Review by The Great Db

"Finally, something different for a change..."

Geez... I am so sick of cheap Tekken rip-offs. Putting in new characters and moves does not make it an original game! Of course, that's where Bushido Blade comes in. This is by far the most original fighting game since... well, the first fighting game there ever was, [insert name of first ever fighter trying to make me look like I know what I'm talking about]. Please, look beyond some of the glaring bad points(and believe me, bad points definitely aren't on the Endangered Bushido Blade Features), instead look to the incredible amount of noncopycatness this game features. Let's Begin!

The graphics in this game are pretty good, but they ain't no Metal Gear Solid. They are a lot similar to Final Fantasy VIII, just not as good, the characters are bigger, and the background seems more in your face. They have a tiny bit of blurriness, but they still aren't the worst I've ever seen and they definitely the worst I'm ever going to see.

The BMG's really old-school Japanese. Imagine some old ''Legend of the Samurai and he quest for vengeance of the death of his girlfriend's pet dog'' movie's music and ya got Bushido Blade. The sound effects are as ever-present as in other fighters, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the sound. Anyway, this game has some good music, but it’s not quiet on par with a lot of other Squaresoft works.

This game has one of the better audio feature we’ve seen in a mid-era Playstation game. The “HA”s and the “HYA”s in this game are nice, and also the speaking is totally audio. They speak in Japanese, and there are English subtitles at the bottom. What’s better than Japanese with English subtitles, eh? I can’t tell you about the voice-acting quality, because, well, I don’t speak Japanese, and even if I did I am not nearly experienced enough to know if they are good or not. Either way, they get the job done, and they are far from annoying.

The gameplay is where this game really shines. It is a sword-fighting game, but there’s no life bars. There’s no kick-you-opponent-30-times-in-the-shin-and-they-kill-over type action. You hit them in the shin, and their shin is wounded and they will have to kneel down. You hit them in the arm, and their arm is wounded and they can’t use it. You thrust your sword through their stomach, then they will scream in agony and kick the bucket. Pretty slick, eh? Also, this game is fully 3-D. In one player mode, you can search a whole big area being chased by your opponent looking for a place that you have the advantage in. However, with the good comes the bad, and there’s no escaping it.

In this game, realism is a problem. You cannot chop off body parts (@#$#!), your sword won’t go through their stomach or chest (@#$#!), and you also cannot see the wounds. It would be pro if you could stab them through the stomach, then do your spinny move to chop off their head. As it is, all that will happen is the sword will stab the stomach, and then only slit their throat. Another bad part is the fact that the learning curve is one the highest I’ve ever seen in my life. Let me put it this way: If I had to give people a number rating depending on how good they were in Tekken or Mortal Kombat, I would probably use a scale of like 11. For Bushido Blade, I would use a scale of 2. Either you are just another player, or you have achieved godlike ability. So many people say that there is little strategy in this game, that some newbie could come in and pick it up in 5 minutes. It is so easy to beat story mode, or to become a so-called “Master”, but this is the hardest game to truly master I’ve ever played. So, please, don’t try and tell me this isn’t a true fighter because it is “all about who makes the first move and not about who makes the better move”.

The story in this game is pretty unique. You are part of a sword-fighting school, but you don’t know that it is secretly a society of assassins named Kage (caw-gae). There is 6 characters to choose from, and whoever you choose has there own story of why they don’t want to be a part of Kage, and why they tried to escape when they found out. First, the other 5 characters chase you one by one through the short world. Then comes some more intense battles, but since I can’t give you anything that you can’t read off the back of the case, you’ll just have to go buy the guy yourself. Also, you pick the weapon you want your character to fight with. There’s about 8-10 weapons, ranging from a katana to a broadsword to a little rapier.

Also, this game has more than just the story mode. 2 players can go head to head (duh), you can train, there’s slash mode (more on that in a second), and then there is POV (point of view) mode. In POV mode, you see from a 1st person perspective. It is hard to get used, and it is not that special, but it does provide some much needed variety. Rounding out the modes is Slash mode, which I’m sure all those reading this review was waiting for. Basically, you are in a skinny, small, Japanese room, and all you choose weapon wise is the katana. Then, one by one, generic baddies come after you. After the first one’s dead, out comes another one. This can be an amazing stress reliever, because once you get used to it, you put your enemies down faster, and thus, it starts to get really fast paced. So in other words, it’s like one of those Jackie Chan movies, where he kicks one person, then he goes to the next, then to the next, and hey, who doesn’t like Jackie Chan movies?

This game can get a little old and monotonous for a while, so don’t think you have found that game that’s going to make you lose sleep for the next two weeks. Story mode is really easy to beat, and the secret goals aren’t that hard once you get good. This game can be really fun in two-player mode, but only after both people are really good at the game. Two people who could wipe the table with anyone else at this game make for some really good matches.

You probably shouldn’t just rent this game. Some people have the nasty habit of putting this game down for the first hour or two. Also, this game is one of the more rare games, so you will probably need the incredible power of the internet to track down a copy of this game. I got it for $10, and you probably won’t need to spend much more, either. Either way, this is one of the better fighters I’ve ever played, and like I can’t stop myself from saying, that’s saying something.

My conclusion to the longest review I’ve ever written is this: Don’t just get rid of this game after the first couple of tries because of the classic critic talk about how there’s “no strategy”. Give this game a chance, and you will probably like it. It is original, and besides that it is one of the best games out there. It’s whole real life fighting simulation is, in my mind, the most revolutionary idea the video gaming world’s ever seen since the early days when every game practically started a new genre. Anyways, this game will be worth the $10-$20 you will have to shell out for it. After all, it’s from Squaresoft, and everyone knows that Squaresoft can do no wrong.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/29/01, Updated 12/29/01

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