Bleach: Soul Resurreccion Review
I was relatively into the Bleach anime at its very early stage, but I stopped watching after a good 60 episodes. Therefore, going into Bleach: Soul Resurreccion, I already knew I was going to be completely oblivious to the storyline. What I wasn't oblivious to was the fun I had hacking and slashing at my enemies with stylish moves.
The story, or what I could get from it, revolves around Ichigo and his friends going up against Aizen and his group of Arrancar, called the Espada. Confused? Don't worry about it; the story definitely takes a backseat in this game. Where the game shines is the gameplay. Sure it takes a similar approach to Dynasty Warriors, but there is a lot of underlying strategy and an expansive moveset to keep it from being just another "Press square to win" game.
I'll openly admit that I'm a big fan of the Warriors series, and NIS did a good job with not completely ripping off that series, but rather, adding a nice spin on things. For starters, each character has a varied moveset. You can easily run around, hacking away at any living (or nonliving) thing you see with the light attack button and have a grand old time, but there is something completely satisfying with unleashing a stylish flurry of super attacks that mimic the badassery of the anime. That's right, I just made up that word. However, you won't get a wide variety of stages. You'll see the same three stages with varying layouts (a barren desert, a cityscape, or a series of hallways) throughout the entire game.
Joining Ichigo and his intensely orange spiky hair, is the colorful cast of heroes such as Ishida Uryu, Rukia Kuchiki, Toshiro Hitsugaya, and Kenpachi Zaraki, as well as some of the Espada crew, such as Nnoitra Gilga and Tia Harribel. Each of these characters have quite varied movesets and control a bit differently. Ichigo will quickly slash away at his enemies in an area in front of him, while Ishida isn't that great up close; he uses his ranged Quincy bow to dispatch his foes from afar. Kenpachi, on the other hand, is a much slower character, but his blows do a lot more damage.
The story mode will take you through 15 missions that are each specific to a certain character. Beating these will unlock the rest of the characters, as well as points to level them up. The game uses a system very similar to--much less complicated than--Final Fantasy X's Sphere Grid that I mentioned in my Bleach preview. Each character has a square made up of skills and boosts that require a certain amount of soul points acquired from playing through the game. The annoyance I had with the soul points was that they weren't shared amongst the characters, but each character had their own pool of soul points they acquired during each mission. I would have liked to level up the characters I wanted to play as, instead of having to plow through the missions with characters I was required to play as.
Mission mode will then task you to go through levels with specific goals in mind, such as beating the level under a required amount of time, or defeating a certain boss character. The more you play these, the more collection characters you unlock, which are 3D models of each character that also have a few voice clips associated with them. It's certainly a minor addition to the overall game, but it becomes an addictive feature that will make you want to complete more missions to unlock each and every one of these models.
The entire game absolutely oozes with anime flair. Right from the intro, to the menus and even the loading screens, the whole presentation matches that Bleach look to the tee. Not only will the looks please Bleach fans, but the Japanese anime purists will be ecstatic to know that a Japanese voice track is also available, though I have to give props to the American voice actors on Bleach for giving such a great performance. For once, the English track was bearable. Yes, I'm talking to you Naruto games.
Let's face it, you already know whether you're going to love or hate this game. Bleach fans will absolutely eat it up, as it's not only Ichigo's first HD experience, but finally one that isn't just a straight up fighting game. Even anime haters might find themselves consumed with hacking away at hollows with glee.