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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Black★Rock Shooter THE GAME

You know when you have a really cool idea for a story, character, or setting but not enough to develop it into anything fleshed out? Well, Black Rocker Shooter is kinda like that but the original illustrator just rolled with it cause INTERNET. The rest, as they say is internet viral/social/whatever history.

Looks cool so let's just roll out a whole media franchise on it
I was first exposed to Black Rock Shooter as these viral things go pretty randomly. It was probably an AMV or MAD from a related youtube vid which led me to the OVA, which brings us here to the game.

The famous(?) supercell song

Given the grassroots nature of the whole BRS thing, there really is no canonical anything as it's media developed out of nothing more than a concept and the game is totally unrelated to any other BRS media works. It definitely took an interesting approach as the story begins with the human race almost entirely wiped out.

You thought other post-apocalyptic games were hardcore? This game starts out with literally only 12 humans left alive after 2 die right at the start of the game. My first thought at the beginning of the game was, you're the only girl (weapon thingy?) in the ENTIRE WORLD surrounded by 12 men? UH OH. Turns out my fears were unfounded as the story is not about any sort of fan service and is actually quite serious (the unlockable costumes on the other hand...).

The main story is fairly short and can be completed in about 12 hours or so and it's exactly the type of story that every mainstream gamer would hate. Without going into spoilers, let's just say it's not exactly Hollywood happy endings and was very artsy, indie film-ish. I personally loved it as it definitely breaks the mold.

Try dem graphics on the DS in 2011
The graphics are great as Imageepoch (RIP) is the master of the PSP platform and I was already biased towards the BRS character designs. The gameplay was fun as well, especially the boss battles. In classic Imageepoch fashion, it tries lots of new things and battles are a mix of balancing dodging, blocking, shooting (of course), and special moves along with stamina and recovery time. My only complaint is that the standard enemies are often recycled and VERY generic.

While the main story is fairly short, there's tons of things to unlock in the EX missions including the most powerful, best looking special attacks and some sexy costumes (this is a Japanese game after all). I tried to swipe my credit card on the PSP to buy the costume DLC but it wasn't working for some reason. Amazingly, it appears to be unlock by playing the game??? WEIRD!

The OST definitely has a few gems

Overall, I really enjoyed this game. The music was really good, I loved the character designs (WRS OMG), and the boss battles were a blast. It was also fun unlocking all the cool stuff post end-game. Yes, the regular battles could get a bit repetitive and some of the bike missions were a pain in the ass but I definitely think this is one of those underrated titles that mainstreamers are totally gonna write off.

Score: 3 when costumes could be unlocked without a credit card out of 5 (27 hours played)
+.5 optional bonus point for the EXTREMELY short skirt costume.

The PSN version is only available in English as Imageepoch published games were pulled from the Japanese PSN store. :-(

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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