Bullet Witch hands-on

The breathtakingly apocalyptic Bullet Witch won't be gunning for US shores until early next year, but that hasn't stopped us from playing the just-released-in-Japan shooter for ourselves. And while it felt - at first - like a fairly standard third-person shooter, the arresting visuals and cool gameplay touches made us hungry for more.

If you've read our coverage, you already know that Bullet Witch takes place in the year 2013, after a series of catastrophes (not the least of which is the sudden appearance of legions of demons) have slaughtered entire nations and driven humanity to the brink of extinction. Enter Alicia, a mysterious, possibly undead young woman with a huge gun and a thing for acrobatics and black leather. You can probably guess what happens next, but it's the execution that makes Bullet Witch stand out.

After a brief explanation of the woes that have befallen the world, the game opens in a dead-quiet New York suburb. A handful of civilians run by, one of them trips, and all of them are summarily gunned down by cigar-chomping soldier-ghouls who look like someone ripped off their skins and draped them decoratively around their shoulders. The ghouls chat a little, getting jumpy when they see a crow, and then Alicia strides in and it's time to rock and roll.

The skinless soldiers were tough and fast, but Alicia's giant, broom-shaped machinegun made short work of them as we stormed the streets. Fun action, amazing scenery... and we hadn't even gotten to the magic yet.