Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review #363: Bushido Blade

 The wind is blowing. A pair of Blades clash once and again. A single body falls. Sometimes both of them.
  I've always been familiar with Bushido Blade 2, since I thought being a fighting game sequel it would be the superior game, but last year I found out that both games are quite different, so I had to give Bushido Blade 1 a try.

 Bushido Blade is not your average fighting game. There're no life bars or energy gauges, and just one hit is enough to finish a match. You pick from 6 characters and 8 different weapons: A katana, a nodachi, a warhammer, a naginata, a saber, a long sword, a broad sword and a rapier. Quite a few of these weapons are actually missing from the sequel, and characters have never really been all that unique among each other, so in a way, this game actually has more variety.
 Control aren't as streamlined as in 2, you've three attack buttons: High, mid and low, as well as a defense button that must be timed alongside the enemy's attack. R1 raises your positions while R2 lowers it, which translates into changing into the three different positions each weapon allows, plus, R1 can be used to climb walls, R2 and then R1 allows you to jump and R2+attack buttons will produce special attacks. It sounds like a handful, and compared to Bushido Blade 2's simplicity it kinda is, but it's easy to get the hang of it. What you will notice is that gameplay is much slower, les flashy and more deliberate in this game. It's not better or worse, it simply is different, you could mash buttons in the previous game and produce some tense blade clashes, here when your blade clashes with another doesn't allow you to immediately attempt another attack, so you must be more careful.

 In the sequel, body blows didn't matter too much unless you were hit on an arm. In this game, unnecessary damage is an actual hindrance, which is awesome. Being hit on your legs will decrease your running speed or sometimes even reduce you to a crawl, which limits your stances and movement. Getting hit on an arm will limit the stances you can switch to. Getting hit anywhere will make your attacks slower. You really don't want to get hit in Bushido Blade 1, because if you survive the hit it will hamper your efficacy.
 Sadly the game is a bit lacking in modes. There's a VS mode, against player only, Slash Mode which pits you against 100 enemies(And lets you unlock a 7th character... if you are good enough), training against a CPU and, finally, Story Mode. There's two endings in Story Mode, the good one is a bit of a secret how to get it, but it involves running. Breaking the code of Bushido(attacking a downed enemy, hitting the on their backs) will cut your run short however.

 Bushido Blade 1 isn't better or worse than Bushido Blade 2, it's just different. While I prefer BB 2's faster paced combat, the importance of body damage in this game makes it a much more interesting affair. And while BB 2 might have more characters, I'd rather have more weapons! All in all, this is an interesting case, as I would suggest getting both as each game offers something different. But for what it's worth, Bushido Blade 2 definitely has more longevity: More modes, more characters and more stages.
 8.5 out of 10

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