Review by ReelBigFishie

"I like swords."

Bushido Blade is certainly one of the most enthralling games a person can play, it can completely immerse a player with little effort. From the moment you first enter the combat arenas you'll know that this is a unique game in many ways. Many other titles out there have done fighting with swords, but never like this! A well placed blow to the head or torso can end a fight in seconds, which is what sharp swords actually tend to do. The realism of it all means that most matches will be very tense and atmospheric, knowing that one mistake or a little rashness could cause your downfall will often make a person pay a more attention to the game.

You start a game off by choosing from one of six fighters and one of the weapons, this choice alone can make or break you. Some of the combinations work well together, offering a nice balance of speed and strength, while others are less potent. It's advised that you learn a little about the ways each of the fighters and weapons behave, as each has its own little nuances to get the hang of and eventually master. Even for the newest of players the controls will not be overly hard to learn, three buttons attack different body parts with a fourth button for blocking. A person can get enough out of the game just knowing this, but pay a little attention to the game and its manual and many other little sneaky moves and combinayions will become obvious. It'll take a lot of practice if a person is going to become a skilful player of the game.

If there's one thing that Bushido Blade lacks, it is depth. The single player in particular may percieve a rather small lifespan, the modes they give you are pretty good, but there's nothing that will hold your interest for too long. The main mode of Bushido Blade is it's Story Mode, an adventure that consists of a whole lot of running, followed by a whole lot of fighting. It's only worth repeated tries if one wants to see the non-sensical ending movies. A little more interesting is the Slash Mode, this is for those that like carnage! Armed with only a katana your objective is to kill 100 foes, no plot involved, just mindless violence. There's also a first person view mode and the obvious multiplayer selections. Unless you find this game to be inspiring or godlike then it's not going to get too many rotations on your spindle I'm afraid.

Fights against the computer aren't too challenging, there's two difficulty settings (Easy and Hard) and with the unpredictability of it all there's no opponent that won't be felled by good old-fashioned persistence. However in some of the modes the ''Bushido Code'' will come into action, get any dishonourable victories and you'll be thrown straight back out into the menu with a message outlining what a coward you are. It's a game that takes itself very seriously, so if you don't behave the same way you might just find yourself with only two functioning limbs.

The graphics of the game don't have too much detail, the only feature worth taking note of is the clothing of the warriors. The backgrounds are rather dull, mainly showing scenes of snow or other equally bland substances. There's a little bit of interaction to be had with the arenas, climbing up or down to other sections, and in the bamboo thicket you can even cut down all the shoots that surround you! You've got a fair amount of room to move around, but not quite enough as you'd like. There isn't too much in the way of sound, background music is missing, but it's absence works better than any tune might have done in creating atmosphere. The husky japanese voices and sounds of clashing steel that HAVE been included are not bad. It's just an average looking and sounding game, but honestly you'll hardly notice it when you're in the middle of a heated battle.

Whilst Bushido Blade may be an impressively realistic game, there's just not enough of it! You can only put up with the same gameplay, no matter how superbly crafted it is, for a certain amount of time. It's still worth a bit of a look just to see the weapons going to work on the bodies of the fighters, but don't expect any long-term value from it. If you have a friend who is equally apt in the way of the Bushido then the lifespan will increase dramatically, but it's not worth getting for a few one-sided matches with a mate. Appreciate the genius of the whole thing for a week or so and just move on.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/16/01, Updated 02/22/01

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