As part of a new wave of "next-generation" 360 games which are short on content, questionable in structure, and passed off to the public at a high retail price, Bullet Witch is certainly a title to be cautious of for gamers on a budget. If I could only afford to buy one title in a store full of choices, Bullet Witch wouldn't be it.
I'm not saying the game is bad, but Dan's observations in the main review are all spot-on. Not only can Bullet Witch be finished in an afternoon, it's a small-scale game with small-scale goals, and doesn't hold up well to repeated playthroughs. I actually admire its focus in a way, but it's the sort of adventure that goes down better at $20 used. (Crackdown and Earth Defense Force, I'm looking at you, too.)
However, putting the issue of value aside for a moment, Bullet Witch isn't without its charm. The post-apocalyptic setting is pulled off reasonably well and serves as the proper frame within which to mow down demonic soldiers. The main character Alicia has a strong design, and integrating witchcraft with gunplay is like mixing chocolate and peanut butter. Calling devastating bolts of lightning down from the sky thrilled, and the Raven Panic spell is one of the most interesting and useful powers I've encountered in a while. When a mass of summoned birds can make enemies stop firing at me and leave them flailing around to being picked off at my leisure, I have to smile.
The disappointing thing about Bullet Witch is that for every time I smiled, there were two or three things to make me frown.
Despite the level of interactivity afforded in the witchcraft, the environments aren't very destructible (a magical hurricane gets blocked by a chain-link fence?!?), most areas are burdened with invisible barriers, visible barriers, and small vertical structures that Alicia can't jump over. A general feeling of limitation pervades the entire experience. Besides this sense of being reined in, the urban environments are jumbled and confusing, and I often found myself wandering around, retracing my steps and trying to find the correct way to go.
Looking at the enemies, Bullet Witch features a pitifully small selection of creatures-literally just a handful. I quickly grew tired of taking out the same pinkish zombie wearing a skin cape over and over again in each area, and kept waiting for new and interesting horrors that never appeared. I should also mention that the developer who thought including snipers with the ability to kill Alicia with one hit should be promptly fired.
… And while I'm on the subject of bad ideas, I'm appalled at the way Bullet Witch tries to nickel-and-dime players by offering "features" through online micro transactions that should have been open and available from the get-go. The money-grubbing tactics on display here are some of the most egregious I've seen, and I deeply hope that other developers choose not to go down this slippery, slippery slope. Offering bonus content and small perks to enhance a game peripherally is one thing; shipping an already-thin product and then intentionally making it thinner with the intent of cashing in later is unforgivable.
With Alicia's enigmatic looks, poignant backstory, and interesting world, I'd be very open to seeing an expanded, developed and more rounded sequel to Bullet Witch. That said, the developers need to either put out a complete, full-scale product or just be honest and charge a fair price for what they've produced if they choose to go the no-frills/low-frills route again. Videogaming is already an expensive hobby, and it's just getting spendier. Getting taken for a ride by overzealous developers and games that really can't justify their price only makes the situation worse.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody's looking, and his favorite game of all time is a toss-up between the first Mass Effect and The Witcher 3. You can catch his written work here at GameCritics and you can hear him weekly on the @SoVideogames Podcast. Follow Brad on Twitter and Instagram at @BradGallaway, or contact him via email:
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