Publisher: Taito Corporation
Developer: Taito Corporation
Release Date: 07/25/2004
Available Exclusively On
Third-person action games were big on PS2 thanks to games like Devil May Cry. They were some of the largest games you could find on the system, and Bujingai followed that trend. The story is nonsensical and has almost no point existing. You’re following a former master around who has been possessed by a demon and has taken your girlfriend or something lame like that. Having almost no story isn’t a great way to start a game either.
One of the big draws with this game was the fact that the Japanese rockstar Gackt was involved, and I mean about as involved as showing up and grunting. Advertising someone as big as Gackt was at the time and only having him grunt and shout is a complete waste of talent. He has zero lines of dialogue and probably finished his whole recording session in a few hours. There isn’t even any music by Gackt in here which is lame. With that said, the game is all about hacking and slashing and there’s plenty of that.
The game consists of a quick and heavy attack as well as dodging and a defense meter that auto-blocks attacks until the meter is run down. 90% of the regular enemies are brain dead and are a cakewalk to slice through. As enemies die you acquire orbs which are used to upgrade various stats. You also have spells that are hidden throughout levels and can be passive or active. I rarely used these and most are not that powerful, but the passive attack increase spell wound up being the most useful. Lau, the main character, has some really nice animations and the game is very flashy, but there are so many flaws that make this game a frustrating nightmare to play.
Something as simple as platforming is bogged down by an awful camera and finicky jumping mechanics. The character jumps in the direction the camera is facing and the direction can’t be altered mid-air. This led to dozens of minutes just trying to get across a few platforms. You can wall run, glide, and wall jump but they add to the chore and headache that is platforming in this game. The combat solely relies on the lock-on mode as the camera can’t keep up with the action. This proves extremely annoying during boss fights, and the final nail in the coffin is the uninterruptable animations that cause endless deaths and pointless damage being taken. Lau will spin and slice, but one button press is a series of animations that must be played out before you can even dodge. Even if you time your attacks in between the enemies’ most of the time you will still take damage because you can’t stop the attack. This also goes for the fall-down animations that take forever and recovery is just as slow.
The level design is also very bland with generic Japanese folklore-inspired enemies and repeated bosses. There’s not a soul in this game as it just feels like a cookie-cutter Japanese game that tried to get sales with Gackt’s name. I honestly didn’t feel like there was any benefit to playing this game the entire time I played and I couldn’t even finish the game due to how incredibly difficult it ended up being by just fighting the animations and camera. I got to the second to last boss and had to just give up after 2 hours of trying. It also doesn’t help that orbs aren’t given out often enough to allow you to upgrade fully before reaching the final 8th stage. I like how if you die you just restart the area you’re in instead of the entire level, but it means nothing if you can’t progress.
As it stands, Bujingai is a forgettable game with almost no point in existing. If you’re itching for a hardcore hack and slash that requires precise timing then this might be for you, but there isn’t even a decent story to complete and even Gackt fans have nothing to really gain here.