Review: Bullet Witch (2006) (Xbox 360)

The following is a review of Bullet Witch, released in 2006 for the Xbox 360.

It is what it is, and that’s just fine

Years ago I was hooked by the uniqueness of the first few levels of Drakengard, released for the PlayStation 2. When I finally found and picked up a copy I found it had hooked its claws into me even more. So when Drakengard 2 came out I of course picked up a copy. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as the first Drakengard, but it was nonetheless still a good entry to the series. Many many years later I picked up Nier, which was associated with Square Enix, but received extremely harsh reviews.

Around the same time I found that Cavia, a name I remembered well from the Drakengard series, had worked on Nier, which got me wondering what other games they had had a hand in. I had played Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex for the PlayStation 2 years before, and ended up trading it in due to what I found were clunky controls (if I remember correctly). But as I was looking through the list I saw one game I had seen before and skimmed over due to the price and cover.

Once I released Cavia had had a hand in Bullet Witch I decided to pick up a copy once I found it at a good price (and with the manual and original box). Having found a copy for under $5, I figured it was definitely worth a try.

Bullet Witch is a rather interesting game. The controls are annoying but as I played I couldn’t help but think of Bayonetta. Both characters have a certain sex appeal, but both are extremely deadly. One might be ashamed to admit that they not only played, but owned their games, but both contain fairly good games, even if it’s significantly easier to tell that Bayonetta is one.

In Bullet Witch you control a woman who carries with her a gun larger than herself. As you progress you can switch between 4 guns total, each with their own uses. You also gain certain magic spells, and can increase your own abilities, although its limited to increasing your health and magic regeneration.

There are a total of six stages with each lasting between 10 minutes to an hour, depending upon how lost you get and how many times you’ve played a level. There are five or six different difficulty settings, with only the lower three available at the start. Achievements are available for beating the game under each difficulty, but since they do not stack you can look forward to playing multiple times (if you care about the points). However, each time you start a game your previously unlocked skills and remaining points carry over, so you could even play the first level over and over again (10-15 minutes a shot) to build up your skills early.

As noted above the controls are fairly clunky, which is unfortunate since it’s a third-person shooter with some fairly fast enemies. The lighting can also be tricky at times, and there’s no good indication of the fact that you’re near death, so expect that surprise.

The general suggestion is that you play your first time on easy, since achievements don’t stack and the game is a little … clunky, so that’s exactly what I did. I played the first level a number of times as well, on both easy and normal, but I finished my first game on easy. All told I probably put 6 or 7 hours into the game (thus far).

The story isn’t horrible, and is actually about what I expected after playing Cavia’s other games. Since you’re introduced to it within the first few minutes of the game, I’ll go ahead and say that I didn’t quite catch why she hears a voice, but I think that’s the only oddity (although it could be left unstated for a reason).

Finally, I really enjoyed the graphics in the game. It certainly shows its age, and is probably on par with PlayStation 2 graphics, but because of the nature of the story I have no issues with that.

While it’s certainly not the greatest game ever, it’s generally not that bad. I’ll play it again and beat it at least on normal, and could easily see myself playing it even after that. The game also received a good deal of DLC, all of which is extremely cheap, as in free to 25 cents. The latter is actual maps, which adds a pretty good deal of content for a fairly low price.

For these reasons I’m going to give Bullet Witch 4 of 5 stars. One could perhaps argue that it only deserves 3 stars, but I think the game tells a good story and once you release the shortcomings (using maps removes the pain of wandering around in the larger maps), it’s not that bad at all, and offers a good deal of content for the current price.