the fame meter you have has no bearing on the game, and which side you fight for the most changes very little (which side you fight for the last battle, and your ending cutscene is all). This game could have been a lot better, and probably would have been if, to be honest, a better combination worked on it. The game exhibits the same amount of effort and polish as Koei/Omega Force's Dynasty Warrior series, which is to say, just barely enough to pass.