Black Rock Shooter (PSP) Review
Released nearly two years after the original Japanese release with barely any stateside marketing and for a woefully underloved handheld, Black Rock Shooter comes as one of the last role-playing games for the PSP. With its anime origins, does Black Rock Shooter have enough merits to stand on its own, or is it doomed to die with the last remaining humans on Earth?
Let’s check out what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of Black Rock Shooter.
A fresh action RPG for the PSP
While many role-playing games follow the same conventions of either menu driven turn based combat or the free-roaming hack and slash of sorts, Black Rock Shooter opts for a different approach. Taking a page from The 3rd Birthday, combat is based around a third-person, over the shoulder format with one major difference: Black Rock Shooter is incapable of moving around during combat on her own. With the exception of an evasive dodge from one side of the screen to the other, Black Rock Shooter is bolted down firmly to the ground. While this may sound like negative criticism, it in fact works much better than an attempt at free movement given the PSP’s single analog stick. The single joystick operates as the aiming cursor, similar to those that have tried playing Time Crisis without the use of a Guncon.
As Black Rock Shooter levels up and evolves through a traditional experience system, her basic status such as health and attack increase but skills are gained in a different way. With each stage are a number of achievements typically focused on unlocking through the story or killing a large number of monster X or attacking monster Y with a specific subweapon. As achievements are unlocked, Black Rock Shooter herself gains a slew of new advancements and skills to make her a more efficient machine, including the use of new subweapons. If walking around with a portable laser cannon isn’t your thing, Black Rock Shooter has access to blades and even full on orbital strikes.
Black Rock Shooter breaks itself down into a series of stages showcasing various fallen cities from across the globe, starting in San Francisco and ranging out to Fuji Jukai out in Japan. Each of these stages are further split up into missions each with nary more than a single objective. Most missions follow a simple path of getting from Point A to Point B while killing X, Y, and Z’s along the way but there are an occasional number of varying other mission styles to change things up. In a large jump away from the combat, there’s a single stage solely focused around Black Rock Shooter‘s motorcycle in an on-rails segment. While it’s all a matter of trial and error with dodging the oncoming traffic, it’s a good diversion from the combat.