Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bleach: Dark Souls Review

In 2001, Tite Kubo made a brand-new manga that would become one of the most popular in its history: Bleach. It was about Soul Reapers (Shinigamis in the Japanese version) that would deal with evil spirits called Hollows. To state the whole plot of Bleach would take a milenia, but what you really need to know is it is an awesome Anime/Manga definitelly worth your time. But with a popular franchise comes the inevidable licenced crappy game. But Sega knew this would come, so they hired one of the best action game producers, Treasure, to make a Bleach game. The first game, Blade of Fate, became a smash-hit on the DS, and Treasure handeled the sequel, improving it on almost every way.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
The game's main story takes place at the very end of the show's third season. A mod soul, Kai, is trying to release all of his bretherin, but ends up causing a massive Hollow invasion in the process. So, Ichigo and friends jump to the action to stop this chaos. The story is set up like Star Fox Command, with multiple branching paths. Treasure knew players would have to play through the game multiple times to get 100%, so they allowed the option to skip events you already played, saving a lot of time. (Though you won't get a money award like usual) The story mode is relatively short and can be completed in about 5 hours.

The big meat of the game, however, is its fighting mode. The game uses the DS's 4-button layout to shoot light, medium, and heavy attacks, as well as side-stepping, all features that are essential in a fighting game. Pressing L allows you to line-jump, and the R button makes you dodge an attack. This is an insanely hardcore button-masher through and throuout, but fighting newbies may feel turned off by this. To make sure anyone can be a victor, Treasure allows you to use special attacks the hard way (a rapid combo of buttons), or the easy way (tapping an icon on the bottom screen). The bottom screen also holds the Spirit Cards, allowing you to hold twice as much as in the first game. These Spirit Cards can be customized and organized in super-strategetic ways.

Of course, it wouldn't be a fighting game without multiplayer, and this game delivers, for the most part. Playing Multi-Card works fast and fluid, but playing with one card can take a LOOOONG time to load. At least in Single-Card you can choose any of the characters. The Wi-fi requires a good router, because playing with a bad one will cause matches to lag like crazy. Still, this is a great multiplayer game.

The sprites in this game are great, as you would expect from Treasure. The Audio is also very faithful to the show, using all the anime's original voice actors. Unfourtunatelly for harcore Otaku, you can't change the language to the Japanese original.

The game also includes a plethora of bonuses, like alternate colors, cards, songs, sounds, and much more. It even includes a dictionary and encyclopedia of all things Bleach, so if you ever wanted to know when Chad's height is, here's your place. The game allows custom avatars, backrounds, and announcer voices.

Gameplay: Fun. Controls well and is good enough to stand out in a crowd. 9.0
Graphics: Awesome. Treasure's mastery at Pixel art is still at large. 9.25
Audio: All the show's original actors are here, but the music feels a little lacking. It definitelly isn't as good as the show's eerie ballade. 7.5
Overall: This is a game that stands out from the norm: a lisenced game that doesn't suck. It's a great starting game for fighting newbies, and good for the fighting vets too, and definitelly pays a perfect fan service to the show.
9.0 out of 10

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