A Hot chick with a gun doesn't guarantee a good game
A hot, scantily clad female witch, with huge guns and demonic magical powers? Sounds awesome right? Not so much, but it is a lot better then you may have heard.
BulletWitch is a 3rd person action/shooter game, set in a post apocalyptic future earth. You play as a smokin hot witch named Alicia, who sets out to stop the invasion of demons onto the world. Alicia wields a massive gun, called the gunpod, that can be "morphed" into several different types of weapons; machine gun, shotgun, cannon, and Gatling gun. You also have several magical spells available to you, with really cool effects and some can do massive damage. You also have unlimited ammo for all the types of your gunpod, as long as you have enough MP to reload that is. After each level you are rated on your performance and awarded skill points which you can use to upgrade your gunpod, upgrade your HP and MP regeneration rates, or unlock/upgrade new magic spells.
All of this sounds pretty cool so far, right? Well the game's flaws are visible right from the get go. The camera is positioned behind and to the left of the character, think Resident Evil 4. I have no real problems with the camera, and it works out pretty well in the game, the problem is with the controls. Alicia moves way to slow, and it takes a long time to start firing your gun. Alicia carries her gun on her back, since it is so damned huge that it's taller then she is. It takes a couple seconds for her to pull it from her back to the firing position and in that time you can be hit very easily. There is an option to adjust how fast Alicia moves, and it helps out a bit, but there's no way to fix how long it takes her to get ready to fire. Every time you have to jump/roll to dodge enemy fire you have to then pull out the massive gun again and risk getting hit. The only thing you can do about this is just constantly hold down the trigger since you can walk/run while you shoot. The only time this is a big problem is with boss fights. With the cannon fodder enemies you don't really need to jump out of the way to avoid fire. Sure you'll take some hits but Alicia has a good amount of HP and it regenerates fairly quickly. What you don't want to do is get hit by a massive fireball a boss fires at you.
A couple more minor annoyances are: When you are firing your weapon, you can click the right stick to zoom in slightly to get a better aim but there is no real zoom feature on any of the weapons (not without using a gun in combination with magic that is). Alicia can not jump, per say, but she can perform midair flips that you primarily use to dodge incoming fire but can also be used as a jump. She can also crouch, and use a weak melee attack.
Despite the slight flaws to the controls and the combat system, the real problem with BulletWitch is the magic system. When you want to use a spell, you have to press the RB or LB buttons to bring up this massive circular menu that covers half the screen and completely blocks your view of what the hell is going on. Then you have to cycle through 3 menus of spells and select the one you want with the A, B, X or Y buttons. The spells are organized into "tiers" with the weakest spells on the first tier and the strongest on the last. So basically you're sitting there getting shot at while you are trying to find the spell you want to cast. It would have been nice if they mapped out the spells on the D-Pad or something, since it isn't even utilized in the game.
So besides this there are still more problems with magic. For one, most of the spells just don't work that well, and sometimes miss targets entirely. Two, almost all spells take up a whole ton of MP. The problem with that is that it's not easy to refill your MP gauge. You don't get powerups in the game, (there are no powerups in the entire game for that matter), but what you have to do is kill enemies to refill the gauge. Say you just used a magic spell but you missed your target. You have to then kill that target with your gunpod to refill your MP gauge that you just wasted on that spell. Other times you will be up against a boss or a difficult enemy and there are no more cannon fodder baddies to kill, so you can't refill your mp gauge. All these problems combine into this horrible mess and you are literally forced to use almost nothing but your gunpod for the entire game. I used my magic sparingly. It really sucks too because all of the spells look really cool and can do a whole lot of damage if you actually hit your target or if they work like they're supposed to.
The only spells I cast on a semi-regular basis are "sacrifice" which lets you heal your allies, and the three "great" spells which are best for difficult enemies or large groups. "Lightning, Tornado and Meteor" Lighting brings down a large lightning bolt on a single concentrated area, best used for tanks. Tornado summons a huge tornado that sends objects, enemies and everything in its path into a wild whirlwind, best used on helicopters and large groups of enemies. Finally Meteor, the most powerful of the three great spells, summons a large meteor storm in front of you, literally destroying anything in its path, easily the coolest of all three. There is also "Elemental Shot" which gives your ammunition a natural elemental attack to it (fire, wind, lightning, etc.). The only useful one is when you combine that with the cannon, you end up with a sniper rifle of sorts, but you get less then 10 shots with it and it's not as powerful as you think (then again I didn't upgrade it). There's also "Raven's Panic" which summons a fury of ravens that fly around your enemies and distract them while you attack them. "Ancient Wall" summons a large brick wall you can hide behind for cover. "Rose Spear" lets you throw a rose that summons giant spears that rise up from the ground, impale your enemies and set them on fire. It looks cool but you rarely hit your target. Finally, "Willpower" which is sort of a telekinesis attack where you send out a blast of air that sends any object in its path flying. Good for moving cars out of the way and destroying enemy strongholds.
