Review of The Bouncer
Sion, Volt, and Kou are three bouncers working for a hole-in-the-wall bar known as Fate. Life is getting a bit dull and Fate hasnt been seeing much action lately.
One day, unbeknownst to the trio, things are about to go very awry. You see Dominique is a friend to all of them, but more specifically, Sion. Mikado Corporation through their leader, Duragon, has plans for Dominique. But why? As Dominique heads off to Fate to give Sion a special gift, the henchmen of Mikado storm in and kidnap her. The group is powerless against them and far out numbered at the time.
After the dust has settled, the three decide that they must get Dominique back at all costs, and find out whos responsible and why. Someone will pay for this travesty, and it wont be pretty.
Playing The Bouncer is an experience unto itself. The fighting moves are relatively simple when compared to the other fighting games out there, such as Dead or Alive or Tekken. Most of the moves are done with one to four button combinations, as opposed to the multitude of sequences that are more prevalent in other games. I found this a bit refreshing actually. This set up seems to make the game play more strategically than most. Relying on positioning and defense will get you further in the game than all out attacks.
With the battle system toned down, or watered down, depending which your view is, The Bouncer becomes a lot easier to just pick up and start playing. With your standard high, medium and low attacks, you can also add your special moves by earning and spending points. A nice feature is that any special moves you acquire are listed for reference so that you wont have to guess how to do them or memorize them instantly.
The point system is simple enough. After every battle points are awarded based on how well you fought and also for any special attacks or combos that were landed on the enemy. With these points you may raise your characters life, power or defense. In addition to the three stats, special moves may also be purchased, but they are spendy. This seems to be the reason why the game is sometimes called a fighting Rpg, but to me its still a fighting game. However, there is more to The Bouncer than this.
The major difference to this game is the Story mode. You can play any one of the three characters. Each characters story will give you their perspective of whats happening throughout the game. Switching between characters can be done before every fight, and that is often. One thing that may annoy the more hardcore fighting genre fans is the frequency of interruptions in gameplay. The way the game flows is like this: Video-fight-video-fight, well you get the picture. On top of that the fights are often over in a matter of seconds, or at times a minute or two at best. This was different for me and did take some getting used to, but the story is very appealing and the load times are fairly decent. Being as I enjoy storys as in Rpgs and fighting games, the blend is decent but could use a bit of tweaking the next time around. And for the impatient out there dont worry, the movies are skippable.
When you do re-play the Story mode the character that are used first will retain their skills and stats, so every time you play the Story mode over again you have a stronger party. Dont jump for joy just yet though because the baddies get stronger too. One flaw I noticed in this mode was the AI of the other two characters. It seems that while youre fighting to stay alive, theyre off wandering around or not using the special moves they learned. Well, not nearly as much as they should.
Along with the story mode there is also Versus and Survival modes. In Versus mode you and up to 3 others can battle it out, and if you have only two players you can have team play where the computer will control two team-mates for a 3 on 3 fight. In survival mode you walk the halls of the Mikado Corporation and engage in battle after battle. You will be toast until you beef up the characters somewhat. By playing through the game in Story mode extra characters are unlocked, and they can also be used in Survival mode. Both of these modes can be lots of fun, especially with the hidden characters.
The Bouncer is fantastic visually. The movies and cut-scenes are seamless. Character detail is very sharp, and the models seem to be pushing some serious polygon power. Texturing is nicely done also. The clothes on the models have some awesome textures and detail. The flow is liquid smooth. Watching the real-time scenes is truly amazing. Facial detail and expressions are all done to a tee, quite simply the best I have seen on the PS2 to date.
Square also knows their stuff when it comes to FMV videos too. These clips are of the utmost quality and design. Even though I have played through Story mode several times now, I still find myself watching the videos instead of skipping them. Theyre that good. Motion blur and other effects also are used strategically, but not over done. Very crisp and detailed graphics. While fighting either in Story mode, or playing with some friend in versus, no noticeable slowdown took place.
The only issue I had was the camera. For ninety percent of the time the camera control and view was fine, but at some very inopportune times the camera view would get all out of whack. Running through a hall the camera might rotate in front of you so the view you get is whats behind. Im not sure about you, but when Im running in enemy territory I want to see AHEAD of me, not behind. Instances like this didnt happen often, but when they did the timing was just not good.
Sound in The Bouncer is very nice, but not stellar. Granted that this is the first PS2 game to make use of full Dolby Digital, the number of times the game actually uses it is few and far between. The audio for the movies and cut-scenes is good, but judging by Squares past performances, I was expecting better. Music is clear and moving to be sure, but a more diverse and inspiring soundtrack would have put The Bouncer in a brighter light.
The voice acting on the other hand is excellent. All the characters have a passion and flair in their dialog that is rarely achieved. The emotions really shine through with the dialog presented.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'The Bouncer' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Robert Gibson © Absolute PlayStation
Click here to view our 22 The Bouncer in-game screenshot slideshow
Have You Played The Bouncer ?
If you have owned 'The Bouncer' long enough to have formed a solid opinion on it, then click here to write your own mini review of The Bouncer.
Alternatively, if you would like to read what other gamers who already own The Bouncer think of it, click here to view all of our reader comments and mini reviews of The Bouncer.
Want To Know More About The Bouncer ?