Reviewed: October 24, 2007
Released: October 10, 2007
Polygon Magic and SEGA team up to bring you one of the two Bleach games to be released this year in the US. The first, released by SEGA and Treasure, is Bleach: The Blade of Fate which is easily the best fighter for the Nintendo DS. The second, and the game I am reviewing, is Bleach: Shattered Blade for the Nintendo Wii.
There have been several Bleach titles made so far. Unfortunately almost all of them havenít seen the light of day over here in America. A large part of that is due to the show that has just now taken off here in the States.
Bleach: Shattered Blade is a 3D cel-shaded fighter that reminded me of the Naruto series at first look. You play as Ichigo Kurosaki in an all new story that takes place after the Soul Society incident. Essentially this story takes place right after the DS game. You are trying to get back home to the human world but you are told that you cannot leave for a 100 years, because the Senkaimon (or door) to the human world is being sealed off. During Ichigoís raid on the Soul Society, the sword called the Sokyoko was destroyed. It is you job to get the shards of that sword to force open the door and return home. Now raise your Zanpaku-to and join me as I slice though my review of Bleach: Shattered Blade.
Bleach: Shattered Blade has that interface youíve probably seen a hundred times before. Across the top of your screen is the familiar time limit clock and Soul Bar (health bar). The bar right below the Soul bar is your Spiritual Power Gauge. So in the simplest terms this is your stamina bar. Your Spiritual Power Gauge reduces as you attack. So no matter if you hit you target or not you ďstaminaĒ lowers. If it hit zero you cannot pull off Combos or Critical Attacks. In the bottom left of your screen is the Bankai Gauge. This is used to tell you when you can use your Zanpaku-toís Bankai.
In Bleach: Shattered Blade, you use both the Remote and Nunchuk to defeat your foes. The remote is basically your sword and you can execute one of three basic strike movements. You perform a Chop by swinging the remote downwards, a slash by swinging left or right, and a stab by pushing the remote forward. Special Attacks are performed by using the B Button plus any of the strike movements. Critical Attacks are performed by using the A Button plus any of the strike movements.
As I mentioned above, you can activate your Bankai. You do this by flicking your Nunchuk up or down. You can also raise you Bankai gauge by flicking your Nunchuk up and down, but be warned. You are completely defenseless when doing so. When your Bankai is active, depending on the character you play, your attacks do more damage. Plus your three main attacks become Bankai Attack, which allow you to wreck havoc on your opponent. Some charactersí Bankai will also increase or decrease movement or activate Hyper Armor. When Hyper Armor is active you cannot be knocked down or sent flying across the screen. As you have [probably figured out all movement is done with the Nunchuk Control Stick. When you use the C Button with the Control Stick you perform Flash Steps.
Perhaps one of the coolest thinks about the combat system used is the Clash feature. If you and your opponent hit with Critical Attacks at the exact same time you enter a Clash State. This is basically Rock, Paper, and scissors with swords. The object of these States is to win the majority of the 5 strikes. If you are successful, you inflict great damage on your opponent. This is not easy by any means. I canít tell you the number of times I lost.
As I mentioned before briefly, you can choose which character you want to play as in the Episode Mode. You must play as Ichigo first to make sure that you unlock all of the story modes. There are 32 different characters that you have access to in Bleach: Shattered Blade. That is amazing, but most standards. Most fighters Iíve played usually have half that many characters. Almost every major character form the Bleach anime is present here. All the characters stories follow the same overall unique storyline, although they have their own reasons to collect the Sokyoko Shards.
You also have an Arcade mode, where you pick any of the 32 characters and fight 8 different opponents. There is even VS Mode, where you can fight a friend or the Computer. Shattered Blade like the DS Bleach game has the Urahara Shop, where you can use the money won form fights to purchase goodies that can be viewed in the Gallery or used in Arcade or Training Mode.
Since the graphics are cel-shaded, Shattered Blade definitely has that anime look to it. Had they went with another way of doing this game graphically, I think they would have ruined a perfectly decent game. There are several little things that I noticed that I liked about Shattered Blade like the artistic backgrounds, fluid animation and fancy special effects.
Probably the number one thing I liked was the characters mouths moving when they talked and their eyes blinking. I really canít stand games where you hear voice, but their lips donít move. The only time you get to see the mouth moving is before each fight and during any cutscene that is pertinent to the story. However, the beginning and end of each story is done with picture slides with voice. I would have liked to have seen them done like the battle sequences but I canít complain much. They did a pretty good job as it is.
The sound in Bleach: Shattered Blade is quite good. Not perfect but still pretty good. They got pretty much the entire cast of the anime show to do the voices. I love it when they can get the same people to do game voices. The background music is hyped up like it should be, especially an anime fighter, but it isnít overbearing.
This is probably the one part of Bleach: Shattered Blade lacks something. While the game is huge with all the different character storyline, the storyline its self is rather shallow. The story could easily been drawn out more and it would have been better if they had. Other than that, Shattered Blade is an enjoyable fighter. Bleach: Shattered Blade retails for $40 dollars and I would suggest that if you are a diehard Bleach fan you should definitely pick this one up.
All in all, Bleach: Shattered Blade is a pretty good game. I would have liked to have seen a longer story mode, but it was still pretty good. I really liked that it takes a little more strategy than most fighters to play. The Spiritual Power Gauge makes certain of that. I thought the graphics were pretty good for a Wii title.
The Bankai activation scenes are still one of my favorite parts about Bleach. If you are a die-hard fan of Bleach then definitely pick this one up, but for all of those that are not yet familiar with the series, I would recommend renting it first.