Meta-Review: Ibara – PS2 – Shmup
Developed by Cave, the makers of such popular shooter franchises such as Do Don Pachi and Muschihimesama, comes another excellent masterpiece that is ported to the PS2 by Taito. Gameplay is reminiscent of titles such as Raiden and Castle Shikigami and there explosion count is pretty high.
Ibara is one of hte hottest shmups in Japanese arcades this past year and the console port gives the PS2 a significant boost in the race with the Dreamcast (see Dreamcast lineup) and the Gamecube for the best modern console for shooters.
“Surprisingly, the game manages to demonstrate how fewer bullets do not always signify an easier game. While the former is in fact not a manic shmup whatsoever, there are ridiculously intricate bullet patterns that manage to trap even the most veteran of shmup players. Ibara is not to be taken lightly as it is incredibly addictive, but above all, self-rewarding.”
“The port itself doesn’t offer much in the way of extras, other than a gallery option that’s open at the beginning. However, the designers did add an “Arrange” mode which plays a bit more like a typical Cave shooter. Your ship slows down as they fire, the enemy bullets are all colored, the hit box size has been reduced, and the bosses all have life bars. You can even select between weapons once you’ve obtained them, as well as set formations for your options. It’s a more finely tuned variation on the original game, and it’s probably better overall, except for one snag – you only get one credit and you can’t set any options. In the end, this option is really only suitable for the hardest of hardcore – it would’ve been much nicer to mix and match some of these features with the regular game, to create a more personalized experience.”
“Ibara is an astonishing looking game. Not since Guwange has a shooter truly stunned with its sheer physical beauty. Embracing its story, this pushes the steampunk setting to the very limits and leaves the player breathless with its unique vision. The enemies, weapons, scenery and wonderful bosses, all delight, and utterly leave the player transfixed while the incredible onscreen carnage ensues.
From the extraordinary amount of debris that flies from the downed craft to the holocaustic explosions of wrecked buildings, Ibara is a game that revels in destruction, and takes great pleasure in showing the player, the sheer devastation that they have caused.”