Review: Black Rock Shooter (PSP)
Title: Black Rock Shooter
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1051 MB)
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: NIS America, Inc.
Developer: Image Epoch
Price: $19.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £14.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
Black Rock Shooter is exclusive to the PSP and compatible with the PS Vita.
For nineteen years the Earth has been locked in a ruthless battle with an alien force. It’s now 2032 AD, and the assaults now threaten the very existence of humanity. The last hope for human survival is Black Rock Shooter (BRS), a heroine created solely to save planet Earth. Oh yes did I mention she is apparently the ultimate battle android. To make matters worse there are only twelve humans left on Earth. Leaving it a bit late, don’t you think.
BRS is based on characters created by illustrator Ryohei Fuke. It quickly gained popularity in Japan, spawning a song, anime television series, manga series and now a PSP game which finally made it out of Japan as a PSN title.
I should tell you the truth, when I first played this game on my Vita I didn’t like it at all, the mechanics seemed poor, story was terrible and even the map was dull and lifeless. If I weren’t reviewing this game I would have stopped playing, but thankfully I had to continue. I got to grips with the combat and timing which works quite well, nothing groundbreaking but very satisfying when you dodge an enemy attack and empty a round into it. Each battle is about knowing the enemies attack patterns, balancing your shooting, dodging and blocking.
There is also skills which you gain throughout the game which can massively help in the heat of battle and they don’t cause you to overheat if used too much, unlike the shooting and dodge move. Blocking isn’t quite as effective as I would have liked but it doesn’t break the game.
It isn’t a massive game and the stages are quite dull especially if you die and have to trek through it again. Then there is the free run stage which opens up every time you complete a level and allows you to tediously search the whole area for special enemies which unlock things like artwork, etcetera. An attempt to vary the monotony of the bland level design by adding a driving section did little to change my mind, it even frustrated me as I kept trying to get a perfect run.
I did like the character and boss models, it seemed like a lot of attention went into them; the same goes for the cut scenes. Sadly the standard enemies are boring and bland, especially after you’ve seen them for the hundredth time.
The original voice work is still intact which fans will be happy with and subtitles for everyone else. One thing that stands out is when BRS fires a certain weapon she says what sounds like ‘duck’, now my multilingual skills aren’t up too much so it just sounds funny. It isn’t a problem and I kind of like it. Music is good and fits well with the action.
This game is single player only.
The slow pace as you trudge through the first part of the game will put off many people, except for the diehard fans. When the story picks up it makes the game a lot more rewarding. Also when you get used to the battle mechanics, the boss battles become one of my favourite things about the game. If you know of BRS and the world that Ryohei Fuke created then you’ll enjoy this more than the average gamer. I would like to see a sequel one day as the potential is there, it just never fully delivers this time.