What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a violent sci-fi shooter in which players shoot at all kinds of demons. Many of the demons are reduced to a pile of mush, often spurting blood out in all directions. The enemies don't look like people -- one beast has a deformed face coming out of its chest and another looks like a giant floating brain. Kids will hear "Oh s--t" and a few phrases containing "damn."
What's it about?
Things are not looking good for the human race in Atari's BULLET WITCH, a sci-fi third-person shooter for the Microsoft Xbox 360 that takes place in the year 2013, after our planet has suffered fatalities in the billions because of natural disasters, war, and infectious diseases. As if this weren't enough, an interdimensional portal has opened up, allowing demons to seep through and attack those few remaining people. You play as Alicia Claus, a beautiful witch who is as powerful with her magic spells as she is deft with a trigger finger. She wields a huge \"gun-rod,\" a kind of broom-shaped weapon.
You start with the gun-rod as a machine gun, but in time it can be switched to a shotgun, sniper rifle, and Gatling gun. Pressing the left or right shoulder button brings up a magic wheel, enabling you to spin and select what kind of magic spell to invoke -- if you've earned enough skill points to unlock it.
Is it any good?
But gun battles with hoards of demons get tiring after a while. For one, while some might hide for cover, the not-so-bright creatures basically stand there and let you shoot them down one by one. Another issue is that the action sequences repeat often, which works something like this: fight baddies, move ahead and watch a short story sequence, then fight more baddies and move ahead toward the end of the level. Another problem is that it can be cumbersome to control Alicia's movement with the Xbox 360's left analog stick while moving the camera with the right analog stick.
This single-player adventure has its strengths -- namely, big and attractive outdoor environments and impressive spell-casting effects -- but the dumb artificial intelligence, repetitive gun battles, and awkward controls bring the game down to a C-grade experience. And at only six or seven hours of play, you can easily tackle this single-player shooter in a weekend.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how, in this sci-fi shooter, your role is to rid the world of demonic beasts. When playing a shooter game, does it make a difference who your enemy is -- a demonic beast versus an evil person? Why is violence in video games such a hot topic for parents with kids? Why do you think many parents believe kids should not play M-rated games?