A Blast From The Past

HIGH Using the Meteor spell to wipe everything out.

LOW The bone dragon boss that kills with a one-shot.

WTF The game is set in the dystopic future of… 2013!


 

Bullet Witch is back! No, they didn’t make a sequel… the original from 2006 is out on PC now, more than a decade after it was originally released! I don’t know who was asking for this since it’s a forgettable footnote from the early 360/PS3 days, but to mark the occasion, I’ll offer a commentary on my original review of the game, which can be found here.

“Three hours. This game is three hours long. Without the aid of a strategy guide, cheat codes, or any other manner of gaming aid, I managed to get all the way through Bullet Witch in just three hours. This puts me in a bit of a bind because, while it’s a very fun game to play, Bullet Witch is just inexcusably short.”

I’m a little shocked to see the word ‘fun’ in there. It’s been so long banned from the lexicon here at GameCritics that I’d forgotten it was ever a thing.

“A third-person shooter, Bullet Witch plays a lot like Devil May Cry without all the fruity jumping around. Or depth. Or content.”

Oof. ‘Fruity jumping’. That does not feel good to read. Although it’s worth noting that Bayonetta, which came out in 2009, was essentially a combination of the gameplay of Devil May Cry and the aestheic of Bullet Witch.

“Although few in number, the enemies are exceptionally well-designed… truly disturbing in concept and execution. They’re such horrific abominations that killing them feels as much like a public service as anything else.”

I’ll stand by all of this. By modern standards, the graphics of this game are laughably blocky and muddy, but the design work is top-notch. While the graphics may struggle to effectively render the horrors onscreen, the concepts are all solid.

“The designers have managed to whip up powers that are both visually arresting and entirely useful. The greatest of these is a form of telekinesis, which is the Star Wars “Force Push” used better than it’s ever been in another game. Each level of the game is littered with cars, rocks, and fallen trees, and with the simple push of a button, they’re all sent flying straight ahead, crushing anything in their path.”

Either they’ve changed the game, or I was just going crazy here. While the first two levels of the game are littered with cars, and it’s thrilling to toss them into crowds of enemies, every subsequent level is strangely bare of decoration, and the force push became all but useless after leaving the city. How did I not mention the “Rose Spear” — a spell that impales enemies and sets them on fire? It’s more satisfying in every way!

“Another nice touch is the presence of both survivors and helpful soldiers in every level. If the survivors are injured they don’t die immediately, and Alicia can heal them through the oddly disturbing process of slitting her wrist and showering her opponent in her own blood.”

This ‘saving people’ mechanic remains one of the game’s most interesting innovations over the competition, but this time around I found myself struggling to find the civilians who needed to be saved. They really should have added a mini-map to the game.

“While genuinely fun and entertaining the first time through, Bullet Witch doesn’t really hold up on repeated playthroughs. Changing the difficulty level only increases enemy health and damage; each level always has the same number of enemies in the same place, and their behavior remains unchanged.”

It’s also worth mentioning that the game’s levels are around three times as big as they should be. Every objective is a good minute to ninety seconds walk from the previous, and there will likely be few enemies on the way. It takes forever to get anywhere in Bullet Witch, and while the combat is well designed, the developers completely failed to manage the challenge level to keep a consistent threat going throughout the levels.

“Worse still, the game doesn’t have any extras available to stretch out length. No extra costumes, art galleries, time attack modes, nothing at all. Atari has announced its desire to release downloadable content at some point in the indeterminate future, but in this day and age, shouldn’t extra costumes at least be included in a game out of the box?”

On the upside, this release features all of the bonus content already unlocked! That’s right, the more than twenty pieces of DLC that are still for sale in the Xbox store for twenty-five cents each are all included in this package. That’s five costumes and an assortment of challenge levels ready to go immediately. If only they’d unlocked them a decade ago!

“At fifty dollars, and with significant locked away on the disc from the people who paid for it, it’s the biggest rip-off since Crackdown, and shouldn’t be purchased by anyone for any reason. Rating: 5.5 out of 10”

While I’m not especially happy with my language use, I stand by this review. Bullet Witch is a strange, quirky game that feels profoundly unfinished even as it’s charming players with its madness. It’s a complete mess, but with all the DLC included, it’s absolutely worth fifteen dollars. Rating: 6 out of 10


 

Disclosures: This game is developed by Marvelous and published by XSEED. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M, and contains Violence, Language, and Blood. No kids, please. It’s extremely gory, and the subject matter is dark. Most of the world is wiped out by plagues and demon massacres, and the player is wandering around the crumbling wreck of civilization, watching cruelty beasts torturing the remaining people. It’s rough.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: There are no audio cues that don’t have visual components – even enemies firing from offscreen use extremely visible tracers, so if you start getting shot, you’ll know exactly where the bullets are coming from. All dialogue is accompanied by text. The text cannot be resized. This is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.

 

Daniel Weissenberger

Daniel Weissenberger

What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?

Nothing relevant to this conversation, that's for sure! Because we're here to talk about (sorry, write and read about, respectively) GC_Danny, who's updating this profile for the first time in thirteen years!

So let's take a gander back at that time and see what's happened! In addition to writing hundreds of video game reviews, Dan produced a book that can be legally purchased by almost anyone! He also wrote two short films, two episodes of television, and two movies! Although, sadly, and through much fault of his own, the movies have yet to be released.

In addition to general game reviewing, he's also dabbled in more long-form work, writing some of the longest and most comprehensive game reviews of all time. Then there's his non-GameCritics blogging, where he's famous as the world's foremost expert on the TV show Criminal Minds, as well as the co-host of a weekly podcast - he's even working on a new videogame/critical experiment, which you can find out more about here!

If all that wasn't enough, just a few months ago he rebranded himself as 'The Hidden Object Guru', hoping to stake another claim of ultimate expertise, this time over a genre of casual games! Will he be successful? Only time will tell, but you're free to join the thrilling ride at his YouTube channel!
Daniel Weissenberger

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punksudo

“Fruity jumping” is certainly cringeworthy in this day and age, but have you gone back and reread older reviews from the likes of Electronic Gaming Monthly or IGN back in the 2000s, or watched old episodes of X-Play? It’s quite illuminating to see just how much has changed in regards to what is acceptable in the past fifteen years or so, which I was also reminded of while playing the recent remake of The 25th Ward: The Silver Case and seeing how many ableist slurs there were in Suda’s 2005 era script. I’d actually love to hear your thoughts on… Read more »