Bullet Witch (PC) Review – Entertainingly Bad?
Platforms: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Marvelous Inc.
Publisher: XSEED Games / Marvelous
Release: 25th April 2018
Sometimes there are games and ports, where the only thing one can do is ask himself: “Why did they even bother?” Bullet Witch is exactly one of those titles. Originally launched in 2007, it was neither a well-received game nor super popular. I think it accumulated somewhat of a following but I´m not quite sure. So seeing a PC port from Marvelous/XSEED wasn´t just surprising but completely strange?
When a world is overrun by monsters, diseases spread everywhere and the military is losing ground every day, who could possibly save them? Obviously a witch with a giant fucking gun, magic spells and what-not. Now she begins her 2-3 hours long path to save the world, ignoring any plot lying in her way.
Obviously Bullet Witch isn´t a game worth playing for its “story”, instead, it profits solely from the dumb premise. Every level is basically the same: Enemies threaten people and the witch has to exterminate them. Equipped with a giant rifle, the whole game is nothing more than a third person shooter. However, the one big advantage it even has over modern titles, it doesn´t rely on cover to keep you alive. In fact, the whole game doesn´t have cover at all, forcing you to keep moving all the time, at any costs, to avoid dying. For me, as a passionate hater of cover shooters, such games are actually quite fun regardless of their quality. Though the game should definitely be played on hard or above, in order to really play it as a fast-paced shooter.
Where I have a far bigger problem with is the gunplay. While no one (hopefully) expected an amazing shooter from a fairly little Japanese studio, Bullet Witch manages to undermine even those expectations with one of the stiffest gunplays I´ve ever seen. The weapon doesn´t feel powerful nor able to actually kill the monsters in a speed fitting for its size. Shooting at enemies often feels like you´re using a handgun, not one of the biggest rifles ever seen. Combined with the quite slow firing speed, weird recoil and overall sluggish pacing, in contrast to the fast-paced design, drag the experience down way more than necessary. The simple fact, nothing about the gunplay feels as powerful as one imagines, may sound like a tiny flaw but especially for a shooter takes away a huge chunk of this genre´s appeal.
On the other hand, the game features a surprisingly big range of spells, often focusing on manipulating physics or destroying houses. Unsurprisingly, the most fun can be had with those, in particular, because the game is clearly focused on letting you play with physics and explosions, rather than anything else. For people fond of such older, Japanese games, full of lagging physics, Bullet Witch may very well deliver exactly that. Similar to EDF it´s possible to destroy quite a lot, throw cars around and cast ridiculous spells, that may have looked great back in 2007.
Speaking of graphics, the PC port didn´t actually do much in terms of visual improvements, except allowing resolutions up to 4K. Otherwise, it really still does look like something from the past decade. Especially when the mushy textures, models and pretty much everything else was probably outdated even back then. Combined with the fact the cutscenes and such weren´t remastered too, left me wondering why bother at all? To top it all off, I even experienced some seemingly unfixable lags when I first installed the game, rendering it pretty much unplayable. Only after I reinstalled it a few times, reset my NVIDIA settings and got lucky, Bullet Witch finally decided to run on my PC.
Bullet Witch is definitely a game from another era, a much simpler one at that. While I still don´t know why Marvelous brought the game back, I don´t think I despise them for it. Sure, it´s not a great experience, by all means, but a short, trashy, Japanese snack, some of us might just crave at the moment … who knows?
[A Review Code was provided by Marvelous]