Black Rock Shooter: The Game Review

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Black Rock Shooter had always been an extremely huge and established franchise, sparking off illustration, figures, OVA, TV series and a game, which was just released last two years ago, and was localized by NIS America sometime earlier this year.

Black Rock Shooter: The Game, features an apocalyptic world, where the Earth was invaded by a group of aliens. Being a superior fighting race, mankind dwindled not too long after that. Nineteen years later, the whole human race was reduced to a mere dozen. Seeking assistance, they awaken “Black Rock Shooter” – a living weapon which had been lying dormant all this time, and becomes the only hope in mankind’s resistance against the alien invaders.

1

I find the basis of Black Rock Shooter’s story to be a bit weak and vague – it is more of a settings created specifically for Black Rock Shooter to do battle. Unlike the anime’s where there were more contents than meets the eyes, you can definitely see that the game’s settings is a warzone, literally. In such a world full of despair and anguish however, the last twelve humans are awkwardly merry and strong-willed for some reason, even though they are the remaining humans alive on Earth. There’s also the case with the stale gameplay. In any case, the rough foundation of Black Rock Shooter makes playing the beginning parts of the game pretty difficult. The story itself isn’t the most original nor riveting either. Worst of all, it can be quite draggy – you are asked to simply move from point A to B, from point B to C for almost one full quarter of the game.

2

The characterization however, picks up a little later. Instead of just fending off aliens, the normally naive and emotionless Black Rock Shooter gradually develops along the game; she understood happiness, loneliness and then despair. The plot twists following all those helps one to empathize with Black Rock Shooter – the game really focuses on Black Rock Shooter alone in terms of characterization. There is one other significant character however, Nana Gray, but I find her to be more of a catalyst in improving and developing Black Rock Shooter as a character.

7

Gameplay of Black Rock Shooter leave a lot to be desired. If you had seen Black Rock Shooter’s illustrations before, you will notice she possess a huge arsenel of weapons: a black katana, a huge cannon, chains and so on. I personally think Black Rock Shooter will do great as an action genre. The game however has an odd gameplay mechanics, and is unfortunately, bland.

Black Rock Shooter: The Game is more of a RPG/rail shooter. Like classic RPGs, you explore around a particular area, and fight monsters which may roam around the place in a separate screen. In combat, you had to attack by aiming and shooting your enemies, and to guard/dodge enemies’ attack at the right timing (when enemies are about to attack, they will always be flashing). Additionally, you can also equip 4 skills to use in combat, from defensive to supportive, from supportive to offensive skills – there are a wild array of skills, and is one saving grace behind Black Rock Shooter’s overly stale gameplay.

3

When looked further however, there are more problems I find within the game. I find the dodging itself to be quite an annoyance – you can only dodge to two specific spots, the original spot where you start the battle, and the other specified spot. Because the dodging spots are so fixed, accidentally pressing dodge twice will dart Black Rock Shooter back to the original spot she started the battle in, and chances are, you will be suffering damage from the enemy’s still ongoing attacks. Restrictions in dodging also makes fighting multiple enemies troublesome, especially for the stronger ones. I also find some skills to lag quite a bit during the aftermath of their animation sequences, and as such, makes dodging even more difficult.

My next pet peeve about the game’s gameplay isn’t about the way it is executed, but rather, it’s very foundation. Aforementioned, I personally think Black Rock Shooter would do much, much better as an action game but in contrast to my expectations, the game uses a strange RPG/rail shooter gameplay that seems to focus the cannon more as a primary weapon. Her sword however has it’s uses, but only in some very few skills and during motorcycle chase mini-games, which in my opinion, doesn’t even have much of an impact for the game. Overall, I think I may come to love the game much more if it actually had a smooth high octane action-orientated design.

5

As for graphics, it pales in comparison to some older PSP games released some time ago. The world looks repeative and monotone, especially in the very beginning, though this does improve over the course of the game. It looks quite bad when close-up – undetailed, unclear and jaggy lines. Aside from that though, the base designs of the characters are definitely modeled in a great aesthetic appeal. The colorful and detailed designs of Black Rock Shooter and the Seven Apostles – extremely powerful aliens and Black Rock Shooter’s main adversaries, show the designer’s focus on them – as such, the drab visuals is ironically a great contrast to them. In the end however, visuals in this game could certainly use some more polish.

Luckily, Black Rock Shooter is satisfying audio-wise, offsetting it’s almost average visuals. Music comes in different variety as well, ranging from mellow tunes, to some excitement-instilling music. Some of the boss fights of the apostles are definitely noteworthy – a Huke illustration of both Black Rock Shooter and the apostle will always be shown before the fight begins, and the rhythmic trance music in the background gives the impression as if two cyber beings are fighting – in this case, Black Rock Shooter and an apostle – two colors clashing with each other.

6

Black Rock Shooter: The Game isn’t the best PSP game per se – it’s simple gameplay can feel stale and boring quickly, and it’s mediocre visuals and weak story certainly doesn’t help either. Pick it up and have a try, if you are curious about how our lovely scantily-clad, gun cocking Black Rock Shooter, would appear in video game form; but of cause, don’t expect some high-octane action in it either, as you will be immensely disappointed.

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Rating
Story: C+
Character: B-
Gameplay: D
Visuals: C
Sound: B

Final Score
6/10

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This entry was posted by Kai.

26 thoughts on “Black Rock Shooter: The Game Review

  1. I was interested in the game, but $20 for a game mostly panned by reviewers, and they say it’s too short at that. I have enough computer games to last me my whole life-time, and enough Vita/PSP/DS games to last me a couple of years.

    Maybe I’ll get it one day if it’s on sale. Maybe.
    I still need to watch the animation… I remember when the illustration that spawned it all came out. I’d say it’s hard to believe it all started with an illustration, but then again, look at Touhou.

