Bushido Blade 2
If you've ever dreamed of getting into a swordfight where a small mistake can lead to death or the flick of the wrist at the right moment clinches victory, then enter the world of Bushido Blade 2, one of the most realistic fighting games on the market. The game boasts six main characters interacting in an entertaining storyline of the bitter battle between the Kagami and Sue family as seen from their point of views.
The original Bushido Blade was heavy in depth and had a strong following, which included web sites dedicated to the game, but was unfortunately light on characters. SquareSoft's second offering has vastly improved the game play, created sharper graphics, increased single player option settings and has many more characters to choose from. If the idea of swordfighting has ever intrigued you or you tire of unrealistic characters, then this game is for you.
Like its predecessor, instead of fireballs, lightning bolts or impossibly quick feet/hands, Bushido Blade 2 tries to create a true fighting simulation. The only time SquareSoft strayed from this formula was for the Kagami clan leader, who has some magic powers. I found this a real disappointment and felt they shouldn't have cheapened the realism and uniqueness of this game by including it, but is easily forgiven since this was the only exception. The character and weapon combinations that are available also sets this game apart from the other fighting simulations on the market. In most other games you're stuck with whatever weapon the character comes with, but with BB2 you're able to use any of the weapons, which can completely change how a character fights.
Just as in a real sword fight, there are one-hit kills, which might be a bit too real for some gamers, and instead of life meters there is a body damage system. Arms can still be rendered unusable, leg wounds result in slower movement and hits to the torso cause attack speed to slow down quite a bit. This is a welcome break from the hobbled legs that occurred in BB1, more annoying than fun, especially if both of you ended up hobbled.
Each character also gets a sub-weapon, some deadlier than others. For example the iron fan is a slow moving object that can score a one-hit kill, the Kozuka are throwing knives that can be thrown consecutively and are very fast, while the Kodachi is a secondary sword. There are also some gun-toting enemies that can improve your running skills as you try to hack them down before eating some steel. Each family has a member where the gun is clearly their weapon of choice, but I was shocked when one of the ninja's pulled out a gun as their sub-weapon and drilled a bullet between my eyes.
The controls have been changed and simplified. There are now two attack buttons and no parry button. This is a great change because in BB1 the parry button was too effective and a bit cheesy because you could block with ease. To block attacks now, you simply have to use the opposite attack of your opponent which then parries their weapon. For example, if the opponent attacks with a frontal attack, you have to attack with a reverse attack for a "perfect" defense; otherwise, you lose your balance for a split second. This counter attack/defense system is ultra easy to learn, fair and arguably the best out there. There is also a stance button that rotates between high, middle and low stances and changes the fighting techniques and strategy of every character depending on which stance you're currently in. Unfortunately they took out a lot of the side-step attacks, which is a real disappointment because there are times when you wish you had them at your disposal.
While the six characters are going through the story, they encounter supporting characters that become available to select from the main menu if they survive. When you complete a stage as the support character without dying he'll be unlocked for play in all modes, which can be a lot of fun to then take them through the story mode.
Single player mode got revamped and now includes a first-person perspective view that includes a Punch Out-like green wire frame. Also the story revolves around two feuding families where in each stage you duke it out with a few ninjas before fighting the boss from the opposing family. This is a lot more entertaining than BB1 where you just fought a couple of other characters and a boss or two.
All the characters have been given a makeover and they look a lot sharper. During the cinema cut scenes you can see each character's mouth move, and they were given realistic-looking body movements. What is really cool is that the supporting characters were given their own cinemas, voices and story point of views. Unfortunately, the background doesn't look quite as clean as it did in BB1, but the loss is well worth the better character animations. The sound is pretty good and includes weapon clashes, grunts, screams, strikes and parries. The voice work isn't the greatest I've ever heard, but it isn't hideously terrible either.
This game is a definite winner and will make your blood pressure soar in excitement if you're a gamer who enjoys fighting. The realistic fighting, great graphics and entertaining story line deliver value for its price. This title would make a great Christmas gift for just about anyone.
Download Bushido Blade 2
While the original Bushido Blade has only been out for a couple of months here in the U.S., Square is already hard at work on the sequel in Japan. Bushido Blade 2 is well under way, and judging from what we've seen of it so far, it's going to be a nice improvement to the unique samurai brawler that took traditional fighting games to an entirely new level.
So far, 14 characters have been revealed, seven of which are new, while the other three are returning from the first Bushido Blade (Tatsumi, Mikado and Kannuki). There will be a Story Mode where you can choose to fight for one of two clans, and there are numerous game-play enhancements planned, including faster, smoother play, better defensive tactics, two-sword fighting and more. In addition, there are more unique fighting stances for each character, there are only two attack buttons now and there's a heavier emphasis on the story in the Story Mode (now known as the "Top Mode"). This one's still early, but already it's looking hot. We'll have more on BB2 as it develops. In the meantime, start sharpening your Nodachi...
- MANUFACTURER - Square Co., Ltd.
- THEME - Fighting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
When Bushido Blade 2 hit Japan in late March, it took more than a few fans of the original by surprise. Instead of packing it with enhanced graphics, new moves and all the other bells and whistles we usually see in sequels, developer Light Weight simplified the game's fighting engine and overhauled its one-player Story Mode.
Now, the one-player takes you through various stages that require you to defeat several generic ninjas (in a throwback to BBi's Slash Mode) before facing a major character from the opposing clan. You'll also run into support characters who you can control in the following stage. If you die, you simply revert to your main character and proceed as before. Complete the stage as the support character, however, and he/she will be unlocked for play in all modes (including a new Wooden-blade Mode that's modeled after a real-life martial arts tournament). You start the game with six selectable characters, but you'll have as many as 18 once you open the other fighters.
