Bomberman Ultra Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

PlayStation 3
Release date:
June 11, 2009
Hudson Soft
Hudson Soft
1 - 8

Bomberman Ultra

We like to make things go boom.

Review by Chris Bahn (Email)
July 7th 2009

At first, I didn't know whether to be overjoyed or disappointed at the fact Bomberman Ultra was essentially the same game I gushed about nearly two years ago. At that time, I couldn't get enough of the XBLA release, putting in a good two hours or more as I wreaked havoc and crushed the egos of players worldwide. Oh who am I fooling? Any chance to dominate unsuspecting players on the PlayStation 3 is just too good to pass up. Lemme at 'em!

I suppose some of my interest can be attributed to the fact that I am actually good at it. Back in September 2007, I logged over 700 games and was once one of the top 60 players until the community interest level was almost non-existant. Thankfully most of the PS3 fanbase will be playing this for the first time, which gives me more incentive to start grinding my way back up a prominent spot on the leaderboards. Sadly, even this community still has its fair share of quitters and lag-abusers. I haven't received any hatemail yet, but I imagine it's just a matter of time before someone passes along some colorful words of affection. Winning is serious business.

Any chance to dominate unsuspecting players on the PS3 is just too good to pass up. Lemme at 'em!

Now, I don't want to sound hypocritical because back in the day, I initially dropped out on people too, but that was when lag got to be too much. That's like ancient history, though. These days, I'll basically step up to whatever challengers are available (who aren't quitters) and I don't "play nice." My mic is usually off so no one can hear me barking insults. I'm just too damn competitive. I am a good sport overall – when I am met with defeat, a quick text message isn't too far behind to congratulate the jerk--I mean, worthy adversary.

So yes, my competitive spirit has played a huge part in my continued interest. The rest is due to the fact I've been a hardcore Bomberman fan since the 16-bit era. Some diehards unfortunately don't really love the game, and have their own ideas as to what's fair. Some think the Dangerous Bomb's range is cheap, or throwing bombs can be hard to dodge. Fortunately, everyone has the option to enjoy casual matches (better known as Player Match). This opens up the ability to customize the type of power-ups you'd like to enable or disable. More players are opening up to this option, since the ratio of competition seems to be getting smaller. There are thousands of players out there who downloaded this title – so why do I end up playing the same 4 dozen players over and over? Color me puzzled.

Now, if you're a newcomer, some of this has probably gone over your head. I'm willing to bet that some of you still playing have even considered giving up. Don't lose hope. Spend time in the Local Match mode to hone your skills before taking on human competition. Just be aware that a human player will naturally be craftier. From a social standpoint, you can interact with positive or negative remarks using the PS3 camera or text messaging. Of course this means sometimes dealing with folks heavily breathing into their mic, complaining or consistently rambling things like, "Hello, can anyone hear me?" Ugh!

Playing the single-player mode is also the only way to unlock all the special outfits available. This by far is one of the coolest additions to the Bomberman franchise: being able to customize your Bomberman via numerous head, body and facial types. Originally, I settled for a Dragonball-like character sporting fatigues, but as of a few days ago I've upgraded my look to a character more my style: a regal robe with an afro. Yeah, he's black. I got to keep the resemblance going, y'know?

Bomberman Ultra offers several different multiplayer modes. The standard Battle mode can be toggled to incorporate arena features (i.e. ice cracks, transporters, tornadoes), which is most online players prefer to have off. There's also a Tournament Mode, in which players compete to see who can win the most matches in the tournament set. Then there's Paint Bomb (which I hate with a passion), in which the objective is to acquire as many painted titles within the time allotted. Zombie is practically identical to Paint Bomb, except your character can't die, and the Revenge Mode is disabled. Finally, there's Bombing Run where the action is kicked up a few notches, and every player moves around at "super speed." Good stuff, but I find it difficult to control my character, so I usually skip it when I can. As an added bonus, Ultra instantly offers players all the downloadable content subsequently released on the XBLA version consisting of new characters, multiplayer modes, and battle arenas.

If you can look past all the self-proclaimed champions and half-wits, you'll find a lot of chill folks just looking for a good time. Plus it goes without saying: Bomberman Ultra is loaded with replay value. No two games are ever alike, and the road to victory can often be rather random, due to all the expected surprises and exceptional competition. That said, if you're looking for a fun PS3 release to satiate your thirst for competition, I totally recommend this game to all. Every  owner needs to make this part of their collection. Just make sure to step away from your chair, and occasionally embrace reality; something I often have the custom of forgetting.

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