Humanity is in jeopardy once again as an army of demons plague the earth in the distant future setting of Bullet Witch. Released in August 2006 in Japan, Atari deemed it time to bring Bullet Witch to the rest of the world. As the beautiful Alicia, you strike down the demons with magic and the good old standby, firepower. Welcome to Extreme Gamer’s review of Bullet Witch for the Xbox 360.
Atari and Japanese developer Cavia have made the choice to share the Japanese exclusive Xbox 360 game, Bullet Witch to the rest of the world. Bullet Witch is an action based game that uniquely blends horror, magic, action, drama, and b-level humor together. In basics you play Alicia, a provocative protagonist lead character who is on a mission to massacre an army of demons. Cavia then takes this basic premise and then mixes it up in a bowl of weird and bizarre and then adds some dash of sex appeal, violence, and magic. If one thing is to be said about Bullet Witch, I would use the world “inventive”.
If your interest is peeked, then you might want to learn a little background about Bullet Witch. Set in the distant future of 2013, Cavia sets us up with humanity on the verge of extinction due to natural disasters; starvation, wars, epidemics, and now the emergence of an army of evil demons… talk about your bad luck. The world’s population gets reduced to less to one billion and the handful of survivor’s fear the end is near. Then Alicia Claus enters the picture like a ray of light starts to make progress fighting against the evil horde of demons.
The subject matter is very bleak and Bullet Witch takes it self serious during the game with some high drama moments that are broken with odds bits of humor. The games flow is definitely different and it makes for a unique gaming experience. Every time I started to be sold on the seriousness of the situation they would pop up some strange news paper add at the end of the level, or a badly timed one liner from a demon or Alicia’s supporting cast. After the smoke cleared and I finished Bullet Witch, I enjoyed the story with all its strong and weak points. At the least, Alicia is a strong character with a lot of depth whom could exploited if they decided to follow up with another Bullet Witch game.
Now, for the action! The main feature in Bullet Witch is its unique use of guns and magic. Playing Bullet Witch will require you to use your gun, or gun rod as it’s called in Bullet Witch along side with magic. At first Bullet Witch will seem like a one side affair since you can get through without the use of magic, but that will all start to fade when you get to some of the more aggressive battle scenes. Throwing up magic walls or using a flock of ravens to distract your enemies will become a necessary tool when fighting large groups of demons. Bullet Witch can get a little tricky in a good way. I loved how Cavia introduced these unique powers along side the morphing Gun Rod because it creates a balanced dynamic in the game.
The enemies in Bullet Witch are limited which is one negative point for the game. Alicia’s main rivals are Geists, monsters created by demons using the lost souls of humans. The Geists are mainly army soldiers with different weapons, giant sized Geists which tower above buildings. The first time you see this dude you will be in for a battle and a half, you might even want to run for the hills, but after the third of fourth they become routine and unchallenging. There is also a breed of weird enemies called Walnut Heads which is a body with a giant brain that floats in the sky. The Walnut heads mainly put up barriers and use telekinetic powers to shield themselves and attack enemies. Besides these guys there are two mega boss battles that will take some serious luck and effort to survive. Mix in a few more freakishly bizarre disfigured humans and spirits and that the oppisition that you face in Bullet Witch.
Bullet Witch can become a little wearisome with the low amount of adversaries, but then like most aspects of Bullet Witch you have a polar opposite. On one end you have monotonous enemies versus the awesome epic boss battles, and a eerie creep factor that goes along with some of the levels. Bullet Witch definitely needs to be played up to the third level at least before you pass judgment. In the beginning we start slow and then the game slowly builds up to the classic epic end boss. Bullet Witch isn’t very forgiving either; you can be eliminated by a precise shot from a sniper or an object falling on you. I loved the realistic factor with a head shot really kills the character. Even though some parts are a challenging and will test your patience, Bullet Witch isn’t overly hard. I had to play a number of checkpoints over, but I was nothing a few attempts didn't fix.
The entire Bullet Witch experience doesn’t last to long if you’re only in for one play through. Cavia tries to motivate you so you want to play through Bullet Witch more than once. If you can fathom fighting the last boss again then it’s worth another run through. The motivation comes in new difficulty levels that unlock with attaching achievements and upgradeable powers and abilities. Since Bullet Witch is a short game lasting only about three to four hours you will want to revisit some levels, and try for some high scores if you want to get the most out of your money.
The biggest nock to Bullet Witch is in the graphic and audio category. Bullet Witch is plagued with some low resolution graphics along with a few excellent renders and animations mixed in. Bullet Witch also has the most clipping I’ve seen in a game in a long time, and possibly the worst for a next generation game. How the clipping issue passed quality is beyond me because it’s very obvious as Alicia just sonters through canasters and other dibree in the world. If you can forgive these flaws, Bullet Witch creates an innovative atmopshere that hasn't been done before which saves Bullet Witch from being a graphical nightmare. Even though techniqually speaking Bullet Witch could been seen as a failure, the mood and atmosphere makes up for the games short comings, enough to gian a passing rank.
The audio component of Bullet Witch doesn't disappoint like the graphics side, which is good given that area of shakey ground. The backing soundtrack credited to Masashi Yano is one of the best I’ve heard all year and fits perfectly with the gloomy mood and context. For the rest of the audio the sound effects are average and almost barren of ambient noise, along with a spotty voice work. I didn’t mind Sarah Notochenny as Alicia, but the other actors border on questionable. Even without questionable voice overs, Bullet Witch would have still come off over dramatic, and silly because of the absurd script.
Bullet Witch is a bizarre creature that doesn't falter much when it hits a low point, it's almost like it is expected. Bullet Witch could of been more refinded, a little would of helped a lot, but for what its worth Bullet Witch manages to find a strange and suitng mix amungst the clipping, bad textures, and questionable voice work.
Bullet Witch has been getting an odd response within the gaming community between gamers and critics. Some love Bullet Witch and others think the game is absolutely horrible. For me, I really enjoyed my time with Bullet Witch, although I can attest that it's not a perfect game. Bullet Witch represents the yin and yang of gaming, balanced between good and bad.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend you run out a snatch a copy right away, unless the game sounds utterly amazing. Alternatively, I recommend that interested parties opt for a rental to test the waters. Stick with it until the third level and make your decision on that merit. I think Cavia should give Bullet Witch another go; I’d love to see more of Alicia and this bizarre universe.