The Bouncer was a simplistic beat ‘em up — but only when it wasn’t a cutscene ‘em up — and its tepid execution transcended neither. The game interspersed layers of brief, repetitive combat sequences amid a feature-length reel of ham-fisted cinematics, and then slathered skill upgrade menus and loading screen lore dumps in between.
The Bouncer aspired to be a hearty stew of gaming and film. Instead, it was a stale sandwich, cinematically bloated and lean on play.
Read More The Bouncer: Square’s Cutscene ‘Em Up Sandwich
I am fascinated by this era of Square. Not only did its output spearhead the early PS2 hype, but it sparked intrigue for the kinds of gaming experiences that would await in the new millennium. What would happen when a renowned gamemaker (mostly) synonymous with JRPGs takes a swing at other genres way outside its wheelhouse? What unique innovations would its interpretations contribute? And in what inventive ways could it fuck things up?
The answers, I’d find, were capricious and messy yet so bizarrely satisfying.
Read More Dare to Be Square: Getting a Grip on Driving Emotion Type-S