Sometimes, it’s hard being a fan of something. As I’ve already demonstrated, I love Tite Kubo’s Bleach franchise. So when I got the chance to play NIS America’s new release, Bleach: Soul Resurreccion, I hoped it would be the ideal gaming experience that this franchise needs. And while I got a lot of good out of it, I also got a lot of personal issues as well.
This game covers the Hueco Mundo arc of the anime. For those not familiar with Bleach, I’ll try my best to explain:
Ichigo Kurosaki is a human-turned-Soul Reaper, who is currently caught in a war between the Soul Society and the evil Sosuke Aizen and his Arrancars. When Ichigo’s friend Orihime is taken by Aizen’s forces, Ichigo takes his allies Uryuu, Chad, Renji and Rukia into Hueco Mundo to confront Aizen’s Espadas, the elite of the Arrancars, and take her back, little suspecting that this will lead to the climatic battle for the Worlds of the Living and the Dead.
Now, sadly, if you’re not a fan, this game will leave you confused as to why they’re fighting, who is who, and why they can do what they can do. You really need to be a fan to know what’s going on, and that’s the first problem here. Keep in mind, I’m a fan. This is one of my favorite story arcs, filled with amazing battles and plot developments, which is why I’m annoyed that they skip like two thirds of those battles to get only the most popular fights out and condense the experience to just 14 chapters. I mean, there were such great moments in that arc that would make for a longer game experience. And it doesn’t help that a few of the story points come up as talking heads at the bottom of the screen as you play.
Well, all I’ve done is complain, so I’m going to talk about the good part, and why it makes me conflicted in this review: This is the best gaming experience I’ve had with a game based on Bleach, and I’ve played a few fighters and RPGs that has been based on this series. The game is a hack and slash action game. No platforming, no puzzles, this is just kill everything that moves and make your way to the boss. That may sound simple, but it’s so damn fun.
The control scheme is identical for all characters. Melee, projectile, super move, super mode, ultimate move, all the same. Even the amount of button presses to do the combo is the same. But this actually works to make it easy when you switch characters. All the characters may have the same controls, but the effects of their moves are all different. For example, Ichigo is the basic fighter, fast and effective. Rukia’s melee moves have the additional effect of paralyzing foes. No two characters feel the same when you play. And I appreciate that, given how out of the tons of characters in Bleach you only can play about 14 of them. While I do like that nearly all the bosses you face become playable characters, I know people are going to be annoyed that some of their favorite characters aren’t here to play as.
While the story mode is short, there is the addition of mission mode, with over 20 missions to play as with any character you unlock (with the exception of three that you unlock by completing mission mode). This at least provides you with some fantasy match-ups, since a lot of the playable characters show up as bosses in this mode, which means that you will get a little more time out of that than story mode.
Graphics, sound, and design-wise, this is gorgeous. The game looks like an HD cel-shaded wonder; it captures the look and feel of the show in a 3D setting while still looking like an anime come to life. Both language voice casts are from the show, giving the authentic experience whether you play in Japanese or English.
In conclusion, Bleach: Soul Resurreccion plays like the ultimate Bleach game should, but misses a few opportunities that will anger die-hard fans of the series, who may be the only ones that will play this. It’s fun, but exclusive to fans, and even then doesn’t give the complete experience. Perhaps with DLC or a sequel, this can become the way to play Bleach. I only hope on the next game, they keep the playstyle, but expand the roster and story.
|Gameplay, graphics, sound, this is the best Bleach game to come out.||Non-fans will not be able to get into it, and die-hard fans will cry foul at both who and what has been excluded|