"Bujingai: The best action game since Devil May Cry!"

First, let me state that this is my first review for GameFaqs. I feel so strongly about this game, that I feel that I must get my opinion of it out there in hopes that I might be able to convince someone who is thinking about playing the game to at the very least give it a rental. That said, lets get on to my review.

Lets face it; action games can get pretty repetitive, even the great ones can get stale after a while. Thus, I believe than an argument about whether or not an action game is "repetitive" is irrelevant. The first question about an action game should always be "Is it fun?" With Bujingai, the answer to that question is a nice hearty "Hell yeah it is!"

From the moment I began to control the main character Lau, I was in Wuxia heaven. His movements were smooth poetry. His combos flowed together effortlessly, making even a novice player appear as if he were a veteran. The designers of Devil May Cry stated that their goal was to make the player feel as if he were cool, controlling Dante and making the character do cool stuff. I believe the creators of Bujingai succeeded in that aspect even more than the DMC staff.

The Controls:
The controls in Bujingai are almost perfect.
Almost, but not quite. In combat, Lau controls like a dream. While button mashing will produce lovely combos, a player who uses more controlled button presses will get Lau to perform exactly as he wants him to. Combos are easy to produce, using the Triangle button to "link" additional attacks. There is a dual lock-on system in Bujingai and it works great. The R1 button is used for manual lock-on's and this allows Lau to pursue a single opponent of the players choice. L1 is used to cycle through available targets. Doing this in the middle of a crowd of enemies while performing long combos is a great way of clearing a room and is visually impressive as well. There is also Auto-targeting that works very well. One can play through the entire game without using the manual lock-on, though it does make the game a bit easier to do so.
The one problem with the controls come from the Jumping control. It controls fairly well, but sometimes attempting to Wall-run or Wall-Jump produces the opposite effect that one wishes for. It merely takes a bit of practice to perfect one's technique, however in the stress and confusion of combat, it is a less-than-perfect system. This system makes platforming (of which there is a bit more than in typical action games these days) harder than it should be, but its not intolerable.

The Graphics:
The graphics in this game are a mixed bag. The character designs are pretty good. The character models themselves are quite well rendered with tight poly's and smooth flowing animation.
The animation of the characters is where this game excells above most others. All of the character models, from the main character and bosses, to the lowliest of minions animate smoothly. Lau's moves are gorgeously animated, making the fight scenes in the game nearly cinematic in presentation. The game made extensive use of Motion Capture and it shows. However, a big eyesore was the movements of the characters in the CG cutscenes. Their movements were somewhat awkward...akin to something we might have seen during the PS1 era, not in this day and age (painful to watch compared to a masterpiece like Onimusha 3).
The backgrounds, however, while not poorly rendered are very plain. Of course, this is about the least important aspect in an action game of this type and should have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not to purchase the tittle, as you do not play the backgrounds! Think Shinobi on the backgrounds, but with somewhat better level design.

The Story:
Pretty slim. As in most (and some of the best) action games out there, they give you just enough of a story to give the main character a reason to kick demon butt, and away we go. A bit more background on the characters (Lau and his enemy) are revealed through cutscenes as the game progresses, but this is no Metal Gear or Legacy of Kaien game. Anyway, why are you worried about the story? Pick up the controller and kick demon butt! Once you begin to control Lau, you will cease to care anything about any lame story...

Fun Factor:
As previously stated, this game is fun, fun, fun! Its a pick up and play type game that will keep fans of the action game genre busy for many hours. The combos are simplistic, but lovely to watch and fun to perform (they are not frustrating to perform at all, which means you are free to slay demons at your lesiure) and the game has a small bit of replayability in the way of collecting coins that unlock various secrets and extras that are packed into the game. (interviews, alternate outfits, level selection etc). Additional difficulties are also unlocked as one finishes the game, so those who enjoyed it can try their hand at getting a better score the 2cnd and 3rd times around.
Its also fun to watch. How many single player games have you played that was fun for your friends to sit around and watch? About half the time I spent on the game was in the presence of one or more of my friends or roomates as they watched and marvelled at my fighting prowess. Fights with Bosses and sub-bosses are so spectacular, your friends will knock out teeth as their jaws hit the floor at sub-sonic speeds.
Trust me, this game is fun indeed.

This game should appeal to fans of the action genre and serious fans of Wuxia films that this game is simulating (which it does flawlessly, I might add). For Wuxia fans, this game can easily rate a 9. For action game fans, it should rate at least a 7 (this is where most game magazines placed it). For me, I rate it firmly in the middle at an 8. Is it perfect? Of course not. I have yet to play a "perfect" game. But its super fun, and thats the main point of playing a game, now isn't it?

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/08/04

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