Whenever a better version of a game releases, it's usually difficult to know whether it's worth purchasing again. Infinite Burst definitely improves on the original Bullet Soul, but is it enough to warrant downloading as well?
Considering I already reviewed Bullet Soul a little over a month ago, I'll try not to repeat myself in this review. Therefore, I highly recommend reading my other review first. Anyway, Bullet Soul originally debuted in Japan back in 2011 and this Infinite Burst version came out three years later in 2014. What I don't understand is why they bothered releasing the vanilla version here then the enhanced version only a month later. Surely, most shoot 'em up fans would rather just play Infinite Burst seeing as it is the superior of the two choices. I guess there were other suckers like me who got excited when they saw a new shmup on Xbox 360 in the second half of 2016, bought it, and didn't realise that a better version was going to show up in a matter of weeks. Frustrations aside, this is a worthy shoot 'em up for fans of the genre so let's discuss what's so special about Infinite Burst.
Let's face it; Bullet Soul can be an extremely easy game. If you're a shmup fanatic then it did very little to provide a satisfying challenge. Infinite Burst is a more difficult experience as enemy projectiles seem trickier to navigate through. Not only that, the scoring system in Burst Mode involves collecting coins dropped by enemies. Allowing these coins to float off-screen substantially decreases your chain score so if you want to score high then you need to gather every single one of them. This is super tough to do as enemies could sweep in as you rush towards a cloud of coins. Whenever you're in a sticky situation, you can unleash burst to increase your attack power when your meter is full. Chaining coins after doing so will extend your burst's duration. This makes for a very addictive dynamic that'll keep you hooked. Finally, you have a life meter as opposed to lives that you can actually refill with power-ups.
Besides Burst Mode, there are a few other modes to extend the replay value a bit. Normal Mode emulates the original game except it's more challenging while the unlockable Musou Mode is the same but you're constantly in burst state. You can play individual stages in Bancho Mode, too. Last but not least, Caravan Mode returns and it even retains the normal rules instead of featuring the new burst mechanics. All four characters from the vanilla version are back and although they provide very distinct gameplay styles that are fun to experiment with, they're just as imbalanced as ever. For example, playing as Zenichi is a lot more difficult than using Loop.
For better or worse, many other aspects remain the same. The audio is just as explosive with a loud rocking soundtrack that would feel at home in an early-2000s arcade and effects that make blasting at enemies very satisfying. The character art is different this time around yet the distinctly cool style hasn't changed. On the downside, there is still no difficulty option. That alone is enough to alienate both casual gamers and hardcore shmup fans. Also, there aren't any new stages as all you get are the same five from the first game.
Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst may be a better version of a capable shoot 'em up, but the fact that it's pretty much the same experience albeit more fine-tuned makes it a tough game to recommend if you already bought the vanilla version. That being said, if you love shmups and don't own Bullet Soul then Infinite Burst would be a great addition to your gaming library.
- + New mechanics significantly improve the established Bullet Soul formula
- + Variety of character gameplay styles
- + Same satisfying audio and cool art
- - Tweaks and new mode aside, this is almost identical to the vanilla version
- - Still no difficulty option, only five stages, and imbalanced characters