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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

NOW Production

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

October 20, 2009

 

 

- It's a video game

- Competent Wii Motion controls, I guess

- Developers did the best they could with the license. Presumably.

 

 

- Bakugan is a stupid game based on the notion that children will buy lots of stuff given half the chance

- A boring rendition that seems impossibly based on a real life card game

- Based on annoying Japanese cartoon cliches

 

 

Review: Real Heroes: Firefighter (Wii)

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Review: Squeeballs Party (Wii)

 

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Bakugan Battle Brawlers

Score: 2.0 / 10

 

bakugan battle brawlers          bakugan battle brawlers

 

Once, I stood at the counter of a comic store and put down $20 bill after $20 bill for 4 packs of Lord of the Rings CCG cards. Open 4, didn't get nothing, spend another $20. After $100, I was ashamed, yes, but I was more disappointed I didn't get the cards I wanted.

 

I think we all have come across a collectible card game at some point in our lives. The best of us find out sooner rather than later that these games require too much of their players. If all of nerdom were a dance club, playing a CCG would be like banging the tranny in the alley. Sure it seems good at the time, at least in our alcohol and drug induced haze, but there will be consequences. On Monday, there

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will only be two options: to be mortally embarrassed (probably followed by suicide), or to accept it as part of your new lifestyle.

 

Before I get to the title screen, I have Bakugan Battle Brawlers figured out. First, it has a slick Japanese name. Next, the logo for Nelvana appears. Then a mention that Sega Toys is involved. The fact that Activision has made this

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game based on a game created by Sega... this is already a tangled mess of licenses and licensees.

 

Predictably, this is a product wholly designed to sell the same product continuously, like so many CCGs. This fact is confirmed as all the in game characters constantly remind me how awesome Bakugan is, and how there are so many.

 

All this before I even play the game. The game of Bakugan, or Bakugan battles, or whatever vernacular has been established by the trumped up mythology, is hardly worth explaining. Each player has a deck of 3 cards, 3 gate cards that are used as part of the board, and a stable of three Bakugan, small balls that transform into barely recognizable avatars. Ostensibly, the video game is based on the real life game. This is fine, except I don't see how this is even possible.

 

Bear with me as I describe the game, as the understanding of any evaluation of the game rests on understanding, at least briefly, the game itself. As a player you throw your Bakugan, a small ball, at a board filled with Gate Cards. The first gate card you touch, that's where you stay and wait for another player to lay his Bakugan on the same Gate Card, at which point you will battle. The winner gets the Gate Card, and first to three Gate Cards wins.

 

However, G-Power (the single statistic that determines outcomes) in the battle is improved by steering your ball around the board, soaring over and around, collecting power ups and modifiers, until you decided to land on a Gate Card.  Battles are then decided by these power ups, the Gate Card, each Bakugan's innate power, and a mini game where the player participates in a shooting gallery or waggle-a-thon mini game.

 

bakugan battle brawlers          bakugan battle brawlers

 

What evidence there is of the real game, points towards an uninteresting game. The "artistic license" exercised by the game developers, which amounts to adding a lot of mini games, does nothing to remedy the intrinsic worthlessness of the game. It is a very boring adaptation of a stupid collectible card game.

 

Topping the myriad of things wrong with the design, the card/gate card/Bakugan selection (only 9 elements per deck), provide little room for strategy and maneuvering within the game. Most of the fun elements of battle happen during the steering of the Bakugan after a throw, a product of the video game and not the card game.

 

Coming close is the elemental structure of available cards, a device seen in most CCGs. However, in Bakugan, there is hardly anything to differentiate these elements... and what there is, is so uninteresting to make much of a difference. You could essentially make the same deck 6 times over, once in each attribute, and barely a difference across the lot. It is simply a way to create (and sell) the same card, six times over.
 

As it is a television series in the anime vein, the characters are obnoxious and the storyline is rudimentary. These, of course, are genre standards, giving the impression that the Bakugan product is designed for six year olds (true) or for the emotionally disabled, the obsessive compulsion, or the social anxious (double true).
 

You could say that it is a competent video game that fans of the franchise will enjoy. But you could also say that Bakugan fans are goddamned idiots.

 

- Andrew Hiscock

(December 1, 2009)

 

 

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