The Bouncer

Overview

Well, this is not a weak story like so many others say that it is. The story is very detailed and nicely tied together. It all starts in a bar called Fate, where 3 bouncers and the waitress friend sitting talking when suddenly the young girl (Dominique) is kidnapped by members of the Mikado Corp. They kind of remind me of Shinra from Final Fantasy VII. I’ll stop there cause any more would really mean major spoilers, but the character growth sucks and most likely by the end of the game you really won’t care much about any of the so-called heroes. I mean, these are cookie cutter characters in every sense of the word. Like Sion, the young naive hero, or Volt the older, more mature partner of Sion and finally, Kou, the jackass of the group, or in other words the game’s comic relief. To sum it up, the story is good, but the absence of any real character development or emotion brings the whole rating down. You get the feeling that Squaresoft, the acclaimed masters of storytelling could have done better with The Bouncer.

Gameplay

What gameplay? This is why I asked you to remember that story I told you earlier. Well, you see, after I was all set, I popped in the disk and began the game, and 1 hour 2 minutes later the credits rolled. I thought to myself, Oh My God this is so cool! All that time was just the opening of the game. Imagine my horror when 5 minutes later I realized that those really were the end credits. That got me thinking, so I started another game, and 1 hour 6 minutes later I realized that depending on how good you are, there is somewhere between 10 to 14 minute of real gameplay. For me the number was a whopping 7 minutes of actual gameplay.

Not helping much is the very low number of gameplay modes in the game. There are three modes only. First is the Versus Mode, where you and up to 3 friends pick a character and go into a Tobal-style battle, which isn’t fun. Second is Survivor Mode, which is how far can you go with only one power bar and no power ups. This also isn’t much fun. And last but not least, the Story Mode, or what I like to call FMV player. But when you are playing the actual gameplay part of the game, you feel really out of place for a number of reasons.

The first offender is the really annoying camera angles, which doesn’t help you one bit with your game. The horrible gameplay/combat system is also a huge downside with the game. And to top it all off, all of the bosses can easily be beaten by only pressing single button repeatedly. To sum it up - awful.

Graphics

Come one, come all. Square’s got 128 bit processor to toy with now, and boy it shows. The lighting in this game is the best I have ever seen hands down, and the facial expressions are also the best. I have played through Sega’s Shen Mue, and The Bouncer tops it in the graphics department by a huge margin. The Bouncer also sports the most FMVs ever crammed into a game, running somewhere between 40 to 50, maybe more. My timer kept cutting off, and the actual gameplay graphics look like Final Fantasy VIII’s FMVs! Yes, they’re really that good!

The sound is another plus point with The Bouncer. Oh my,this is where you get a treat. The Dolby 5.1 track is one of the best I’ve ever heard. No, I’m not comparing it to other games. I’m comparing it to DVDs like Fight Club and the voice acting is also top draw. Every voice matches every character perfectly or at least it sounds and looks like that. To sum it up in one word - perfect.

Fun Factor

The most fun part of this game is showing it off to people who don’t have it. I don’t care what other systems they have. When they see the graphics of this disc, their jaws will hit the floor with jealousy. After all is said and done, there’s only one real thing that’s fun about this game - watching it. To sum it up, play the movie.

Overall

Overall, The Bouncer is that girl next door who’s the most beautiful thing you have ever seen, but once you get to know her you realize she’s shallow, boring and just really something to show off and nothing to really start a relationship with. Well, that’s The Bouncer for you. In the end, you’ll be looking for something else to play. You should buy this game if you want something to really show off the power of the PS2. You should not buy this if you’re looking for a decent amount of gameplay, or a really deep and involving storyline.