Just when I thought that Touhou as a series had finally begun to show some potential for the first time in quite a few years, I was stomped on by false hopes and bad gameplay. Mostly bad gameplay. Well, it can't be that bad, can it?
Touhou is a series that presents itself as a bullet hell shooter with challenging but fun gameplay. The developers wanted to try and mix things up by putting it onto the 3D plane and also make it a fighting game. Burst Battle is a two-player competitive fighter that focuses on shooting different types of magic bullets in order to defeat your opponent. The goal is pretty simple and easy to follow, so what could possibly go wrong? This kind of experience is almost like playing one of the classic Gundam style arcade games, expect it's not. It's not deep, challenging, well-polished, or fun whatsoever. There also seems to be a general lack of balance; it's not all that tough to absolutely crush your opponent in the dirtiest way possible. Play your cards right, and you're virtually untouchable. Even playing with a friend, I couldn't possibly sit through a second match. While I think the attempt to mash the two genres together was a good idea, that's really all it was.
If that wasn't bad enough, the game is priced at $30 USD. Yup, you have to spend half the price of a full release in order to get this game. They also had the nerve to include a paid DLC character. On the bright side, you can play both local and online versus battles in addition to the story mode, arcade mode, and endless score attack mode. Unfortunately, the game just isn't good enough to really want to do that in the first place, even for the most hardcore of Touhou fans. The visuals are a mess too, and they are probably the worst I've seen on a modern console in a very long time, at least for that price point. It's almost sad that I have to sit and wonder what the developers had in mind when they put this game out onto the market.
The story is just a generic plotline thrown in to (weakly) deepen and immerse the player into the universe. While all of the characters are great and have their personalities correctly represented, it's just laughable. Each character has a different story perspective based on the overarching plot-line. It starts out with Reimu being accused of causing havoc in Gensokyo, the land where the youkai (monsters) reside. It unravels quite expectedly and is almost worth seeing just to see how low it can go. Alright, it's not that bad, but it's definitely not good in the slightest. The story mode makes it clear that this game is aimed at fans in order to provide some well-need, or in this case, terrible fan service.
Fortunately, the music is great! But then again, Touhou rarely disappoints with its very compelling soundtrack and variations that accompany each release. The tracks are very fitting to the style of the game and the overall universe that it takes place in. Each track has a complex set of chords and notes that would make anyone feel the intensity of the action. While it is absolutely great, it's not anything too exciting or different from what we would expect. Ultimately though, there's not much wrong with this section of the game.
Now please, stop. Do not spend your money on this game. Thirty dollars could buy you so much more than what Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle has to offer. it's almost appalling how badly designed this game is. Even if it were five dollars, I still don't think that the price could excuse the pitiful piece of software that I was given to review. The game looks and feels like a PS2 launch title that went wrong. Thankfully, as all Touhou fans have come to expect, the music is the only redeeming quality that this game has to offer, but that's no reason to buy the game. Do yourself a favor and forget this even existed. As a Touhou fan, I can objectively say that this is one of the worst games to have come out in the series, period.
Most of my time is dedicated to tearing apart games and movies, then telling you what I think about it. I've been a gamer since birth, practically born with a controller in my hand. I've always spoke my mind, so critique was a natural fit. Twitter: @Jsrf38