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Bushido Blade
Review By: Jesse Mason
Developer:   Square
Publisher:   Sony
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Fighting
ESRB:   Teen

When SquareSoft entered the fighting world, they were determined to do something new with it. Their first game, Tobal No. 1, while good, doesn't stand a chance next to its sophomore effort, Bushido Blade. This is, in simple terms, the first real weapons-based fighter. While Soul Blade had weapons, it was pulled off in a way that made it more of a Tekken clone rather than a real weapons fighter.

The game offers you a choice of six characters. While this may not seem like much, it's not really the fighters that matter; it's the weapon. Each weapon has its own feel to it. For example, the sledgehammer feels remarkably heavier than the rapier does. This means players will have to change how they look at the game.

The game also leans heavily on the realism factor. There is no life bar. Rather, the game clues you in on how you are doing (i.e. if you are limping, you are fatigued and hurt). There's no time meter, either. You fight until someone delivers a fatal blow. This could mean any amount of time. However, the fights usually aren't that long, and this is disappointing because the longer fights are much more fun and exciting.

Arenas are nicely thought out and are the biggest I've ever seen (besides games that scroll forever). They are innovative and allow for interesting battles, which should be interesting because you can move everywhere. Pushing up moves you up, and there is no jump button. Because of this, gamers will have to change their strategy and how they pull of their combos.

There are several modes, including a story mode, an endurance mode, and a POV mode. The story mode changes your strategy even more. This game respects fighting with honor, and if you don't, you won't be able to go on or get the best ending. For example, if you run away or fight dirty, you won't be able to go on. The endurance mode is actually the most fun because there's no loading time after you kill an opponent (an especially annoying aspect in the story mode). The POV (point of view) mode is so confusing it's rendered an unplayable option.

It's nice to see that somebody has found how to do something new in this stale genre even if it is an RPG company. Bushido Blade is highly recommended.

Overall: 9
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