Videogames, politics, science, all the important things in life.

Archive for the ‘Play Magazine’ Category

Summer Gaming Blowout Special Update: Oh Lordy Does Bullet Witch Suck Edition

Posted by nfinit on July 26, 2007

Rented this last week, lacking anything better to do as well as basic common sense. The sheer awfulness of the Bullet Witch experience cannot be properly translated if I incorporated other games into this update, so I’m giving the title its own review.

Before I begin, I’d like to give Cavia Inc, the developers for Bullet Witch their due and point out exactly what Bullet Witch does right:

  1. When the schoolgirl outfit is selected and you’re running up stairs, you can see directly up your dress.

  2. In order to avoid claims that the point of offering a strong, independent female lead is negated when users can easily select blatantly sexualized outfits such as “catholic schoolgirl” and “naughty secretary”, or (and so help me god I’m not kidding) “sexy mummy outfit”, the game neglects to transfer these new outfits to cut scenes, allowing Alicia to call upon her supernatural powers to leap from outfits that barely cover her buttocks to an elegant black silk ensemble in the blink of an eye when confronted by NPCs.

Things Bullet Witch does not get right:

  1. The concept of “clipping”. Alicia can step right through random vegetation, park benches, wooden pallets, dead bodies, file cabinets, and a great many other obstinately solid objects. While this may be explained away by some unforeseen aspect of her supernatural powers, it doesn’t explain why a 3-inch rise from porch to patio deck wholly negates any forward movement.

  2. Pacing. One may easily find themselves wading through zombies through completely blind dead ends, as vast swaths of any given level are dedicated toward nothing resembling any actual goal or point, with open fields leading miles away from any actual action. Your goal may be a half mile behind you and receding in the distance, or it may be around the next random alleyway. There’s absolutely no way to tell, and by the time you’ve figured out what the game designers were expecting you to do, you’ve already wasted precious hours of your life, hours that you will bitterly regret eighty years from now as you lay dying in a hospital bed, the prime of your youth foolishly spent playing bad videogames because it was Friday night and Blockbuster was out of copies of Lost Planet.

  3. Geography. The large cosmopolitan city laying across a vast bridge in the middle of what would appear to be San Francisco Bay is policed by University of Nevada police officers. Also, leading up to this bridge is an offramp for Salt Lake City.

  4. Compelling characters or plot. Alicia has Goth Powers, and a voice inside her head that offers the occasional snide remark regarding humanity. Also, a gun that is also a broom. Or something. You fight incredibly stupid zombie soldiers. This is your motivation.

  5. Anything resembling good gameplay.

I’m not kidding about the last bit. The AI, such as it is, is laughably stupid. When given the choice to fire at innocent civilians or at the poorly armored emaciated-looking woman firing a machine gun at them, they’d far rather try to kill the citizenry, all the while offering dialog such as “Which limb shall I tear off first, your arm or your leg?” or “you’ll have to do better than that if you don’t want to die!”, provided instead the zombies aren’t expending vast quantities of ammunition into Nevada’s oceans. Often the game will rappel in squads of zombie soldiers to do battle with Alicia, only to drop these soldiers off so far away that they aren’t able to recognize Alicia as a threat, allowing the soldiers to stand around staring at each other making zombie soldier chitchat while Alicia calmly uses her supernatural abilities to goth-throw a taxicab into their midst. Then there’s the bit where Alicia can circle-strafe about her zombie oppressors, safely plugging hundreds of rounds of ammunition into the shambling horde while the undead marvel helplessly at Alicia’s invincible sideways-walking strategy. “Walnut Heads”, floating humans with enormous, pulsating heads, sorta just sit there and float while you unload into them, unconcerned that their engorged brainsacs are about to explode in a gush of viscera. Gigas, titanic zombie soldiers with enormous, pulsating hearts, thrash and stomp around unconcerned as you unleash a hail of lead into their throbbing chests. Citizens run back and forth into zombie/Alicia firefights. Enemy tanks are rendered harmless when you come within five feet of their hulls, their turrets fruitlessy tracking you as they sit, still as stones. Bullet Witch’s AI isn’t just bad, it single handedly nullifies nearly a century of Hollywood scaremongering regarding both zombies and evil robots. If this is the horror we have to look forward to when the zombie apocalypse finally shambles upon us, it’ll be a simple matter of standing five feet away from any given undead as they wander off to fire round after round of machine gun ammunition into Nevada’s vast shoreline.

