STAFF REVIEW of Bullet Witch (Xbox 360)


Wednesday, March 7, 2007.
by Adam Rivard

Bullet Witch Box art For those of you who don?t know, Bullet Witch supposes the year 2013 is going to be a Bummer!!! That?s right the near future isn?t looking so bright after all. Consecutive years of war and civil unrest, finally takes it toll on humankind, not to mention a devastating virus that wipes out all but a billion people on the planet. With the virus comes strange demon like people who seem hell bent on claiming people?s lives. These guys are wearing army fatigues but are missing their skin so they want everyone else?s. And it?s your job to stop them. Now how in the world are you going to stop a virus infected zombie army anyway? Easy, you are going to wipe them all out with a witch named Alicia. One bad !&%$@#* witch with a huge gun, broom, sword kind of thing called a Gun-Rod. Yup?a witch is going to save the world with a gun rod and some devastating magic. Atari hasn't exactly been pumping out hit after hit lately, but they're looking to turn their image around with Bullet Witch. Keep on reading to find out if this game is worthy of being called a next gen title.


Unlikely as it sounds, Alicia is a mystical witch that combines the power of firearms with the elegance of witchcraft to defeat her enemies in up close and personal battles. The game starts off in a city, which has been overrun by mutant zombie soldiers...something that's not going to do wonders for the property value.
Thankfully, Alicia comes packing a pretty hefty arsenal. Her staff (known as the Gun Rod) conceals nasty attacks that can be upgraded over the course of the game. You'll start off with a pretty standard machine gun, but over time you'll gain heavier arms like shotguns and grenade launchers.
But guns are only half of the fun. Magic obviously plays a big role (the game is called Bullet Witch, after all), and you'll unlock a series of magical attacks throughout your journey. One of the earliest spells you'll get is a massive lightning bolt attack. Casting spells is a little more complicated than gunplay, and you'll have to time your attacks just right to get high end damage, but if you're looking to kick ass, that's definitely the way to go.
Another important aspect is Alicia's agility, which allows her to pull of nifty leaps and dodges to avoid enemy attacks. She's able to regain health as long as she's not being attacked, so dodging bullets becomes a pretty important part of the game. As well as her melee attack which can come in handy at times.


The game plays out as a 3rd person shooter. You also have numerous spells and abilities at your disposal. Spells range from Willpower which allows you to force push cars and other objects to a meteor strike, lighting attack or even a feast of crows to unleash on your enemy. All spell effects are gorgeous to watch

So all this sounds well and good, but how does the game play? Unfortunately the controls are a mixed bag. The game is in desperate need of a lock on function, or at least a smoother aiming system. Instead the 3rd person aiming is jittery and slow. On the flip side the spell system is really well implemented with any of your spells 2 button presses away. Simply click the left or right bumper, and hit the corresponding face button of the spell you?d like to use.


After each level you are able to upgrade Alicia?s abilities and magic (a la RPG). You accumulate points based on your performance. After completing the game you are able to retain the skill levels and continue leveling up your character to aid you in the harder difficulty levels should you choose to go through the game again.

The game world itself features a huge expansive city and suburb. There are no loading times during the levels themselves. The graphics are impressive with nifty lighting effects and incredible explosions. There?s something very satisfying about using willpower to throw a handful of cars and gasoline trucks into a pile of enemies and watching it all explode in a blaze of glory. A lot of the environment in Bullet Witch is destructible.


Suggestions:
In a nutshell Bullet Witch is very entertaining, but the overall pacing of the game and the frustrating controls bring it down. The basic game play involves a lot of backtracking as you take down barriers to unlock places you?ve previously been. There?s no real enemy variety with the exception of a few big, and I mean big, bosses and bad guys. And to round everything out, the game itself is short featuring only 6 levels. Most players can beat the game in 6-8 hours. With only leaderboards available for Xbox Live, the lack of any kind of co-op or competitive play kills the replay ability of this game. The few moments of brilliance in Bullet Witch are unfortunately brought down by the overall mediocrity of the game. I recommend a rental.


Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.8 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 6.6 / 10

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