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Bullet Witch

version: ntsc/u - year: 2007 - developer: cavia - publisher: atari - format: xbox360, dvd - condition: near mint, w/poster and comic - rarity: common

Bullet Witch is an Xbox360 exclusive. The US version has been translated decently, but unfortunately there is no option to toggle the language to Japanese for the purists out there. This version is also region free, as I played it on an asian Xbox360.

 

Prima's official guide is very useful and provides a lot of valuable information. It could have been thicker though with more artwork. It is actually fairly hard to find too.

 

The Japanese guidebook is more of an artbook, with plenty of gorgeous color artwork pinted on a nice format and quality paper. Really awesome stuff...

 

The OST is definitely rare, and features 6 interchangeable covers, two of which are double sided though, making it possible to have 8 different covers! A nice touch for a quality soundtrack with great symphonic tracks.

 

Bullet Witch Comic book was included with preorders. It is decently done although it just repeats the story of the game and doesn't add anything concerning the background of the characters. So many goodies were released for this game, obviously hopes were high for this one, but in the end they proved to be misplaced.

 

A less successful witch than Bayonetta, but still worth checking out

 

You can purchase several different spells, the Crow one being one of my favorites, although it can only be used outdoors

 

Enemies seem to repeat themselves a bit at the beginning, but thing get better later on

 

Striking enemies with lightning is super effective but depletes your magic bar quickly

 

Here, throw vehicles around just because it's cool and because you can ;)

 

There are 5 downloadable outfits which are super sexy and...they are free!

 

There are also extra missions to download based on the exisiting levels of the game, but they are not free and I didnt try them out

 

Review - Japanese developers often focus first on characters and then on building a game around them and Bullet Witch is the perfect example of this tendency.

Alicia, the beautiful raven haired protagonist has been designed with extreme care, her gorgeous silhouette gracefully animated…she definitely looks the part. Not only her animation is elegant and fluid, but her various outfits, accessories and weapons are detailed and amazingly designed. In fact, you will notice a stark contrast between Alicia and her surroundings.

The spacious environments are often devoid of detail and this stands out even more when you look at the character you control. I have to admit there is a good reason for the backgrounds to look a bit barren though: much of what you see is actually destructible on a major scale, either by unleashing some insanely powerful spells which will level everything down or by placing some well-aimed projectiles on Gas Stations or Fuel Tanks. Also, most of the vehicles and the huge debris can be lifted and thrown right into the enemies teeth with the Will Power telekinesis spell, which is really empowering and fun.

About the negatives of this game, environmental pop-up is a concern, as sometimes it will be hard to see enemies or parts of the background until you get close enough. The use of fog, a well worn trick by now, is also something which smells of obsoleteness...

Moreover, the camera always requires to be manually adjusted and this can sometimes cause some viewing problems with elements of the background covering the action on screen. In-door, the camera works even worse, as it slows down and requires more time to get adjusted. meaning that you become an easier prey to enemies when you end up spending half of the time figuring out where you are being attacked from.

On top of this, the level layout is sometimes a bit confusing with poor signposting and the lack of an in-game map can make navigating the expansive levels tedious, as you’ll circle around for ages trying to figure out which way the game wants you to go. In all truth, Bullet Witch tries to tell the player where to go not by displaying huge blinking arrows, but simply by putting new enemies where you should go next. This system is elegant and subtle, but it doesn’t work as well as it should because of pop-up which will render chunks of the landscape and of the enemies invisible until you get close enough to see them.

With all of the negative I have highlighted, it would seem that Bullet Witch is a lost cause but in fact, it isn't. Let me just explain why.

The shooting mechanic is a bit simple but works just fine, like the cover system which although primitive, still works.

As I said before, Alicia’s animations are memorable and her arsenal is her strong point with cool weapons and magic spells which can be unlocked and upgraded. Spells are really empowering and beautiful to look at while weapons are also interesting and fun to use.

Bullet Witch isn’t a very long game but it is definitely challenging on normal mode, with some truly memorable boss fights which will require several attempts to be successfully completed.

In the end, this game is a rare breed: it manages to radiate a unique atmosphere of it own, dark and hopeless which is further enhanced by the melodic and powerful music.

I found the bleakness of Bullet Witch’s universe both fascinating and heavy as I realized it exacerbated my anxiety while I was playing.

Bullet Witch was a brave attempt by Cavia as it managed to mix several different ingredients that actually make the playing experience feel unique.

Mixing the mindless shooting fun of games such as Gun Grave, with some awesome-looking summons which bring to mind Final Fantasy and topping everything with a thick atmosphere you could cut with a knife, Bullet Witch may manage to make you forgive its many flaws.

Bottom line: More than any other game out there, this game would benefit enormously from a sequel but this will have to stay a fan-dream as its developer Cavia closed doors in 2010. 6,5/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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