Black Rock Shooter started as a 50 minute video animation back in 2010 and has since exploded into a hit phenomenon, spawning a manga, anime, and now an RPG for the PlayStation Portable. Black Rock Shooter The Game brings forth some of the flair, explosions, and barely dressed teenagers of the series, but unfortunately fails to fully realize its potential, leaving gamers with an unfinished experience.
In the world of Black Rock Shooter The Game, the human race has become all but extinct due to an alien invasion, with only about a dozen humans left standing. Players take on the role of a scantly dressed girl who carries around one of the biggest guns I have ever seen and is the last remaining hope of survival for the human race. With her gun cocked, chest all exposed, and an air of clumsiness, BSR will now have to take out aliens after aliens to help realize the hopes of the few people left fighting. There is a story to be found here but is really a letdown and pushes people towards the action.
Black Rock Shooter is a series that is all about speed and high octane action, so it is rather disappointing to see it reduced to an on-rails shooter which very little variety to the combat. Players will take on missions from clearing out some bad guys to creating a distraction so that your mates can take out an objective. Each mission will have you moving from point A to point B, defeating a bunch of enemies, than rinse and repeat. Each fight isn’t much better either, as players are left to dodge left or right while aiming your gun and firing. When you’re tired of just firing your gun, you can also unleash an overpowering attack, which takes time to recharge in battle. And this is really it for the combat, just dodge, fire, super attack, and repeat.
Now the combat might not be the best in terms of variety, but what is there is not really broken and works well for what it is. The mechanics are responsive and the combat is fun at first, though it definitely gets old rather fast. It really would have been nice to see a bit more attention paid to beefing up the combat, since almost 3/4 of the game is spent in combat. Boss battles try to add some flair to the combat and, to a point, succeeds, adding a bit of difference to the game, but it’s not enough. Outside of combat, there really isn’t much else to do in the game and that is where this really falls flat. The game does allow you to ride on a motorcycle and dodge a few targets during some missions, however it does very little to spruce up the gameplay.
Black Rock Shooter‘s cutscene animations look decent enough. However, the environments are downright ugly and do a terrible job of displaying a war-torn world. It is really disappointing to see how this game looks compared to some other PSP titles that released a few years ago that looked better. The enemies and main character do however look pretty good and the world overall has a great deal of color to be found. Thankfully the drab visuals are given some major help with a smash mouth metal soundtrack. The game does have some voice acting during cutscenes, though it’s not very much and really isn’t very memorable when it’s there.
BRS clocks in at just under 20 hours of playtime, with some alternate endings and unlockables to be found. While some might feel this was a little short, I actually think it was just about right, if not a little too long. The story really fails to give you much of anything and with the combat providing a very straight forward and bland approach, it’s hard to sit through more than 12 hours of gameplay. It would have also been nice to see some different modes to possibly add something else to the package. The game is also playable on the PS Vita, which should help to expand its audience a bit.
In the end, Black Rock Shooter The Game is an experience that does a few nice things that are quickly overshadowed by its problems. The story pushes you quickly through rather bland dialogue to get you into the combat, which works if the combat is something amazing. However, the combat fades quickly as it repeats the same mechanics over and over and over again. The game could have really benefited from coming off its wheels and really opening up the exploration to give you more to do. Thank the heavens for an amazing soundtrack that really rocks you through each fight. It’s not a terrible experience and there is some fun to find early on, but it’s not something to keep your attention very long.