    • The game is short, think I finished it around 15 hours, though I didn’t play anything extra after that. There are a number of extra missions after the story missions, but I just wasn’t as attached to the game to continue playing.

      Or maybe you could wait if it’s going to have a re-release on Vita. The graphics might just be a little bit better there.
      The anime itself has also quite a mixed reception, ahh, having a look at the anime doesn’t hurt much I assume^^” yea Touhou, and look at Vocaloid.

    • to be honest touhou… touhou really was a game to begin with with just a very very very very massive fanbase… its probably how the characters are presented or lack of there of as to why it has a very colorful bunch of doujins and the fanbase, and as for me after 30 minutes of playing this game I said to myself I guess it was good to be a pirate and at the same time deleted it from my memory stick its… what I can say not worth your money, your probably better of playing Senran Kagura for it

      • or Proj Diva f or F or wait for F2 or was it f2 I dunno… PSO2, muramasa (especially if you liked the wii version), dragon’s crown (yeah I like vanillaware’s esthetics) if you like online but to me BRS the game aint gonna cut it for me i just seriously ran with the name and only the name theres a reason why I havent touched SAO yet on the PSP though some fair share of enjoyable game I did enjoy asides from wipeout was busou shinki: battle masters mk2 (expensive with the DLC but otherwise an enjoyable game), AC:SL and AC:LR, antiphona (despite not seeing an EN release but its the spiritual successor to the Marl Kingdom stories, Rhapsody for the first game of the trilogy and a sucker for good musical games I’m looking at you Ar Tonelico)

        • Think I got project diva demo on my PS3, kinda fun indeed, lol. Finished Muramasa and definitely will be checking out on Dragon’s Crown. I didn’t try play of those other games you mentioned though.

          • That’s a good studio, that made Odin’s Sphere, Muramasa, Dragon’s Crown.

            Just a shame ATLUS is handling their releases, so Europe suffers :(

      • I only mentioned Touhou in relation to the “Drawing that started it all”, didn’t actually comment on it. It’s just a shoot them up.

        • well its a fact it has an insane amount of fanbase… that even 1 event can’t cover it all… sigh… welp the fact its actually hard to look for non-touhou doujin media makes it even harder…

      • I tried to play Touhou sometime ago, but I grimaced that I couldn’t even save, the official shoot ’em up ones that is, didn’t play the other fanmade ones. Guess it’s just how the characters are designed and presented, they are good and fancy-looking I admit, or to be frank, as they would call it – moooooe.

        • to me I just decided to refrain from touhou but however that hasnt stop me from playing bullet hell games… CAVE for me and some doujins to name some of the bullet hell games I play I have Refrain, HELLSINKER and Akashikverse, also from steam I have the Exceed series (I’d still consider this doujin only hosted on steam)

  2. I haven’t actually watched the anime yet, so I should probably get round to that before I make any real comments. I personally find it hard to rank the graphics of PSP games, because unless they’re heavily stylized or completely 2D they’re bound to look bad.
    Out of interest, did you emulate this or play it on PSP?

    • The anime’s premise and the game’s is totally different, you can pretty much jump to the game’s without losing anything on the anime’s side if you want to. I usually just compare it with other PSP games, it has great designs and character models no doubt, but looks very bad in-game, lol.
      On the PSP. In it’s original resolution, it’s not as jaggy as the screenshots in this post (which are slightly edited and enlarged), but it’s still considerably bad.

  3. While I haven’t watched the anime, this looked like an interesting idea on paper, but in it’s current form, it’s meh. After playing with so many Playstation Vita games (mainly Japanese games), I can’t really go back to playing PSP games as the graphics look jaggy and meh compared to the near Playstation 3 quality graphics on the Vita. I think this game would look better if it was on the the Vita, considering that Japan already have already got a price cut and selling very good.

    • Due to the number of PSPs around, and that Vita owners can play PSP games, often PSP games still wildly outsell their Vita counterparts.

      But yeah, it’s mostly visual novels, if your game is reliant on 3D graphics, please have it on the Vita. You can really see the difference in games designed for each, such as Tokouiden.

    • I usually just compare the PSP to other PSP games graphic-wise. At it’s very best, PSP’s graphical power is more akin to sixth-generation consoles (PS2, Xbox) even though it’s considerably newer so I feel it’s wrong to expect it to be as strong as PS3. Guess we’ll see if whether or not they will have an official Vita re-release or not.

  4. I should have reviewed this game weeks ago. Ah well, I’ll get to it soon. Anyway, from what I’ve played so far, your review is pretty spot on but we’ll see what happens once I beat it.

    • Doesn’t take long to finish it though, if you really were to marathon them ;p Indeed, but that’s exactly why I believe it will be better if it’s more action-orientated.

  5. i’m yet to find the translated version on the Vita so I am stuck playing the Oridginal Japanese version that came with the music cd and White Rock Shooter.
    It has taken a while to grip the controls but I agree that gameplay can get stale and boaring.
    The opening “No Scared” by Ok One Rock is availabe on iTunes along with the cd that came in the box set.

    As to Vita games, there has been noting new in the shops for so long that I only play 2 games (Wipeout and assasins cread where as I play 13th birthday, BRS and blazeblue on pep 1004!

    • I don’t think there are even plans for an official release, but who knows there might be one in the future, or maybe there’s not, lol, just got to keep our fingers crossed.
      Indeed, the thing I dislike the most is the dodging, but overall gameplay is still bland nonetheless.

      Is it assassin creed liberation? That game is one of the game I’m planning to play on the Vita, together with Zero Escape and Persona 4 (if I got the latter on PS3, might not need it anymore though).

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