Review: Bullet Witch (Computer)

Bullet Witch: Official GBAtemp Review

Computer 2,835 views 1 like 20 comments
Reviewed by Prans Dunn, posted May 2, 2018
May 2, 2018
  • Release Date (NA): April 25, 2018
  • Release Date (EU): April 25, 2018
  • Publisher: Xseed Games
  • Developer: Marvelous Inc.
  • Genres: Third-Person Shooter
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Sixteen years and older
  • Also For: Xbox 360
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Over a decade earlier and before Bayonetta, there was a stylish witch lurking in an Xbox 360 game waiting for you to take control. That game was 'Bullet Witch' and it finally landed on PCs this April. Is it worth picking up in 2018? Read on to find out!
Prans Dunn

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A World In Ruins, A Witch And Monsters

The year is 2013 A.D. Disaster, war, plague, and an army of evil monsters. All the catastrophes wrought by demons have reduced humanity’s numbers to under 1 billion. Everyone assumes that this is the end, but there have been rumors of a black-clad woman with a huge gun and demonic powers…

Yes, the plot didn’t strike me as extraordinary or particularly enticing. Some parts are even left vague, anti-climatic or end up being just too predictable. So yeah, the plot isn't the game’s forte but maybe the gameplay would be the main focus, I thought.

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Bullet Witch plays as a third-person shooter and was very reminiscent of arcade shooters of the previous century like House of the Dead, to me. Alicia, our protagonist, will mostly go in gun blazing with her Gun Rod to fend off the hordes of weird, English-speaking humanoid monsters (don’t ask). Being a witch, she is able to conjure powerful magic attacks like the one-hit-kill Lightning or create a temporary Ancient Wall to defend herself or civilians. She can also transform her humongous Gun Rod into other types of rifles like a shotgun or a Gatling gun at will, to better adapt in a given situation.

There is also a handy power-up system to upgrade her; “Ability”, “Gun Rod” and “Witchcraft” with the skill points earned at the end of each mission based on the ranking. Powering them up will unlock new and more powerful abilities which were the highlight of the game for me. The different attacks made available after being unlocked do some nice fireworks when Alicia executes the waves of monsters. These allow for some varied attack types rather than just raining bullets.

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Another cool feature is the game’s semi-open environment with the destructible and combustible elements. Some of these can even be used to Alicia’s advantage, like using your psychic powers to throw objects at ghouls or shooting down weak ceilings onto unsuspecting targets beneath. But they can also be used against her as well with some psychic-type monstrosities who are able to throw vehicles at Alicia and one-hit kill her. That's where the game leaves a lot of questions about our witch's strength. For someone who can survive a rocket launcher and even a tank rocket head-on, she sure seems relatively fragile to die upon a single hit by a car...

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Well that was it for the relatively good parts of the game, now off to the less good parts. Indeed Bullet Witch had some potential considering the apparent deep mechanics and varied play styles, but it is held back from being an enjoyable experience by its poor execution.

Progressing through the levels is pretty much laid out for you even if the game wants you to feel otherwise. Progress impeded by a barrier? Find and shoot the Walnut Head that's creating it. Roadblock? Go to the other direction. It feels repetitive in the long run, in particular with the lack of enemy types and bland repetitive environments.

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Now this is a game originally released on the Xbox 360 back in 2006. At that time Bullet Witch might have been somewhat graphically impressive but in 2018, it feels all too dated. Even if there have been improvements in this port/remaster, I could barely tell. The buildings that litter the surroundings throughout the game look bland, the other environment elements are blatantly re-used, the physics are often (invisible wall? Enemies walking through walls?) and the overall look of the game is that of one that bridges between the OG Xbox and the 360. 

And don’t get me started with the voice acting which is mediocre at best. The cutscenes with the stiff and expressionless characters reminded me that motion capture wasn’t always a thing. Aside from Alicia, it seems like the studio ran out of funds for voice acting and animation of the other characters.

The AI isn’t too intelligent either. That goes for both civilian NPCs and enemies. The NPCs' actions feel unnatural, running randomly at one time and walking casually at another. The enemies often opt to stand in one position as clear targets for Alicia and their actions are all too predictable and repetitive.

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Bullet Witch Launch Trailer

Verdict
Pros
+ Mindless retro arcade-style fun
+ Varied attacks
Cons
- Shallow plot
- Dated graphics
- Questionable physics
- Lack of enemy variety
- Dumb AI
- Bland environment
4 Presentation
The graphics and animation are reminiscent of a time long forgotten and it should have been left that way.
5 Gameplay
Bullet Witch has some nice gameplay concepts like its upgrade system, swappable weapons and magic spells that allow for varied play styles. A welcome change in the overall monotony in the game.
3 Lasting Appeal
Not much reason to stick or go back to this game unless if you want to best the leaderboard scores or unlock achievements.
4
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Bullet Witch is a game that should have been left where it was: forgotten in time. It has some nice ideas, especially in its gameplay, but they are all poorly executed in a muddled plot with mediocre animation, making for a port that no one asked for.
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