Cavia
Atari
Action
1
02.27.07

Bullet Witch (Xbox 360)


Imagine a beautiful curvaceous woman with silky black hair, dressed in a tight leather outfit, carrying a weapon on her back that’s a cross between a hi-tech broomstick and a multifunctional assault weapon. Her name is Alicia, and she is the heroine of Cavia’s Xbox 360 title Bullet Witch. This game has all the ingredients to make a very cool gaming experience, but does the concept match the final product?

Gameplay

Bullet Witch takes place in the year 2013 in a post apocalyptic setting where demons, wearing human flesh as uniforms, walk the Earth killing any living thing in sight. The military is completely outnumbered by this force of evil, and the only hope the world has lies in the hands of a stranger…who happens to be a witch.

You control Alicia from a third person perspective, as she runs, flips, and blows away anything in her path. The controls are very simple to master, but Alicia’s movements leave a lot to be desired. Her animations are not very smooth, so it appears as if she only has four basic actions that are repeated continuously. You can’t even make her jump; she just flips Matrix-style left and right usually missing the spot you want her to land on.

Alicia’s prime weapon is her broomstick gun rod, which offers an unlimited amount of gunfire in standard mode. Finishing a mission earns points, which allows you to upgrade the weapon to a shotgun, gatling gun, or a hand cannon. There is no target lock, so you have to keep your gun’s cursor constantly moving to strike down any approaching enemy. There’s always something to shoot at, but you can get bored pretty quick because of the lack of variety. Most of the time you’re just trying to find the right enemy to kill so you can unlock the barrier that prevents you from getting into another zone.

To mix things up Alicia can perform various magic feats to fight her foes. These tricks range from Will Power, a force push that can send large objects flying into the enemy, the Raven’s Panic, which calls upon a swarm of black birds to attack at your command, the Ancient Wall, which temporarily shields you from gunfire when you’re surrounded, and Sacrifice, which allows Alicia to use her own blood to heal wounded civilians and soldiers.

Like the gun rod, you can earn points to upgrade your magic powers for much more powerful tricks such as lightning, tornado wind, and the meteor shower, which is one of the coolest weapons in Alicia’s arsenal because it allows her to make meteors fall from the sky and destroy everything in site. These magic powers do add a rush of excitement, but the times when you can unleash these powers are too few and far between.

Besides the army of flesh-covered demons, you also encounter an odd collection of bosses, ranging from humanoids with enormous balloon brains that float in the air, giant beasts the size of skyscrapers packing machine guns, and huge flying dragon fish that attack airplanes.

What really hurts this game is the horrible AI. The enemy just charges and shoots, and when one falls the other one steps in to take his place to do the same. This pattern continues on and on. All you have to do is keep shooting and you’ll make it through the level without even thinking of a strategy. There were so many times when an enemy would start firing at you and then stop to walk away like he was taking a coffee break. The only thing worse than the enemy’s AI is the intelligence of your teammates, who are supposed to be watching your back. If you get into a gunfight, some of them will fight and the others just stand there with their backs turned waiting to be killed.

Bullet Witch only offers six levels, and the latter half of the game is much better than the first two levels, especially the final boss fight, which is so explosive and loud that it makes up for a lot that was missing in the early part of the game. Bullet Witch can be completed in about four hours, and even though I don’t believe a game has to be long to be good, a game this short should have been a non-stop thrill ride.

Graphics

There is absolutely nothing visually in this game that couldn’t have been done on the original Xbox. The graphics are flat, and the colors are muted to the point where there are some areas that look unfinished. There are also a lot of glitches where you can literally run through objects, or shoot enemy soldiers who amazingly become stuck floating above the ground. And don’t get me started with the draw distance, I ran out of times where I walked into an area to see it magically pop up right before my eyes.

Sound

While not amazing, the sound in the game is very effective, especially in levels where there is a lot of action going on. Explosions, gunfire and soldiers yelling commands echo out of the sound system. The music also works well in that popcorn movie “let’s save the day” way. The voice acting in the cutscenes is terrible, and it doesn’t help that the dialogue being said is usually unintentionally laughable.

Replay Value

Not much here, unless you just want to replay it on a more difficult level to add on some achievement points. In the menu there’s a selection for downloadable content, but as of this writing nothing was available. The only live support involves leaderboard stats, which is too bad because it would have been kind of cool to drop a meteor storm onto your opponents via an online deathmatch.

Bottom Line:

I would have forgiven a lot of the problems of Bullet Witch if it was a budget title, but for a $50 game, you really expect something that is much more fine-tuned. There are moments, especially during the final two levels that I really got into the action, but it did leave me wishing for more. If a sequel to Bullet Witch ever evolves, there are so many ways to make this a cooler game. I mean a chick with a broomstick assault rifle…Come on, the possibilities are endless.

Related Links:

Official Website for Bullet Witch

-Johnny McNair




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