As far as level design goes, all 6 of the levels are pretty boring. Most of them are outdoors in a city, one has some indoor city action and a couple are out in the forest. The best level is the forest level, since it is very large and a nice change of pace from the boring city environments. Overall though, the levels are all quite boring. Each level takes about an hour to finish so you can beat the whole game in 6-8 hours on your first play thru.
Besides the level design, the enemies you will face are all quite boring. The main cannon fodder baddie you fight are "Geists." They are basically demons in human form and look like humans with their skin ripped off. You will be facing countless numbers of these dudes throughout the game. The Geists are the army the demons created to take over humanity. The next enemy type is a Walnut Head. These enemies create several colored barriers around the levels to impede your progress. They look like Geists but with a freakin massive brain that looks like a balloon as they are suspended in mid-air. They don't move when you encounter them, but they have very strong telekinesis powers that they can use to throw cars and large objects at you. You'll want to take these out pretty quick so you don't get killed by a bus.
The final type of enemy you face, (yes there are only 4 types of enemies in the game) is the Screamer. These things look like a big blob of flesh with an obscured white face. They put up no defense and are easy to kill but they shoot out these weird flying head shaped spirits that deal a lot of damage to Alicia, as well as possessing your allies if they are hit by it. If hit, your allies or civilians will turn into this absolutely crazy demon thing that looks like it's straight out of Silent Hill. Man, these things creeped me the f*ck out. They look like humans from the neck down, but their heads are this weird white colored disfigured attempt at a face, kind of like the face of the Screamers. They constantly make this wild, disturbing sound that sends chills down your spine when you hear it. Besides the sound, they run at you in a frightening way as well. They sort of writhe around like they're in a panic, running for their lives and in massive amounts of pain. Kind of hard to describe, but its very fear inspiring and you want to kill these things as fast as possible cause they creep you out so bad lol Besides that they do a lot of damage to you if you let them. They can breathe fire and open up their chest and use their ribs as giant spikes to claw at you.
Finally, the best part of the game, besides the possessed humans, are the bosses. There are 2 genuine bosses and 1 boss that later appears as a regular enemy. The first one you encounter is called Gigas. It's a huge humanoid demon with one arm that is a machine gun. It towers over the battlefield, as tall as, if not taller then the buildings. At first the thing looks menacing and you think you're in for a long fight, but it does have one weak spot that will kill it very quick if you exploit that. You will encounter multiple Gigases later in the game, but never more then one at a time. Some of them will have more armor that protects the weak spot but all it takes is a few more bullets to destroy that armor. The second boss is this huge flying whale-like demonoid thing that you will encounter while flying on a jumbo jet. The thing is as big as the plane and very cool looking. It will send out these eyeball bombs that will try to land on the plane and drill into it to kill the passengers inside. This was the most entertaining boss fight in the game, and the most visually impressive. The final boss is called "Omega." Take the classic look of the devil, make him black and red, he has three snakes for an arm, his other arm looks like molten lava and his head is similar to the Balrog from Lord of the Rings. A pretty cool looking boss, but man is this fight extremely frustrating. I won't spoil anything but you're in for a half hour to one hour battle here.
The graphics in the game are quite good. There are some rough spots but overall the detail is decent, the enemies look nice and the bosses and Alicia herself are fantastic. There are some draw in/fade in problems and some clipping issues as well but they don't ruin the game by any means. As far as the sound goes, the sound effects are fine and the music is there but it's not memorable. For achievements, you get 300 points for finishing the game on normal, the rest of them you'll have to play through multiple times to achieve. I believe if you start up another game on a different difficulty you carry over your skill points from the previous one, so your continued play-thrus should be pretty easy with the maxed out skills.
Overall, Bullet Witch is a decent rental but I wouldn't recommend buying it. It could have been a fantastic game if they fixed the issues with the magic system, gave us a few more enemy types and a little more variety with the environments. At times the game was absolutely awesome and fun as hell, then at other times it was extremely frustrating and I wanted to stop playing immediately. Its really hit or miss.