NIS America announced plans to localize Black Rock Shooter: The Game in August 2011. Well, a year and a half passed and it was nowhere to be found. It was starting to look like the project was dead, and then — out of nowhere — it got a release date, April 23, 2013. So, was it worth the wait?
The Story – 2032 AD—the earth has been ruthlessly assaulted by extraterrestrials. Nineteen years of nonstop battle threatening the very existence of humanity. The last hope for human survival is BRS, a heroine created solely to save planet Earth; she is the ultimate battle android. But when she is awakened to end the battle once and for all, there are only twelve human beings left on Earth…
Title: Black Rock Shooter The Game
Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: PSP, PS Vita
Release Date: April 23, 2013
- Battle System – Part shooter, part RPG, and absolutely addicting. The battle system isn’t turn-based, but it isn’t purely action-based either. You can shoot, dodge, block, and use power ups when you want to, but there’s one twist. If you shoot too much your gun will overheat and you’ll be left vulnerable. This prevents button mashing and forces you to play smart. Once your gun overheats you have to wait for it to cool down. You also have to aim — you can’t just fire blindly. Enemies don’t stay in one place and nothing is worse than sending a power shot flying right past your oppressors. So aim carefully.
- Battle System II – There’s a distinct ebb and flow to the combat system. Enemies don’t rush in to attack you. Their movements are slowed down just enough to give you time to quickly plan your next move. Once they move in for the kill you can block or dodge their attack. This sends them flying backwards and then the process repeats itself until they’re dead. If you get into a bind you can use items to restore health or to speed up your cool down times.
- Just Right – The difficulty is just right. Not too easy and not too hard. It’s challenging, but I never found it frustrating.
- Challenges – The PSP doesn’t have trophies, but BRS: The Game’s challenges make up for this shortcoming. Each stage has a set of challenges and you can easily track your progress (notifications pop up to tell you your rate of completion for a particular challenge). Completing these challenges unlocks new moves and stat upgrades.
- PS Vita Compatible – Like most new PSP games – this works with the PS Vita. You can remap the right stick and assign buttons to the touchscreen.
- Free Hunt – Each stage has about four missions and you unlock “Free Hunt” after completing them. This mode lets you challenge the stage’s boss again and look for rare enemies like the Golden Dawn.
- Road Rash – The second stage has some motorcycle sections and these are some of the game’s best moments. You race down the highway dodging and shooting incoming enemies. It feels like a rhythm game at times because it’s all about timing.
- Unlockables – You can unlock concept art, music, and movies by completing various tasks.
- Pop Up – Large enemies will pop-up when you get close to them. The game’s draw distance is poor, but it never becomes a major problem. I thought installing the game would stop the pop up, but it doesn’t.
- Rocky Start – You’re thrown into the action without any real set-up and it’s a little jarring.
- Subbed Only – The audio is Japanese so you have to read subtitles! I know! Reading! IN A VIDEO GAME! I’ve mentioned this a few times before — subtitles don’t bother me. Once again, this is a $19.99 PSP game. Of course it doesn’t have an English dub. Still, this may bother some gamers, and that’s why it’s in the “Awkward Silence” section.
- Muddy Textures – The graphics look okay from far away, but things become muddy when the camera zooms in. This happens often. I had to keep reminding myself that I was playing a PSP game.
- Going Through the Motions – 80% of your time is spent in combat, and while the battle system is great – it can get tedious. You start to notice this after playing for hours. The missions are short so the game is best enjoyed in tiny bursts. Like on the bus ride home or while waiting in a doctor’s office.
I was looking forward to Black Rock Shooter: The Game, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. The combat system is fun, challenging, and addictive. Sure, the graphics are muddy at times, but it’s more than tolerable. This is definitely worth the $19.99. Pick it up if you’re a fan of the anime or if you’re just looking for a unique RPG for your PSP/PS Vita.
Replay Value: 7.5
Very Good – This game flirts with greatness, but ultimately falls short. Still it’s highly entertaining and worth a look.