The “next-generation” of gaming has progressed significantly since it first began more than a year and a half ago: the complexity and production values involved in modern titles are often startling. Today, the story-driven schema of the common game is rarely broken. However, the Xbox Live Arcade is once again a savior to those who seek simple, yet important, titles. Hudson Entertainment’s classic franchise returns to the Xbox 360 in its most classic form as Bomberman Live, but does its core gameplay and features offer enough to justify the price?
The Bomberman franchise is one that won’t be soon forgotten, mainly due to its addictive, party-game foundation. Bomberman Live is certainly no exception, as the entire game revolves around its multiplayer aspects. Offering four-player local multiplayer and eight-player online matches, Bomberman Live has a near infinite amount of replayability. If one isn’t an Xbox Live member and/or he or she doesn’t have any nearby friends to play with, the player can create matches against AI characters at varying difficulty levels. Though the structure of the game is the same as most Bomberman titles, the customization of Live is perhaps the most detailed yet. The seven different game modes (normal, paint bomb, zombie, revenge, super revenge, sudden death, and tournament), 22 power-ups, and eight levels all ensure that one’s next match won’t be the same as the last. When in a match, players must destroy blocks placed around each area and get close to their opponents, figuring out a way to incinerate them with an infinite stockpile of explosives. The more players there are, the harder the battle- one must keep an unwavering eye on the positions of each opponent to be victorious. Matches are often short and challenging, but very addictive. If one is in search of increasing their gamer score, Bomberman Live offers achievements of varying difficulties; several can be accomplished with ease, but the rest can only be won by experienced players.
Bomberman Live, because of its simple nature, doesn’t require an advanced graphics engine to satisfy the player. However, Hudson Entertainment did ensure that the title adapted to the HD era. Animations and effects are silky smooth and the quirky anime style that Bomberman is known for looks better than ever on a high-definition display. Though there are only eight levels (as of now), each looks distinctly different than the last: the environments and dynamic objects that exist in the arena backgrounds offer pleasant eye-candy to the recently combusted player. Also, the 24 unlockable costumes can distinguish each avatar on many levels.
Hudson Entertainment’s notorious franchise has set a new bar for Xbox Live Arcade titles because of its extremely polished, pick-up-and-play mentality. One shouldn’t expect any form of story or depth when considering purchase of Bomberman Live, as this will completely refute the purpose of the franchise. For a mere 800 Microsoft Points, gamers can experience party gaming at its best- a form that isn’t bogged down by senseless side-plots and gimmicky gameplay. As an added bonus, the developer plans to add new maps and costumes in the near future, further increasing replayability for the title. The countless customization possibilities and endless match configurations should make Bomberman Live an essential purchase for any Arcade-goer.
Final Score: 9 out of 10 - Very Good (How do we rate games?)