Control is simplified. Only one button is used to cycle through the three attack stances, and there are now two Attack buttons and no Block button (you block by slashing your weapon the same time the enemy does). The damage system has been revamped, too. Arms can still be rendered useless, but leg wounds result in slower motion, instead of BBi's hobbled stance.
Square has yet to reveal whether it will bring this sequel to the United States. We expect that announcement at E3, followed by a stateside release this fail.
- MANUFACTURER - Light Weight
- THEME - Fighting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Bushido Blade 2 is a solid swordfighting game that challenges gamers to not only slice and dice, but also to hone their technique. BB2 is a sweet upgrade to last year's Bushido Blade, which offers more moves and eliminates running away as an acceptable tactic.
Like the original, Blade 2 is based on traditional real-life Japanese swordsmanship, where swinging a single lethal stroke is your goal. In versus mode, counterattacking is king, and patience--not banzai attacks--is what you strive for. Obviously, this flies in the face of the time-honored fists-of-fury action of most fighting games and is why Bushido Blade has...err, carved its own niche.
BB2 provides six playable characters, six authentic Japanese weapons, and crisp controls that enable you to bust slick-looking moves. Because each weapon has its own physics and the characters have their own strengths, part of this game's replay appeal is mastering all the weapons with all the characters.
Story mode's tale of two warring clans unleashes an aggressive army of ninjas and skilled bosses--but beating the game with one character pretty much blows everyone's endings. However, each time you guide a character through without a single defeat, you can activate playable sub characters (up to 11 of them) and eventually fire up Slash mode, a sequential onslaught of 40 ninjas.
If you follow the path of Bushido, you're compelled to master Bushido Blade 2. If you're a rookie warrior, you'll have to learn patience and be prepared to die more than once before learning this game's secrets.
- Work on your weapon techniques in the practice room. You'll discover undocumented combos and moves.
- When facing shifty gunfighters such as Katsei, you must charge in for a close attack. Hold L1 and use the direc-tionals to chase him; when you get near...attack!
Character graphics are a trifle blocky-looking, and the ground appears to ripple and shimmer. Luckily, the fighting animations are very cool--and bloody.
Because you're always angling for one lethal stroke instead of frantically mashing buttons, the controls work well in this fighting system. Counterattacks, however, could be crisper--especially after you bust an opening in your opponent's defense.
The artfully-subtle ambient sounds are sometimes jarred by weird effects, such as a mooing cow. But the dramatic voices during story scenes have energy and style.
Story mode goes flat after giving up its secrets too soon. However, if you prefer mastering techniques to just chopping foes into hamburger, BB2 offers awesome action and challenging long-term swordplay.
Bushido Blade is back In a power-packed sequel that adds a dojo full of new elements. This follow-up definitely warrants a look from weapon-based fighting game fans!
In addition to its katanas and spears, Bushido Blade 2 contains swords of all lengths, as well as some special weapons that seem impossible to defend against--guns. In fact, you'll face off against a chick with a very impressive AK-47 automatic rifle, among others. Don't worry; we haven't played as these characters just yet, but when we do...
Catches in the Samurai
Bushido Blade 2 took some pointers from other weapon-based fighting games and added some adventurous new elements, including more fighters and sub-bosses, a better assortment of weapons, and partner-fighting--where a "second" or back-up fighter comes in to go a few rounds for you.
From the first game. Bushido Blade 2 has kept the traditional running, climbing, defensive and offensive stances; a one-and two-player mode, including (yikes!) a Link Cable mode; and first-person view fighting. Bushido Blade 2 will mix a more Eastern style of fighting and sensibility into the very Western-style of many combat games (like Tekken 3).
The first Bushido Blade (and most everyone seemed to have strong opinions one way or the other), there is no denying that it was truly an original game. Its one-hit kills and giant, sprawling arenas were a radical departure from the status-quo, and expanded everyone's ideas of what a fighting game could be. But like anything innovative and untested, Bushido Blade definitely had a few "issues." For the sequel, developer Lightweight try to address those problems by tinkering with almost every part of the game, leaving only the general ideas and gameplay from the first intact.
One major problem with the original Bushido Blade was the small cast of selectable characters--only six. Bushido Blade 2 features more than three times that amount with some 20 playable ninja and samurai, most of which have to be "earned" by completing parts of the game with other warriors. Each fighter still has his/her own unique story, told between battles in real-time cinemas and voice-overs in the game's Story Mode. As you fight your way through your rival clan you will do battle in a variety of locales both modern and ancient--everywhere from parking lots and city streets to castle roofs and bamboo gardens.
Perhaps in response to complaints that the first game was too complicated and difficult to pick up, the controls for BB2 have been significantly simplified. One button now adjusts your fighting stance instead of two, and there are only two different basic attacks from the original's three. The almost completely worthless Block button (about the only thing it was good for was the fun of slaughtering people trying to use it) has disappeared, so defense now relies entirely on weapon position. Fighters can still get injured and lose the use of one arm, but there are no longer leg injuries where you have to crawl and fight on one knee. The last of the major changes to gameplay are the sub-weapons, which certain characters can now equip and fight doublesword style.
Of course you can't have a sequel without improving the graphics; the characters and backgrounds have undergone a badly needed facelift, looking much cleaner and smoother than in the original. Some nice light-sourcing has been added, so when weapons clash or you slice into your opponent everything is lit appropriately. Also, weapons now drop or fly out of combatants' hands when they are critically hit, adding a little drama to the action.
Fighting fans looking for something different and anyone put off by the complexity of the first game have a lot to get excited about in Bushido Blade 2. Check next month's Review Crew to see if it measures up to its high expectations.