|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Cavia||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Between 2008 and 2012, a series of unfortunate events will result into desolation and the almost inevitable extinction of the human race. That's how this intense, but very entertaining game begins.
Earthquakes, disease, war, etc. are responsible for the decimation of mankind. An army of hideous demons and other underworld beings (Geists, "Walnut Heads," snakes, etc.) will now take their chance to destroy the leftovers and make the Earth a world of their own. There are fewer than one billion humans alive and their only hope lies on the new heroine, one that could at some point replace Lara Croft as the leading female video game star, if we were to keep an open mind. Alicia was burdened with undesired powers that make her no more a human but rather a witch, with no other goal in life other than fighting gruesome demons and saving the world.
When I saw the opening for this game I felt excited and reluctant at the same time; such a unique theme could make a great game or just a catastrophe. After all, Bullet Witch turned out to be fantastic, so you should just keep on reading!
Our witch is such a strong character: confident, good looking, and, above all, restless. She walks around New York loaded with a Gun-Rod, which is a glorified broomstick, that we'll affectionately call the "Boom-Stick!" It resembles an electric guitar but it has the power of a rifle and, when upgraded, a cannon gun, a shotgun, and a gatling gun. The horrendous-looking, demonic enemies are keen on shooting at Alicia and destroying her being and her powers. She will have to "take care" of each one of them by shooting and casting powerful spells to destroy them and their surroundings. She uses more bullets that it would take to kill an elephant but, thankfully, the ammo is "magically" unlimited. You will still have to reload your weapon when you run out of shells, but you won't have to wander around looking for more ammunition. There are some cool bosses too that make it even more challenging.
The A.I. is quite smart; it's remarkable the way they surround you in no time or come out when you least expect it. It's imperative to take advantage of all the cover you can find, unless you want to be perforated in a split second by dozens of bullets. Those geists are strong creatures and won't give up easily. Sometimes casting a spell on them will be more efficient than incessantly shooting until they're dead. Your spirit will talk to you once in a while and give you tips on how to approach the situation. You will unlock most of the magic in the first level, but you will grow stronger over time by accumulating skill points that you can "cash" for weapon add-ons, abilities, and magic-witchcraft upgrades. It reminds me a little bit of the upgrade system followed in God of War. Using magic attacks will consume your magic points and lower the magic limit in the magic points gauge. The more enemies you kill, the faster you will recover magic points and the higher the maximum level of magic will be. This is interesting and easy to handle. The health meter fills up by itself when you're not fighting, which makes things easy. The only way you will die is if you let the enemy shoot you dead or if they throw a heavy object at you. Be careful with this!
The controls in Bullet Witch are not difficult to manage, but they do have a learning curve. First of all, this is not a first person, but a third person shooter. Therefore, you will see Alicia on the screen and also the crosshair that shows where you're pointing at with your "Boom-Stick." The left analog stick will move Alicia. You'll target the enemy with the right analog stick and then shoot with the right trigger. Pushing the right analog stick down will give you a gun-sight view that allows you to target your enemies better and, if you move the right analog stick, you will strafe and duck by pushing it down. The left and right shoulder buttons will pull up the magic menu. It's tough to get used to it, but you can actually continue fighting while you choose your magic attack. It seems like when the menu comes up the action should stop but it doesn't; enemies keep shooting at you and you should learn to be fast scrolling through the menus when you need to cast a spell. Using buttons for magic attacks would have been better, but they probably couldn't fit them all in the controller and that's why they opted for the on-screen menu. A is used to confirm actions and also hit enemies with the Gun-Rod when they're close by, B will change your weapon attachments, X will reload, and you will perform a sweet jump with the left trigger. Y is not really used in the gameplay. In any case, you can customize the controller at will, so if you feel more comfortable with a different button layout, that won't be a problem. You can also invert the up-and-down targeting, which is essential for some gamers.
There are several cool magic spells. Your "will power" will let you blow objects away towards your enemies, sometimes making them explode. "Sacrifice" will heal helpless humans that you'll find along the way. The "Ancient Wall" creates a temporary barricade that will protect you while you regenerate your health, and the "Lightning" attack will blow off the enemies and their tanks if you target it correctly. This one is quite spectacular; it shows a cutscene of a massive lightning bolt that makes you all excited, knowing that it's about to strike the enemies like nothing else will. There are other magic attacks you will get throughout the game, like the deadly flaming spears that you can summon out of the ground, the tornado, and tricks to distract your enemies.