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Did you ever have a chance to play The Bouncer? As a game released on the PlayStation 2 for the holidays in Japan in 2000 and hitting our shores on March 5, 2001. Originally set to be a launch title for Sony's new PlayStation 2. It got pushed back to improve the controls of the game. Unfortunately however, it needed even more time. Known for their RPG games such as Final Fantasy Squaresoft opted for something new on Sony's new PlayStation. The Bouncer was showcases a numerous genres here with RPG, Action and Brawler being the most prevalent throughout the experience.
Game play was largely just a two to three minute affair in between five minutes (or longer) in game cut scenes. Seriously, I played a section that consisted of me fighting two enemies; watch a loading screen; then watch a five minute cut scene of pointlessness; rinse and repeat for most of my time “playing”. Whenever I was allowed to run around a level, the camera became a major pain. I don't know why there was a decision to have the camera fixated on the front of my character, but this made the camera act like an enemy. Especially when confined to tight spaces. With enemies somewhere in the level to battle it felt more like “hide and seek” than a brawler. It's almost like Squaresoft was wanting to make a movie, but instead of releasing a movie they added very little game play and released it as a PS2 “game”. Shortly after this game came out in Japan Square made the announcement that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within would hit in 2001.
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Very little intrigued me enough to keep playing other than playing alongside a friend. After each battle you can allocate Bouncer Points (BP) towards upping your stats of your character or build enough points to unlock more moves to use in battle. Adding the second player to the mix also improved the progression of the Sion as a character. We stuck with him and after each battle we individually improved his skill set anyway we saw fit. I started focusing on unlocking moves while he upped the Power, Life and Defense of Sion. This really helped in keeping us from just spending points on one aspect of the character. Making Sion very well-rounded by the time the credits rolled.
I played some of the multiplayer, but there wasn't that much there either. It took the weak game play from the single player and threw in four person combat. Both modes use the “get close to someone and the game will lock you to whoever is closest” system. Didn't think it would not be a problem, however each attack sends someone flying (either in the air or across the screen). Meaning my character was constantly switching the person I was fighting. So I could never really wear down someone unless the other people I happen to be fighting weren't close. There is no real combo system in The Bouncer either. Just mashing a single button three times against the opposing player/enemy. That is the only way to do a combo, because I tried to combine other moves together, but the first move launched the opponent somewhere. So if I didn't hit the same button at least twice there wouldn't be a combo to execute. Even using that “tactic” didn't guarantee I would pull off a combo.
The game can be beat in two hours, but The Bouncer heavily promotes multiple playthroughs. As I played I would rank up Sion. My ranked up Sion can be imported into the versus/multiplayer modes. So I could play as a supped up Sion against the other characters of the game. If there is anything positive to take away it would be this. I like the fact that what I do in the single-player experience can be placed in the multiplayer as well. It shows that while it is short for an initial playthrough. Squaresoft showed they wanted players to stick with this game longer than what is initially offered. Plus I could play through the game as the Volt and/or Kou to see their different perspective of the stories events. All in all the weak single player experience is helped out by the use of replayablility. While I don't think I will attempt another playthrough it is a nice touch that I could see new things at least two more times of playing.
(For More Insight Check Out My Friend's Review)