If Bullet Witch’s sins were simply a matter of bad AI, inconsistent clipping and poor level design then Bullet Witch would be guilty of being merely awful. But no, this game takes suck to new heights, creating what may well be the earliest recorded case of a gaming atrocity to appear on the 360.

  • Despite a deep and varied selection of destructive Goth Magics there’s only one you really need to use, that being the supremely powerful lighting bolt attack, and the only reason you’d want to even go that far is because it’s the only thing that can kill tanks.

  • Despite featuring four gun/broom combinations to unlock, there’s no good reason to use anything other than the bog-standard machine gun.

  • When reloading your gun/broom’s clip (you never run out of ammunition in Bullet Witch, you merely need to remember to reload your magazine regularly) you can skip the canned reload animation by jumping.

  • When jumping, you are more or less invincible

  • Your health bar constantly regenerates. Therefore, in the rare occasion when Alicia faces death, you merely need to flip about like a Matrix reject until the danger is past. Then resume circle-strafing.

  • Objects that can explode– cars, fuel tankers, randomly scattered barrels– may or may not actually explode. Also, object that can be pushed around by Alicia’s “Willpower” ability may instead chose to stay put.

  • Whereas many games are trying to get away from the whole “obtrusive cut-scene” thing, Bullet Witch bucks this trend by constantly stopping play to present the player with a barrage of gameplay hints, most of which you will have figured out well before the hint imposes itself.

  • The game often tries dramatic, Crackdown-esque cinematic explosions, resulting in gouts of flame erupting from the ground as all and sundry are thrown into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, whereas Crackdown was created as a labor of love by professionals who obviously cared about their craft, and Bullet Witch was created by drooling fucktards, the game slows down to a nearly unplayable crawl.

  • In the aftermath of said explosions, it’s not at all unusual to find zombie soldiers standing around, unharmed by and uninterested in the conflagration that had so recently engulfed them.
  • AND MANY MORE! Special abilities that grant health bonuses in a game where you are never in danger of being at anything less than full health! Zombies that rematerialze if the game realized you needed to fill up your magic bar! 1-hit-kill zombie snipers that cannot be avoided once they spot you! Voice actors hired from the back alley of sperm donor clinics! Civilian NPCs that are wholly unharmed by any explosion you cause, car you throw, or bullet you fire! And an impossible boss fight set atop a flying 747 jumbo jet!

Now, I have a point to this insane rambling, and it’s this– Dave Halverson of Play Magazine gave Bullet Witch an 8.5 out of 10. I’m not sure if Dave simply masturbated to the intro and then slept through the part where he was supposed to play the game prior to reviewing it, but here’s a short list of games that have received 8.5s or less from Play– Super Paper Mario (8.5); Mercenaries (8.5); Project Gotham Racing 2 (8.5); Crackdown (8.5); Burnout 3 (8.0); Alien Hominid (8.0); Dead or Alive 3 and 4 (8.0 each) Suikoden V (8.0)(Which, I have on good authority been informed was the best in the series to appear on the PS2) and only five points worse than Soul Calibur III (9.0) which had a habit of destroying your memory card.

According to Play Magazine, one of the more respected and successful publications in the industry, Bullet Witch, a game which cannot be bothered to have enemy soldiers fire in your general direction, is on par with Mercenaries, Crackdown and Super Paper Mario, and is unquestionably better than motherfucking Alien Hominid. Not only that!   But the magazine the game was featured in not only had a Bullet Witch cover, but six pages of coverage, including two (two!) developer interviews!

Editors of Play Magazine; you owe me five dollars for the rental, as well as an Alicia wall scroll. Thank you.

Technorati : , ,


Posted in Dave Halverson, Play Magazine, Reviews | Leave a Comment »