Here is a question. What other kind of game genre dominates the home console market besides the shooter? Research and sales results have shown that for a while, action games have dominated the market. I mean, for example, when the PS1 came out, there was a huge amount of rpgs released for the console from Square Enix and Game Arts. Another good example of this is the huge explosion of action games coming out for the PS2, when a little-known title known as Devil May Cry came out. Seriously, there were so many action games. There were games like Blood Will Tell, Nanobreaker, Gladiator Sword of Vengeance, Shinobi, Genji, Blood Rayne, Devil Kings, Onimusha, and even modern games today like Conan and Bayonetta. Yes, some of these were made by the same people, like Bayonetta had the same person from Devil May Cry, but my point is that even today the action genre is still very popular. One of these games is today’s review known as Bujingai: The Forsaken City! Now, this game has a lot going for it. You have a pretty good developer who made a personal underrated series of mine, Gungrave, and the lead character is based on one of the most popular glam rock stars in Japan, Gackt. One other thing that makes this game interesting is that it’s based on fast paced action films from China known as Wuxia. However, this game might have some flaws that keep this fast-paced game under the radar for most people. Let’s take a look at this game and see what’s inside! This is Bujingai: The Forsaken City for the PS2.
There is very little story in this game, and is sadly more flash than substance. What I could get is that you play as Lau, an ancient warrior with two huge swords and J-pop-style red hair. After coming back to the forsaken city riding on a comet for some reason, stuff goes through the drain and demons are everywhere. Another thing is that the main girl lead gets kidnapped by Lei, who I think is your brother or used to be your brother. Lei is the one responsible for doing all this, and halfway through the game, kidnaps the main girl. It is up to you to save the world and destroy all the demons. There is very little story here, and later in the review, I will explain why this is bad. Yeah, as you can tell I am somewhat not happy about this game. Oh well, let’s continue. Taito published this game. The game was created by Red Entertainment who made games like Gates and Lords of Thunder, Thousand Arms, and the two Gungrave games.
The gameplay takes the form of a linear action game with some minor platforming elements. Since this game is based on Wuxia style films, the combat is very flashy and combo-oriented. You can pull off huge combos to whittle down the opponents health bar. You can do spin moves, uppercuts, and jump kick your opponent. This hero has also taken some notes from Prince of Persia and can wall jump. He can also glide through the air to get to other platforms. You also have an upgradeable magic system where you can pull off super powerful spells, like a giant tornado and shooting energy arrows, to doing a drill spin attack. You can upgrade everything about you from how well you defend, to how strong your magic is, increasing your health and magic bar, and well, that’s pretty much it. The only other thing I could talk about here is the interesting counter system. If you are in front of an enemy and you block an attack at the right time, you can do a very cool counter attack and take out the smaller enemies faster. The boss fights are big, but they usually end up being only pattern-related bosses, like in the Ghouls and Ghost series of games.
Graphically, it’s pretty cool looking. Everything looks gritty, and the areas do have a charm to them if you can get past the major faults in the game. The monster designs are all pretty detailed and the normal soldiers are kind of creepy-looking. The animations on everything also look wonderful, and you can tell Taito put a lot of money into the animation besides putting it all on Gackt. The flashy moves and all the ridiculous looking martial art moves are very cool, and make you feel like you’re in movies like Hero and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I also like that at the very beginning of the game, you make your own cut scene when you’re chopping down on the villains for a few minutes. It’s just kind of a nice little treat.
However, like all games, Bujingai has some pretty major flaws in its design. The first is the camera control. It is very limited and can leave you in some awkward positions when you are fighting enemies and there are enemies behind you. This game can also get very tedious since mini-bosses later in the game get tougher and harder to hit, and you can’t cancel out of a combo so easily since you’re stuck in that animation until the combo is done. This has led to some unneeded damage taken and deaths. While there are some cool looking bosses, they are pretty boring, since like I said above, there are patterns you need to follow. This game is also awkwardly linear, like there is no deviation from the path. No, it isn’t as linear as games like Kung Fu, but still there isn’t a lot of variation in the levels. Then, when something different does come around, it’s too late in the game and feels like it was just tacked on. While this is a game that proudly shows that they got Gackt, they don’t really use him besides the design of the character and voice. Yes, he does do the intro song, but he has NO LINES in the game. It’s annoying. It’s like they used a lot of their budget to pay Gackt and advertise that they have him. The English voice acting sucks. It’s like it was done on a shoestring budget. There also isn’t much to get back into the groove of the game after finishing it once. Kind of a shame, it could be amazing if they just added more stuff besides GACKT!
Overall this is a horribly flawed game, but it has its fun moments, and I would only recommend renting it for everyone else, unless if you are a hardcore action gamer and are looking for something that’s different or like the PS2 Shinobi. Action games come and go, and sadly, this one came with more flash than substance and just went as soon as it came. Shame, too, because it is almost an underrated gem. Good thing we have games like God of War.
This game gets a 6 out of 10