Jan 13th, 2008, 08:26 PM
Bushido Blade was nice, but it did have balance issues and honestly had some difficulties that made the game a little silly. Where the game really picked up was its sequel, Bushido Blade 2. It was generally a vast improvement on the game, both in terms of storyline and in terms of actual gameplay.
First off, the game's graphics were notably better, and the game ran much smoother. The evironments were bigger, and there was a few locations where you could screw with the environment (cutting down trees in the Bamboo forest!) or even use it offensively (a few areas had potentially fatal drops.
Second, the plot was vastly improved, and - to my amazement, managed to continue the arc of the first game. The storyline of BB2 covered a long rivalry between the Narukagami (clan from the first game) and the long-since-shamed Shainto clan. Canonically, Black Lotus was the member of the Narukagami to escape - he joined the Shainto later, coming back as the new character Highwayman.
The weapon count was somewhat decreased - and then expanded. The Longsword, Broadsword, Nodachi, and Katana were all back, as was the Naginata (now a Narukagami exclusive). The Saber and Rapier were dropped from the game entirely, though the latter is actually IN the game as a secondary weapon for Highwayman. A new weapon in the game was the Yari (A spear that is exclusive to the Shainto).
Most of the characters had a sub-weapon of some sort, a throwback to BB. Difference is, some characters have a decidedly lethal sub-weapon now, capable of killing on a direct hit. Others have abilities which can harass or break enemy guard. As in the first game, you can pick up and use a thrown or dropped sub-weapon and wing it right back at your foe.
A new dual-wielding setup was included. Some characters have the ability to use their sub-weapon as a secondary weapon, weilding it in their off hand. Highwayman does this with the longsword, but characters like Utsusemi and Tatsumi do this with Katanas. Similarly, throws were updated. You could do certain throws with certain character and weapon combos. Throws were hard to pull off but fatal if they connected.
The character roster was more than tripled. You could unlock tons of new characters, including literally everyone from the first game including the gun-weilding pile of cheese that was Katze (no longer dressed as a Nazi, now simply dressing like a fruit). The characters ranged from the awesome (a Ninja named Nightstalker, clearly from Red Shadow's Ninja school), to the hilarious (A black man with an Afro who disco-dances, named Tony Umeda).
All in all, one of the best PSX-era fighting games ever, and one of the few PSX fighting games I still actively play once and again.
Square had a brief foray into fighting games. Tobal No. 1 and Bushido Blade were their best-known examples, followed by Ehrgeiz. It's a shame they decided to make nothing but FF games these days, because the games were pretty darn innovative, and dare I say, fun.