They thought him dead. They let him fall into the depths, be embraced by the darkness and be swallowed by a horror no one could survive; but he did. He came back and he’s got a list. He has written the names of all those that betrayed him and he’s already crossing them out. If you walk down a dank alley at night remember where your loyalties lay; for if they ever shifted he may find you, familiar.
|Concept:||Pyke as a spectre of the sands.|
|Model:||New model for Pyke and glow for his eye and sword (Ctrl + 5 to toggle the blade glow).|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, joke, respawn, death and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall. New quotes when attacking, walking and killing an enemy.|
|Splash Art:||For background we only have the suggestion of a temple, perhaps, with a facade that is barely visible under the glare of the Sun. Fine, it’s probably the desert but the effect is too extreme without adding much meaning so, the context suffers. Before this we find a victim of the wraith of the sands. Perhaps another adventurer foolish enough to covet the treasures inside the temple? That’s as much a guess as a wish. There’s too little to make any educated tries.
Pyke’s portrayal has all the clarity that the background lacks. The style is cartoony but the reflective metal, sharp lines and complex decoration make him interesting to look at. At least, the central area of head, torso and right arm. The rest of the body is blurred away by the sands which make an statement about his nature yet also devour too much of him. In terms of clarity for a presentation card, this is a depiction that shows little. The scene is interesting but the sand can look like a coloured splash of water and lack a more relevant meaning that simply being an extension of Pyke.
The result is a splash art that has an interesting setup but that, ultimately, doesn’t show enough. There’re suggestions given by several diffuse elements yet the only thing one comes away with is the ambush of the wraith on some people near a building. With the potential to practically show a little story and also make the portrayal clearer and more interesting the splash art ends up letting down.
|Conclusion:||The idea of changing water for sand and turning the Bloodharbor Ripper into a sand wraith is quite straightforward; which is noticeable in the skin. The new model shows clear influence from Prince of Persia in the clothes. The bandaged arms hint at a mummy underneath but only the glow of the eye gives the spectral feel that one would expect from a wraith. That said the contrast of colours is nice despite the familiar looks. It’s certainly a stylised approach but eye-catching enough.
The new particles fully revolve around sand. Whereas Classic Pyke employs splashes of water those get changed to bursts of sand. Glows are also adapted into a sandy colour which would’ve benefited from a stronger addition of sand. The new blade design is a big part of both Bone Skewer and Death from Below which makes the weapon an important part of the theme and gives those important abilities a link. Auto-attack, joke, respawn and death also receive new particles to keep the consistency of the sand theme which is good.
Sounds, much like particles, change splashes of water for the hissing of sand. Unfortunately, there’s even less variety than in particles. Abilities seem to use the same sand sound simply longer or shorter as necessary. One sound that does stand out, as it should, is Death from Below’s tune. It’s more dramatic and elaborate than in Classic, yet without exaggerating, but the feel is identical. This makes it a better option for Classic but not a good contribution to the sand theme.
The new recall is the sole new animation. Pyke plays with some trinkets and throws them around showing his disregard: his interest lies elsewhere. It’s a rather subtle reference that lacks proper context. The relaxed sitting pose, at best, says more of the same.
The result is, as evidenced by the direct adaptation, an effective but hardly innovative skin. Sand Wraith Pyke leaves the docks and moves to the desert and that’s it. There’s nothing beyond the surface and what’s there isn’t particularly impressive. Still, it’s a good skin and surely feels different to the classic persona; at least on the surface.
|Concept:||Pyke as a Blood Moon demon.|
|Model:||New model for Pyke and his sword plus new glow for his right eye.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, death and recall.|
|Animations:||Modified laugh and new recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack, death and recall.|
|Splash Art:||A building with eastern architecture and decoration. The Moon timidly peeks through an opening in the roof. There’s just enough light for blood to be shed. Even with an effort, the background doesn’t say anything. The Moon is the only meaningful part and while the setting is fitting it’s devoid of meaning. It’s the scene, the impending assassination, that has significance; despite the blurry victim.
The killer isn’t much clearer. Pyke looks diffuse in some areas and sketchy in others. Even the glowing blade seems plastic and lacking an effective supernatural feel. The rough depiction could intend to support the gruesome murder but in practice that’s not the case; the cotton-like fur under the moonlight is more distracting than supportive, for example. The blood-styled ink is interesting, though. There’s no hint at what it means and speculation can only go so far but it’s a good touch that only needs some support.
The result is splash art that tries but doesn’t really have much to say. The message is clear in the scene depicted and while there are hints at more there’s nothing concrete or interesting to add to it. The sketchy depiction certainly doesn’t help but the basics are covered.
|Conclusion:||While the model may look like a rather western take on Kabuki with an aristocratic touch, there is a faint demonic style; with a faint eye glow to match. There’s probably too much gold and the colours too dark without a good contrast between light and dark. However, the clothing seems practical enough for a fantasy assassin. His sword also looks rather ornamented, almost ceremonial, but if every kill is a sacrifice to the Blood Moon there’s some sense to it; speculated, of course.
Particles are where the skin reveals its appeal. Auto-attacks, abilities, death and even recall employ blood-like splashes and blots of ink which define a clear and appealing identity for this Blood Moon killer. Phantom Undertow’s ghost could’ve been more liquid and red and Death From Below is a bit brief but we are nitpicking here. The overall design is consistent without being repetitive and each ability is evocative of the theme; still they can feel a bit homogeneous in their consistency. It has to be recognised, though, that the base of the particles: the splashes, are borrowed from Classic Pyke’s water. Fortunately, the blots of ink and re-coloured splashes work very well in making the abilities eye-catching and pleasing.
Sounds imitate particles. That is, liquid sounds are borrowed from Classic Pyke which explains why blood and ink seem to lack a degree of viscosity. Still, they work rather well. Besides, the new musical tunes added provide a mystical element to the skin which makes Blood Moon Pyke more supernatural. They are just support for the main liquid sounds but they are relevant and effective.
The new recall is brief with the Kabuki reference but it’s present in the beginning. Then, blood-like ink takes precedence. At the end the ink turns dark-bluish which doesn’t match the skin’s colour palette but the recall manages to complement the theme well.
On the whole, Blood Moon Pyke owes more than a bit to Classic Pyke. The adaptation takes advantage of the classic design and with effective changes the Bloodharbor Ripper embodies a different yet fitting identity. It’s a matter of making effective changes, not necessarily big, to capture the essence of the skin’s concept; which in this case Blood Moon Pyke successfully does. If you can excuse the reliance on the Classic base Blood Moon Pyke is a satisfying choice.
The release skin for the Bloodharbor Ripper is Sand Wraith Pyke. It’s a straightforward skin that changes water for sand and gives him clothing inspired by Prince of Persia. The result isn’t bad but the theme is adapted so directly that it becomes shallow. Thankfully, the skin feels different enough to classic to justify being an alternative even if it fails to impress.
Blood Moon Pyke owes a lot to Classic Pyke and it shows. The adaptation takes advantage of the classic design and with effective changes brings to life the Blood Moon persona. The result is an appealing skin with a clear identity which successfully captures the essence of its concept. There’s a lot of Classic Pyke but Blood Moon is certainly an appealing option.