Black Rock Shooter: The Game makes up for a great, emotion-filled experience and a must-play on PSP's final moments.

User Rating: 9 | Black * Rock Shooter: The Game PSP
RPGs are rare additions nowadays. On console and PCs, most of the games are shooters and its variations, or action/adventure game that don't quite do anything innovative enough. Luckily, on the PSP, RPGs may not be an absolute majority, but it has more releases than other game consoles since most of them are 2D-turn-based games, which requires little graphical power of the gaming hardware and are relatively easy to be programmed.

Black Rock Shooter isn't like that. And to tell the truth, you'll be amazed of its graphics (for psp standards, of course), with a nice rendered opening movie and clean gameplay graphics, as well as a solid battle system, and on top of that, if you understand a little of japanese, a well-made story filled with action and tide-turners until the very end of the game.

-- STORY --
I can't say I know a lot of japanese, but from what I understand, you control Black Rock Shooter herself (yeah, she's a girl....duh) that "belongs" to the PSS, an organization that must restore peace to mankind, 19 years after an futuristic alien invasion on Earth. You visit particular places like San Francisco and Russia, completing missions given to you.
Later on, the story gets really confusing and you make contact with an alien-hybrid organization that apparently rule the world and are in search for new "Gry Blades" (the guri-buraido), clones from peoples with different abilities and modified body, but even if you don't know japanese, you'll certainly feel the tension from the story that the game reflects from its musics.

There are 2 basic kinds of gameplay: the non-battle part and the battling parts. When not in battle, you walk around the stage to complete a certain misson, be it just reach the destination, defeat the boss monster of the area, activate switches and acess machine terminals, or simply talk to NPCs around. Often, during the course of the mission, you'll eventually run across monsters on the field or guardians (mini-bosses) in order to move on, and by approaching them, you'll enter battle mode.

There, your characters mainly is static on the field and you just control the aiming of your weapon, and by aiming near an enemy, the game automatically locks on to the enemy. Pressing the square button shoots rocks ("bullets") to the enemy. Pressing circle makes your character take an evasive move. Pressing X makes your character enter in guard position as long as you're holding that button. Also, by holding the R button and pressing one of the 4 face buttons, you can use one of 4 skills with Black Rock Shooter can learn, with can include increasing ATK, DEF, damage, provide health regeneration or even make an exclusive attack.

On the positive side, Black Rock Shooter is a game very well made. The graphics, sound effects, musics and dialogues have that air of quality most PSP games misses until now.

I already said most of the game's positive aspects, since that's enough to keep you in the game until you eventually complete it. It's rare, but some missions also put you in control of a motorcycle, making for a nice change of gameplay, even if those stages are short. Also, there are some "medals" you get by completing some specific objectives, like killing a number of enemies or finishing them with a specific technique, but even if some of them are hard to complete, the game rewards you handsomely, with permanent ATK, DEF or HP boosts, new skills and even new costumes and an alternative ending.

On the down side, you may find the game short (about 8~10 hours, if not replaying any of the stages), and sometimes find that boss enemies are ridiculously harder compared to normal enemies and sub-bosses, but those aspects are small close to what the game offers, and just with little retries you can breeze through the hardest bosses.

There isn't a store to buy items, but even by defeating weak enemies you'll receive a nice loot of restorative items. The stages normally have a linear pattern, but there are secret places that lead to secret chests that include rare items and even skills. Getting used to the battle's overheat gauge may take some time and might be frustrating, but it's a nice touch of fresh strategy.

Summing all up, Black Rock Shooter: The Game has its flaws, like any other game, but even the simplest features this game offers cover up most of them, and is a great way to play an original game for a might even surprise yourself of how nice the game plays and yet how simple it is