Bushido Blade

        Today I’ll be looking at a somewhat obscure Playstation game called Bushido Blade. While I haven’t played it much, it has already proven to be a very unique experience, and certainly to be a very good fighting game. What exactly makes it unique is that it abandons many of the usual fighting game conventions in favor of more realistic gameplay.
        There are no health bars, no flashy super moves, and, perhaps most importantly, damage you take actually does have tangible effects. If you aren’t sure what I mean, well, think about it- in most fighting games you can keep going until your health bar is diminished, with absolutely no side affects or setbacks. In some cases a character may even transform in some way after losing a set amount of health to a new state, but aside from that, the actual damage one would get from being cut or punched repeatedly generally isn’t addressed.
        In Bushido Blade, however, every hit matters. If you get struck in the arm, for instance, that arm will go limp, and all of your attacks will become slower and weaker now that you cannot put both arms into it. A blow to the legs will force you to limp or crawl. And a strike to the head or chest is very often instantly fatal.
        Of course, this means that fights, even at their longest, will likely be over in seconds. Blocking or dodging is of course important- if you block properly, your character will stop the incoming attack, and, if they are lighter than the oppnent, back up a bit from the weight of the blow. You could see that as stoppingyou from attacking, but I prefer to think it is forcing them to keep coming after you, potentially leaving them open. And of course dodging leaves you able to counterattack. In addition, if you strike the enemy’s weapon one of two things will happen.
        Normally, this will knock their weapon to the side, leaving them open. This is often when I finish them off, but it doesn’t work if they block in time. The other thing that can happen is if you both try to perform the same sort of attack, like both using a horizontal swipe, your blades will clash, and you have to button mash to shove them off you, knocking them to the floor. This also leaves them open, though generally they will be able to get to their feet.
        The fighting controls are fairly simple- you have a high vertical attack, middle horizontal one, and a low leg sweeping strike. These attacks can be changed depending on your movement, they become very quick lunges when you dash at the enemy, though the low attack can’t be used in that case. You can also break out of your usual fighting stance to run, and attack while you do so. The high attack is a simple and rather telegraphed slash, while the middle attack is a thrusting stab, both of which are usually fatal if they hit. You can also change your stance with the R1 and R2 buttons.
        I say usually because sometimes it doesn’t kill, likely due to it only being a glancing blow rather than a fatal slash. Speaking of slashing, all of your weapons except one are all bladed- how the characters use them depends on the weapon, but is fairly similar to a degree regardless, though they do naturally have their unique attacks.
        The main differences between the weapons seem to be because of the length and size of the weapons. The longer it is, the more reach it has, but the slower they are with it. The katana serves as your basic weapon, so to speak- medium length and range. The rapier is much shorter, but strikes quicker, mainly with thrusting attacks. The naginata on the other hand is very long, with slow strikes, and so on.
        Particularly odd is the sledgehammer– is has more weight behind it than the other weapons, meaning strikes from it are both long and heavy, capable of sending enemies back further and staggering them to a degree. But, since it has no blade, it cannot actually cause a killing blow unless you hit the head.
        Aside from the their choice of weapon, each character is different in their unique attacks, speed, and strength, with the fastest character, Red Shadow, also being the weakest, and from there on they get stronger but slower. All of them also have unique side weapons, which can be thrown by pressing R2 forward, then Circle. Pushing R2 twice instead has them throw dirt, sand, or snow, depending on what happens to be under them. None of these attacks are fatal or debilitating, but they will stun an enemy, allowing you to land a fatal blow.
        Moving on, there are a few interesting modes- first is Slash Mode, where you basically go up against a gauntlet of enemies with a katana until you are beaten or defeat all 100. I’ve yet to accomplish it, but it is always fun. More unique is POV Mode, where you face an enemy like in VS. Mode, except now you’re seeing it from the character’s point of view. It is a very fascinating idea that I wish more 3D fighting games used, and help me immerce in the combat even more.
        As for the Story Mode, while I won’t reveal anything about the story, I will tell you that to reach any ending of the game, you must follow the Bushido Code the game use(though does not explicitly tell you.) First, you may notice your enemies do not fight you immediately, instead saying something before getting into their fighting stance. You can move freely though, and even outright kill the enemy while they’re talking.
        You could do that, but you’d be breaking the Code, and thus barred from the end of the game- unless you’re doing so to the last boss, I believe. Anyway, you must wait for them to get ready, must not kill them when their back is turned, and must not use your side weapons or throw dirt at them. Basically, fight them fairly, with your main weapon only. Not that they will limit themselves to this code, but it is certainly doable.
        In any case, that about sums up what I know about Bushido Blade! I hope you all enjoyed, and I’ll see you next time, dear readers.

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